Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Valley (08/10/06)
- TITLE: From The Valley To The Mountain
By Brenda Craig
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Peering through glazed pools of despair, brimming with hatred and anger, I dared him, provoked him. Clawing with every ounce of my strength, fingernails ripped at his flesh, willing for his blood to pour like my bleeding heart.
Lunging at me, subduing my tirade with brute strength, I found myself falling in slow motion, held within arms like vice grips, penned to the floor. Spitting in his face, I wondered would this ever end. Maybe he would just put me out of my misery. Walls full of holes spoke volumes, echoing across my drunken, semi-conscious state. What’s new, hadn’t my life been lived in an endless valley, a grave with both ends open? From childhood till now there had been no respite.
Whimpering from the bedroom crib drew his attention to a huddled mass, curled up in fear, causing him to break his hold.
“Get up, you wretched excuse for a mother and get out of here! Go!”
Slamming the door to the bedroom, blocking out anguished cries, he slumped down on the couch. Glaring at me, he grabbed a lap tray and commenced seeding and rolling another joint.
“Didn’t I say get out?”
Crawling to the door, to the blackness, I slipped into the night. Reflections bouncing off the television mocked me as they danced across windowpanes of my heart. Little shards of shadowy light, reaching like fingers, pushed me further, deeper into my abyss of hopelessness.
They say your life passes before your eyes at the time of death. Well, my life passed before my eyes moment by moment, day by day, ever reminding, ever declaring my worthlessness. The nighttime surrounding me mimicked my emaciated soul.
Uncontrollable sobs convulsed through my body while I gripped the gate. Certain death awaited me.
You say, “How do you know that?”
I will tell you how.
Was it my drunkenness? Was it the cocaine?
No, it wasn’t!
Can fear make you sober? I say, “Yes.”
Something was waiting on the other side of the gate, something ominous. I heard insipid voices, cajoling me, inviting me; they were opening the gate, pulling me from the valley into the pit of no return.
Somewhere deep inside my being, long forgotten words seeped their way upward, vocalizing thoughts in my heart, “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall not fear.”*
Menacing voices gave way to another long forgotten voice, His voice. So long ago He had invited me in and I declined. And now here He was once again warning me.
“Don’t go out that gate. If you do, you will die. Go in, lie down and see what I will do.”
I ran, hell pursuing me, an abyss closing in around me, making it just in the nick of time. I burst through the door to find my husband oblivious, stoned and staring off into his own chasm.
Like the invisible air slipping through my hands only moments before, I snuck by unnoticed, picked up my once whimpering child and collapsed among waves of guilt, holding her tight.
In the night Jesus came in a dream, washing me up to the foot of a large mountain. I sat up and heard Him calling me into a building. Streams of music wafted from the door, stroking, filling cavernous places in my heart. I stood up and walked in a door etched with His name.
After my dream encounter, I drove around for weeks, parking my car in front of churches longing to go in. I found myself between my valley and His Mountain, teetering on the edge of decision.
Nightly dreams of hell stalked me, finally forcing me to attend a service in a nearby church. From experience, I knew they would sing “Just As I Am” and with one foot in the aisle, I waited.
The moment music pierced the air, I bolted, running down the aisle yelling at the top of my lungs, “I’m dying and going to hell. Somebody help me. I need Jesus.” Jaws dropped, and the music stopped; I fell on my face. I didn’t care what people thought. I had found Him.
My miraculous rescue from the valley of the shadow of death soon became the door of escape for my husband and family. Today we rejoice together, standing with our feet firmly planted on His Mountain!
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