Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inner Strength (04/20/06)
TITLE: Resting in Strength
By Rachel Rudd
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Her tears coursed down her face and soaked her pillow. After half an hour, she drifted off into a troubled sleep.
The grief dwelt in her heart when she awoke the next morning. Anna attempted to shake off the remnants of pain as she whispered prayers of petition. She lingered so long finding strength for the day that she had to hurry her morning preparations. Her youngest daughter jumped out of bed half an hour later bright-eyed and talkative.
“Good morning, sweetheart, are you ready to attend playgroup?” Anna asked.
“Yes, mommy, but can I have raisins in my lunch?” the child asked in a foreign tongue.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to you speaking Dutch.” Anna told the child who had not yet turned three. Anna still spoke English to the children, nevertheless they all chose Dutch as their own native language. “There’s another thing I miss,” her heart sighed, “just hearing English. It’s been two years since my language surrounded me.”
She placed an oatmeal breakfast on the table when her older sons sat down in a dazed stupor. “Brad and Ryan, you’d better hurry if you’re going to make the bus.”
“Yes, mom,” they mumbled.
As Anna drove the two boys out the door, she smelled the need for Sarah’s diaper change. She rushed her unwilling daughter to the bathroom when the phone rang.
“Hello, this is Anna.” she answered. She recognized the voice instantly.
“Anna, it’s mom. I’ve got some bad news to tell you. Are you sitting down?” her mother asked.
“Yes, I am now. What happened? Are you alright?”
“You’re father has been in a car accident. A drunk driver ran a red light and smashed into the driver’s side of our car. He’s in intensive care at Norfolk General.”
The words slammed into Anna like a truckload of dirt. “He what? What do the doctors say? Will he be alright?”
“ I don’t know, Anna. Please pray and please, if you can, come home right away.”
Anna called her husband as soon as she put down the receiver. He listened intently to her relaying the terrible news, but when she asked about traveling to see her father he sighed deeply. “Anna, you know our money situation. We don’t have money for you to travel over there right now. I am so sorry, honey. I so wish you could. Do you want me to come home?”
“No,” Anna responded. “I’ll be alright.”
However, when she hung up the phone, the weight of her sorrow crashed in around her. She fell to her knees holding on to Sarah. “Mommy, are you alright?” Sarah asked.
“Why don’t you go into your room and play?” Anna suggested.
The tears coursed down her cheeks as she cried out in frustration. Her heart broke like a dam bursting, lacking the strength to hold the flood inside. “God, why did this have to happen? You are so powerful. Why can’t you make a way for me to see my family? Why did you let my dad get hurt? How am I supposed to bear being away from him when he needs me?”
The questions poured out of her until all energy and tears were spent. Then a split second after she gave up, a peaceful presence enveloped her with arms of love.
Give up. Let me give you the strength that you need.
Anna felt herself being shaken by an unseen hand. “Anna, Anna, wake up. You were crying in your sleep. You’ve soaked your pillow through and through. Are you alright, sweetheart?” Her husband asked.
“What? What happened? Oh, my goodness. Was it all a dream? I dreamed my father barely survived a terrible accident and hung on to life by a thread. The worst part was that we couldn’t afford to go see him.”
“Oh, Anna.” Her husband soothed as he held her in his arms. “Don’t worry. You just talked to your Dad last night. He’s alright.”
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