Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)
By Holly Westefeld
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"Good morning Miss Moore. See the picture Miss Clark gave me to color?"
Ginger reflected Mandy's infectious smile. "Good morning Mandy. That's a lovely ... rainbow?"
"And animals. Don't forget the animals!"
Ginger shared a knowing grin with Fran, her teaching partner. "I love their innocence at this age."
And I hope that teaching these little guys will get them off to a better start in life than I had.
As the orchestra warmed up, Ginger slid in next to her best friend, Leslie, another single mom. "Survived another week?"
Leslie looked up from her bulletin. "Sure. You have a tough one?"
"I really wish you would apply at Bob's Diner. There might not be an opening for a while, and the tips may not be quite as good, but it's closer, and there are several believers working there. Fellowship with believers on the job would be so encouraging."
If she only knew!
They stood as Tim and Trish began leading: "You are my strength when I am weak..." *
"Please open your Bibles to Psalms 1." Pastor Jones passionately detailed the contrast between the ungodly and the righteous, sprinkling his remarks with several passages from Proverbs as well. "I urge you," he concluded, "to give prayerful consideration to those with whom you have fellowship. Of course, we should share our faith with the unsaved, but too much time spent with unbelievers casts doubt on our own spiritual condition."
It was all Ginger could do to keep the tears from flowing during the closing prayer and song.
"Would you pray for me to have the faith to trust God enough to apply at the diner?" Ginger asked, as she and Leslie headed for children's church to meet their girls.
"See you in the morning, sweetheart." Ginger kissed Megan goodbye, and instructed the sitter about dinner.
"I love you Mommy!"
"I love you, too, Megan!"
As Ginger merged with traffic on the freeway, headed for the far side of town, the words of the previous day's first chorus replayed in her mind. "You are my all in all." The geyser of tears, stifled since the conclusion of church the day before, erupted.
"Lord, you've blessed me so much, and brought me so far. You sent Hannah at the crisis pregnancy center, who helped me get into the addiction program. It is a miracle of your mercy that little Megan suffers no consequences of my stupidity. With your strength, I've been able to break all but this last tie to my old life and companions. I was able to save enough money to rent our cute little house in a decent area, and I've grown so much at Grace Church. Lord, the guilt and duplicity are killing me. Even Leslie thinks it's just a waitressing job, with lots of regulars, that I'm willing to drive 45 minutes across town for. Please, help me to trust you enough to meet my needs without this job."
Pulling into the back parking lot of the club, Ginger retrieved tissues from the glove compartment, blew her nose, and wiped her eyes. As she repaired her makeup she promised, "Lord, I will put in my application with the diner after I drop Megan at school in the morning. If I'm hired, I will never dance again."
Entering the dressing room, Ginger nodded to the other girls. They merely tolerated her presence, deeming her a fool for keeping a baby, a snob for no longer hanging out with them, and a hypocritical, religious nut. The one thing they did like about the "new" Ginger, was that she no longer made herself available for "premium services," giving them better financial opportunities, as she had always been a favorite. Management had, amazingly, re-hired her after Megan was born, despite her new stipulations, having had many complaints about her absence.
The music commenced, and Ginger shimmied on to the stage in her scanty outfit. Panning the audience with her professionally smiling mask, she stopped, frozen in mid-step, as she locked eyes with a specter in skin-tight jeans and a muscle shirt. Now she knew why she had had such a nagging since of dejas vu when she had first met Pastor Jones, even though six years had transpired since she had last seen him in this context.
* "You Are My All In All," by Dennis Jernigan.
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