Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Itís Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)
TITLE: God Always Has A Plan
By Holly Westefeld
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"Merry Christmas!" Don greeted. "I thought Tom and Trisha were taking over for us this morning."
"They were supposed to," Jim responded, grinning, "but they're a little too busy visiting an answer to prayer at the hospital."
"Woo-hoo! That's two out of three!" Sarah's face sobered with compassion. "Let's offer a prayer of thanks, and lift your heart's desire before the Lord once more."
The four joined hands and Karen began, "Heavenly Father, we are so grateful for answered prayer--for the little one that Sarah and Don are expecting any time now, and for bringing a precious little girl for Tom and Trisha to adopt, just in time to take her home on Christmas Day. We continue to lift our concern for Jessica before you..."
Sarah picked up as Karen's voice cracked. "Lord, you know where she is. We plead that You would keep her safe, and bring her home in your perfect time. In Jesus name, amen."
As Sarah reached for a newly blinking line, Karen and Jim picked up a pile of index cards with recent prayer requests and began to pray for them. Shortly, though, Sarah motioned to them excitedly and slid the card on which she had just been writing across the desk.
Prayer for courage to contact parents, and that they would forgive her...
"Jessica, I would love to pray with you, but I have reason to believe that your prayer has already been answered." She handed the receiver to Karen.
"Oh, Jessica, it's so good to hear your voice! Are you okay?"
"Yes, Mom--pretty much... I--I was hoping I might be able to come home for Christmas..."
"Just tell us where and we'll..." Karen looked at Sarah and Don. "Um, we were just getting ready to start our shift here at the prayer line... Just a moment..." Jim and Karen turned pleading eyes on their friends.
Sarah smiled. "Just let me hit the ladies room and grab a cup of coffee." Don nodded. As she stood up, however, a wave of consternation, quickly followed by elation crossed her face as she stared at the pool forming at her feet. "Don, it's a good thing we decided to keep a bag packed in the car..."
Karen turned back to the phone. "Honey, we'll have to find someone else to take over the prayer line. Sarah's going in to labor." She jotted down her daughter's number and promised to call as soon as they could get away.
Floor mopped, and relief en route, Karen picked up the phone and punched in Jessica's number. "We'll be there as soon as we can." She added an address beneath the phone number.
Confusion and concern furrowed Jim's brow as the GPS directed them to turn in to a hospital driveway. Sure enough, there was Jessica watching for them from between the double doors. The car was barely in park before they were both out and gathering their daughter in to their arms. A million questions were on their lips, but they figured they could wait--they'd waited this long.
The ride home was quiet. As they pulled in to the driveway, Jessica let out a contented sigh as she beheld the familiar outdoor decorations. She inhaled deeply the fresh pine aroma as she stepped in to the living room and sank in to her favorite over-stuffed chair. Her eyes drank in the beloved decorations, but pooled and overflowed when they came to rest on the porcelain nativity scene under the tree.
Karen knelt at her feet and enfolded her hands. "It's so good to have you home! What a Christmas blessing!"
"B-but you don't know what I've done!" Jessica wailed, burrowing her face in to her mother's shoulder.
"Honey, you don't have to talk about it now--unless you want to."
"B-but you should know--in case--you wouldn't want me to stay..."
"Jessica," her father chimed in, "we would want you to stay even if we had bailed you out of jail, which we did not."
"I--I--just signed adoption papers giving your first granddaughter to total strangers!"
Jim and Karen stared at one another, mouths agape but smiling, knowing that they were both wondering the same thing.
Karen cupped Jessica's wan face in her hands, studying the raven hair and long lashes, which now adorned sad but wiser eyes. "Sweetheart, never forget that God always has a plan."
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