Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STIR (11/12/15)
TITLE: The Iced-Over Heart
By LeslieJean Anderson
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“Oh,” he said, looking confused.
“I mean, it would be nice to get together but every moment of my waking life I’m working or doing errands and caring for my four children.
That will do it, I thought to myself. The four kids thing cools them off faster than a bucket of snow in the head.
“I know about the children,” Mark said. “Fine-looking young people. I've seen them on Sundays at church with you. Maybe we could meet at McDonald’s and you could bring them.”
We looked at each other silently for a second. He had been very polite at the meetings but seemed lonely. And he was attractive.
He seems sincere, I thought, but I need to check him out first.
“Tell you what,” I said. “Let me pick you up at McDonald’s tomorrow after work and you can keep me company while I do those errands I mentioned. Maybe we can sneak in a cup of coffee and a cookie before I have to get home.”
He smiled and said, “Great idea. I’ll look forward to it! It’s a date then – sort of.” We both laughed.
Watching him walk away, I sighed. I had been a single mother for ten years, struggling with the reality of being both parents. Getting shoved into the world of wounded singles had been a shock. I quickly learned caution – and how to be content by myself.
I also learned that my emotional injuries ran deep. I had taken my heart back and guarded it carefully. It seemed iced-over anyway, and only softened with the children and during prayer. Only God could thaw it out for romance.
To my surprise Mark seemed to enjoy running errands with me, and talked easily about his business and his grown children. I researched some of this information and it all checked out, so we kept meeting this way.
Finally I allowed him to meet the children at McDonald’s and was pleasantly surprised at his patience with them. They liked him. I enjoyed his company too, but my heart was still cool. I wondered if it would ever heal and warm up again. I prayed for God to show me if Mark was His choice for me.
We learned we had many friends in common, and everybody approved of our friendship. That was helpful but I still kept my emotional distance, expecting Mark to drop out of sight any day. Yet week after week he seemed content joining us in our busy family-centered routine.
Then there was a crisis. My daughter had a troublesome boyfriend. She had finally rejected him, and he blamed me. One Saturday he banged on the front door of my house. The children had just left together for a football game and he clearly expected me to be alone. But I had picked Mark up and we had stopped by the house for a moment to pack snacks for the game.
Mark was in the kitchen when I opened the front door and confronted my daughter’s angry ex-boyfriend. I could see right away that the boy had been drinking or drugging.
“Chris, go home. You have no business here anymore.”
He began threatening me, his voice loud and his posture aggressive as he began moving toward me.
Sensing danger, I yelled, “You better leave my property right now or I’ll call the police!” Just then Mark appeared in the doorway, putting his arm around me.
“What do you want, bud?” he growled at the kid, whose manner changed instantly. He immediately backed off and started to leave. We watched him as he ran to his car and took off.
Heart pounding, I turned to Mark and threw my arms around him. “If you hadn’t been here, he’d have hurt me,” I wailed.
Instantly I recognized God’s perfect timing. And I heard God’s voice speaking in my heart, “This is the one I have sent to protect you and to love you.”
At that moment I felt something stir in my chest. The sensation continued as the ice around my heart cracked and shattered and fell away. Warmth filled me up as my God-healed heart emerged at last.
“I love you, Mark,” I whispered into his ear.
“I love you too, Baby,” he said. “I want to protect you and love you forever.”
744 words This is a work of fiction based on a true story.
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