Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lock (03/06/06)
- TITLE: Peacock Eyes
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Teresa cowered daily as the Oppressor taunted her with sneering cat-calls. “You’re hand-cuffed; you’ll never break free! Hang it up, girl! You flunked the test and now you’re mine!”
Meanwhile, the Lord faithfully acknowledged her bitterness, promised His love, and encouraged her with His hope. “Freedom is My job, Teresa. Just trust Me…I want to bless you…heal you…”
Mornings began with a fresh surge of resolve, confidence, and eagerness to overcome. But as each mid-afternoon approached, those commitments weakened. Well-practiced addictions stalked and bludgeoned Teresa before locking her up for the rest of the day.
And how did they so mercilessly command Teresa’s strict allegiance? By first teasing, tempting, and numbing her…before slapping her around like a rag doll - throwing her into solitary confinement - and finally consuming her, bit by bit, chewing from the inside out. Internal hemorrhages oozed - soulfully, that is - and she wondered if the weakening effect of such carnivorous attacks were obvious. But no - of course not. She was isolated with this problem; so terribly alone.
Hope and despair; victory and defeat; desire and agony…the cycles continued. Teresa’s battle raged like wildfire gone mad. Whenever she temporarily tasted freedom, the Enemy jumped out of hiding to lock her in chains: regret, fear, self-pity.
One evening Teresa sat at the dining room table. She felt a mysterious presence, as if someone lurked behind the walls, watching…watching. Teresa mumbled under her breath, “I’m finished…dying inside…this can’t continue. I rebuke you…whoever you are…in the name of Jesus Christ! Leave me alone!!”
Teresa stared at the aging wallpaper - the flowers and birds - while her heart flip-flopped like crazy. How absurd…to fight an internal battle between life and death while Andrew surfed the television channels in the adjoining room. Was her husband really so – clueless?
Tears stung Teresa’s eyes. The knot in her throat gagged her. She turned to face the back wall; Andrew must not see her struggle. Shame, guilt, worthlessness...Teresa would never intentionally expose the truth to him – or could she? Should she?
“Lord…You know the desire of my heart. Set me free!” The words toppled out in tiny whispers to land at her feet, seemingly unheard.
Silence consumed her, except for the muffled laughter in the next room. Television? She had no time, energy, or patience for such diversion. Too much was at stake.
What? Was Someone Else watching her?
“Yes? Yes, Lord!”
“So you’re tired of dragging heavy chains – of being locked behind bars every time you turn around?”
The flowers on the wallpaper began to dance; Teresa wondered if she might be hallucinating.
“The one thing that belongs to Me only if you give it to Me…is your will. May I have it? We’ve tiptoed around this for a long time, haven’t we, but what is your decision going to be?”
A shrill female voice cackled from the television speakers. Audience chuckles followed. People somewhere in another dimension were actually laughing. Oh come on…don’t they know?
Teresa sat still as a stone, staring desperately at the wallpapered wall, searching the flower petals and leaves and those ugly peacocks with the beady eyes. The stately birds seemed to jeer at her: “What will you do? God is giving you a choice, you know. Operate in your own strength, or else hand your will over to Him...daily…hourly…right now. What’s your answer?”
The white-hot fire of conviction ripped through Teresa’s chest, searing her with its blaze. She flinched: adrenaline jolted her from top to bottom. Something snapped...
“Lord, what’s going on?”
The Holy Spirit led her to a deep place where she peered within herself with enlightened vision. The floor of her heart - hardened by years of pain as it tried to support runaway compulsive behaviors - had changed from limestone into a lucid pool of Living Water. Teresa stared at the quiet surface that hinted of ongoing, endless depths. Her reflection mirrored her truest self. “I choose to immerse myself in You, Lord! I will do what you want…I will obey!!! I am your servant…free me!” (Psalm 116:15)
A single peacock on the wall seemed to squint – was it winking? Teresa’s chains unlocked and fell with a clunk. The television audience roared as if to cheer, but Teresa heard only the reassurance of her Master: “You can be free from oppression, Teresa! FREE!” (Luke 4:18b)
Andrew punched the television remote – “off.” Teresa stood tall to face him, no longer cowering, but suddenly confident. “I must tell you…”
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