Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Love and Grace (09/11/14)
- TITLE: Lifeboat
By Frankie Kemp
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“I’m so sorry, Darlin’.” Her grandmother reached across the table and embraced Cheryl’s hand with the welcoming grip of solid, certain fingers.
Here, in this place, Cheryl thought to herself, I feel some kind of “home” again. I might never leave here. I might just sit here forever and look out the window at the seasons changing and the birds nesting and the squirrels whipping from branch to branch . . .
“What’s next, Sweetheart?” Her grandmother’s voice pulled her from her thoughts.
“I don’t know, Nana. That is what is so hard for me.” Then there were tears, her ever-present companion for four months, months that felt like some strange plane of time existing in its own cycle of eternity. “I thought I knew, Nana. I thought we were on the right track, you know? The last year of seminary, and then we were going on the mission field . . . We were going to start a family. I had been praying about that for months—just waiting for him to be ready, too. I thought we were going the same direction, Nana. How could I have been so terribly wrong and so, so stupid?” The tears became heaves she could not stop.
She did not remember moving to the sofa in the living room. She did not know how long she sat with her head buried in the warm circle of her grandmother’s arms. There it was again—that strange loss of the consciousness of time. She had no name for that brand of fog. “I feel lost, Nana, like I am trying to fumble my way in the dark, and I am so scared--scared and confused. I feel betrayed.”
“You were betrayed, Sweetness.”
“How come I didn’t see it coming, Nana? How come I didn’t see what so many others saw and maybe even tried to tell me they saw? Why didn’t I listen? How come I believed him, Nana? Why did God let me believe him? What DID Mark even promise me in the first place? Did he even make promises or did I just want to believe that he did? Oh, Nana, I just want it all to make sense. I want to believe that the past seven years of my life have been something more than one monumental waste . . .”
“Cheryl, you can silence that lie real quick by digging a little deeper. I know it doesn’t feel like it now, but even THIS TERRIBLE you didn’t want to happen is Grace. Sometimes it’s sudden, and sometimes it’s a gradual revealing--but Grace is always carrying us to that place where our blindness gets washed away by the knowing of His love for us.”
“Nana, that doesn’t make sense. This does not feel like grace and love.”
“Maybe that’s because it’s your own ideas that have betrayed you. Grace is God doing for you what you cannot do for yourself. Grace is God allowing even a shipwreck of your faith so that He can give you what wasn’t there before. Don’t you worry about what you don’t know right now, Baby Girl. Don’t even worry about what you feel. Your Father in heaven keeps His promises.”
Cheryl sat up, wiping at her nose and eyes with the tissues that at some point her grandmother must have placed in her hands. “I want to understand that, Nana. I do, but I just don’t think I’m there yet.”
“You don’t have to be. He is. That is what Grace looks like. You’re getting a chance to live moment by moment knowing just how much you need Him and want to be rescued. You’re not feeling too thankful for it now, but that will change, too.”
“Oh, Nana. How can you be so sure?”
“Shipwrecks. Paul isn’t the only saint who ever survived a shipwreck, Darlin’. The ship may be destroyed, but we’re not. There’s a lifeboat named Grace, and we’re already on it. We’re going home.”
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