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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: KEEP YOUR CHIN UP
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
01/09/10


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KEEP YOUR CHIN UP
At the young age of 18, I discovered I was pregnant. I had just started college and my boyfriend was still in High School. I think we both knew we were too young to have a baby. I was frantic at the thought of being responsible for another living creature. I could barely take care of myself. Soon after I found out I was expecting, my boyfriend decided to hit the road. I was heartbroken and terrified.
It became quite easy to blame God for my situation. I was young and naÔve enough back then to put the blame on anyone but myself. I became so angry I decided Iíd teach God a lesson, by not believing in Him anymore. That would show Him! I even went so far as to call my friend Father Dave to inform him that I had absolute proof in the non-existence of God. I jutted my chin out and pulled my shoulders back as I proclaimed, ďIt says in the Bible that God will never give you more than you can handle. Well, Iím barely 18, pregnant, my boyfriend dumped me, and my parents are disappointed in me. Itís way too much. I canít handle it. Therefore there is no such thing as a god. Case closed.Ē
My friend hesitated for a mere second before he said, ďThe only thing that proves is God has more faith in you than you have in yourself.Ē The words hit me like a bucket of cold water. Was it possible I was wrong? I really wanted to believe in God, but the fact that God could believe in me was a totally foreign idea. I had never believed in myself, but God believed in me? Wow!
After much soul searching and talking with my parents, I decided to have the baby and raise her with my parentsí help. My mom realized how important it was to have faith. She encouraged me through every challenge with her words, ďKeep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord.Ē
It was the first step in a very long journey; but with Jesus by my side it was a trip worth taking. Before my daughter turned 5, I was stricken with a life altering illness. I had contracted a shingles-like virus that slowly damaged many of the nerves in my body. Iíve had the blistering sores over my entire body; from the lining of my brain to the soles of my feet.
The worst part of the illness is the unbearable pain. Iím afraid to fall asleep because I lose control and tend to scream in agony. It is heart wrenching to have my kids shake me awake and offer me words of comfort. Iím the parent; Iím suppose to comfort them. But then Iím reminded that God has faith in me. So I gather all my strength, repeat these words ďKeep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord,Ē and carry on.
However, just when I thought life couldnít get any worse, I was dealt the most devastating blow to date. My beloved mother died suddenly at the age of 57. She had been my supporter, my spiritual mentor, and my best friend. I didnít think I could ever survive this loss. Thoughts of suicide flooded my mind. I didnít think I could handle so much pain at one time. But God gently reminded me that He believed in me. He promised me He would give me the strength to endure. Slowly I came out of my depression and got back on my feet again. I reminded myself over and over ďKeep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord.Ē
I still have the agonizing pain that rips through my body leaving me shaking so hard I fall down. I still have the nights where I scream so loud Iím afraid the neighbors will call the police. Many days, my body fights against the pain so hard sweat pours off me and runs down my legs. I still get the blistering sores several times a month. On most days my heart feels like itíll explode because I miss my mom. But best of all, I still have faith, not just in a powerful God, but I have faith in me. So I will carry on through the pain and greet tomorrow with the words, ďKeep your chin up and your eyes on the Lord.Ē


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Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Brown 01/14/10
What a heart wrenching piece. Well written. Maybe space a bit more between paragraphs to make it easier to read.I think this is true, God Bless you as you keep your chin up.
Praying for you.Ruth
Joan Campbell01/15/10
Beautiful in its honesty and so full of courage - thanks.
Nicole Campbell01/16/10
This is a really encouraging story. Thank you.I think it is very well written
Jan Ackerson 01/18/10
Moving and well-written testimony!

I've started a class in the FaithWriters forums for Beginner and Intermediate writers. I'd love to see you there--look for "Jan's Writing Basics".

Thanks for your honesty and willingness to share.
AnneRene' Capp 01/22/10
I was so touched by your ability to convey the depth of your heart through numerous challenges in your life. It was refreshing to read. Your courage, inside and out, will touch all who read it.
Karen Macor03/29/10
Wow, what a touching story. I admire your courage and your faith. I glad we've connected. I'll add you to my prayer list.