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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: His eye is on the sparrow...
By Karen Ward


A blur of blue ribbons and lace, Kayla skipped by the small stream that ran near her house.

“Hello birdy!”

Kayla’s smile fell. “Are you dead?” She gently cradled the bird in her hands and touched it’s beak with her nose.

“Maybe Mama can help you!”

Breathless, Kayla ran into the kitchen “Mama! Mama! Is it dead? Can we save it?”

Mama’s eyes were gentle, her smile warm. “It’s alive darling. We’ll keep it warm and give it some milk and bread. By tomorrow we’ll know if he’ll make it.”

Kayla took the bird to her room and frowned as she spoke to her doll. “Sorry Miss Polly, but Sparky sparrow is sick and he needs your bed. I hope he’s going to be OK. You can have your bed back as soon as he’s better.” She took the doll out, gently placed the sparrow in, and took it to a warm spot by the fire.

Mama brought in the milk. “Remember what pastor said about God and the sparrows today Kayla? Jesus loves this little sparrow too, he might help it to live, and if he doesn’t, then we know it will be with him in Heaven.”

Kayla’s smile returned. Mama was right. Jesus would look after Sparky sparrow.


“I knew Jesus would help Sparky be OK!” Kayla watched the bird fly away with delight. As he flew out of sight, her shoulders slumped briefly, then she turned and smiled. “Mama, I’m going to put some bread out for Sparky tomorrow, so he’ll come back and visit!”

Each night before sunset, Kayla fed the birds in her front yard ever watchful for some sign of Sparky. Each night, she dragged back through the kitchen, shoulders slumped, head down. One night, Mama pulled her close in a hug.

“Kayla my love, sometimes you have to set things free and accept that you might never know what happens to them. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still love Sparky and think about him. You can even pray for him. But he may not come back. There’s nothing you can do about that.”



Kayla pulled her worn jacket over her head and coughed until she could hardly breathe. Trails of rain and mascara trickled down her face as she watched a young woman kiss a man in a suit and walk away smiling, her step bouncing with hope and anticipation. She noticed Kayla and quickly looked away.

“Just wait, one day he’ll get sick of you and you’ll end up like me.”

The rain began in earnest. Kayla crawled inside the doorway of an old church building to find shelter. From there she could see a statue of Jesus on a cross.

“Take me now would you? Nobody would care. Every morning I swear off selling myself, and every night I give in again. When I need a fix, nothing else matters. What’s the point?”

Mama’s face came into her mind, and she pushed the image away.

“If you are real God, why would you have died for this?” She gestured to her own fallen form.

With a jolt of shock and recognition, she heard an answer in her heart. “I didn’t.”

“I died for the little girl who saved Sparky, but like him, as soon as you found your own wings were working, you flew away with no thought of returning. I never stopped loving you. You are mine. Walk with me and we’ll find your life again. There’s a man coming who will help you. Trust him.”

No sooner had this thought ended, than she heard footsteps behind her. She started, and her hands suddenly fought to pull her mini skirt towards her knees.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

She turned to see a young man. His hair was bleached blond, he wore jeans and a brown leather jacket, but once she looked into his eyes, they were all she could see. They were a common grey, but the astonishing thing about them was that she could tell that he saw her.

For years, the men who had come to her rooms had looked through her, and respectable people had looked away from her, but this man looked at her. She saw no judgement, just love. Not the kind of love that her clients had professed, but the kind of love that might, just maybe, have the strength to pull her out of the dismal abyss of her life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/25/06
A bit heartbreaking...I think we all know sweet Kaylas who fly away from God...I was glad for the hope at the end.

There's an unnecessary apostrophe, and a few missing commas that slightly detract from the polish of this piece.

I love the lesson learned from the sparrow, very sweet.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/28/06
Very strong on God's love for the sparrow, a bit weak on the topic of Cross - however, nicely done.
Beth Muehlhausen08/28/06
I can visualize this "look" - and embrace the hope they suggest:

"They were a common grey, but the astonishing thing about them was that she could tell that he saw her."

Suzanne R08/29/06
The contrast between the little girl with ribbons and lace and the hardened broken woman on the footpath was extremely well done.

He knows the person within us, regardless of the exterior, he died for us and he redeems us ... that was beautifully brought out too.

Well done. Quite magnificent.
Joanne Sher 08/30/06
Amazed at the contrast between the young Kayla and the older one - you did an excellent job of bringing the two together effectively. I relaly liked this!
Phyllis Inniss08/30/06
Lessons learned in childhood can make a big difference as we encounter difficulties later on in life.
Val Clark08/31/06
You've done a beautiful job of this, Karen! I love the hands fighting to pull her mini skirt down - it says sooooo much! So hard to keep within the word count. Now you can go mad with it!
Christine Miles02/16/08
This entry reminds me of the subject in today's sermon - that we accept God's gift of salvation but we don't accept His gift of transformation. You, my girl, need to write some more.