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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)

TITLE: Early Morning Voices
By Marita Vandertogt


Sometimes, in the very early hours of the morning, in that space between dreaming and just starting to wake up, the voices come. And no matter what, it’s almost impossible to silence them. To put them where they belong.

The green lighted numbers from her clock radio show 4:16 a.m. Alexa lay there, tracing the numbers with half closed eyes. She still had at least another hour before she had to get up.

“Just go back to sleep sweetie.” Tom lay beside her and whispered the words. He knew what was coming. The voices again. He was familiar with his wife’s battles. She usually carried them into their morning conversations.

Alexa turned her head and buried it deeper in the pillow. She wished she could be like Tom. Nothing ever bothered him. He could sleep until the smell of fresh coffee lured him into the early morning kitchen. But for her, the early morning hours brought with them a torment of their own. That’s the time they liked best. And sure enough. The first one went right for her stomach.

They’re taking advantage of you . You know they are. Nobody works as hard as you do. And no recognition. You need to stand up for yourself. And the money. You seriously think you and Tom can hang onto this house. Get real.

She curled up under the covers, and pushed her face into the pillow. But they find her there anyway, taking little nuggets of truth and turning them into giant rocks.

4:25 a.m. “Tom,” she pushed his shoulder. “Wake up, please.”
“C’mon Alexa,” his voice is irritated. “Go back to sleep. We’ll talk about it later.”

But the panic was starting again, the dark thoughts gaining control. Alexa lay back on her pillow, and waited. God, she whispered in the grey light. Please help.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon thee.” She said, grasping for any scripture she could remember, and for a moment the thoughts were silenced. Then slowly they made their way back, overriding the verse. Still pulling at the pit of her stomach. Still keeping dark clouds over an early morning sun, like they did almost every morning.

4:46 a.m. Don’t argue with them. She reminded herself. Don’t argue with them. Let them have their say and then go back to sleep. Just don’t acknowledge them. But they grow louder. More persistent.

God doesn’t love you. How could He love you. If He loved you, well, He wouldn’t have let a lot of things happen to you.

“No.” She sits up straight, and yells the single word into the air. Then lays back down. “Shhhh” Tom whispered beside her. “Shhhh” he says again, sharper, his sleep interrupted once more. And for a moment she’s stunned into silence by his reaction.

And then, that’s it, she thinks. One simple word. “Shhhh” She’ll tell them to shush, to be quiet. And with each thought that struggled to find its way back to her mind, Alexa shushed it before it had a chance to finish. She took the bible from her nightstand and started to search for verses that would counteract the voices. She would launch an offensive attack. No longer the victim, or prisoner. After all, what’s this freedom stuff the pastor was telling them about anyway. Surely it must have some power.

After Alexa read the verses to herself, she began to feel the calm. With each one, a reassurance that the One who placed the promises there, also loved her.

Shhhhhh. She could hear Him say in a gentle reassuring voice. Go back to sleep. Everything is under control. And we’ll try this again tomorrow morning. Maybe someday, little by little, you’ll understand. The reassurance whispers itself inside her mind, silencing the voices for awhile.

The green light of the clock finally fades from her eyes and her body drifts back to sleep.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.

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This article has been read 518 times
Member Comments
Member Date
AnneRene' Capp02/27/10
You pulled me into your story and had me continually saying " Simply rebuke their presence by telling them to begone, in the name of Jesus." "It works!" :)

You also did a good job of getting my empathy for you and Tom!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/27/10
I absolutely loved this. I so can identify with the MC. It is great that she was to be comforted by her Bible. This is well written and held my attention every second.
Donna Wolther02/27/10
I used to hear those voices too before Jesus set my free from them. He is so good.
Patricia Turner03/03/10
Your MC certainly went to the right place for clarity and comfort. Watch our for changes in tense and a punctuation error in a place or two. Love the message and the feel of the piece.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/03/10
A moving piece for sure.

I think maybe italizing her thoughts would be helpful, but no big deal. I noticed the tense switches.

The message seemed very clear to me, I'm glad you concluded it on a hopeful note
Loren T. Lowery03/03/10
Love this! Not just for the wonderful way it was told, but because of the underlying truth of its message. How much better all of our lives would be if we simply dwelt more in the word and found God's promised peace/
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/03/10
I wondered while reading if it was just the usual temptations and self-recriminations the devil sends or if the MC had mental problems. If either case, you told the story well, and certainly God is able to soothe the conflicted, no matter the situation.