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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day and Night (07/10/14)

TITLE: Purple Sky
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
07/16/14


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I blink my eyes as the morning sun shines through the window. After orienting myself to time and place, a sense of fear overwhelms me. It’s a new day, so all should be well–but, it isn’t.

I can’t exactly pinpoint my fears. I think, mainly, I’m afraid of failing, of not being good enough, of no one needing me anymore. Like many other days before this one, the fear cripples me, making it a struggle to accomplish anything. I feel like I should be doing something to make my family proud of me, but instead, I lie in bed, trembling. Then, the sobbing starts. It wracks my body, leaving my eyes puffy, my head throbbing, and every joint aching.

Somehow, I muddle through the day. I manage to accomplish a few things here and there; yet, still I feel like a burden–a failure.

As the day ends, I seek refuge outside in the cool of the evening. I look to the sky for comfort. The pink and lavender hues make me think of a family joke. When someone expected something outrageous, I would ask, “What color is the sky in your world?”

Of course, the person would answer, “Blue.”

Laughing, I would contradict them. “The sky is purple in my world.”

A sense of hope flutters in my stomach, but the time spent recollecting has caused the purple sky to disappear. Now, I only see black. The fear that never quite left me threatens to strangle me.

I walk around the yard and listen to the birds sing their babies to sleep. Oh, how I long for a remote control for my life so I can push the rewind button back to when Mom sung me lullabies. I remember how whenever someone hurt my feelings or I felt sad, I would run away to the comfort of my room and plop on my bed. I would keep one ear perked for the sound of my mother’s footsteps. She would always follow me and rub my back until my raw feelings were soothed. I miss her so much, and I feel old.

At this point, I’d love to rewind exactly thirty years, back to the birth of my first daughter. I know I should be happy and proud. All three of my kids have turned into amazing adults; each one living a good life in their own corner of the world. I swallow back the tears. How I long to hold my baby and nurse her to sleep. Those days are gone, and I feel all alone.

Crumpling, I fall to the ground and curl into a fetal position. I leave one ear exposed, waiting for the footsteps that I know will never come. I cry out, “Please, God, I’m so afraid. Another day has come and gone, and I don’t know if I made you proud. I’m one day closer to death, and I’m so afraid.”

Suddenly, I feel another presence and think that maybe my husband has gotten home early. I listen intently for his footsteps but hear nothing. Just as I am ready to succumb to my fears, I feel his arms enfold me. I look up; expecting to see his face etched with concern, but no one is there.

But, then who touched me? Suddenly, goose bumps pop out on my arm, and I feel the weight of the world lift from my shoulders. I look up and see the stars twinkling back at me, and the sky has turned from jet-black to a magnificent, dark purple. Jesus whispers in my ear. “You are mine, and I love you for who you are. You do have a purpose.”

My cell phone trills. Somehow, I managed to miss three calls and a text, there is a voice-mail from each one of the kids. They all felt a need at that moment to phone me to say, “I love you, Mom.”

I read the text from my husband. “I love you and I’ll be home soon.”

Looking at the purple sky and the twinkling stars, I know some would say everything I had experienced was a coincidence, but I know better. After all, the sky is purple in my world.

Author’s Note: This is the story that God has been calling me to write all week. I don't know why I fought him so. For the first time in days, I don't feel the fear wrapped around my heart.


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This article has been read 230 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ellen Carr 07/18/14
Thank you for sharing this moving story which is labelled non-fiction. You are brave to share it. I love its message of hope coming out of despair and of Jesus' presence and affirmation. Well done.
Gregory Kane07/18/14
It's indeed good to receive unexpected encouragement
Danielle King 07/20/14
And I am so glad you listened to God when he told you to write this open and honest account of the desperation you portrayed so brilliantly.

Your story flowed smoothly through to the clear message of comfort and hope found in Jesus, and I'm sure will be a pointer to others who suffer from similar anxiety issues.

Your family must be very proud of you.

But don't forget, seeing as I know who you are, I still share your passion for nose droppings and other such graphic details concerning bodily functions!!!
Lollie Hofer 07/20/14
This is powerfully written and emotionally charged. I have no doubt God will use this to encourage many hurting souls this week. Thanks for your vulnerability in writing such a beautiful piece.
Rachel Malcolm 07/20/14
What an amazing story! It is so beautiful how the God of the universe will reach out to us in such personal ways. He knew the comfort that you needed and poured it out in abundance!
Joe Moreland07/21/14
This was a very powerful piece that took a lot of courage to write. I have no doubt, whatsoever, that God was all over you to write this. It is just the kind of thing that He will use to minister to many. I am betting that there are lots of people who experience similar feelings.

I can tell, too, that you put your best effort into this piece, in service to Him. Your excellence shines through every word.

God bless!
Phillip Cimei 07/21/14
I wanted to get in my car and race over there to give you a big Jesus hug. What an inspiring piece of art.

You have given so much of your time and talent to help others improve in their writing, but now you have given your heart for all to grow spiritually.

What a blessing you are.

Thanks!



Diane Bowman07/21/14
Fear. We all experience it, all attempt to live above it, but only one can remove it. It's awesome when God steps in.

I admire your courage.
Judith Gayle Smith07/21/14
You are a wonderful inspiration to me. I love it when God prompts us rather insistently to share ourselves with each other.

I had planned to write about how I would define day and night to my blind acquaintance, and wound up traipsing around with bunnies with baskets. I decided it was better to succumb to His promptings than my own . . .
Caleb Cheong 07/22/14
What a warm first-person

narrative/personal recount that we all can

relate to. Thank you for reminding us that

God can use writing to deal with our fear-

-Indeed, He's the Prince of Peace!


Graham Insley 07/22/14
Now I see why you said my story reminded you of your own.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Oh, by the way. My red ink pan has not run dry, there just isn't any I want to offer.

Loud applause and blessings.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/22/14
What a beautiful picture of humility and love you've painted with your words. And yes, I do believe God sends us His reminders of how much we are loved by Him and by others when we need them most.
Virgil Youngblood 07/22/14
And the beat goes on. As God has blessed you, you have blessed others in ways you will never know this side of heaven. Thank you for your faithfulness to Him.
CD (Camille) Swanson 07/23/14
WOW!

This gave me goose bumps and made me tear up quite readily. It was inspiring, moving, hauntingly beautiful, and an amazing reminder of how God is always with us. Through the darkness His light shines forth!

Thank you, NO---A PROFOUND thank-you for sharing one of the most beautiful stories in here this week, and if this doesn't take it all...I GIVE UP!

Amazing, spectacular and awesome in content and delivery.

Praise God for His power and miracles He performs to this day. He is in control. Amen.

Loved this.

God bless you abundantly~
Bea Edwards 07/23/14
You are an inspiration dear lady.

Bold and brave enough to open up your heart at your Creators prompting, blessing us and potentially empowering others to write with the freedom of transparency.

I pray this was a step in the fear NEVER ever returning to haunt you.
Gary Ritter 07/24/14
Wow, this was good: emotional. It brought tears to my eyes. How much the world misses by not knowing Jesus!
lynn gipson 07/24/14
Hey! This is fabulous! An EC and a win. I am so happy for you. Well done, my friend!
Margaret Kearley 07/24/14
This is wonderful Shann - I too am so thankful you wrote it. It is straight from the depths of your heart an so speaks volumes. Many many congratulations on your well deserved win.
Edmond Ng 07/24/14
Congratulations on your EC!
Jody Day 07/24/14
Absolutely stunning. Such beautiful imagery and heartfelt descriptions. Congratulations!
Danielle King 07/24/14
And from me to you,

HAPPY DANCE - HAPPY DANCE - HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY DANCE.

Congratulations! So happy for you.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/24/14
So glad to "happy-dance" with you and for you! Congratulations on a heartfelt piece shining!
Joe Moreland07/24/14
Congratulations Shann! You deserve it for writing such an excellent and moving piece this week that obviously came straight from the heart.
CD (Camille) Swanson 07/24/14
Shann,

I'm so thrilled and beyond ecstatic for your win and for your EC!

I think your story was the best of the best. This was number one for me, in my heart and soul.

Beautiful job...thank you again for sharing.

God bless you~


CD (Camille) Swanson 07/24/14
Congrats again for your EC!
Loved this story! One of my all time faves!

God bless~
Bea Edwards 07/24/14
Fabulous-congratulations!
Dannie Hawley 07/25/14
Fantastic! Can you see me kicking my way across the Great Pond, roses in one hand and Swiss chocolate in the other? Congrats big time on your win and E.c. My comments last week wouldn't post, so I'm delighted that our internet is working better this morning. I'm not sure there would have been any room for my congrats, if I had to wait another day. Sooo good to see that all of the other commenters agree with me. Well-deserved honor and I trust the accolades will only join those from Father God, who is no doubt applauding from Heaven's Gate.
Ellen Carr 07/25/14
Congratulations, Shann on your EC which wasn't a surprise to me for this personal and moving sharing. God bless you.
JK Stenger07/27/14
I had not been able to comment on your beautiful article yet, but have to still let you know that I felt it was great.
Reading it to my wife was embarassing. Why? Ha, I kept pushing my tears away. I thought, C'mon, I don't want to cry and kept on reading. I am not going to do it...I am not going to do it. But then in the very end the dam broke anyway.
Well done- Well deserved placing.