Day 18: A Story

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Moonlight glowed on the girl’s dark hair as she silently slipped from her bed and to the window. She struggled to unlatch the window, gasping a little from surprise when it suddenly swung outwards. Her bright blue eyes turned upwards, seeking the heavens. Astra smiled. There, hanging like lanterns  in the velvet darkness, were millions of twinkling stars.

“I’m coming,” she whispered as she gracefully climbed out of her 2nd story window. For the twentieth time this month, the young girl floated up past the houses and trees, hands outstretched. Her light pink nightgown fluttered around her in the chilly air as she rose higher. The night lights became captives to her slender fingers, each star clutched tightly in her palms. Some of them tangled in her long, wild hair, like beautiful jewels, as she danced across the sky. But after awhile, the girl became tired. She returned to her window, arms full of twinkles. Quickly, they were added to her collection under the bed.

For a moment, she lingered there on the floor. The glowing of a thousand stars reflected off her beautiful face. Then she shut the window, stepped into bed, and blissfully closed her eyes.

Astra: “star”

 

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Day 7: My Biggest Regret(s). Real Talk.

I’ve waited too long to make some decisions. Been too scared to take the risks and jump. Underestimated His power.


Maybe I’ve been too stressed about school, you know? Sometimes I look back and regret not placing my trust in Him.

Maybe…maybe I’ve waited too long to forgive people. There are the ones who deserve it the least, but at the same time deserve all of it because He has forgiven me first.

It’s quite possible that I’ve let other people influence me in negative ways: forcing me to mask my personality, change my interests, even mold the way I act into someone that’s not me.

And perhaps I’ve been too afraid to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. I wonder, how many amazing adventures have I missed out on simply because I’ve been too scared of what risks may be involved?

The most important thing is that everyone makes mistakes. We all have flaws; we all are human. Even if you or I make mistakes….

We can make or break the chains that hold us.

Bottom line: Do everything, regret nothing.

đź’•

Storytime: It was a dark, stormy afternoon…

The Friday afternoon had started just like the past four days at camp had – with warm, golden sunshine, the bluest skies, and glassy waters. About 15 of us had jumped into our respective canoes and started the 1 mile long voyage across the river to enjoy the afternoon.

But on the way back, trouble hit.

Hard.

    Heavy, gray clouds soon covered the sapphire sky, mercilessly raining on us as we dragged our canoes into the water and clambered in. Sydney, Summer, and I strained at the paddles, but by the time we were halfway across, our muscles were already exhausted from 4 straight days of canoeing.

 

“I need to take a break,” panted Sydney, laying down her paddle and slumping over on the seat. Summer and I agreed. Our canoe began to float aimlessly across the seemingly calm waters. In a few seconds, they were forming into threatening-looking waves. I screamed as one wave hit, causing the canoe to tip dangerously to one side.
“Paddle left!” ordered Summer. Sydney and I hurried to obey, but it wasn’t long before she yelled, “Paddle right!” Suddenly, a rumble of thunder vibrated through the heavy clouds, closely followed by a streak of burning lightning. The rain that had been pelting us this entire time instantly hardened into icy balls.

I ducked instinctively, shouting, “HAIL!” The waves responded by rocking our canoe even harder. The three of us desperately prayed for God to save us as our little canoe bounced about on the waves, but I was ready to just lay down in the canoe and let the waves pound us.

We were helpless. Stuck in a storm with seemingly no way out. In the middle of paddling, I realized that this was the same situation with our daily lives. We are all fighting our personal storms – full of rain, thunder, and lightning. Sometimes we want to give up. None of us can ever make it through the tempest, unless we give Him permission to take control.

And at that moment, the waves stilled, the hail stopped, and comforting sunlight illuminated the once again peaceful (The three of us were screaming with gratitude and joy) lake.

tbh, we can’t fight our battles by ourselves – that’s basically pointless. Enlist His help, and then watch the miracles unfold in your life.

by the way, I kissed the flowers out of happiness to be back on terra firma again :P

“Lord, have mercy.”

“Lord, have mercy.”

All around her, the teen heard the horrifying sounds of death and misery. There was nothing she could do about it. 

Helpless, Rhea herself lay prostrate on the gritty dirt in front of her tent, gasping for air. Her long, shimmering hair lay tangled around her tanned face, which was wrenched with anguish. Her woven shawl had fallen away from her slim shoulders that trembled from the venom rapidly coursing through her body.

A slim, iridescent snake slithered past her glazed brown eyes, triggering the fading memory of being painfully bitten by a mad serpent that morning in bed. With great effort, the girl cried out in desperation.

“Lord, have mercy!”

The poison had completely circulated through her body, causing excruciating agony. If only they had listened to Moses and hadn’t complained, then the Israelites wouldn’t be in such misery now. Tears drew paths down her dusty face as she remembered the lifeless forms of her parents and siblings just a few hours before.

Gritting her teeth, Rhea felt a shudder go through her whole weakened body. She knew she didn’t have much time left…

Suddenly, crunching footsteps came to a stop in front of the slowly dying girl.

“My dear, if you wish to be healed, then all you have to do is cast your eyes upon the serpent on the brazen pole.” She faintly heard Moses’ melodious and deep voice vibrating in the air.

His footsteps crunched away…leaving her to think. Of course she wanted to be healed, but how would looking at a brass statue of a snake help her? It seemed like a cruel joke.

But then again, what did she have to lose?

So, with the very last of her energy, Rhea lifted her eyes up to the shining pole.
Based on Numbers 21:5-9  

Hopefully I didn’t seem like a creep…

It was VBS, and an average of 70 happy, excited kids filled the church every day. It was Tuesday, and I scanned my assigned kids, aged 5-9, with the practiced eye of a VBS veteran (jk not really). A petite girl with flyaway blond hair sitting all by herself caught my eye. Bending down so we were eye level, I smiled at her, thinking to win her over in a few seconds.

“Hi! What’s your name?” I asked enthusiastically tuning into the voice that was only for winning over little kids.

She looked coldly at me. “Maggie,” she said in a flat voice.

A little taken aback, I managed to ask her, “Are you ready for another great day of VBS?”

Her big brown eyes stared back at me, and she shook her head decisively.

“Uh…well….okay. Hey, we’re going to have fun, okay?”

Maggie set her little mouth in a straight line, and I shrugged and turned my attention to separating two of my kids who were playfully tackling each other. But I now had a goal for this week: win Maggie over and help her to have the best week of VBS ever.

She was peculiar, and very different from the other kids in my group. The five year old didn’t seek out my attention and kept to herself, never begging to hold hands or sit in my lap. Whenever I or the other VBS youth leaders tried to talk to her, her responses were witty and very smart for her age.

She was obedient, but her walls were up. It was my job to gently break them down with kindness. As the week went by, I did my best to smile at her whenever I had the chance, include her in any games we played, and stand next to her during praise time.

Hopefully, I didn’t seem like a creep.

Maggie began to thaw, slowly but surely. My smiles encouraged such beautiful smiles from her that made her eyes shine, and she began to talk more freely with me. And finally, the day came when the little girl was sitting happily in my lap, joyfully singing along and clapping to our theme song.

What did I learn from Maggie? Be patient with people. They’re different from you, and you can’t expect them to understand or react to things the same way that you do.We are all God’s handiwork, and we should treat everyone with love.

Gently thaw them with kindness and love, and you may be surprised with the results :)