A Second Chance

This is the first couple of pages of a book I wrote, would love to get thoughts. This scene is based on my own conversion experience. Let me know your thoughts! Dana

Raven staggered into her bedroom and fell on the bed.  The darkness was pressing into her on every side.  A shard of light sliced through the room.  She tried to focus on the ceiling but the room spun around her.  She slid to the edge of the bed until one foot laid flat on the floor, it was supposed to stop the spinning.  It didn’t.

Oh, God, she prayed, if You keep me from puking, I swear, I’ll never drink again. 

It was an empty promise, as deceiving as the alcohol was.  The numbness was too short.  All too quickly, she’d end up in the same position, praying the same stupid prayer, talking to a God she didn’t know.

Her mind drifted back to the party.  It had been a success except for Travis.  Looks wise, he was a welcomed addition to the guest list.  Tall dark and handsome was an understatement.  But he had a flaw, he was a Christian.

Raven wasn’t totally against Christians but Travis always went overboard.  Since his conversion, he was known for coming to parties and preaching, evangelizing is what he called it, everyone else called it something even she wouldn’t repeat.

She finally slipped into a restless sleep.  Teresa haunted her dreams, again, her face was white, her lips, blue, her body, cold.  She was calling her name…

“Raven!”

Raven rolled over on her side, pulled the pillow over her head, muffling the girls voice.  The shrink said the memories would fade.  They didn’t.

“Raven!”

She pulled the pillow tighter over her ears.

“Raven,” there was a pounding.  Raven quickly sat up.

“Get the door,” the voice said.

Raven slowly opened her eyes to see her sister standing in the doorway to her room.

Raven’s head pounded almost as loudly as her heart did.  Was it morning?  Had she slept?  Was she still buzzed or hung over?

She sat for a moment, her head throbbed, her mouth was dry and she thought she’d puke, she was hung over.

“The door?” Raven asked but Hailey had already disappeared.

Crawling across the bed she peeked out the window and looked down at the front porch.  There was the tall, dark and handsome preacher boy pushing the bell again.

“I’ll kill him,” she said as the doorbell rang through the house intensifying the pounding in her head.

She stood up, stumbled then caught herself on the dresser.  Standing for a moment, she waited for her equilibrium to stabilize then started down the stairs.  Opening the front door, she was blinded by what appeared to be an unusually bright sun.

Squinting, she said, “Are you crazy?  Do you know what time it is?”

“Yeah, it’s nine o’clock.”  Travis pushed past her and stood in the living room dressed in perfectly creased khaki pants and a pin-striped, untucked shirt.  “You going like that?”

Raven looked down at the same clothes she had on the night before.  Jeans and a t-shirt with a pizza stain on it.  She didn’t want to know what her hair or face looked like.

“Where am I going?” she asked.

“To church.”

Normally she would jump at the opportunity to go anywhere with Travis.  Despite his apparent Jesus freakishness, he was a wrestler with ripples that made your heart pound but this was crazy.

“Church?”  Her head throbbed harder and she slowly rubbed her temple, “Who said I was going to church?”

“You did, last night.”

“Last night?”

“Don’t you remember?”

Raven paced the living room, “I remember having a really good buzz and you asked me to dance.”

“Yeah, you remember anything else?”

She remembered his hard triceps, his wanting smile and the overwhelming urge to kiss him.

“No,” she said, “I don’t remember anything else.”

“I asked you to church and you said yes.”

“I said yes?  Are you sure?”

Of course he was sure or he wouldn’t be standing in her living room at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning.  Last nights overwhelming urge to kiss him turned into an overwhelming urge to get him out of her house, preferably with her not in his car on the way to church.

“Even if I did say yes,” she said, “There is no possible way I can go with you.  Look at this place.”  She motioned in the direction of the table littered with pizza boxes, stale chips and empty beer cans.  “My parents will be home tomorrow, I have to clean this mess.”

“You can clean when you get home, I’ll even help.”

Chewing on her bottom lip, she said, “Church?”

Travis sat down on the brown leather couch.  “If you’re not going to change, will you at least wash your face, maybe run a brush through your hair.”

Raven’s face flushed.  Crossing her arms over her chest she glared at him, “I never said I was going.”

“Yes, you did and I’m not leaving here without you.  You promised.”

“I made that promised so you’d shut up and dance.”

One side of his mouth went up into a grin, “So, you do remember.”

Vaguely.  When he had asked her to dance her stomach fluttered and her heart pounded furiously.  They had been friends for a long time but he never looked at her like a man looks at a woman.  Last night, she had hoped all that had changed.  Apparently not.  She had been evangelized.

“Do you know how annoying it is to be dancing with you,” she said, shifting her weight to her left leg, “And you start talking about church?”

“I care about you,” his grin deepened.

“Yeah, right,” she said, rolling her eyes.

Travis stood up.  He was six feet tall with skin that always looked tanned, black hair that almost hit his shoulders and pecks the size of her thighs.  He grabbed both of her arms and moved her into the foyer where an oval mirror hung.  “Look at yourself and tell me you don’t need church.”

She stared at her reflection.  If he was referring to her uncombed blond hair and smeared make-up, she could fix that in five minutes but if he was referring to her lifestyle he had no right.

She’d admit that some things happened because of her stupid choices, other things that had happened were beyond her control and some things, no matter how hard she tried, would never change.  Alcohol was her comfort, her momentary numbness from the pain.

He turned her to face him, smiling, his dimples deep, “It’s not that I don’t like your raccoon eyes but maybe you could lightened them up.”

She pushed his hands away, “Shut up.  You just woke me up and I’ve had very little sleep.  I don’t need your insults.”

“I’m not insulting you, I’m just saying…”

“Yeah, I got make-up smeared around my eyes, I get it.”  She opened the front door, “You can go now.”

“Okay,” he grabbed her hand, pulling her towards the door, “Let’s go.”

She yanked her hand from his, “I’m truly flattered that you think I need saved so badly but I’m not going.”

Hailey appeared at the top of the stairs, “Would you two get outta here so I can sleep.”

“He wants me to go to church,” Raven said, knowing her sister would back her up.  Tell him church was stupid, to get out of their house.

“So, go.”  Hailey disappeared.

She didn’t expect that.

Travis’s smile deepened, “Go change, I’ll wait.”

“Fine,” Raven said through gritted teeth.  She walked into her bedroom, “If he thinks I’m dressing up or anything…” she grabbed a black v-neck sweater and pulled it on over her t-shirt, covering the pizza stain.  “I’m eighteen years old and still can’t do what I want to do,” she said to her reflection in the mirror right before licking a cotton swab and rolling it under her eyes, removing the stray mascara.

She powdered her face and applied some blush.  Walking into the bathroom she brushed her teeth, ran a brush through her long blond hair then grabbed a clip and pulled it up.  A squirt of clean smelling perfume and viola.  Not bad for a two minute make-over.

Travis stood smiling when she walked back down the stairs into the living room.  “Let’s get this over with,” she said.

He shook the keys in his hands as they walked to his black Jeep Cherokee, “Sound a little more enthusiastic and you might just get lunch outta me.”

She opened the car door, forcing a smile, “That may make this all worth it.”  She slid into the car, “But you’re still helping me clean.”

He laughed as he climbed into the car and took off.

Pray with Intensity

I wrote this a few summers ago…I love the reminder!!

I went to Silver Dollar City with Lydia, my youngest daughter. I am deathly afraid of heights but she talked me into riding the Giant Swing.

We get on the ride with three other people; a dad and two girls around the age of 7.  The ride starts and I’m thinking this will be okay until we swing back for the first time. I close my eyes tightly, my knuckles are white and I begin praying, hard, because I am terrified for my life.

“Jesus,” I say, “Just make it end.  Oh, Lord, help me, God, make it stop. I don’t want to die…”

Lydia is trying to console me. “It’s okay, mommy,” she says, patting my arm, “It’s almost over, that was the biggest swing, it’s getting lower, it’ll be okay.”

“Oh, Jesus,” I say with more intensity, “Help me, you have to stop this thing…”

From start to finish, the ride lasts 1 minute, the longest minute of my life.  When the seat belt unbuckles, I’m saying, “Thank you Jesus, oh, thank you Jesus.”  People watching me are getting a good laugh, Lydia is consoling me, and the two 7 year olds are asking dad to ride it again.

As I staggered away, trying to catch my breath, slow down my heart rate, and get the feelings back in my hands, I heard God say, “Oh, Dana, if you’d pray with 1/10 of that intensity we could move mountains.”

When was the last time you prayed with that kind of intensity, when you felt your life was on the line, the death of a loved one, a bad diagnosis? What if we could pray with that kind of intensity all the time?  We could, and would, move mountains.  God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long.  Ephesians 6:17-18 (The Message)

God’s Handiwork

I’ve been reading Daniel and thinking about how horrible it must’ve been that those handsome young noble young men who were smart and quick to learn were kidnapped and taken to Babylon. Sure would be a good time to be ugly and stupid, huh? Do you think those that thought they were handsome messed up their hair, exchanged their stylish clothes for not so stylish ones and acted dumb? But then I thought about those boys not picked. They weren’t handsome enough or smart enough. I’ll bet it was the first time in their life they were glad they didn’t have Herculean bodies. But I wondered if, for even the slight second, they kinda felt bad? I’m ugly, not smart, not Godly enough.

Ever feel inadequate? I am often overwhelmed at the task God has set before me I wonder what was He thinking! I sit in meetings with people more Godly, wiser, smarter and wonder how on earth He intends to use me, I’m so inadequate, not as learned in the scriptures, so not Godly.

God called those young handsome smart boys to be His light in Babylon.  He also called those not so smart, not as good looking boys that were left behind. They may have been looked over for one task but they were definitely chosen over for a great task. They had to step up. They had to comfort mothers and fathers who lost sons, sisters and brothers who lost siblings. In a moment, they were thrust front and center. They became the handsome, smart, quick to learn. God used them regardless of what others thought of them or what they thought about themselves.

God can use us, even when we think we’re not pretty enough, not smart enough, or not Godly enough, for whatever task He has ready for us. Because, regardless of what we think, with Him, we are pretty, smart and Godly!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.   Ephesians 2:10

Hello Blog World!!

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  God put the desire in my heart at a very early age.  I won my first poetry contest in fifth grade.  A simple poem I wrote in 1976, the theme: The Bicentennial.

One of our famous presidents was Lincoln,

He did us lots of good thinkin’

All though he was tall,

He was loved by all and

He kept the southern states from leavin’!

Wow, and I won first place.  Amazing, huh?  My prize, a book about boys track.  Yes, the ultimate punishment, they thought Dana was a boy.  Ugh.  Not the first time someone thought I was a boy, but I graciously accepted my book, taped my poem in it and have cherished it since.  Occasionally I pull it from the shelf, look at it and believe my dream can come true.

I hope this blog will be fun for you! I will post writing clips from my work, funny things that have happened and inspiring things God is showing me in my life. Enjoy!