Story Challenge Update...

Here's the latest installment to my story. Hope you all like it... let me know what you think. And be sure to check out the rest of the story. Oh, and I did come up with a name for it -- "Finally Home." Enjoy!
The beautiful purple and orange sunset was a tranquil sight at the end of a long day. The soft sand beneath bare feet and the gently rolling tides made this the perfect place to get away after a hard day. Sitting on a protruding rock at the edge of the lake, Natalie closed her eyes and breathed in the fresh, salty air. "This is heaven," she thought, "No problems, no one to bother me... just PEACE." Replaying the day's events was not an option that Natalie wanted to take for it had been a circus of a day... Caring for more patients than usual... avoiding co-worker Bob who was prying for information... driving out to lunch only to remember that she had left it at work and driving back only to be bothered by Bob again... trying to avoid the town gossip who worked at the center and was eager to spread whatever news she could pry from Natalie -- in short, trying not to think about her new assignment at the moment so that she could focus on her work for the day... Opening her eyes, she looked out over the ocean, and let out a slow breath as if doing so would release all her problems. Silently, she prayed, "Lord, take these worries, these fears. I don't understand the 'why' -- why I have to do this, why I have to leave all of my friends and the work I love -- but I trust You. I'm available - and willing- Lord, just use me." Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of approaching footsteps. It was Chloe. Her straight black hair gently swayed in the afternoon breeze. "Hey," she said gently, trying not to break the peace of the moment. "Thought I'd find you here. You okay?" Although Chloe was the boss's secretary at the medical center, she and Natalie were the best of friends; from the first day that Natalie had started work at the center, she and Chloe had instantly connected -- they were a team. Natalie smiled at her friend. "Hey," Natalie responded, "It's been a while since we've seen each other, huh?" she observed. "Yeah, it's been... like forevah," Chloe said playfully. "Actually, it's only been a day," Natalie corrected her playing along, "I saw you this morning, remember?" Chloe grinned, "Oh, yeah... when was that? Oh, yes... now I remember... it was when Mr. Neuman needed SOMEONE to leave the room so that he could talk to you-know-who privately..." she said sarcastically. Natalie smiled, but she wasn't about to spoil her secret, not even for a friend. She braced herself for what was coming next... "So what have you been up to?" Chloe inquired. "Well, you won't be seeing me as much around the medical center for a while... I'm on special assignment," Natalie stated matter-of-factly. "And?" Chloe pried. "I'm not gonna tell you! It's a secret mission!" she scolded. "One thing's for sure: this new assignment is so tough to accept..." "Then why don't you tell Mr. Neuman that you don't want to accept it?" Chloe asked. "Like I have any choice. Besides, it's not that easy; inside, I just know that this is right -- that God has a plan for me through this and that this is His will for my life, but the other half of me..." her voice trailed off as she stared, lost in thought, at two seagulls fighting over a fish. Chloe read her thoughts perfectly: "You know, the Bible doesn't just command us to be willing; it commands us to be willing AND obedient. Do you remember Gladys Aylward?" "Yeah... she was a missionary to China who helped the orphans there," Natalie remembered, "but what does that have to do with me?" "Do you remember what Gladys said, Natalie? She said that when God looked down, He saw her and said, 'She's willing.' But, Gladys didn't just SAY she was willing and do nothing; she went and did what the Lord was leading her to do against all odds, and she was able to do it because God was with her. Are you willing, Natalie?" "Of course, I'm willing; but it's not like I'm called to the mission field like Dad was or anything..." Natalie said. She let out a long sigh, "why is this so hard to do?" The two girls sat quietly for a moment gazing at the beautiful sunset. Chloe broke the silence. "Beautiful, isn't it?" she said as she took in the scene, "You know, this reminds me a little of God." She stretched and both girls stood up and began walking down the shoreline. Chloe continued, "God can use a heart that's willing enough to obey Him; even if you are never a missionary to some far away place, you are always a missionary right where you are -- you are God's messenger... He said, 'Go ye into all the world.' 'All the world' means 'ALL the world,' including this little town. God can use anyone; that fact doesn't change. If he used Gladys, he can use you. Sometimes we struggle to surrender to God's plan for our lives, but we must always remember that He is the Master Artist and He is painting each person into His grand masterpiece. As each person steps into his role, God can add one more touch of paint to His canvas. Now THAT is truly beautiful." Natalie nodded in agreement, but Chloe could tell that something else was bothering her. "I guess I don't like change that much, and I wonder why God would ask me to step out like this," Natalie finally said. "I mean, I've helped many people before, but they were all either people I knew, or they were those patients from the medical center -- those that we built up a relationship with; they are kind of like our friends after all this time. But this..." As they talked, Chloe was beginning to see the situation more clearly, though Natalie was true to her word and didn't reveal the secret: Natalie was afraid to step out into the unknown and reach out to those whom she did not know. And Chloe was not about to pry for information; she could see that this was a hard decision for Natalie to make, and as a good friend, she just wanted to be there for her. By now, it was getting dark; the sun had hidden beneath the shoreline, and the moon was just beginning to appear. "Well," Chloe said, "I hate to say it, but I will anyway: we should probably head home now; it's getting late, and you're gonna need a good night's rest for tomorrow." "Awww... do we have to?" Natalie whined playfully, breaking a smile. "You're right, we should go home. Thanks for the talk, Chloe; you're a real friend. See you around," she said. Then, with a nervous chuckle she added, "Tomorrow's the big day!" To be continued...


  1. Sweet story! And I was thinking of Gladys Aylward today, too! How neat! I look forward to more!

  2. Luv it, Miss S! I really like the peaceful atmosphere, and the encouragement of Natalie's friends. Look forward to hearing more!


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