The Shack: When Your Favorite #Book Becomes a #Movie And Misses the Mark But Teaches a Valuable Lesson

Awhile ago I wrote about my writing observations from the novel, The Shack.  When I heard about the movie coming out, I got excited.  Not just because it was one of my favorites, but because it furthers my belief that dreams can come true.  So, my husband and I made a day of the movies, making sure to catch this film.

Like some book-to-movies, there are noticeable differences.  The plot is shortened, some characters don’t make the cut, or the storyline is tweaked.  Regardless, the significance of these alterations, for the better or worse, is up to the reader/viewer.

And so it saddens me

Continue reading “The Shack: When Your Favorite #Book Becomes a #Movie And Misses the Mark But Teaches a Valuable Lesson”

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Favorite Places, Creative Spaces

Image: They Yocum Library
Image: They Yocum Library

Not long ago I mentioned that I was having a bit of writer’s block. After a moment of reflection, I realized that there’s just a lot going on in my life right now professionally and personally.  Time and creative energy to write have been on low supply….until now.

I ran across a blog that offered some direction to at least keep me writing. Tiana Lopez’s blog, Zealous Scripts, has a section dedicated to writing prompts. I thought I’d take a stab at a few of them – at least get a paragraph or two out. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll post some of my content based on these. Happy reading!  Continue reading “Favorite Places, Creative Spaces”

The Open Window

Image: Gallery Hip
Image: Gallery Hip

“Love you too, Steve. Good night.” Michelle hung up the phone and slid under the covers. Her mind still wasn’t at ease. Steve tried his best to convince her that she was just seeing things.  But Michelle was certain of what she saw – little black imps prancing around the wall of her bedroom.

For awhile now, she had been seeing something out of the corner of her eye move about her apartment. The eeriness she felt was worse than any horror movie.

Michelle grabbed the Bible out of her nightstand. It had been given at her baptism when she was a child. She had been an avid reader then, but along the way to adulthood, she drifted.

As she turned the pages, she hoped for solace, but her internal fear was overriding anything that she read. Soon Michelle became frustrated, slamming the book shut, and forcing herself to sleep.

In the midst of what seemed like a dream, Michelle tried to scream. There was something trying to hold her facedown into her pillow. She reached back and felt something rubbery. There was a burnt smell.

She continued to struggle with this something until finally she turned over and was laying on her back. Her eyes grew wide as she saw a dark figure with two pointed horns and red eyes trying to strangle the life from her body. She panicked, frantically trying to break free.  It laughed at her attempts.

The more Michelle squirmed, the tighter the being’s grip became. She tried to scream again, but nothing came out.  She had to defend herself or be killed.  Everything on the nightstand was out of reach. She felt doomed and helpless until she managed to cry out, “Jesus!”.  The being fled.

Michelle jumped up from her “dreamdripping in sweat and disbelief.  She was shaken to the core.  Steve was her first thought to call, but deep inside she knew he was part of the problem. The two had been carrying on an affair for months.

Sure it was wrong to be in a relationship with a married man regardless of the circumstances.  But somehow Michelle felt justified in what they were doing – she was lonely and so was he.  His marriage had been almost non-existent for some time.

Truth was, she really didn’t know if the marriage was really bad or not.  She only had his side of things, and one thing was apparent – Steve was never leaving his wife.  Michelle knew it though he never uttered the words.

An inkling nudged Michelle to pick the Bible up again. When she did, it immediately opened and her eyes fell on 1 Thessalonians 4:3:

“God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.”

Michelle threw the Bible down on the bed in front of her like it was hot. When she was brave enough to pick it up again, her focus went to 1 Thessalonians 4:6:

“Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife.”

Michelle felt convicted. It had to end.

***

Over the next couple of days, Michelle sought to get back on track spiritually.  She delved into reading the Bible and searched for a church home. These were good starts, but there was still something more that had to be done. One night Michelle dropped to the floor, kneeling to pray:

“Heavenly Father, thank you for opening the window to my soul. I see where I am wrong. Please forgive me for committing adultery and allowing myself to fall astray. Help me to get back on the right path, and forsake the temptations that may come. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Before Michelle could completely rise, her phone rang. It was Steve. This was her test.

She silenced the phone. He called again. Michelle sent the call to voicemail.

Finally Steve sent a text. She was tempted to read it, and even listen to the voicemail – just to hear his voice.  But she couldn’t turn back now. He wasn’t worth the turmoil.

Without looking at the text, Michelle responded, “It’s over. I’m choosing God. Please forgive me for whatever damage I’ve caused you and your marriage. Do not contact me again.”

Steve did not follow directions. He tried calling Michelle again. And again she sent him to voicemail. He tried sending several text. All fell on deaf ears…and eyes.

She said a silent prayer asking for strength. Finally, Michelle deleted all remnants of him from her phone and blocked his number.

Michelle sunk in the bed and slept – peacefully.

Price of a Thank You

thank-you-road-sign

Dear John,

You may not remember me. It’s been quite awhile.  My name is Laurie. I was the lady with the blue Toyota stranded on the side of the road. It may not have seemed like it at the time, but I really appreciate your helping us with the flat tire. I was nervous and jittery, and I think you thought it was due to the tire. But the truth is that my children and I were on the run from my abusive husband. I was terrified that he would pass by or some lunatic would stop and do something awful to me and the kids. But you showed nothing, but kindness. In fact, I think you must have known something was up because you gave me your card. I didn’t plan on ever contacting you, but you crossed my mind today . I just want to thank you again for helping us. May God bless you.

Laurie

 

As John read the email, tears streamed from his eyes. He had no intentions on reading anything. His goal was just to send a note to his mother explaining why he did what he did. John knew this was a sign. A sign that life was not over. That the events that led up to this moment of depression were just that, moments. He was about to make a permanent decision on something temporary. Hadn’t he preached to the youth about the importance of faith and talking to others when problems arose? He was sitting in the position of being a hypocrite. A youth pastor who talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk. How many young souls would go in the opposite direction based on his actions?

Sure it was an embarrassment to find out his wife was sleeping with a member of the congregation. Not just anyone – his best friend. And yes the pending divorce was painful and the debts seem to rise with only one income now. The side glances from members and even the senior pastor placing someone else above him were frustrating. He thought about leaving the church, but this was all he had known. John felt trapped and useless, but was it worth death?

He read over the email again. More tears fell. He pushed the gun away and reached for the Bible on the far end of the desk. The gesture was symbolic in that John had let the world dictate his fate. He had not drawn near to God to help him. He opened the book and pages upon pages of highlighted text spoke to his wounded spirit. When he was filled, he dropped to his knees to pray. He finished by giving thanks to God.   As he rose, his perspective changed.  Despair was turned to hope.  He found faith again even though the situation had not changed.  He knew his limited sight was matchless compared to God.  Surely, He would see John through.   Then he proceeded to respond to Laurie’s email.

 

Hi Laurie,

Yes, I remember you. I’m so glad to hear that you and your children are doing well. I did sense that something was wrong and thought I’d give you my card just in case. I never knew that doing so would inspire your email and the impact it would have. Thank you for reaching out. May God bless you and your family.

 John

Response to Quantum Leap Challenge

hands_of_god_and_adam-11-e1275913092455

Unfortunately, I did not receive a single entry for the Quantum Leap Challenge. I did however, get a lot of likes and favorites here and on Twitter. That’s a good thing. At least it got people to thinking and considering.  But alas, the show must go on.  Below is my spin on Quantum Leap Challenge. Enjoy!

If I had to choose a moment in history to revise, it would be when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. I wouldn’t change that God made them or gave her to him. What I would change is the curiosity in human nature to go towards something forbidden. Obviously God knew why they shouldn’t eat from the tree and what would happen if they did. I believe He didn’t share the information to see if they trusted His wisdom and ability to care for them. Even during that time, free will was granted. It’s evident through Eve’s ability to walk away from what she knew to what was curious or tingling to the ears and eyes. And the same goes for Adam.

Anywho, if I could change that moment, it would be that Eve would remember what God said and turn away. She’d tell Adam about the experience as a way of warning and emphasize that God knows best. This other creature (i.e. snake, satan) was unfamiliar and had not proven himself, so until he did, why ruin a good thing, right?

What I think would have come from this change is that we would never die, childbirth may not be painful or as bloody, and we’d experience the good things that God has to offer. My imagination believes that this would be none of the illnesses that could have taken loved ones past or present, violence would be an idea and not necessarily an action. Better yet, would we even know anything other than love?

As I ponder the prior question, I think about how slick satan tries to be. If he didn’t get to Adam and Eve, he would have tried to get someone in the history of mankind. But would the impact have been the same? Or worse? Either way, when a slip-up happened, Jesus would still be necessary. And aren’t we thankful for that?

 XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

 

Photo: Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan
 
Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

Writing Prompt: Love

heart-clipartlove

 

butterflies, wishful dreams, hopes, sweaty palms, anticipation, infatuation

love

 

joy, happiness, memories, romance, intimacy, quality

love

 

ups, downs, better, worse, commitment

love

 

patience, understanding, communication

love

 

faith, loyalty, unconditional, everlasting

love

 

Alpha, Omega, I am, God

XOXO, Melanie Dawnn

Photo:  Public Domain Pictures,  Suzanne D. Williams

Copyright © 2013-2014 ✽ All Rights Reserved

Favorite Places, Creative Spaces

Wordle_theyocumlibrary

Not long ago I mentioned that I was having a bit of writer’s block. After a moment of reflection, I realized that there’s just a lot going on in my life right now professionally and personally.  Time and creative energy to write have been on low supply….until now.

I ran across a blog that offered some direction to at least keep me writing. Tiana Lopez’s blog, Zealous Scripts, has a section dedicated to writing prompts. I thought I’d take a stab at a few of them – at least get a paragraph or two out. So, for the next few weeks, I’ll post some of my content based on these. Happy reading!  Continue reading “Favorite Places, Creative Spaces”