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Even though I doubted Him, He didn’t doubt me

I went to a private catholic school from pre-K until 7th grade. I was raised to love and respect God, as my creator and my father. And I always did. But then middle school came, and all the friends that I had grown up with turned against me. I didn‟t understand how „Catholics‟ could treat me that way. The beginning of eighth grade is when I hit my breaking point. I thought about suicide and how much easier things would be if I didn‟t have to deal with it anymore. I prayed over and over, but nothing worked. I thought God had given up on me. A few times I thought God wasn‟t there. I transferred to a public school 100x bigger than my old school. I was alone and scared and didn‟t know anyone. I didn‟t pray once for almost three months. It hurt to even think about praying. But, as time went on I started to gain true friends. I didn‟t know how that happened until Thanksgiving when I was talking to my grandma and she started to cry. She said, “Madison, I prayed for you so much when you were at that school. And God answered my prayer.” I thought about it and said, “What God.” I have never seen my grandma more hurt, than at that moment. My grandma is a God-fearing woman, she always has been. “Madison you don‟t mean that. It may not seem like it, but when you went through all that stuff, God was helping you. Don‟t you see? You went through a lot, but you‟re the happiest that you have ever been.” I had never thought about it that way before. I felt guilty of doubting Him. But I also felt angry at Him. I went to talk to my pastor and he explained all kinds of things to me— things that I knew, but I never fully understood when I sat in a pew every Sunday morning. He helped me realize that God works in mysterious ways. He put me through a lot, but He never left me, and he got me to a place that makes me truly happy. You see, even though I doubted Him, He didn‟t doubt me. And now that I think about it, when I feel alone, I never feel REALLY alone. Sometimes I find myself just talking to Him, and joking with Him. Like, when you act like you are talking on the phone you feel stupid because you‟re talking to yourself. But, when you talk to God, you feel like someone is on the other end. That‟s because there is. I realize that now.

A Tanker Full of Grace by Michael Boyink GRACE It was mid-morning and I was driving to an appointment when I found myself reading those five letters on the back of a tanker truck. I smiled - imagine a tanker full of Grace! As I passed the truck I could see my small car reflected in the tanker‟s polished surface. I thought; “What would my life be like if that tanker split open and flooded my car with Grace?” God answered; “That tanker is but a thimble to me, and I‟ve given you several gallons already today.” Every time I start to doubt God‟s love and dedication to me, I just smile and remember that tanker full of grace. 2

Pride Has A Fall Gorelal was a famous sculptor. His sculptures looked real ones. One day he saw a dream that after fifteen days, the demon of Death would come to take him. Gorelal prepared nine statues of himself and when on the 15th day he heard the Demon of Death coming, he took his place between the statues. The Demon could not recognise him and was astonished to see ten Gorelals instead of one. He rushed back to the God of death and told the matter. The God of death got annoyed and set out to take Gorelal himself. Gorelal was alert and stood motionless. The God of Death initially got perplexed. But he thought for a moment. He said, “Gorelal, these sculptures would have been perfect but for one mistake." Gorelal was unable to suffer the least blemish in his work. He came out and asked, "Where is the fault?" God of Death caught him and said, “HERE". The statues were faultless but Gorelal was caught because of his pride.

THE GREEDY KING There was a king named Medas in Greece. He was very greedy. He loved gold most then anything else in the world. One day when Medas was counting hisgold coins, an Angel told Medas," You are very rich". Medas said," I am not rich. I have very little gold". The Angel said, "You are not satisfied with so much gold. How much more do you want?" The king said,"I want a boon such that whatever thing I touch, it should become gold. The Angel said,"Ok, from tomorrow morning whatever you touch will become gold". The next morning, when he touched a table and a chair, it became gold. He was very happy. When he was very hungry and thirsty, the servant brought food and water for him, and as soon as Medas touched food and the water it became gold. Medas started crying because he was very hungry. When his daughter saw him crying, she sat on his lap and, became a golden statue. Now he wept very bitterly. The Angel appeared again. The king requested the Angel to take his boon back. He said, "I do not want gold. Man can live without gold but he cannot live without a piece of bread and a glass of water". The Angle took some water in a bowl and said him to sprinkle it on everything that had turned gold. Medas sprinkled the water on his daughter, table, chair, food, and on his clothes. Everything became as they were before. So man should not be 3 greedy of gold.

Guilty Conscience by Jimmie Cannibal Back in his days, John was the sharpest lawyer in town. At the office we used to call him the "Samurai". He used to step into a court room, with a sword for a tongue, he would win over the jury, and he'd win the case, before you even noticed that it started. So when he took on the case of the murdered child as the defence, the media was all over him. I remember him cancelling a meeting, because there were so many camera teams around him, that he could not move his car. When I asked him why he would choose to defend the guy, he answered it's because he believes in his client's innocence. That was the most important part for him. He had to believe in his clients, he didn't need anything else to win. And he won that trial, that's for shure. Some people say it was the finest work of an attorney they had ever seen. I mean, that guy, the defendant, he was really deep into trouble. They had his DNA and even a confession, for all of which John had logical explanations. He turned that guy's image from that of a child murderer into one of the biggest victims of injustice in history. So naturally, it ripped him apart when they caught that guy kidnapping another child just a few weeks later. Already had the boy tranquilized in the back of his van. The news and papers were full of his smiling face in his mug shot. I believe that's what broke poor Johnny. As long as I knew him, his gut was all he had, and if he couldn't trust his gut anymore… The media shattered his image, asking all kinds of speculative questions. He went from being the most respected citizen of our town, to being the single most hated person, even more so than that child murderer. They called him an accomplice, wondered how many criminals he falsely put back on the streets, wanted all his cases reopened. It was ridiculous. It ruined his marriage and his career. He managed to get back on his feet, a couple of years after. Has his own little law firm downtown now. He's doing fine, but the trust… He lost that one forever.


by Anglea

£18,000. That is what the twisted gold wire bracelet was worth to me. Commonly known as a torc. Iron age. It was easy to steal and by the time anyone noticed the absence, it was being despatched by courier to a new home. That night I couldn't sleep. I've never felt guilty taking antiques from the public yet I couldn't get the bracelet out of my mind. Found by schoolboys looking for treasure. Chance in a million. One of the boys suffered a family tragedy and this unexpected discovery brightened up his life. I couldn't stop thinking about the personal side of my theft. How would the boy and his family react? Normally I never got involved but this story was different. It was too close to home. My son David found the bracelet in a neighbour's field with his metal detector. The one I gave him for his thirteenth birthday. We were all happy back then. After the fatal car crash I went to prison. Drink driving. My wife in the passenger seat. The family fell apart. David and his brother Ryan turned from happy affectionate kids to withdrawn and moody. After I was released I couldn't face what I had done and took off. Returned to my bad old ways before marriage. Certain the boys would have a better life with the grandparents. By the end of the week I decided to steal back the bracelet. I did consider giving the museum an anonymous tip off but that could land me back in jail. The night it was all done I had the best sleep in ages. The next morning I picked up the phone and called the boys.


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