Triumph Of My Soul" by Elissa
filled the room moments after Mary’s groan. All’s
to be heard was the doctor’s voice that yelled to
the nurse, “The baby is in distress!” He rushed
from the place he was sitting, in preparation of delivery
of another human life, instead he flew to grab an instrument
to aid him in getting the child into the world alive. The
responsibility that laid on his shoulders was intense and
he knew he not only held Mary’s life in his hands,
he also had the burden of delivering the child, a healthy
poured continuously from Mary’s womb onto the operating
table. The nurse, in a heated panic, yelled, “Oh God!”
as she rushed over to assist the doctor.
wrong with my baby?” Mary screamed and questioned
as she tried to get up off of the table. The nurse then
moved in closer to Mary, gently restrained her and made
baby is in distress, but everything will be okay,”
she expelled, while caressing Mary’s hand.
sobs left Mary’s now lifeless body, as she went into
We’re losing her,” the nurse spewed, tears flowing
down her cheeks.
a pair of forceps, the doctor carefully pried the baby from
Mary’s limp body. A team of physicians were by the
baby’s side, as they planted her on the table, clearing
her airways. The sound only God could create left the baby
girl’s mouth as she yelled to the world, informing
everyone of her safe arrival.
have a girl. A healthy, baby girl,” the doctor smiled
as he handed Mary her daughter.
didn’t make it, doctor,” the nurse sorrowfully
revealed, as she took the baby from the doctor, and gently
placed her onto her mother’s breast.
Grace" by Jessica
a heated rush, traffic barreled up and down Georgia Avenue,
NW, in Washington, DC, going nowhere too fast. Julian Winters
stood before the bay window, peering through the blinds,
wishing he were amongst the traffic, escaping the sterilized
smell that caused his stomach to flip about like a fish
out of water. This wasn’t one of his favorite days,
but then again none of them had been lately.
wasn’t meant to be lived so hurried,” he fussed
between clinched teeth. “But then again, it’s
short as hell.”
pressed his palms against the cool windowpane and lowered
his head. Desperately trying to suppress the inner pain,
after spending so much time at Howard University Hospital,
was difficult for him. As much as he wanted to scoop her
up from her sickly bed, and fly away to a destination where
cancer didn’t run rampant, he knew it was impossible
and the inevitable was around the corner.
he raised his head, he slowly opened his eyes and gazed
up at the blue sky, challenging his once strong faith in
God. Daily, Julian questioned God, not knowing what He was
trying to prove by taking away the most precious life that
meant the world to him. Was it something he did in his past,
to build anger in God? As far as Julian was concerned, God
must have been harboring anger toward him, and taking his
beloved Grace was his punishment. All his life, he felt
God was a forgiving God, so why couldn’t He forgive
Julian of his past sins, whatever those were?
On The Street" by Jarold Imes
young black men wearing black baseball caps that said “Jesus
Saves,” long black T-Shirts, baggy but not sagging
jeans and various brands of sneakers stepped out of the
white, silver and maroon van. From a distance, they could
have easily been mistaken for a reincarnation of the Wu-Tang
Clan, and by the way they attracted attention from the crowd,
people at the nearby shopping center flocked to them expecting
them to put on an impromptu rap concert in the middle of
the street. After the last man stepped out and pulled the
door shut, the driver of the van drove off cautiously trying
to find a parking space near the barbershop at the top of
the hill. The young men made their stop on this popular
hill that was on the corner of Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
and New Walkertown Road of Winston-Salem.
Test Of Faith" by Lorraine
has a way of slapping his rebellious children upside the
head every now and then and demanding the respect that He
often, we are full of ourselves, thinking we are untouchable
even by the hands of God. We assume that we are doing our
part spiritually, by attending church on Sundays and saying
a few properly placed “Amen’s” at the
end of other people’s recognition of His worth. Somehow,
in our feeble minds, we think those small gestures of respect
for God will be enough to put a cloak of protection over
us and shield us from all evil. We feel that because we
speak of His existence in our daily banter with others,
that we have done our part to spread His word. If others
ask, “How are you today?” and we answer with
“Too Blessed to be Stressed” we feel that we
have honored God. We have done our part because others know
that we love God and are Holy rollers, so to speak, because
we are not ashamed to mention God in our everyday conversations.
But is that enough? As humans, our answer is “Yes,”
but would that be the answer of God?
is a difference between “Respect” and “Faith”.
Anyone that believes in God has Respect for Him. The two
kind of go hand in hand. But not all that “Respect”
God, have “Faith” in Him, and God is much more
appreciative of the latter.
Stroke Of Purpose" by Keshia
she recover? Will she? Will she remain in this form?”
Asking as his hand covered his trembling mouth.
form? Oh God what has happened to me?”
now, nothing can be said for anything. Leslie can go in
any direction, but we are praying for the best. She’s
in a coma and you know…it’s going to be up to
Leslie and her body to pull through.”
the tears that were knocking on his ducts to rush as they
wanted, Derrick could only think of one thing.
said more to himself than to the doctor. “Does the
hospital have a chapel? I need to go…now!” He
almost begged while standing and clasping his hands together
behind his head.
it upon his duty, Dr. Thornton lead Derrick out of the hospital
room and toward the hospital’s chapel, planning to
stay and pray with the young husband as he sent prayers
on him and his wife’s behalf.
Mother, Her Son, And The Father" by Fon
please… tell me what’s going on!”
I’m sorry to tell you this, but McCall is missing.
When Courtney told you what happened, you fainted. The police
are aware and they are looking for him now.”
do you mean he’s missing?” she queried.
can’t find him, Lani. Nobody has heard from him since
he went to meet with that guy about the rims. The police
are looking for that guy right now to question him. I had
my friends at the station push his missing case file to
the top. I help them out a lot during my investigative reports
for the paper, so they owed me a favor. Courtney provided
a recent picture of him to the police for flyers. His friends
are canvassing the area too.”
couldn’t do anything. She just sat there and listened
as Sterling filled her in. Tears were streaming down her
face. She couldn’t even fathom losing McCall. He was
her only child. She was his mother. He was her son. She
closed her eyes. She needed to connect with her heavenly
At A Church" by Jacqueline
could see the church on the horizon. She often passed by
it at night when she was working. It had always seemed so
warm and inviting. She would listen to the soothing sounds
of the choir practicing, late into the evening, as she strolled
the block. Every now and then, one of the songs would stir
something deep down within her soul; creating the need to
fill a void that had existed deep within her spirit, for
as long as she could remember.
didn’t quite understand why hearing those songs saddened
her. They were often happy and full of hope. Why did they
bring tears to her eyes? April often wished she knew the
answers to something she didn’t even identify with.
She didn’t understand her feelings enough to try to
explain them to her friends. They would just laugh at her
and tell her how stupid she was. Yeah, her friends were
good for that. Always reminding her of how dumb she felt
when she tried to find the answers to questions everyone
else seemed to know.
The Joy Within" by Allyson
God, NO! Please don't take my babies!" Jordyn cried
as she tried to jump into the six foot pit that stared up
at her. Held back by her sobbing father, the young mother
stood looking down into the grave of her two beautiful twins.
The two tiny caskets were light pink, and the rain was hitting
them ever so gently, as if God himself was crying, because
they were coming home to Him. But Jordyn, a new mother,
didn't see it that way. She wanted them home with her. For
home was they place they belonged. Safe and warm in her
arms. All she could see were her two beautiful babies being
taken away from her. It was just a few days ago that she
gave birth, welcoming them into this world. Within an hour,
they were both gone. Instead of bringing them home to their
awaiting nursery complete with two cribs and a glider, family
and friends had gathered to say good-byes to the two that
never got a chance to say hi. Her heartfelt tears of pain
began anew as she recited a poem to her babies.
by Ebonee Monique
followed his last order to me, hesitantly. "Look at
yourself," I heard his voice say in my head.
around I faced myself. My slanted brown eyes were red and
puffy from the hours of crying. My hair was a mess and my
face looked swollen. I smoothed my shabby hair down and
wiped clean the traces of mascara on my cheeks. My body
hurt, my heart hurt and most of all my pride hurt. But regardless
of all the pain, my appearance in complete disarray, I was
still standing. I'd told myself that as soon as he was removed
from my equation, air would cease to exist, taste would
disappear and sound would have no meaning. I told myself
that being alone, at my age, wasn’t an option.
I was standing tall. I was here, physically all alone, but
I wasn’t alone. I could feel God’s presence
enveloped all around me; as I inhaled and proudly stood
back admiring my finished bedroom door, a grin came over
my face. It was nearing five in the morning and my eyes
were growing heavy. I jiggled the door knob of my bedroom
door and awkwardly opened it. Flopping on my bed, I scooted
my shoe box of memories to the side when something sticking
out from underneath my bed caught my attention. Reaching
down, I picked the heavy book up and smiled. It was my Bible.
Still Here" by Kim
was brutally raped by a preacher at the age of five. Traumatized,
confused and scared, the preacher took advantage of it all.
His shameful programming was, “If you tell anyone,
everybody you know and love will die and go to hell.”
From that day, I took everyone’s illness as something
that I had caused. I felt the shame and guilt and though
I did not tell anyone, I wanted to tell my father but those
words just kept running through my mind. Six months later,
I was told that he was going to die, though he is still
alive today, I felt like it was my fault that he spent so
much time in the hospital.
thirty years, I suppressed the memory of the rape somewhere
behind a door in my mind.
I was old enough to discover drugs, they helped me to keep
that door closed. Drugs helped me to ease the pain that
was growing and festering like cancer in my soul. When I
was high, I could feel no pain. No memories would consume
me whole. No shame, no guilt, no betrayal.
felt like God did not like me and I did not like Him. I
refused to go inside of a church and I would not read the
bible or listen when people spoke of religion. God was no
friend of mine. If God was the God everyone said He was,
then why would he let a precious five year old little girl
go through so much turmoil?
Loves Us, Always" by Linda
was ashamed of my self-pity. Down on my knees, I wept. The
tears I shed that night were tears not even I recognized
as being my own. These tears came from deep down in my soul
and filled my heart to an overflowing groaning. It was like
an earthquake erupting through my being. Shaking, as I surrendered
my soul to God, I prayed for forgiveness for not wanting
to live anymore.
God let me know what he knew I had in my heart. I never
told anyone I did not want to live anymore. But God knew
it was corroding the space in my heart that belonged to
him. God told me he knew my private abyss that was justifiably
growing and he wanted me to know he loved me and understood
my pain. He also promised me he would restore the years
of the locust and my joy would be full. I cried the more
in knowing God did not punish me for my bitterness. Knowing
God was embracing me, Lyn, not the mother, sister or daughter
this time, but I the one who needed comfort made me want
to live again.
by Bill Holmes
recurring nightmare began at the starting line of the 1600
m run. The hot sun was beating down on the athletes and
the spectators with its ferocious intensity at Franklin
Field. The excitement of competing at the Penn Relays increased
every time he participated in this event. This year was
no exception as anxiety permeated throughout his body. Bobbing
his head and pacing back and forth, he cleared his mind
of all thoughts and focused his attention to the sound of
his cleats digging into the track. That would be the only
noise he would hear for the next four minutes. His chest
expanded slowly to the last breath he inhaled before taking
his place at the starting line along with the other participants.
Clenching his fists in anticipation, the starter’s
instructions became mumbled until he aimed the gun in the
air, pulled the trigger and Alex took off with reckless
abandon down the track along with the other runners.
Woman's Journey" by Linda
upon a time. I figure, if I start with that beginning, I
can end with happily-ever after. Right now my life is a
far cry from happily ever after. The truth is, I’m
an emotional wreck. Monica has Tyron and two beautiful kids.
Zora has Marc, and the two of them are planning an elegant
wedding. Once upon a time, I had Craig and hopes of a family,
but now Erica has my man and she’s having his child
So, where does that leave me? Yep, that leaves me sitting
here, at my small dining room table with a glass of wine
in one hand, and a bottle of sleeping pills in the other.
Craig had promised to always be there for me. He was my
rock and my world. When I lost my parents in a tragic car
accident, Craig was there. He promised, that I would never
be alone. Knowing how much I adored them, he promised that
he loved me as much as they did. I believed him because
I needed to. I needed him even more because I didn’t
have them. And as a result, my world revolved around him.
Recurring nightmares invade my psyche when I think about
my parents. It seems as if I dream about them more and more
often. Seeing their car crashed repeatedly in mind, from
the night it happened, sends waves of agony through my heart.
Ministry Of Motherhood" by Cheryl
placed many people in my life to help me make my transition.
How did I do it? I sought the Lord and he answered me. He
told me in his word that I could do all things through Christ
who strengthens me. He said that a good woman, a worthy
woman was worth more than rubies and that is what I wanted
to be. He said that he would do exceedingly and abundantly
more than I could ever ask him for. He said in his word,
that if I made myself at home with him, and made his words
a home in me, that I could be sure that whatever I asked,
would be listened to and acted upon. God became my ultimate
source. He did not give me a spirit of fear, but of love,
power and a sound mind. I became like Paul, it mattered
very little to me what others thought of me, or my situation,
because only God could judge. As a result, I can now stand
firmly and testify to the fact that God is faithful, and
that he will honor His word.
journey was intensely rough, and the challenge of rising
to the top, made me want to crumble at times, but the footprints
in the sand were not my own. I had to make a commitment
to God, to myself, and to my children. This was the only
way that we could make it to where we are now.
commitment involved going to work, going to school, and
being available to my children at all costs. Partying, staying
out all night, and otherwise neglecting my responsibility
to my children was out of the question. It simply wasn’t
an option. Trivial pursuits would have to be placed on the
backburner. I was on a mission. The mission of being a virtuous
woman, of being a dedicated mother; I wanted to be worth
more than rubies.
by Agnes B. Levine
then I heard a whisper among those thoughts. “Jesus.”
reflex, my spirit responded in kind to the whisper. “Jesus?”
I simply whispered.
various thoughts persisted, but so did the whisper, “Jesus.”
I continued to concentrate and repeat His name each time
I heard it. But I could not control the thoughts and images
of my difficult life of living with a drug user in and out
of recovery, borrowing money or working overtime to replace
what he stole from the family, his frequent job losses,
hoping the household goods did not end up in the pawn shops,
the drug binges that kept him in the streets many nights,
and being constantly afraid he would meet a violent, tragic
death in those streets. The daily challenge of hiding his
addiction from family and friends who figured it out long
before I did, my fear of AIDS, and the burden of keeping
the family together despite the impact of his drug use bore
down heavily on my mind. I was hopelessly and co-dependently
trapped inside superwoman who was stuck on the floor of
the Vanilla Room.
badge I had worn so proudly most of my life was slowly being
torn from my chest. I made one more futile attempt to regain
You Least Expect" by Dike
me Lord,” I heard myself uttering, “Help me
get out of this forest of pain and regrets. I’ve fought
the battle alone, and time has not been kind to me. Yet
my spirit refuses to succumb to the memories mocking my
Shadows of my past have turned me into a believer in half-truths.
In the company of friends and people I know, I imagine and
ponder what they think of me. Like the night breaks its
silence to condemn the desires of lovers, I reach into my
inner thoughts daily, to dig deep and search for the burning
candle threatened by the fears that plague my past. My group
meetings and counseling sessions in church have only helped
to delay the wrath of the nightmares I have tried so desperately
to run away from.
Each day I stand in front of the mirror and slap and rub
cream on my cheek and brush my hair to my satisfaction.
I have fed my heart to those words I have not been courageous
enough to disclose to Safisha. How do I tell my fiancé
and best friend of three years that I am jobless, with our
wedding date only two months away?
Many a time, I have sat in bed in the condo overlooking
the lake on Sheridan Road, alone, fumbling through the classified
job section of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times,
seeking possibilities in the flooded and yet convoluted
job market. Twice in one month I have been to Pastor Wright’s
counseling sessions. And twice I have gone home buried in
disappointment. “Brother, you’ve got to keep
the faith. But you must first seek God’s guidance
in prayers,” I recall the ever modest Pastor telling
The Chains Of Abuse" by Casche
you sure you want to do this?" Raynard, the love of
my life, asked. I was squeezing his protective hand tightly.
My palms were sweaty and I was swinging my left leg back
and forth as it dangled across my right one. He could sense
uneasiness as I prepared to take my place on stage. Facing
an auditorium filled with women and children who had been
victims of abuse, would serve as a heavy responsibility.
Like me, they were here to tell their stories and pray that
not another person would suffer the abuse that we alike
ready," I answered nervously. Even though I feared
public speaking, I knew I had to tell my story. These women
needed to know about men like Darian Wright. They needed
to know that his evil was not greater than God's love. They
needed to hear it and I was the only person there that could
tell them of the personal hell he put me through. I was
well equipped to testify how God saw me through it all.
I refused to be a victim, and with the strength God has
given me, I will prevent every soul I can touch, from being
a victim too. If I had my way, this day would mark the end
for abuse, forever.