Meant to Live
Six Months Later
Public speaking had never been my strong point, especially when I was supposed to be saying something important.
Looking out at thirty or so eager young faces made it easier. Somewhat.
"Accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior is a huge step," I began hesitantly. Of the kids Emily and I had mentored at the detention center, thirty of them had made the choice to accept God into their lives. It wasn't all of them. I knew not all thirty would be able to hold on to the decision, but that they had made the effort at all was astounding.
The detention center allowed these thirty a day pass to the Assembly of God church Steve ministered at. This time it was me delivering the sermon.
"Someone wise once told me," I continued, sounding stronger, "that the baby steps that follow this giant leap are the most important steps we take." I smiled at Riley, who was sitting in the back, his arm around Emily, who was beaming. "They're important because they take faith, and patience, and a belief in what you're accepting.
"That doesn't mean you aren't allowed to make mistakes. You are. We're human. We were created this way for a reason. But you've gotta be able to step back and realize when you've made a mistake, and seek redemption for it," I paused. "I've made a lot of mistakes. The second you're able to let go of them, God can help you. That part took me a little while."
My eyes fell on Matt, who was sitting with the group from the center. He had decided to accept God into his life and hadn't looked back. He was the most dedicated Christian I'd ever met.
"You are all capable of becoming whatever it is that you want. Asking God for that help is one way of getting you there."
Isaiah smiled warmly at me and I felt the butterflies fluttering in my stomach. They had never completely gone away, despite the time that had passed.
"I'm going to read to you from Genesis today," I grinned. "I figured that together, we have to start somewhere, and what's better than the beginning?"
AN: Well, there you have it. I hope the ending worked for you all... I thought it was cool. I'm telling you right now there will be no sequel. I hate them... they almost always ruin the original, and I think this one stands better on its own anyway. I hope that doesn't disappoint any of you too much. A few of you had questions about Riley's feelings for Hayden and why Hayden's brother was never introduced... I discuss that in the first two reviews below... if you really want to know, check those out.
Thanks so much to all of you. You're all amazing. If you want to read something new, check out my new one, The Best Deceptions. It's fluffier than this, but the characters are just insanely fun to write.
Nina Bruja: I'm glad you gave this a chance despite of the subject matter. I knew, of course, that it would make a difference. I knew many people would stop reading as soon as it got even remotely religious. Three years ago, I would have done the same thing. Now I love finding the more positive, uplifting things in life. It's just part of my transformation. Hayden's brother wasn't important… if I could change one thing, I'd probably take him completely out of the story and find another way for Hayden to know Matt… I just didn't see the point of bringing in a character that really didn't matter all that much to the plot.
Phoenix Kiss: I'm grateful for your livejournal community… it's an amazing idea and so much easier than searching through the stories on itself. Thanks for checking it out. No, Riley did not forget Emily. Riley loves Emily. Riley was confronting Hayden because he wanted Isaiah to do something about it, and he figured he would, as I mentioned in chapter 15, because Isaiah acts when he feels like something could be taken away from him. Riley had developed a little crush on Hayden, but it wasn't serious. It maybe mirrored the initial attraction Hayden had for him. They're friends, that's all. It's obvious that they would never work. The division of Christianity isn't important to me. If anything, I'd say non-denominational, but I try to stay away from the particular branch because I think that makes the relationship with God mean less, as Hayden states earlier to her mother. And don't worry, I don't think you were being rude… I think they were legitimate questions and perhaps if I revamp at any point, I'll take them into consideration. Thanks for taking the time to let me know how you felt.
Faded Soulfire: That was probably the longest review in the history of the world. LOL. And it makes me happy that you only write long reviews for me, even if it's mean. Hehe. It was important to me to see Taryn redeem herself. I like her and I think her reaction is believable… she was afraid she was losing her friend, and I've found that atheists in particular tend to want to ridicule religion rather than research it. I used to be that way and I think Taryn's reaction was a fear that I had when I went through everything, though most of my friends are Christian themselves. AHHH I AM THE BIGGEST UNDEROATH FAN IN THE WORLD! Okay. Maybe not, but I really really love them and I'm so pissed they're such a huge 'scene' band right now because they were mine, damn it, and I want them back. If you haven't heard their new CD yet, you HAVE to check it out. It's AMAZING. Thank you so much for reviewing my story on that LJ community… it means a lot to me. Your words were so kind. You're the best. Really.
Shelly & returnedtolight.