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Saving Grace (Unedited)

by Halfbloodcheetah


This is a Christian Short Story, if  you do not like it you do not have to read. It is not meant to be judgmental to anyone. Please enjoy and read. I know about the paragraphs I haven't gotten to fix those yet.

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God looked down from heaven at his precious child, Lena Grace. His desire for her to come to him was great. He knew that she would eventually return to him.

Aubrey Sheppard and Karina Cressinda were setting up for Aubrey’s candidate party. All the party favors were ready and Karina was looking at the guests list. Aubrey was just laying down the last bowl of snacks when Karina gasped. “What’s wrong,” Aubrey said. She walked over to where Karina was sitting. Karina pointed to a name on her guest list. “Why did you invite Lena Grace? Isn’t she that gothic girl you got your boyfriend, Justin Holt, and his posse to pick on?”



“Yeah, but I need all the votes I can get. If we make sure Lena has a great time at the party; we have her vote. She may be what I need to beat that Jesus-Freak, Stacie Parker,” Aubrey said with a mean grin on her face. Karina laughed for a while but suddenly grew serious. “What do we do after the election?” Aubrey laughed and said “We drop her like a hot potato.” They both laughed until there was a knock on the door and the guests started coming.



Lena Grace looked at herself in the side view mirror of her car. Her face was as pretty as she could make it. She had curled her blue hair and was wearing her favorite black dress. Lena had no idea why the most popular girl in school had invited her to a party. She knew Aubrey had been looking for publicity so she would be elected as the high school president, but Lena didn't expect that Aubrey would invite her to anything. ‘It was a nice change,’ Lena thought as she walked up to the door and knocked.



Aubrey was talking to her friends when she heard a knock on the door. Aubrey exchanged a glance with Karina as she walked towards the door. She knew it was Lena Grace at the door, because everybody else she had invited was already there. She opened the door to let Lena in and found herself gawking at a new dazzling Lena. However, instead of focusing on her beauty, Aubrey was jealous. ‘Why does this loser have a pretty dress like that? I should have that beautiful dress.’ Aubrey thought to herself. “Wow, Lena, you look great. I love your dress.” She put on a false smile. Lena smiled shyly “Thanks, I got it from…” she started to say, when Karina came over and dragged Lena away into the party. Lena ate food, danced and met new people. Karina saw that Lena was really nice. This made her feel bad about what they were going to do to her following election time.



Aubrey stood up on her chair and everybody quieted as she began to talk. “Thank you all for coming! As you all probably know, I am running for our student body president. When I am elected, I will make sure that this school year is the best ever. I hope to see all of you choosing my name on the ballet.” Karina led everyone in applause. “WHO’S GOING TO WIN?” Aubrey shouted. Karina led everybody in chanting. “AUBREY! AUBREY! AUBREY!” Aubrey was delighted at this response, especially when she saw Lena was chanting the loudest.



The next day was Election Day. Aubrey and Karina were backstage in the auditorium. Aubrey was thrilled. This was the day she was going to become high school president, and the day she would humiliate the low-life Lena Grace.



Karina felt horrible about the idea of dropping Lena. She heard a still small voice in her head telling her not to listen to Aubrey, but she didn't want to make Aubrey mad. She was brought out of her thoughts, when Aubrey nudged her. Stacie Parker, the other candidate, was coming towards them with her friend Cutler Turner. Cutler was the person that Stacie had chosen to be her Vice-President. Stacie stopped by where Aubrey and Karina were sitting. Aubrey looked at her with narrowed eyes. “What do you want Stacie?” she growled. Stacie’s smile didn't waver “I just wanted to come and wish you good luck.” She heard the principal say her name and got ready to walk out. “Good luck,” she said before she walked on stage. Aubrey turned to Karina, “Come on, we’re next”.

Lena watched as the two candidates made their introductions, but in her mind she knew she was voting for Aubrey. She had already marked Aubrey’s name on her card. She had gone back to wearing all black, but decided that after Aubrey won she would wear her dress more often. When the introductions were over the students were told to mark their ballots and hand the ballot to the Vice Principal. Lena was the first one up.

After 10 long minutes all the votes were in and counted. Aubrey was excited. She couldn't wait to hear who had won. (Even though she already knew she had won.) The principal walked to the stage and in a clear voice said “And the winner is… Aubrey Sheppard!” Aubrey and Karina screamed and embraced as the crowd clapped and cheered. Stacie and Cutler came over and shook hands with the girls. “Congratulations” Cutler said smiling. Aubrey paid no attention to him and walked of the stage and into a flock of fans.



Lena ran up to Aubrey and grabbed her hand to congratulate her. All chattering stopped and everybody looked at Lena. Aubrey yanked her hand away from Lena and yelled “SHE TOUCHED ME! THE FREAK TOUCHED ME!” Lena looked at Aubrey, confused at what was happening. “Wait, what?” Aubrey laughed at the girl “Stupid girl, the only reason I invited you to my party was so you would vote for me. You’re useless to me now.” Everybody within hearing distance started to laugh, except for Stacie and Cutler. Lena fought her way out of the room crying.



Lena ran into the girl’s locker room and shut the door. She sat down on the bench and put her face into her hands. “Lena,” a voice called. “It’s Stacie, do you want to talk?” Lena looked up. Stacie was standing in front of her with a book in her hand. Stacie sat down next to Lena and opened the book. Lena saw that she was holding a Bible. “Lena,” Stacie said “I know you feel hurt. I was once in your position. However, I found that only one person could cure the hurt. That person is Jesus. He died on the cross for everyone taking away their sins and bearing it. Then, three days later, Christ rose from the dead. Now anyone can come to Christ if they confess their sins and believe in him. Do you want to be free from the sins that have held you back?” Lena lifted her head “Yes.” Lena got down on her knees and Stacie got down next to her. Lena gave God her heart and desires and traded them for his heart and desires.



That night Stacie took Lena to her youth group and sat down and talked to the youth pastor, Josh Waybright. Josh gave Lena a Bible and What is the Gospelby Greg Gilbert. For the next month she devoured the Word of God. When she had finished reading through the Bible: she had an overwhelming desire to give the gospel to Aubrey and Karina. She prayed for a week until she knew that it was God’s desire for her to witness to her enemies.



On Monday, she went to school praying for an opportunity to talk to Aubrey and Karina about the gospel. Aubrey and Karina were planning Field Day for the school when they saw Lena happily walking by with Stacie and Cutler. Aubrey was mad. “Why doesn’t she look sad and depressed? I thought that she would be going to a different school by now.” They walked after her. Lena, Stacie, and Cutler had just sat down at a table for lunch. Aubrey walked up and slammed her hands on the table. “Why are you still here?” she barked. Lena looked at her, and then a smile crossed her face “Hey Aubrey! Hey Karina! I’ve been meaning to talk with you. Sit down.” Aubrey shrieked, grabbed her hair in irritation, and stormed off.



Karina, however, sat down. “Before you get mad, I want to apologize for what we did. Will you ever forgive me?” she asked. Lena silently said a prayer of thanks to God. “I forgive you Karina, but what you did was not just against me. It was against God. Lena went through the whole gospel with Karina, and Karina decided to give God everything. She started going to youth group and taking every chance she could to read the Bible Josh gave her.



When she found out that Karina had become a Jesus-Freak, Aubrey was devastated. All her plans were crashing around her. She decided to blame all her problems on Lena Grace. She aimed all her anger at her.



Then one day, Lena was driving to Bible study and Aubrey was right behind her. Aubrey’s anger was at its boiling point. Her car started accelerating faster but Aubrey wasn't paying attention. She didn't see Lena’s car stop at the stop sign. CRASH!



Aubrey woke up. She was not in her car anymore. She was lying down in front of a big white throne. She looked to her right to see Lena Grace kneeling and singing praises to God. Then she heard a loud voice say her name. “Aubrey Sheppard” She looked up and saw God sitting on his throne. “You are guilty of sin and must suffer in Hell.” “Wait, God”, she said. “I’m the president of the student body. I’m also at the top of my class, and definitely much better than her,” she pointed to Lena. God stared hard at Aubrey “Depart from me you worker of iniquity. I never knew you.” Aubrey screamed, as she was ushered into a place with weeping and gnashing of teeth.



God turned to look at his precious daughter, Lena Grace. “Oh Daughter” He said to her with tears in his eyes. “I have seen the pain you have been put through. I was there when your so called “Friends” let you down. I was there when you came to realize your need for me. Though weeping endured for a time; now true joy has come and I will wipe away every tear. Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and enjoy your Father’s happiness.


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Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:52 pm
jellybaby21963 wrote a review...



Hello, Jellybaby here. This is my first time giving a review so excuse me if I make any mistakes.
I am not a person of faith but I find these stories very interesting to read, excuse me if I offend you in anyway.

“Why did you invite Lena Grace? Isn’t she that gothic girl you got your boyfriend, Justin Holt, and his posse to pick on?”

I found this dialogue a bit awkward. It seems strange that Karina would say Holt's name when Aubrey is dating him as she should know his name. It seems unnecessary to include his name here, especially when he is not brought up again.

After Lena has been bullied by Aubrey why would she accept the invitation? We know why Aubrey invited her but what was Lena's motivation for going? Was she lonely, curious, or simply too trusting? Lena would certainly feel uncomfortable in that kind of situation, I think it would benefit you to portray that. Make her feel more human.

You say that Lena is nice but provide no evidence of the fact. Take the time to show how Lena interacts with others and how Aubrey treats others. Why does Karina think she's nice? What comparisons did she make to come to this conclusion? It would make more sense that Karina should start feeling remorse once she sees how she has misjudged Lena but you do not show these characteristics very well in the story.
If Lena is as nice as you claim then why would everyone laugh at her? Surely there would be some in the crowd who remain silent, especially Karina.

On to Lena's awakening. I'm curious if Lena has always been a believer but had never felt their god, or if she held no faith and suddenly converted to Christianity. Finding religion is an extremely slow process. One does not just fall into it. Religion is often met with conflict, defiance, and confusion. Showing these emotions in Lena and others would add some needed honesty. Letting your readers know that it will not be an easy journey but you will eventually get there.

"She prayed for a week until she knew that it was God’s desire for her to witness to her enemies."

I found this sentence a little difficult to read (of course it might just be me). The usage of enemies seems misplaced. As Lena has found God surely she has found forgiveness. Referring to them as enemies seems counterproductive. It seems more likely that she would see them as lost souls to be saved.
I think Aubrey could use a little more personality. She comes across as a rather cookie cutter "mean girl." It doesn't feel authentic. She is rather ambitious. Perhaps explore where this comes from?

This one is more of a personal preference than a critique, but I've always wondered why God is so cold towards the children they have to banish. Surely they would be saddened by the act? It would be a difficult thing to do to one you care for so deeply.

I think overall I would suggest showing and not telling. Rather than saying that a characters feels x I would show the reader what they feel this through the text. Think about the physical and mental affects emotions like excitement or fear have on you. When you show this the characters will feel less robotic and more human. Like a person you could know in real life. More emotions will really drive home your emotions. Of course this was written quite a while ago.

Sorry if this is a bit much and comes across as nit-picking. I tend to obsessively focus on how characters are portrayed.
Thank you for sharing your story!




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Wed Sep 02, 2015 8:18 pm
steampowered wrote a review...



Hello Halfbloodcheetah, steampowered here for a review! Congratulations for posting your work on here, like Sagitta already said. I understand how difficult it must have been for you to express your opinions, and it’s great that you did so!

Onto the overall story: I thought it was good, especially for its intended Christian audience, but I felt it was a little too heavy-handed with the religious moralising. This is obviously just one person’s suggestion, but you could widen the appeal, and discourage fewer readers, by making it less obviously moralistic. Make it more subtle.

I know that Christianity tends to draw a stark line between the faithful and the faithless, but in everyday life we all have light and dark inside of us. Don’t make Lena too saintly. To be honest, my sympathies were not always with her. You want your reader to root for Lena, not for Aubrey. I think Lena accepts a little too readily Stacie’s suggestions and in many cases, coming to Jesus from no faith at all is a gradual thing. Unless you have a major life changing experience, you don’t suddenly fill with religious fervour.

This is just a suggestion which you don’t have to take, but you could make Lena begin to adopt some of Jesus’s teachings. Maybe she could ask herself “What would Jesus do?” She could try and turn the other cheek. Make her have doubts. Make her unsure of her faith, make her wonder if it’s really the best way to handle the situation or if she should do something else. But in the end of course she triumphs, both morally and spiritually, over Aubrey. I think this might make her more likeable than if she spent the story simply trying to enforce her beliefs on other people without really reflecting on them.

I liked the story, but the ending was the one thing I didn’t really enjoy. The story carries with it Jesus’s message of hope and salvation – that’s a great message for a spiritual story to have. But you seem to throw away any hopes of bringing the audience round to your point of view by letting God pass judgement so cruelly on Aubrey.

As Sagitta said, I don’t think the characters should die at the end and go straight to judgement. Aubrey is an ambitious, attention-seeking mean-girl, but she’s not evil, and I think it’s somewhat damaging to your audience and to your message that she be sent to hell (I actually felt really sorry for her at the end) I believe she simply needs to realise that what she’s doing isn’t nice, and even if she doesn’t convert I think she needs to at least start to become a nicer person at the end. (Remember that plenty of perfectly nice human beings don’t follow any religion. When you start to get into the message that only Christians will inherit the kingdom of heaven, you also risk alienating those who follow the spirit of the faith rather than the word of the Bible)

With that in mind I thought it was a good read and I’d like to read more of what you write. This really wasn’t trying to be a disrespectful review. The concept was good and I have nothing against religious works whatsoever – it’s just little things that might help widen your audience and turn it into something that’s more of a spiritual journey than trying to assert God and His word. (I’m assuming you were aiming for the former anyway!) Once again, I really hope this doesn’t sound rude, and best of luck with your future writing projects. :D






Doesn't sound rude at all! Thanks for your review. :)



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Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:49 pm
SunsetTree wrote a review...



A couple stylistic things while I read through it:

‘Why does this loser have a pretty dress like that? I should have that beautiful dress.’


When portraying inner thoughts, you should italicize them instead of putting them in air quotes.

Aubrey stood up on her chair and everybody quieted as she began to talk. “Thank you all for coming! As you all probably know, I am running for our student body president. When I am elected, I will make sure that this school year is the best ever. I hope to see all of you choosing my name on the ballet.” Karina led everyone in applause. “WHO’S GOING TO WIN?” Aubrey shouted. Karina led everybody in chanting. “AUBREY! AUBREY! AUBREY!” Aubrey was delighted at this response, especially when she saw Lena was chanting the loudest.


When showing a character to yell, try to italicize it instead of capitalizing it.

She heard a still small voice in her head telling her not to listen to Aubrey, but she didn't want to make Aubrey mad.


Since you already said you're referring to Aubrey, you don't need to say her name again. Use "her" or even better, a description of her, like "the young redhead" or "the pompous princess" or whatever you'd like.

All else I can say is...wow. This is really powerful writing. I think the concept would be really difficult but you nailed it. Now I just think you need to polish this up, read through it and do another draft. It's a bit confusing at times; like you start out with a visual of God staring at Lena Grace, then you introduce two completely different characters. And I have no idea what a candidate party is, so if you could explain that in the beginning, it'd be a neat addition. Slow down when introducing characters; maybe give Lena Grace a bit of a description and background at the start, then introduce Aubrey and Karina separately.

If you can work on better communicating with your readers, it'd be great. Try to visualize what they would see, and try to figure out if that would make sense. I like this so far.






Thank you for the review. I will definitely correct those issues when I edit that.



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Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:36 pm
micamouth wrote a review...



Wow, this just shows how powerful a faith can be!

Firstly, I would like to say well done on being brave enough to write this. You told me you were very nervous about publishing this, and it's always nerve-wracking. Now, to the review...

Punctuation. There are only a few question marks in the right place. I noticed you used a lot of full stops instead of question marks, but I'm assuming you'll pick up on this when you edit.

I noticed you used a lot of full names in the characters' dialog. This just sounds a little awkward. If you had a friend called Iris Newman, you wouldn't go around calling her by her first name - you would just use Iris. It sounds more natural.

The ending is a little abrupt. What I mean by abrupt is that it quickly steers from a story about a bullied girl finding refuge in a faith, to the person who bullied her dying in a car crash and being sent to Hell. You see what I mean? It turns into a quite grim story, and I don't understand why Lena is there too. Did she die too? Perhaps instead of all this happening in real life for Lena and Aubrey, the end paragraph could be edited to be a dream that Lena has.

Thank you for posting this - it helps you write better and helps reviewers practice reviewing! It's a lovely concept, but let's make it even better.






Or Aubrey's dream... I think that's a great idea.




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