Desire of the Soul

Gabriella strutted through the halls on the first day of her new year at Lincoln High. She was grinning from ear to ear, and there was a skip in her step. Her golden red curls bounced as she walked through the halls.   

“This is going to be an amazing year,” Gabriella said, a smile forming across her face.

She confidently walked over to her locker and saw that her best friend Lily was coming down the hall, making a beeline straight for her. She quickly stuffed her bag into her locker and ran towards her friend, who had been in the Dominican Republic on a summer service project for their church.

“Gabriella!” Lily exclaimed, as she tightly embraced her friend.

“Hi Lily! How was the Dominican?!” Gabriella asked, releasing herself from the hug.

“It was great, but I missed you so much!” Lily replied.

“We have so much to talk about!” Gabriella exclaimed. The girls agreed to meet at their usual table at lunchtime. Gabriella grabbed her binder and rushed to her English class. She glanced at her schedule. Room 252, Mr. Davids.

“Oh great,” she sighed, and trudged into the room. School suddenly lost a lot of its charm.

Gabriella slouched down in her chair, listening to Mr. Davids talk on and on about a novel that he had read during the summer. Her eyes were slowly starting to close and the buzz from the lights was becoming quieter.

“This was going to be a great year,” she quietly reminded herself. She was starting to doubt her wishes.

RIIIIINNNNGGGG. Gabriella jumped out of her seat as the bell rang, letting out a huge sigh of relief.

“Okay, class,” Mr. Davids said in a monotone voice, “your homework for tonight is to write a 1,000 word essay on a novel that you read this summer.”

“Oh, great,” Gabriella whispered. She hopped out of her seat and quickly left the classroom. She was not looking forward to her English homework for that night. “Honestly,” she thought, “who reads in the summer?”

Catching up
Gabriella rushed to the cafeteria when the lunch bell rang. She walked over to her usual table in the middle of the room and sat down beside Lily.

“Hey Gabby, what did you have to tell me?” Lily asked, bouncing in her seat. You could tell she had been waiting all morning to hear what her friend had to say.

“Oh, nothing. We just need to catch up on what all happened while you were in the Dominican.”

“I had such an amazing summer,” Lily exclaimed. “I made so many friends and God really touched my heart. My faith is so much stronger than it was before I left. I felt God pulling me closer to him every day.”

“That’s great, Lily!” Gabriella said. “To be honest, I gave up on God this summer. I don’t feel like I have a relationship with him at all.”

“I’ll pray for you,” Lily encouraged her friend. “Now let’s go get some food, I’m starving.”

“Sure,” Gabriella replied, but her head was spinning. She hadn’t told anyone about her relationship problems with God. It felt good, but what good was praying going to do? She couldn’t see how Lily praying was going to help her build a better relationship with God. At this moment in her life she didn’t feel like she needed God. She had all she needed, she was popular, she had lots of friends, she was beautiful and she had lots of money. What else could a girl ask for?

“Miss . . . Miss . . . MISS!” the lunch lady called. “What would you like to eat?”

“Oh, sorry,” Gabriella replied, stirring from her daydream.

On her way out to her car after school, Gabriella was thinking about her lunchtime conversation with Lily. It wasn’t that she wanted to think about it, she just couldn’t get it out of her head. Her faith had really slipped over the summer. She skipped her devotions, she never prayed and she just wasn’t really interested in God. Gabriella felt as if there was a hole in her life. She had always looked happy, content and of course, gorgeous, but inside she felt . . . lonely. 

“Whatever,” Gabriella muttered to herself as she climbed into her car. “I can deal with this later.”

Later in her room, Gabriella had a strange feeling. She realized that tonight was Youth Group at her church.

“Should I go?” She asked herself. She hadn’t attended in almost a year. Would they judge her? What would they think of her?

“I’m just gonna do it,” she told herself. “Mom!” she called, “I’m going to Youth Group.”

“Okay?” her Mom replied, questioning her daughter’s truth.

Gabriella searched around her room for her Bible – on her book shelf, under her bed, in her closet, but she couldn’t find it. Then she realized her Bible was right beside her bed, where it always had been, waiting for her to read it. Quickly, she ran over to her bedside table, grabbed her Bible, stuffed it in her purse and rushed out the door.

New beginnings
Gabriella arrived at the church 10 minutes late. Slowly she got out of her car, dragged herself through the front door, and walked over to the Youth Room. Memories of hanging out with Lily and all her church friends were coming back to her. She knocked quietly on the door and slipped into the room.

“Gabriella!” Youth Pastor Paul exclaimed. “It’s so nice to see you!”

“Hi,” Gabriella whispered shyly. “Sorry I’m late.” She glanced around the room, and saw that everyone seemed quite happy to see her. She felt welcomed, loved and God’s presence all around her. She walked over to the couch where Lily was bouncing in her seat, excited to see her. She hopped onto the seat, feeling revived, excited and hopeful.

“Today we are going to talk about our inner beauty,” Pastor Paul said. “Please look up 1 Samuel 16:7. Any volunteers to read it?”

“Sure,” Gabriella said, feeling that she owed something to the whole youth group, and reading a passage was the least she could do.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

Closing her Bible, Gabriella smiled. She felt excited. Excited for a new beginning, a new attitude and a new life. “This is going to be a great year,” she whispered to Lily with a smile. 

Author

  • Jenna Duimering just completed Grade 8 at Community Christian School in Drayton, Ont. She enjoys a variety of sports, laughing, talking and friendships. She is stoked to be going to Woodland Christian High School in the fall.

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