3.31.2017

Count the Stars (a short story)

As you might  have guessed from the title of this post, I'm sharing something with all you lovely readers today- a short story! It's one I wrote a few weeks ago, called Count the Stars. 
It really is a short story, only about 1800 words, and it literally came out of nowhere. I was just thinking over some titles/excerpts that I'd written down one night, and one title that I had jotted down somewhere was Count the Stars. I really wanted to use it for something, and somehow, this little story just came to me all at once (which never happens, believe me). Maybe it's not the best idea to start with a title for a story and work your way down, but it seemed to work pretty well this time :)
I wanted to have it in a nice PDF format so you could just click the cover and read the story, but I couldn't get that figured out in time, so you'll just have to read it in this post. You can also check out a little graphics collage I made for the story on my short stories page, along with the updated format and graphics for my other short story, Looking for the Light. Enjoy!



~~~~~~~~~~
The back door closed with a soft thud as Amelia quietly slipped out into the darkness of the spring night. It was one of those nights where you can’t help but feel inspired somehow, out among the quiet stillness broken only by the faint hum of crickets and the soft rushing of the little creek just a few yards away.  However, for Amelia, the loveliness of the night was lost- buried by her own muddled thoughts rushing around in her mind.
She stepped off the back porch into the soft, cool grass. Her toes sank deep into it as she rounded the corner of the house.
She wasn’t even exactly sure where she was headed. She only knew that she could think better outdoors than anywhere else- and thinking was what she needed to do the most right now.
Amelia barely noticed as her feet followed the already-familiar path past the house and small outbuildings, down a gently sloping hill, and into a small, thick grove of pine trees.
She walked past the old tree house built high up among a certain sturdy pine, and over the log that spanned the small rushing creek as a bridge.
She finally stopped where she knew she would end up at. The cluster of huge, rounded pines just beyond the creek hid the entrance to one of her favorite places on earth.
Stooping, Amelia gently pulled back a few select pine boughs close to the ground to reveal a small natural opening in one of the pines close to the bottom, about four feet high. She carefully stepped in and let the branches close back behind her, concealing the opening.  
She was alone in her secret hideout, the one she had discovered nine years ago as an eager, happy seven-year-old playing hide-and-seek in the woods surrounding her new home.
The moment that Amelia had stepped through that opening for the first time, she knew that she had found her secret haven. The group of four large pines were clustered together in such a way that the trunks were quite close together. Due to some cause, the bottom four feet of the tree boughs had been clipped out, forming a nearly perfect round little cave under the cool dark pine boughs. However, that wasn’t even the best part.
Once, while coming to her hideout to think, she had laid back on the soft, cool grass to look up at the dark green limbs above her. To her surprise, pine boughs were not the only thing she could see.
Directly above her, the four trees’ tips came together to form a round hole at the center, about two feet across. Through that little hole, the sky was visible overhead, in all its cloudless blue.
Even as a seven-year-old, Amelia had had enough sense to know that such a place deserved to be kept a secret, and she had faithfully done so all these years.
She had visited her secret hideaway often at first, then, as other things began calling her attention, she had nearly forgotten about her secret hideout under the pines, with its breathtaking view of the sky overhead.
Now, as she once again stepped into her hideaway, it was as if time stood still. The little round room under the pines was unchanged, looking exactly as it had looked nearly two years ago- the last time Amelia could recall visiting it.
Everything was still there- the wooden box containing the treasures most sacred to her girlish heart, the blanket folded on top of the softest patch of grass, and the nail driven into the trunk of one of the pines, which held a small pair of binoculars. She had often used them to gaze up at the birds’ nests which were abundant in the uppermost branches in the springtime and late summer.
Amelia reached down and unfolded the blanket. She sat down, and reach over to pull the wooden box onto her lap.
Opening the lid brought forth a rush of memories.
There was that special necklace her best friend had given her the day that she and her family have moved to Mexico to become missionaries- five years ago. Amelia hadn’t seen Sarah since.
There was that little magnifying glass that she had often used to study ladybugs under, and  a folded handkerchief which contained her stash of sunflower seeds that she had meant to plant every summer for the past four years.
At the bottom of the box was something with a soft cover. Amelia reached in and drew  it out. It was her little pocket Bible- the one she had been given for her ninth birthday. She had been amazed that the whole Bible could be printed in a book so small.  
With her fingers still closed around the little Bible, Amelia let the rest of the contents of the box fall to the ground as she laid back on the blanket, her eyes blurred with tears.
All of these memories were almost too much for her to handle right now. Especially combined with all the thoughts already whirling around in her tired, confused mind.
There were just too many choices and decisions and changes coming at her at one time. It was too much. Why had God allowed all of this? Didn’t He even care about what was going on in her life right now?
God, this is too much! I can’t handle all of this right now, on my own. I’m not even sure if you still care. I don’t have the strength-. it’s just too much!
Amelia lay on her stomach with the soft, cool grass underneath her, sobbing quietly to herself for nearly ten minutes. Finally, she wiped her eyes with her sleeve and rolled over on her back.
At that moment, her gaze was transfixed. That little round opening in the in the trees above her revealed a sight that she had never seen before- a little round patch of pure beauty. It was the dark night sky, studded with the most clear, brilliant stars that you could imagine.
They were so vivid that Amelia had seen photographs of stars that could not be compared to these. They were beyond anything any photo could ever depict. They were real.
Time stood still as Amelia lay on her back and stared up at that little piece of the night sky so vividly portrayed to her at that moment. She knew that God was trying to tell her something.
Dragging her gaze away from the spectacular view above her, she brought her pocket Bible onto her lap and began flipping through it slowly. She suddenly stopped as her eyes fell on a certain page from Isaiah.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:26-31

Amelia sat with her gaze fixed on the words on the page in front of her. She had heard of God speaking straight to people through the Bible, but up until now, she wasn’t sure if she really believed it or not. After all, the world was so big, and God had so much to do. Why would He bother to speak directly to someone like her?
There was no doubt in her mind now.
God- the same God who had spoken the stars into existence, who had named them all, who kept them all in place- cared for her, and what was happening in her life. The same God who had numbered the billions of stars above had numbered the days of her life, and had planned them out for His glory and her good.
Count the stars, Amelia could feel God whispering to her. Count the stars, if you can. As many stars as there are in the universe, My love for you is infinitely bigger. My plan for your life is ultimately better than anything you could imagine. I care for you more than for all the stars in the sky that I breathed into existence and named, one by one. Nothing is too hard for you- you will not be on your own. I will be with you. My love for you outnumbers the stars.
Amelia sat up slowly and wiped the tears from her eyes again. This time, they were tears of joy.
Carefully, she folded the blanket and tucked it into its spot again. Gathering up the little treasures that had spilled from the box, she scooped them back inside and closed the lid.
She set the box back in its little corner and looked around. Everything looked undisturbed and just as it had an hour before. Everything, that is, except for her heart. It had been touched with a tangible reminder of God’s love in a way that she would never forget.
Feeling for the branches that covered the secret opening, Amelia looked up for one more glimpse of the starry sky above through the round opening. Thank you, Lord, she whispered to herself.
With the little Bible clutched in her hand, Amelia gently pushed back through the secret opening. As the branches closed behind her, her heart felt lighter than it had for a long time.
As her feet traced the familiar path back to the house, she kept her gaze fixed on the night sky above her. Those special words were still echoing around in her head.
Count the stars. I will be with you. My love for you outnumbers the stars.

22 comments:

  1. I love this! Short stories are the best. The image that is painted in my head from the description of the secret hide out is brilliant so is the way you write!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gorgeous, I love it. Keep writing!

    Lorraine // Laurel Crowned

    ReplyDelete
  3. This a really cool story!! I would love to have a secret hide out like in the story! You told it so well I could just picture it all:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kelsea! I'd love to have a hideout like that too... oh, well. ;)

      Delete
  4. THIS IS SO GOOD. good job. this story was so beautiful <3

    Ellie
    www.uniquelyyou1.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Ellie! Your comments are so sweet. xx

      Delete
  5. This was AWESOME!! The point really hit home. Thank you for sharing it!!
    -Mikayla-

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my goodness!
    YOU.NEED.TO.GET.PUBLISHED.K?
    GIIIIIRRRRRRLLLLL!!!!!!!! I love how you incorporate the message you want to share through your story, and how much detail you give it. =D THIS WAS AWESOMENESS, AND YOU SHOULD LOOK INTO PUBLISHING, OK?? Good!! =P LOL
    Jaidyn Elise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ASDFGHJKL THANK YOU SO MUCH JAIDYN!! Your comment literally made my entire day- you are too sweet!!

      Delete
  7. That's one of my favourite passages! I like how you incorporated it into the story. And that last line speaks to me right now. Thank you. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such an amazing passage, isn't it? Thank you for reading! <3

      Delete
  8. This is gorgeous Emily - that last sentence was SOOO good!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Emily, if I could incorporate Scriptures so skillfully and fittingly into my stories...

    I don't know where I was going with that, but I sure wish I could! That was so beautiful and well done! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jordy... thank you so much! Your comment was very encouraging to me. <3

      Delete
  10. Oh, Emily! Your writing is GORGEOUS! I totally agree you should get published. *cheers*

    Love this story and love you! ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Hannah! *hugs* ♥

      Delete
  11. This is amazing! It has such vivid detail, I can picture it clearly. I love how you put actual scripture into it, and how it flows with the story. I like the whole "count the stars" thing too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sarah! I am glad you enjoyed the story. =)

      Delete

I love getting comments.... a lot! I want to know your thoughts about what you've read,so your messages make my day and bring a smile to my face.
Please make sure to keep your words polite, considerate to others, and honoring to the Lord. ♥
Thank you!