Fiction By Mary // 2/9/2009

Oddly, I didn’t see myself as a suicidal nineteen-year-old girl standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a gun to her own head. I saw myself as a slave, standing before her god, with one last command to fulfill before being granted her freedom.
Even though I had never heard of anyone committing suicide standing in front of a mirror, I knew that I had to. I wanted it to see me.
Part of me wanted the mirror to see my last act of obedience, my admission that it was right, that I would never be what I wanted – needed – to be. But part of me stood in front of that mirror in defiance, laughing in its face as I wrenched free from its authority. Because if I was dead it couldn’t control me, could it? I allowed myself a grim smile at the thought. I literally had my own destiny wrapped around my finger in the form of a metal trigger.
Finally, I was the one in control.
I didn’t care what the mirror-god thought any more, I told myself. I didn’t care if the mirror-god said that even after months of working out my abs weren’t flat enough, or that after years of braces and retainers my teeth weren’t straight enough, or that no amount of makeup could conceal my acne. I didn’t care. I was the one in control now, and I was taking my freedom back by force.

Reminding myself of all the things the mirror had said to me over the years had been a big mistake. As I stood there remembering, it started speaking again.
You’re not really doing this out of defiance, it said, you’re doing it out of desperation. You don’t have the guts to do it out of defiance – see? Look how pale and scared you are.
I scanned my reflection. I was pale. Very pale. With a complexion as pale as mine was to begin with, the paleness brought on by anxiety reduced me to looking like something between a marshmallow and a cave fish.
You’re too scared to do it, the mirror said, way too scared. Just look and see.
That was it. I wasn’t listening to that mirror’s sneering voice any more.
I had gradually been lowering the gun as the mirror tried to intimidate me. Now I jerked it back up so fast that I accidentally cracked my temple with the end of the barrel. My ears rang and my vision blurred – only momentarily, but in that moment I heard a voice from somewhere whisper three words.

Not of works.

I paused. Not of works? What was that supposed to mean? It didn’t make any sense; and anyway, the mirror’s voice was enough to deal with – I didn’t need any others telling me what to do.
I shook my throbbing head and tried to restore my previous concentration, but the new voice kept talking.

By grace … through faith … not of works.

I rolled my eyes in frustration. If I had to listen to this new voice it should at least talk straight. Like the mirror. The mirror never minced words, never spoke in riddles. It was always straight talk: “Not good enough. Period. Plain and simple.”
Come to think of it, that was all the mirror had ever said – “Not good enough.”
But that was why I had to do this, I reminded myself. I had to show the mirror that I didn’t care what it thought any more. It couldn’t make me work to please it any more. I was going to show it that I didn’t care that I wasn’t good enough to make it happy.

My grace is sufficient.

This time the voice caught my attention. Sufficient. It had said the word sufficient – enough.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, replaying that word in my mind. Enough. That was all I had ever wanted – just enough.
That was how I had ended up as a slave to the mirror: it promised enough. It told me that braces would be enough to give me a great smile; a different haircut would frame my face and make me look beautiful; working out for two hours a day would be enough to give me a great body. And I did everything it said only for it to find something else wrong with me, something else that I had to change or fix.

All at once something ‘clicked’ in my head. I stared in horror at the mirror as I realized that it wasn’t really concerned with my looks – it just wanted to keep me unhappy so that it could control me. It had lied to me.
As if reading my thoughts, the mirror started speaking again: “It doesn’t matter. You’ll never be good enough. Never. Nothing you do will ever be good enough.”
It continued spewing its same tired lines at me as I slowly turned the gun away from my head and aimed it at my reflection.

By grace are you saved, through faith, the Silent Voice thundered from all around me as I glared down the pistol at the mirror. By grace are you saved, through faith…

“Not by my works!” I shouted as I jerked the trigger.

In the close confines of the bathroom the gunshot was deafening, but not so deafening that I couldn’t hear the sound of the mirror exploding. Part of it fell off of the wall and crashed onto the counter and into the sink, but most of it stayed up, where I could see the beautiful spider web of cracks running through it. in the center of the web was the hole – a black hole that had bored through the mirror, the dry wall, and into a beam, where I assumed it had stopped.
As I stared at the bullet hole – the hole I had originally intended to put through my head – my vision suddenly spun and my knees buckled. My hand went limp and the gun thudded onto the floor as I sank down against the wall.
I laid there in the bathroom floor, too exhausted to move. After a moment I felt a Presence surrounding me … holding me … filling me.
“My grace is sufficient,” It whispered.
I smiled. I had escaped the clutches of one god only to fall captive to another. But that was okay. Somehow I knew that this God would never lead me on a string of “just one more…” promises. This God would never sneer or mock at my attempts at obedience. This God would love me.

I could never do enough to earn His love – but then, that was His entire point.


That is excellent! I really

That is excellent! I really like it.

And congrats on getting published!

Sarah | Mon, 02/09/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

(No subject)

Velocity | Mon, 02/16/2009

The Truth will set you free.

I'm tellin' ya, Mary, this

I'm tellin' ya, Mary, this is an amazing short story and not weird at all! Good job!
Oh and btw, I'm still jealous of that acceptance letter! :0)
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Tue, 02/10/2009

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"


Very wow. Extremely wow. Wow enough to give me chills - keep up the great work, Mary!

"I am a dreamer, take me higher, open the sky up, start a fire...I beleive, even if it's just a dream." -Bethany Dillon

LoriAnn | Tue, 02/10/2009

Interesting. Reminds me a

Interesting. Reminds me a little of a song by BarlowGirl... but just a little. Anyway. I'm rambling.

Congrats on getting published!
He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Tue, 02/10/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

This is really good, Mary.

This is really good, Mary. It's really powerful and deep and interesting and insightful.

Congrats on becoming published!!!
"Elves and Dragons! Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you'll land in trouble too big for you." — Hamfast Gamgee (the Gaffer)

Clare Marie | Tue, 02/10/2009

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]


Thanks, guys, for all of the compliments!


Words are at their highest when they are used as a window through which we can see God.
~ Paul David Tripp

Mary | Thu, 02/12/2009

Brother: Your character should drive a motorcycle.
Me: He can't. He's in the wilderness.
Brother: Then make it a four-wheel-drive motorcycle!

This is deep. Very deep.

This is deep. Very deep. Possbly one of the best parables that I have read outside of the Bible.

Ezra | Sat, 02/14/2009

"There are no great men of God. There are only pitiful, sorry men whose God is great beyond measure." - Paul Washer [originally Jonathan Edwards]

Really good! "Remember when

Really good!

"Remember when 'you play like a girl' use to be an insult?"
-Mia Hamn, American Olympic soccer star.

"Being cool is not acting cool."

E | Mon, 02/16/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond


This was a really good story! I loved it!
And congratulations on getting published! How excitin'! =)


*The Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart*
(I may have some wrong punction...)

Anonymous | Thu, 02/19/2009


Excellent Mary! You hit the nail on the head!!
Keep it up!

Juliette | Tue, 02/24/2009

This is really good! I was a

This is really good! I was a little scared at the beginning, but when the second voice came in, I knew it would be all right. The climax, where she fires at the mirror, feels right. It would also make a great movie scene. :)

This is a story that makes you think. That's a sign that you've got a winner!

Sarah B. | Fri, 04/03/2009


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