teenage faith

Scott was the one cool Christian in junior high. He loved punk rock, skateboarding, and multicolored facial hair. As a fourteen-year-old, know-it-all, loud-mouthed atheist, the only reason I didn’t write Scott off completely, like I did every other Christian, was because he didn’t back down when I questioned his strange, persistent love for Jesus. He wasn’t afraid of all of us making fun of his faith and his sobriety. He almost seemed to enjoy it sometimes. He did his fair share of making logical fun of our drunkenness and stupidity as well. So we respected him for that.
—  Lacey Sturm

USA TODAY: SHEPHERD, Mich. – The kids were home alone. Their dad had stepped out and would be back shortly. But in the few minutes before he returned,their quiet world was upended by a terrifying visit.

It was just before 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Suddenly, the children heard frantic banging on their front door and a woman’s panicked screams.

“Her voice was, like, she was going to die if I didn’t open that door,” James said.

He hesitated and looked at his sister, who stood stunned and silent. He could have ignored the woman’s screams for help, could have kept this frightening intrusion out of their house and out of their lives.

“A lot of people, maybe most people, would’ve been like, ‘Get the hell off my porch,’ ” James Jr., the father, said.

Instead, the teenager unlocked the door. The woman charged in, ran to the kitchen and hid.

A senior at Central Michigan University several miles north, the woman was walking to her car in a school parking lot when Eric Ramsey, a 30-year-old ex-convict, approached her with a gun, got into her vehicle, took her to his mother’s house and raped her.

The woman was an alarming sight. She had clear packing tape wrapped around her body. There were bruises on her face. She was cradling one of her arms, which she said was broken after she leaped from the vehicle as Ramsey was driving down South Mission.

She saw the little house with its porch light in the darkness, ran to it and begged to be let inside.

“She’s like, 'We gotta hide! There’s someone out there who just kidnapped me and he’s trying to kill me,” James said.

Acelin peered out the window. She saw a vehicle moving with menacing slowness up the long, winding driveway.

It was Ramsey.

James locked the front door and ran to the side door to lock it, too. He herded everyone into the bathroom to hide. The injured woman got in the bathtub and cowered. Acelin and Angus joined her.

James went to his bedroom and grabbed the one weapon he has – a hunting knife. He pulled his Labrador retriever by the collar into the bathroom and closed the door, which has no lock. James turned the lights off, so if Ramsey got inside, he might pass by the bathroom and look for them in another room first.

“Let me in or I’ll kill you,” Ramsey kept shouting.

There they were – a rape victim, a dog too friendly to offer much protection and three frightened children, hiding in the dark, convinced they were about to die at the hands of the man trying to get inside. And the only thing that stood between them and him was a 5-foot-8, 142-pound 14-year-old boy holding a small knife.

James handed the victim his cellphone, and she called 911. He then called his father at the family store.

“We need help right now,” James told his dad. “There’s a man outside our door trying to get in, and I’m really afraid.”

James Jr. threw the phone on the counter and ran out without his jacket or his house key. He jumped in his car and headed home, speeding down the dirt roads in the pitch-black country darkness.

As they waited for their dad, Acelin kept calling for her brother.

“I wanted him to come in the bathtub with me and just hug each other and say good-bye,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, if we didn’t make it, if he actually did make it in here and my dad didn’t get home in time.”

The pounding and screaming suddenly stopped. The children hoped it meant Ramsey was gone.

But he was still outside. And he was trying to burn them alive.

Ramsey grabbed a can of gas from the vehicle, poured it around the base of the house, lit it and drove off.

As James Jr., barreling in his car through the darkness, approached his street, he turned off his headlights. He was hoping to sneak up on the house and catch Ramsey by surprise.

Instead, he found his house on fire.

The kids didn’t know it. They only knew the banging and yelling had started again, and they braced themselves.

But this time, it was their dad. He roared up in his car, scrambled out and began throwing his body against the flames to extinguish them. He tried opening the locked doors, but he had no key, so he started trying to break windows to get inside.

At that very moment, a sheriff’s deputy pulled up, the first to respond to the 911 call. He saw a man screaming and trying get into the house – a man who matched the description given in the 911 call.

The deputy drew his gun and pointed it at the hysterical man running toward him.

“I’m the dad! I’m the dad!” James Jr. shouted.

The children finally opened the door at the sight of police cars pulling up to the house.

The deputies interviewed the victim and the kids before the woman was taken away by ambulance.

Finally, police called around 5 a.m. Thursday to let them know Ramsey wouldn’t be back. He had been shot and killed.

When James went back to school, people came up to congratulate the 14-year-old boy for the way he protected his family, rising to the occasion with calm courage. Some told him he’s a hero, but he downplays that term.

His dad said he merely did the right thing.

“We never put the word 'hero’ out there,” James Jr. said. “We just kept saying, 'We’re proud of you.’ ”

CSBB Author Spotlight: mahstatins

Today’s Captain Swan Big Bang Spotlight features @mahstatins!

What is your writing process like?

I start by writing longhand in notebooks, then transfer the decent bits to screen. Other than that I don’t have what I would consider a process. For longer fics I will have a list of ‘things that need to happen’ but things often go off on a tangent I wasn’t expecting. I also write nonlinearly quite a lot of the time, so sometimes chapter eight might have been completed weeks or months before chapter one.

What do you think your greatest strength is as a writer?

Dialogue. Particularly banter between Emma and Killian

What’s a particular trope or kind of story you’ve wanted to try, but haven’t gotten to yet?

I had great plans for a murder mystery fic that never panned out! Maybe one day.

Who is your favorite OUAT character to write?

Since I can’t choose between CS: Henry. I love his teenage stroppiness, childlike faith, and his dynamic with both Emma and Killian!

If you participated in the first Captain Swan Big Bang, what was the experience like for you? What are you looking forward to this time around?

My first Big Bang experience was unusual in that I swapped fics halfway through! I’m looking forward to the more community based style of this year’s event

Favorite Fics:

It Runs in the Family (AO3)

I like that this one is a little bit sweet, a little bit angsty, but also very silly. It also contains Captain Cobra Swan which is my favourite thing to write!

A Fixed Point (AO3)

There’s a dreamy sort of twisted quality to this Doctor Who AU that I really enjoyed writing and still really like.

Ready to Believe You (AO3)

Last year’s CSBB (little bang) fic! Some of the imagery in this still makes me giggle, and I absolutely loved writing it!

Check out mahstatins on FFnet - AO3 - Tumblr

Dear future husband,

Sometimes I wonder whether or not I already know you or if I am still yet to meet you. Some days I wonder where you are and what you’re up to. Sometimes I wish I could just know who you are already so I could start my life with you but I know that God’s timing is perfect and his will for our lives is perfect so when the time is right it will happen.

Even in this modern era, I want to be a traditional wife to you. I know in this is strange in today’s society but it’s what I’ve always wanted. When I say traditional I mean it in the way that I want to be a wife who serves her husband. I know that this is not something most women want and many frown upon it but more than anything it’s the type of wife I want to be.

Some days.. I get scared.. thinking I may never find you. Some days I get scared thinking I may never find the type of man who wants this and that I may settle for someone who is nothing like I want but I just had to settle because I could never find someone who understood what I wanted in a marriage. 

I want you to be my best friend. I don’t mean this in a hypocritical way that most couples seem to experience. People say that your spouse should be your best friend. Some people say that their spouse is their best friend but I don’t believe it. I see them lying to each other and keeping things from each other. I really do want you to be my best friend. I want you to be the first one I want to tell when something funny happened. I want you to seek refuge in your arms when I have a bad day and I want you to feel comfortable enough to do the same.

I can promise you that the only thing that comes before you in my life is God. I promise to never forget that you are not just my husband, but his son and I will always cherish the gift he gave me, the gift of having his son as my life companion. I can’t believe that I’m tearing up while writing this but right now I really am wondering what my future would be like and if I would ever find you.

I just hope.. that when I do meet you.. you can accept me for who I am and I will accept you for who you are. I will love you honor you every day of my life and I will never stop trying to be the wife that you need. I know that I’m not perfect. I will make mistakes and I hope you will be forgiving of my shortcomings. 

Ever since I was a young girl, I dreamt of the man I would spend my life with. Thing is, when ever anyone around me brings up marriage, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is “I never want to get married!!!” When it’s really the complete opposite. I guess there are two reasons I say this.. 1. Because I’m too shy to admit that its what I want.. in the presence of my family. Hell..  as long as I can remember I knew I never wanted them at my wedding because  I knew that having them there would mean me not being comfortable on my wedding day.

2. Because I guess it’s easier to have everyone believe that so they won’t be too disappointed if I never find someone who wants me. Everyone thinks I will be a horrible wife, it’s something I’ve worked for years to have them believe. I pretend to be all tough and mean but it’s all just a show… so far one one person has seen through my facade and he turned to me one day and said “I know what you’re doing and I hear them saying they are sorry for who ever you choose to marry but I see through you. I see what you’re doing and you will be one of the best wives I could ever imagine.”

I don’t know about being the ‘best wife’ but I know I will be a wife who is faithful and patient and kind and loving towards her husband. I want to be a wife who sees it as her duty to serve her husband. I want to submit to you as I submit to God’s will. I want to love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone else. I want to fill your life with love and I want to be there to support you every step of the way.

So, where ever you are.. this Valentines Day.. know that I am praying.. praying to find you.. praying to meet you.. praying that God leads us together. Praying for your health, your happiness, your long life.. praying that God makes you the type of man he wants you to be. Praying that you’re ready for me and that I am ready for you when we finally meet..

Your future wife.


~Excerpts from the book I’ll never write #148


12:48  am


Last night I started to play with my pens and welp… shit happens.
I need to practice, like a lot.

PS: The Spanish text says something like “It’s full of hope… stupid rotten thoughts worthy of a teenager with extra faith…”

“I want you,” I thought.
“I want you,” you thought.
“I have a boyfriend,” I said.
“I have a girlfriend,” you said.

And our paths remained uncrossed.

—  An excerpt from a poem I’ll never write.