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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Threefold Cord (04/12/12)

TITLE: A Winning Combination
By Laura Manley


Lily Lambert woke up to a sun-filled room with a slight breeze gently giving wing to her bedroom curtains. As she stretched her long, lean body and scooted it out of her bed which Goldilocks would have described as too soft, thoughts took root in her half-asleep mind of what her pastor had preached on at last night’s service. She needed to hurry if she was going to share the message with Larry before he left for work.

Lily fidgeted with the hot and cold knobs in the shower stall until she claimed the water flow and temperature as being just right. As she lathered the coconut lime shampoo into her long beautiful auburn hair, Lily again thought about the pastor’s message. For the first time since she had left Larry six months earlier, she saw hope.

Larry had been a firefighter since he volunteered at age seventeen. Over the past twenty-three years, the physical demands of his job had taken a grueling toll on Larry’s body and he had turned to prescription drugs to relieve the pain. As a firefighter, with a twenty-four hour shift every three days, sleep was not a constant and Larry began abusing his prescription sleep aid as well. After seeing the man she married turn into someone she barely recognized, Lily moved out.

Through counseling both individually and separately, and an intense out-patient drug program, life improved for the couple for a while. But it didn’t take long for the familiar signs of drug addiction to be recognized again by Lily. She had become a pro and knew no amount of nagging, begging, pleading or threats would make a difference.

Although Lily was torn between commitment of her wedding vows to Larry, but in particular to God, she could not continue in what she considered a deceitful relationship. The drugs had to go or she was gone forever. After a few months of separation from Larry, Lily grudgingly met with an attorney and the beginning of the end took flight.

Suddenly, Lily realized the time and she knew that if she didn’t scurry out of the shower then, she would miss seeing Larry this glorious God-given day. She was on a mission; one which she prayed fervently about during the night.

Lily reached for the brightly-colored yellow towel on the rack just outside the shower and hurriedly dried off. She quickly put her parched hair into a ponytail, a style she often wore on her days off.

She bustled through the house after dressing, crabbing her coat, handbag and keys and out the door she went. ‘Will Larry see the same hope I do?’ Lily thought as the car started purring down the neighborhood streets.

‘Oh, good, he’s home!’ Lily thought as she pulled into the driveway of the home they had purchased just five years ago. She missed…it didn’t matter what she missed; she needed to get her focus back.

The front door opened with gentleness. Lily and Larry exchanged niceties before Larry offered Lily a freshly-brewed cup of coffee.

“So what brings you here so early, Lily?” asked Larry with an anticipation Lily felt immediately.

“Larry, I’ve found something that is going to strengthen our relationship…the relationship we nearly threw away.”

Larry scooted his chair closer to the wife he had always adored and knew the path he had taken had crumbled her soul. He listened intently as she continued.

“At church last night, Pastor talked about a threefold cord.” Larry was familiar with the Ecclesiastes 4:12 verse in the Bible that referred to it. He listened attentively to what Lily had to say.

Lily continued with as much enthusiasm as she had felt the night before. “Larry, Pastor explained that a threefold cord is absolutely imperative in any marriage. It seems so simple, in retrospect. We did everything wrong when it came to us piecing our tattered-torn marriage back together; we forgot the one constant…God Almighty!”

Lily suddenly stopped and took her husband’s face into her soft gentle hands and said, “It’s as simple as this; in order for our marriage to survive, Larry, it must include you, me and most importantly, God. That’s a cord that, as the Bible says, “is not quickly broken.”

Tears began to flow like a waterfall between the two renewed hearts sitting across from one another. As their conversation bloomed, they both knew this was just the beginning of the life they nearly threw away.

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This article has been read 524 times
Member Comments
Member Date
PamFord Davis 04/20/12
You have mastered a winning combination: strong message, creative writing, and holding the attention of the reader.

Great job!

Wing His Words!
Graham Insley04/25/12
A good strong story but one point: 'both individually and separately'

Individual and seperate are the same thing.

Good job and I hope you do well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/25/12
This is a good story. You started out with a teaser that made me want to keep reading.

Many people this week wrote about that verse and a troubled marriage. You did a nice job on the descriptions and helping me to picture the story as it unfolds.

The main red ink I would offer is that some of your sentences may be a tad long for a short story. A reader may be slightly overwhelmed by them. You could still use the same powerful descriptions but put them into two sentences instead of one.

I enjoyed how you wrapped up the ending. You gave the reader a hint that things would work out and it is nice to end a story with hope. Your descriptions painted a vivid picture and it feels like you have been working hard on that pesky show don't tell rule that many writers struggle with. You packed a lot of story into 750 words. Nice job.
Dannie Hawley 04/26/12
Colorfully descriptive article. Nicely done. One typo... crabbing instead of grabbing her coat... although, I don't much like wearing coats so maybe you really meant crabbing... ? Nice writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/26/12
Congratulations for placing 7th in level one!