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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Guard Your Heart (06/08/12)

TITLE: Brian’s Mis-understanding
By Ken Ebright


Marcy, a seven year old walked into the house all covered with mud.

“Marcy, I just changed your clothes, your mom is going to be here in a little bit. You’re all full of mud. Didn’t I tell you to stay clean?”

Dad helped her to change her clothes. “Since you didn’t listen to me. Go stand in the corner.”

Marcy started to cry just as her mom showed up and rang the doorbell. Brian brought the child out to the car.

Beth‘s face turned red. “What did you do to my baby?”

Brian‘s jaw tightened. “Nothing.”

Beth put her in the car seat and slammed the door really hard. “She’s crying.”

“All I did…”

“I’ll call you later.” Beth got into the car and squealed the tires as she left.


Brian strolled into his office on Monday morning. Marge, his secretary, hung up the phone.

“Your ex-wife called three times this morning.”

“Yeah, I know she left three voice messages on my answering machine last night. If she calls again tell her I am out of the office. I don‘t want to talk to her.”


On Wednesday when Brian walked into his office he found a pan of Rice Crispy bars on his desk. He walked out to his secretary’s desk. "Hey Marge, you didn’t have to."

Marge smiled. "I didn’t, they’re from Beth."

"Hu-uh, are they really from Beth?"

Marge walked in and stood by Brian's desk. "Yes." Brian's jaw dropped. "She wanted to say that she was sorry. She wants you to call her."

Brian sat down in his chair and trembled as he dialed the number. "Hello Beth, this is Brian, I got the Rise Crispy bars. What’s this all about?"

"I wanted to tell you I overreacted and that I'm sorry. I tried to call you but you didn't return my calls."

Brian bit his lower lip. "Last Sunday I punished her because she got into the mud when I told her to stay clean. You called me a child abuser for having Marcy stand in the corner. Child abuser is a strong word. They’ll haunt me the rest of my life. I would never hurt Marcy. I needed to protect myself, that‘s why I didn‘t call you back. I could not take the chance of hearing those words again."

There was a sound of a long breath on the other end of the line. "Honey, I'm sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you. I was so wrong. Please forgive me."

Brian stared straight at the wall. "You’re forgiven this time. I was childish, I should have returned your phone calls."

"Thank you."

Brian opened a file on his desk and got out a pen from the drawer of his desk. "Good, I'll pick up Marcy on Friday at seven."

"We'll see you then." said Beth.

The next Sunday night when Beth came to pick up Marcy, she put her in the car and fastened the seat belt around her. Then she closed the back car door, Brian stood by the car and watched tapping his fingers on the hood.

Beth walked over to him. "Brian, I let my emotions get out of whack, I made assumptions that were not true. We need to listen to each other more."

"Beth, I agree, we both need to communicate better."

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This article has been read 327 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 06/18/12
Misunderstandings are so easy - especially in relationships like this. Great reminder.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/19/12
This is a great idea. I've read several stories this week and this is a fresh take on the topic. I love that you went in a direction that is different. You're making good progress on showing rather than telling. Little things like he bit his lip gives the reader insight into his emotional state. You show me he is nervous by just those few words. Again when he stared at the wall showed me he was taking precautions not to be hurt again. A sign of a phenomenal writer is when every single word is relevant to the story, that each little phrase gives the reader insight into the personality of the MC. This is especially hard to do with such a limited amount of words. Getting to that point is a life-long journey and you're making good progress to it. Your perseverance is an inspiration to me.
C D Swanson 06/20/12
Thank you for the message and the emotional journey in this well-written piece. Good job. Thank you.

God bless~