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

TITLE: A Protector of the Heart
By Deborah Sampson


A Protector of the Heart
If you are cautious about the things you do, and pray about them, you should be able to handle any situation. Think before you react to the problems that you are suddenly faced with. Foolish people rush to make decisions that just needed time and prayer. These statements came from Joslyn’s grandmother, who had lived most of her life by these words. Words of wisdom Grandma Winston use to say, you could do worse. Joslyn knew this first hand because she was raised by her Grandma.

Just what would Grandma say now? Would she understand the decisions she had made? It was quite possible that Grandma Winston would be furious with her, had she still been here, but she wasn’t. Grandma had been her best friend and the only relative she had left.

Four years ago, Joslyn left to go to college in the city, she came back to stay during holidays, and summer for the most part, but as the years passed by, Joslyn didn’t come as often, but she knew that Joslyn loved her.

The last time she was home, Grandma tried to talk to her about her relationship with the Lord, or her lack of a relationship. She had always instilled in her own life how important her relationship was to her, and prayed that Joslyn would desire it in her own life. It was ok for her grandma, but Joslyn didn’t need it. She was quite capable of handling her own affairs, and making good decisions herself.

Looking back, Joslyn could remember her Grandma’s face at her words, how they must have torn at her Grandma’s heart. Grandma’s only reply that day to Joslyn was “Guard your heart, so as not to let anyone or anything attack it, you pray for the situation first, promise me, Joslyn.” her Grandma said.

Joslyn had come back to take care of her Grandma’s affairs. Walking through the house now, she remembered so many days and evenings spent here with her, the love they shared still flowed through the house. Grandma had left everything to her, and she planned on keeping it much like they had it. Joslyn was moving back and living here. She already had an interview with the local paper, being a well-known journalist; she was hired on the spot. The other decision was the most important in her life.

Joslyn wished she could have told her Grandma that she had given her heart away, but did not do a good job of guarding it. Later, she had found that Garrett was not the person he claimed to be and did not want a long term relationship and certainly not a baby. He was not long in cutting the ties between them and if she cared at all for him she would not keep the baby, he would pay for any procedure that was needed. What a loser, how could she have not seen through him?

Grandma’s words came back to her just then, “Guard your heart, pray for the situation. Joslyn knew then that these words rang true, why hadn’t she listened to her? Joslyn kneeled by her grandma’s favorite chair. “Dear Jesus, I heard about you most of my life, I just didn’t listen. Please forgive me, I lived my life my way, I didn’t give you a chance to be included. My grandma tried to tell me. Jesus, please come into my heart, forgive me, I pray.” Amen.

Joslyn’s whole being became alive with the knowledge of all the burdens that was taken from her, she felt so light and carefree, so in awe of what just had happened to her. Joslyn stayed in the Lord’s presence for a little longer, asking for His help and wisdom on caring for her unborn baby. She asked if He would help her, and guide her on this path, and to somehow let Grandma Winston know she would be ok now, for she no longer was alone. She had her heavenly Father now, and she aimed to stay as close to Him as she could, she no longer wanted the world without Him, she wanted Him in her life and her baby’s life.

To Joslyn, the next few years seemed to have sped by, she had met and married Jeremiah Adams from her church, and he became Jaycee’s father, and Jeffery's, their newest addition, a year later. Except for missing Grandma, life here was great; God had made all the difference.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Manley06/17/12
I'm learning more and more that the title of anything, be it book, story, or whatever, is veery important. I chose to read your story because of the title. Then, I did read your story and I loved it. In fact, I had almost written a story very similar to this.
Grandmas seem to have just the right touch in the lives of their grandchildren. I would suggest that in light of some of your sentences being lengthy that you use elipses (...) or semi-colons to break up the sentences. Other than that, I thought your story read very smoothly and it was right on target.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/19/12
This is a lovely story. Grandma sounds like a very wise woman. Oh how often the young have to learn the hard way. I can think of so many times in my life that would have been easier if I had just listened to the wise women in my life.

The only red ink I have for you is to be careful about POV shifts. Sometimes we could see grandma's thoughts and then it would shift to inside of Jocelyn's head and back again. This is something I've just started tackling myself. I'd always thought if I wrote in third person the narrator could see into every character's head. It's something I still have to work hard at.

You did a great job of covering the topic. You grabbed my attention and then in the end you did a splendid job of coming full circle. Your message is one we all need to be reminded of regardless of our age, at least from time to time. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/19/12
I try not to read the other comments so I'm not influenced. So after I read it, I went back and looked at your sentences. For the most part they were just fine. The third paragraph was a long sentence that could be broken down into 2 or 3. Later there might have been one or two that could have been made into two sentences. But ellipses are used to indicate words that are missing or a thought trailing off and I didn't see any spot where they would really fit. Because I was reading it closer the second time I did notice that Grandma when used as a name should be capitalized but if it has a the or my in front of it then lowercase. I also noticed a quote you used should have ended with a comma because you used the tagline my Grandma said. (That grandma should have been lowercase) Also in the prayer the Amen was outside the quote and should have been inside. These are all nitpicky details but are things that a good challenge buddy or critique group would help you find and fix them.If you see someone on the message boards or feel a connection with someone, don't hesitate to ask if they would proof your story. That's how we get better. The cool thing about FW is people really do want to help each other become the best writers possible. The first time I read your story, I was so engrossed in it that I didn't pick up on these little details. That means you have a knack for storytelling. I did truly enjoy it and think you have a natural talent that just needs some nurturing. Keep writing you have some good stories in there waiting to be shared with the world. :)
C D Swanson 06/20/12
Awwww. I loved this so much! What a touching and lovely story. The message about accepting Jesus into your heart, and the love betweent he MC and the her beloved grandmother was priceless. It made me cry. I felt I was walking with the MC through her grandmother's home, and felt the memories they shared.

Simply beautiful! Great entry. Wonderful story. Powerful message.

Thank you. God bless~