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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)

TITLE: Who Knew?
By Scarlett Farr


Carla sat on the edge of her seat in the coffee shop in nervous anticipation as she tried to read the stoic face of her friend across the table. Leila was motionless, except for the movement of her blue eyes slowly crisscrossing the paper that was between the two women.

As Leila lowered the paper and looked at Carla she said, “Seriously, you wrote this?”

“Yeah”, replied Carla hesitantly, “what do you think?”

“It’s amazing. I had no idea you could write like this”.

“Me neither. Who knew? I’ve never written anything but audit reports.”

“How did you find out about the writing competition?” Leila asked as she sipped her skinny no-whip café mocha.

“What a loaded question” Carla thought, as her mind raced back to the beginning of her journey two years ago.

It all started when Leila called to invite me to a women’s conference. Leila and I rarely had time to talk on the phone, much less have a girl’s night out, so I jumped at the chance to get out of town for a few days with my best pal. Honestly, she could have invited me to a tractor pull and I would have eagerly said yes. But as the day grew closer, I grew more agitated. What was I thinking -- a women’s conference? I hadn’t been to church on a regular basis in years. And I definitely wasn’t into that touchy-feely stuff I was sure dominated such events.

Soon enough, the day I had come to dread arrived and we set out on our trip. The conference was in a large convention center and there were women everywhere -- laughing, smiling, hugging, even standing patiently in snaking bathroom lines. As we passed from lobby into the arena, I stopped short. The nearly 16,000 seat facility was at capacity. An odd thought passed through my subconscious, “Who knew there even were 16,000 Christian women in Georgia?” That should have been a warning to me just how empty I was spiritually, but the thought left no lasting impression as we crawled over woman after woman to get to our seats.

I had no expectations for what the day would be like. Had someone told me it would be life-changing I would have laughed out loud. As it turned out life-changing is an understatement. During those two days I was hit over the head with the hard truth of just how empty my life was and before I left the second day I desperately wanted what the other 16,000 women displayed so openly.

Over the next week, I began to pray, something I hadn’t done seriously in years, if ever. I prayed fervently, thanking God for allowing me to live long enough to realize what an idiot I had been. And in my normal over-achiever way, over the next few weeks I devoured every bible study I could find, trying to play catch-up for the last twenty years. When I wasn’t reading, I surfed the internet looking for websites that could offer answers to the questions I had. That’s when I found the writing competition website.

Who knew that six weeks later I would be sitting in a doctor’s office hearing that my husband had three tumors, one of them in his pancreas. Who knew that for weeks after I would be hundreds of miles from home, family and friends, sitting by his hospital bed, waiting for test results and surgery outcomes.

Who knew that less than two weeks after arriving home from the hospital, another illness would descend upon our household and for another eight weeks this medical crisis would dominate my life.

Who knew? God did and He had patiently waited for just the right moment to get my attention -- a women‘s conference I had already made up my mind not to enjoy. During the weeks after the conference, and before my husband’s diagnosis, I embarked on a crash course of reading about God’s power, love and comfort. What I learned in that short time enabled me to endure the trying months ahead. I certainly was not sure of what the future held, but I was full of confidence that God was going to be with me every step of the way no matter the outcome.

“Earth to Carla”, Leila teased, bring me back to the present. “So, how did you find out about the writing contest?”

“You might want to get another mocha.” Carla replied with a sparkle in her eye.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 724 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Giesbrecht06/12/09
Your writing is easy to read and generally flows nicely. There was a disconnect for me, though, after you mention finding the writing contest online. The illnesses didn't seem to fit. I'm wondering if finding the contest would be better situated nearer the end of the piece, just before the friend gets her attention again.

I love how God works and I love stories that give Him praise for what He's done!! Thank you.

diana kay06/13/09
thank you I enjoyed this but I did get lost when it suddenly jumped into first person . Sometimes this can work well but it just confused and unsettled me and left me wondering why. some of the other parts were a bit confusing too.
Mildred Sheldon06/13/09
It was a bit confusing but all in all it was well written. Keep on keeping on and with time everything will fall into place. Good job. Thanks.
Eliza Evans 06/15/09
I think it is really great that you are stepping it up and "stretching your writing wings". Good for you!

It's easy as a writer to
assume that the reader knows what's going on because...
it's so obvious to us! :)

I think you have a bit too much going on here.
New found faith, multiple
illnesses, blossoming
writing talent, etc.

When we have too much going on our writing tends toward
just telling the facts. "This happened and
then that happened and then..." with not much room
for inviting the reader in emotionally.
Do you know what I mean?

I hope that helps some.

I enjoyed the warmth and friendship between these two gals.

Keep writing! :)
Pat Guy 06/15/09
I see you do have a transition sentence setting up the next few paragraphs of her remembering when it all started for her and that's good. Maybe it needs to be a separate sentence standing alone instead of being connected to her reply. But I tell you, this is really good. I did not get confused or bogged down because life happens just as you wrote it. THIS has a lot of potential.
Bryan Ridenour06/15/09
I think you did quite well and I loved the reminder of "Who knew?" It's so cool that God is never surprised...Well done!
Catrina Bradley 06/15/09
I think I was at that conference!!! I plan to go again this year, maybe I'll see you there. ;) I had the same thoughts about the thousands of Christian women in Georgia :) I really like how you slipped into first person for the "remembering" part - Carla's thoughts - then back to the present (and 3rd person again) and her friend's question that sparked the trip down memory lane. It's hard to pull off, but you did it well. Kudos!
Glynis Becker06/17/09
Good dialogue, nice descriptions. Keep up this great writing!
Sara Harricharan 06/17/09
Heehee! I think it might take more than just ONE more mocha to get all of that story out! lolz. Good job with this! I liked the way you tied it all together.
Gerald Shuler 06/17/09
I share two experiences with your MC, but the women's conference was not one of them! God prepared me for my wife's long term illness and extended stay in a hospital and I also found that writing competition. God laid the foundation and the wonderful Christians at FaithWriters inspired me to stay strong... and they didn't even know they were doing it. Your story left me saying "I've been there... I know what she is talking about." Any time you can do that, you have written a good piece. Listen to what the others have said. You are full of great writing potential.
Deborah Porter 06/19/09
Hi Scarlett. I just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know your entry, Who Knew?, actually did very well in the Empty and Full Challenge. Although you didn't receive an award, you made it into the Highest Rankings for Level 2, placing 7th in that Level. Give yourself a pat on the back! :-)

If you'd like to check the highest rankings for yourself, you can find them here:

The highest rankings are posted every Thursday evening on the Message Boards.

Hope to see you at the FaithWriters' Conference in August. It’s going to be an amazing time of inspiration, information and encouragement. (If I’ve already mentioned that to you, forgive me. We’re just so excited about letting members know about this great gathering.)

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)