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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Donít Look Back (04/19/12)

TITLE: Bearly Scriptural
By darlene thompson


Early spring in the Blue Ridge Mountains made my hiking boots dance through the blue mist, lush green, glorious red azaleas, and purple Catawba rhododendron. I climbed the high mountains and filled my lungs with sky air.
After several hours of quiet meditation and thankfulness for God's palette of creation, I descended into the pristine valley below. Slowly I eased down the narrow trails to a clump of standing pines. I was lost in the rapture of the joys I had seen.
As I neared the last few trees, a dark figure emerged from behind the last pine tree. Standing before me was a 200 pound black bear. My heart thundered clapped in my chest. I looked at the bear as he sniffed the cool air.
My mind raced to all those up pieces of advice on what to do when confronted by a bear. Yelling and shouting did not seem appropriate because my lips would not form sounds. Running was not an option either as my legs felt like solid cement. I was frozen in time. The bear stared at me and moved slowly toward me. Suddenly, he stopped and sniffed the air again. With pounding heart, I eased backwards toward a small knoll. Near the knoll my feet took flight and soon I dashed to the top. In my ears I heard, "Don't look back! Don't look back!"
Finally, I stopped to catch my breath. Below, I could see the bear had moved across the grass and waded a slow moving stream. Soon he disappeared into the forest.
The encounter with the bear reminded me of my own Christian life. It is better not to look at "those things behind me but press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 04/28/12
Loved your title, clever. This story was short, but to the point. I really enjoyed it, and shared the MC's anxiety as she was looked at the bear. Great job of bringing that forward, and wonderful job in your conclusion. Nicely done.

God Bless you~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/01/12
This is a delightful piece. I found my heart thumping a bit too. We live where the bears could show up in our backyard so I've taught my kids all of those things the MC ran through her mind.

You had a couple of tiny typos like up instead of in and thundered clapped. You may also want to double space between the paragraphs to give the reader more white space.

I liked your message at the end but it seemed like it was an abrupt transition. Sometimes I've put things in my story because this is a Christian site and I felt there should be a Christian message in it. Since then I've learned as long as the story is from my heart, the Holy Spirit will make a different message to different people.

To me it seemed a tad too abrupt of a change of thoughts. Perhaps if you had transitioned it more or told a personal story that shows your message. Something like When my mom died, I found myself looking back all of the time. By looking over my shoulder, I was allowing the past to catch up with me. If I didn't start looking forward, I'd find the past devouring me, much like the bear would have. That example may not be perfect but I am hoping it will illustrate what I was trying to say. I'm not saying your way was wrong, by any means, but wanted to show you how your great story could be an outstanding one just by smoothing the transition.

Overall. you did a fantastic job. The pace of the story was perfect. You brought up the conflict right away to entice the reader to read more. The ending was great too. I could just picture the bear lounging by the lake reminiscing about the silly human walking backwards. :) You definitely were spot on topic and it was a fresh POV. I love it when someone attacks the topic from a different angle and you did just that. Your message is a clear one too and one we all need to be reminded of now and then. I look forward to reading more of your stories as this was one of my favorites so far this week.