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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)

TITLE: For Richer or Poorer
By Donna Wilcher


“I give up!” Jake said, flinging the stack of bills across the room, “There’s no way we can pay these by the time they’re due.”

Marcia was worried too, but refused to give into the panic that was attempting to invade her husband’s heart. She knew nothing she said to console him at that moment would help. His pain was hard for her to watch. Her furtive glance at the scattered papers strewn across the floor reminded her of their dreams, now scattered to the wind.

She gently grasped Jake's clinched fists that lay on the table between them. The gesture calmed him; her touch had been all that was needed to usher in peace to his weary soul. The tension etched in his face disappearing. Jake had often taken her into his arms and whispered thanks to God for creating her to be his perfect soul mate. She felt the same way about him.

Only ten years ago, both fresh out of college, with deep love for each other and heads full of dreams, they opened an advertising agency. Jake was a genius when it came to coming up with new ideas that fit their clients products perfectly. Marcia, the visual artist, could translate those ideas into profitable television commercials, or ads in newspaper and magazines. They were a perfect team.

Markets boomed, and companies relied heavily on advertising agencies to gain exposure or boost sales. Clients raved about them, and their dreams of becoming wealthy were on the horizon.

That all seemed like a million years ago now.

The country seemed to be coming undone. Terrorists attacked us. We went to war. Our military men and women were dying in a country whose leaders abhorred our freedom and way of life. Politicians had forgotten the hardworking citizens who elected them. The only thing that seemed to matter was their political agendas to be re-elected.

The downturn in the countries' economy caused many of their clients to go out of business, or move to other countries, taking their advertising dollars with them.

Jake and Marcia were not alone in their struggle. Many of their friends and family members had already lost their jobs or were in fear of losing them. Homes were on the brink of being lost. Gas prices were ridiculous. Food prices were going up, and savings accounts were depleted or dwindling. Some were desperate for relief and feeling forced to file bankruptcy. It looked like they would be next to do just that.

Marcia didn’t want to think about any of that right now. Jake needed her to be strong. She closed her eyes and said a prayer asking for wisdom and the strength she would need to support her husband so they could get through this together.

“I feel like a failure Marcia. I had hoped we would be rich one day.”

“You’re not a failure Jake. Despite the fact we’ve been dealt a blow, we are rich in many ways.” Marcia stood up. Moving from her chair and kneeling beside her husband. Looking up into his tear-stained face, “We still have each other. We took an oath ten years ago to love, honor and cherish each other. To support one another for richer or poorer, till death do us part.” Jake looked into her eyes. She continued, “Do you want to go back on that promise now mister?” giving him a gentle pinch in the side.

His sweet smile showed up at the corners of his mouth, “What did I do to deserve you?”

“I don’t know, but whatever it is, keep doing it,” she said, giving him a wink. “Seriously Jake, God is going to help us through this. All we need to do is trust in his promise to supply all our needs.”

“Even those?” He asked pointing at the bills scattered on the floor.

“Yes, even those.”

In unison they stood up, began gathering up the bills and laying them back on the table.

Nothing would destroy or defeat them, not even this situation. They would get through it trusting in those promises. The one God made to them and the one they made to each other. For Richer or Poorer, till death do they part.

“…my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”- Philippians 4:19 –NKJV

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This article has been read 627 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lois Farrow05/03/12
Great story, and reminder of being in life together, for better or worse. Well done.
C D Swanson 05/04/12
Great job of touching on the pulse of what is going on in the world today. I loved the solid interaction of the husband and wife...and their faith, with an overall powerful message.

Well written and well done. Thank you.

God Bless~
Carol Welch05/04/12
What a powerful story! It is very well written, and inspiring on several levels. I love the focus on marriage. In a world where marriage is a disposable commodity, it is refreshing.

God Bless.
Laury Hubrich 05/06/12
You did a good job writing this story. Because of that, I'm going to point out a few things so you can tighten up your entry for next time.

I don't know what the rule on this is, to let the narrator become a being, being part of the 'us', but it was a little confusing. This narrator is telling the story and you don't want him getting in the way. Here's what I'm talking about:

"The country seemed to be coming undone. Terrorists attacked us. We went to war. Our military men and women were dying in a country whose leaders abhorred our freedom and way of life..." -- You see what I mean? He's suddenly part of the we in the story.

"Marcia didn’t want to think about any of that right now." -- Your narrator was telling us in past tense and didn't right here. Trust me, that's easy to miss.

You did an awesome job or else I wouldn't take the time to give you some critique. I'm sure most of use would say you must have listened in on some of our bill paying conversations at home through the years. <3

Theresa Santy 05/06/12
You did a great job expressing the frustration felt many struggling couples and families across the United States. The receession is far from over, and you showed that brilliantly here.

I like how you ended with hope, (and not with a neatly tied bow), which made the story both realistic and inspiring.
Graham Insley05/07/12
Sometimes we don't know if we will get the answer we want, if all the bills will get paid on time, but you remind us that those answers are not what real wealth is about.

A look through the window into many homes of today. well done.
Colin Swann05/07/12
I enjoyed you interesting story. It was great how those two loved each other! Listen to Laury's helpful comments given in kindness and worth noting. I think when you are using possession for a single country its: country's and not countries' which is possession for a plurality of countries. Thanks!
Lillian Rhoades 05/07/12
A valuable lesson about commitment inspite of financial hardship. 'The tension etched in his face disappeared.' As Laury explained, you can switch the time frame, but always keep the subject and verb tense in mind. You could also use transitional phrases like, 'Back then,' and consider using 'our' for 'their'( many of our clients), and 'we' for 'they.' "'We' were not alone in our struggles."

I can't tell you how much I rely on that verse! Your story was right on!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/07/12
This is such a lovely piece. I could feel the love the two characters had for one another. They felt quite real and I wouldn't be surprised if the characters were based on real people.

The only thing I really spotted for red ink was countries' maybe you meant more than one country but my gut said you meant it to be country's. Just a little thing in a wonderful story.

The ending was great too. I thought the verse was a perfect fit.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/07/12
I try not to read other comments before I make my own so as not to be influenced but now I do see what Laury was saying and am surprised that I didn't pick up on the change of POV from third to first. I think part of it was because it is probably related to a true story. Plus when you used the first person you were talking about the country and I can see why that might be a natural transition.
Dannie Hawley 05/08/12
Sounds like your characters only belong on the rich side since they have found what is important in life... nothing to do with cash. Refreshing story at a time when society doesn't value marriage. Thanks!
Mildred Sheldon05/09/12
This was a powerful entry. One that spoke volumes about marriage today. It is no longer sacred. Thank you for sharing and God bless.
Amanda Brogan05/09/12
Being a sucker for anything even slightly romantic (especially when a godly couple is involved), I thoroughly enjoyed this story! You did a wonderful job of showing this couple's undying dedication to one another no matter what the circumstance. Great way to bring a line in the marriage vows to life and pour true meaning into it.

My only bit of ink to help you (as someone else said) "tighten up" your story-telling (which is already awesome) would be to suggest more reflective conversation between the characters. In other words, let the characters tell some of their backstory. Something like Jake dejectedly commenting to his wife, "Did you ever think during our college days that we would end up here?" And her responding, "We were so full of dreams ..." And then maybe a little narration between conversation bits.

You did such a fantastic job with the chemistry between these characters that a little extra backstory dialogue would enhance the reader's love for the characters even more as we journey with them through their memories.

Wonderful writing! Keep it up!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/14/12
Congratulations for ranking 6th in level two!