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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sunday School (10/25/07)

TITLE: Seeds
By Kristen Hester


She twisted a strand of bleached blonde hair around her finger in an attempt to appear casual. The air was thick with smoke and the bar was crowded with the unhappy that Happy Hour often attracted. She was glad for the crowd. The more people, the better chance someone would find her attractive. She sucked in her middle-aged gut, rolled her shoulders back and pushed out her thousand dollar assets. She scanned the crowd as she lit a cigarette. She nonchalantly tapped a long red fingernail on the counter as she inhaled a deep breath of nicotine.

“Mrs. Lester?” She didn’t recognize that the words were addressed to her until they were repeated. “Mrs. Lester, is that you?” She hadn’t noticed the person in front of her because he was a delivery boy. All her attention was directed toward eligible business men.

Her eyes rested on the stranger who was calling her by a name she hadn’t used since her divorce 10 years ago. He was dressed in brown and had a dolly full of boxes. She couldn’t place him, but the name tag on his UPS shirt identified him as “Mike.”

“Hi, ‘Mike’, is it?” She didn’t waste any time pretending to know who he was.

“Don’t you remember me? You and Mr. Lester were my Sunday School teachers in 5th grade?”

Slowly, memories of another life and another time began to register. “Mike Douger?”

“That’s me. This is the weirdest thing, running into you like this.”

“Yea, it’s been a while.” He had been a very troubled young boy when she and her x-husband taught his Sunday School class at First Baptist Church 15 years ago.

“No, I mean it’s weird because I was just discussing you with my fiancee. I’m engaged.” He interrupted himself long enough to dig a picture of a pretty, young blonde out his wallet. He held it up for her to see. She nodded briefly. Mike took a moment to admire it before returning it to his wallet.

“Anyway, I was just telling my fiancee that 5th grade was a pivotal year for me. Your Sunday School class changed my life.”

“Really?” Now she was curious. That period of her life seemed like a forgotten fairy tale.

“I was going through a rough time when I was in your class.” She remembered. When she knew him, his parents were going through a bitter divorce and he was the forgotten casualty. “You told me, ‘God looks at your character, not your circumstances.’ I’ve always remembered that.” Mike swallowed. He looked down and shuffled his feet then bashfully looked up at her. “During a time when I felt no one wanted me, our Sunday School class was my safe haven. I felt like I belonged when I was there. Most importantly, you introduced me to Jesus. Thanks for making a difference in my life.”

Now it was her turn to feel uncomfortable. She didn’t know what to say.

“That’s why my fiancee and I teach Sunday School at our church,” he concluded.

“I’m glad things worked out for you, Mike.” She gave him a awkward pat on the back.

“I’ve got to get going, but it was good to see you.” She watched as he wheeled his dolly toward the back of the bar.

It had been a long time since she thought about “those days” of her life. She’d been a naive newly-wed when they taught that class of 5th graders. She smiled as she remembered the fun they had and how much she loved those kids, but her smile quickly faded. Her picture-perfect marriage had ended a few years later when her husband had an affair. Now at 47 she was divorced with a son in rehab and a daughter who hardly spoke to her. Suddenly the bar and her tight clothes were suffocating. She needed fresh air. She ground out her cigarette and headed toward the door.

She sat quietly in her car and thought. God looks at your character, not your circumstances. Had she really said that? Her circumstances were lousy, but her character was worse. She saw Mike leave the bar pushing his empty dolly. She looked back toward the bar, then to Mike. He seemed so content and happy. Maybe she had everything all wrong. Mike claimed what he learned in a children’s Sunday School class had made the difference in his life. If only it were that simple, she thought to herself. If only...

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This article has been read 886 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sheri Gordon11/01/07
I like this very much. A powerful message from a very creative take on the topic. Nice job.
Charla Diehl 11/01/07
Good read. We sometimes don't know if little seeds we planted will bloom, but how nice when we see proof that they did.
Therese Witkus11/03/07
Beautiful sentiment and a touching show of the continuing presence loved ones have in life.
Lynda Schultz 11/03/07
There is so many things here worthy of comment, so many lessons being taught. I love the idea that the seeds that she once planted are now seeds planted in her. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 11/04/07
Wow--what an excellent, out-of-the-box entry! Love it!
Betty Castleberry11/04/07
I could literally see Mrs. Lester and where she was. I would like to read more and find out what happened to your MC. This has the beginnings of a much longer story. Good read.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/04/07
A wonderful lesson is given in your powerful story.
Sharlyn Guthrie11/04/07
You kept me completely engaged from beginning to end. This would make an excellent first chapter or two-part story. I'd love to know how it all works out.
LaNaye Perkins11/04/07
Your story touched my heart. I know someone who reacted the same as your MC to a divorce.

You did a wonderful job with this, I really felt like I was right there in that bar with them.
LauraLee Shaw11/04/07
Great story-telling here. Especially love the heart of the message behind it:
God looks at your character, not your circumstances.
Peter Stone11/05/07
Perfect title. I suspect we will be surprised when we arrive in heaven and find how many seeds have been planted in people's lives through Sunday School. And I love the way you twisted it around to bring the MC back to face reality. The seed planting is going in both directions in this story!
Laury Hubrich 11/05/07
You are such a wonderful story teller. Never expected to have a Sunday School entry set in a bar but you made it work!
Lisa Boyd11/05/07
Wow. This is a really cool article! I just submitted my first entry last week in the beginners area and figured the only way to improve would be to read the masters :) I have a long way to go, but I'm thankful for such high quality examples!
Beth LaBuff 11/05/07
What a great quote, "God looks at your character, not your circumstances" I want to remember that too! Wonderful writing Kristen!
Joanne Sher 11/06/07
I love this approach to the topic - I was completely engaged from beginning to end. The end is just right - I'm glad you didn't give us a "neatly-wrapped package" - this is definitely more thought-provoking.
william price11/06/07
I enjoyed the creative bravery of the concept.Other than being a tad predictable, you delivered your storyline expertly. I liked the Title, and congrats for stretching. God bless.
Patty Wysong11/07/07
Who would've thought a Sunday school story could take place during 'Happy Hour'! What a reminder of just how important Sunday school is!! Good job!
Brenda Welc11/07/07
What a great way to put this:

unhappy that Happy Hour

It makes it all so clear and fits in well with the whole story. I really liked this story, one of my favs. Good writing!
Brenda Welc11/07/07
Oh I forgot to mention, I like the title too. Sometimes we forget the seeds we plant. I sometimes see the "flower" which have grown from the seeds I planted in the youth group I use to lead! Blessings on your writing, God smiles!
Loren T. Lowery11/07/07
One of the greatest challenges is living up to our own epistles. This could hardly have been presented better. Isn't it great too, that our students can boomarang back to us, reminding us that we are still in the game and that it is hardly ever over. Great job!
Sharon Henderson11/08/07
Wonderful! We never know the impact our words have on someone else ... if we could only heed our own advice.