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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Jillie Just Wants To Live It
By Sharon Henderson


Sorting through the stack of mail, Julianne looked briefly at the flyer from the church. Kid’s Bible camp registration was approaching. The cost was one hundred dollars for two kids from the same family. Each child would memorize ten Bible verses and all sixty-six books of the Bible in order by using games and fun songs. Julianne tossed the flyer in the trash, not willing to find an extra hundred dollars in her budget. That money could go towards the new loveseat she wanted to put in the master bedroom.

“Hey, Annette. What’s up?
“Really? Are you having that much trouble with little Jimmy?
“Sure I’ll be praying. You know we’d be glad to have you both join us on Sundays for Sunday School and church. Maybe our Sunday School teachers are just what Jimmy needs?” The inflection in Julianne’s voice let Annette know that it was more of a question than a statement. She listened to Annette’s response and to her additional questions about whether or not it really made any difference having kids involved in the church.

“Absolutely! In my opinion, there is nothing more important than teaching children about the Lord. I’d do anything to know that my children are grounded in scripture and know that they have been introduced to Jesus.
“Hold on a second, Jillie needs me.”

Turning to her daughter, the frustration of being interrupted was evident in her scowl.
“What!?!?” she whispered sharply so that Annette could not hear.
“Can we say the blessing so I can eat my snack?”
“Just eat and let me finish my phone call. You know it’s rude to interrupt me when I’m on the phone.”
“But mommy…we have to pr..”
“I SAID just EAT!”

Picking up the receiver again, she turned away from Jillie. “Sorry about that. Where were we?
“Oh, yeah, that’s right. The classes at our church are the best around. The kids really learn to put Christ first in their lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You know if you don’t start them on the right path when they’re young, you’ll have an impossible time trying to turn them around when they are teens.
“Sorry. Can you hold on again? Jillie’s bugging me again.”

Bending down to eye level, she spoke to Jillie. “I told you not to bother me when I’m on the phone!”
“But mommy, I just want to know if you’ll read me the story of Noah when you get done.”
“I don’t have time to do that today, Jillie! You know I have to clean the bathrooms and do the laundry. Now, please, do not interrupt me again while I’m on the phone.”

Jillie walked away like a puppy that had just been whipped.

“Sorry, Annette. I really need to get going. Don’t forget about this Sunday. Your home will never be the same when you actively put Christ first.”

Jillie caught the final words her mom spoke. The priceless look on her face displayed her shock, which proves that even an eight-year-old can understand a mixed message.

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This article has been read 676 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw02/28/08
Ouch! Your last sentence stung. Yes, our kids do catch the message from the way we walk the talk. Great message.
Kristen Hester02/28/08
Very convicted. Little eyes are watching. I liked the message of this. Good writing!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/08
"Mixed messages" cover the topic very nicely. You created a strong characterization for your MC that makes a good example for mothers NOT to follow.
Jan Ackerson 03/05/08
Excellent example of the topic, and I love your title.

Some of your dialogue-heavy paragraphs are clumped together, and they need to be spaced out--a space each time the speaker or the action changes.

Poor little Jillie! This is a good story.
Julie Arduini03/05/08
You nailed the topic, loved it. I loved the name Julianne, that is my name but it's Juliann, and since no one says it right, I go by Julie!
Beckie Stewart03/05/08
This was good. Easy read. The only thing I noticed is you used the word "towards" and it is "toward". This was right on topic and sadly I have done this myself and so was very convicting.
Lyn Churchyard03/05/08
Very well written story. I could hear the frustration and impatience in the mother's voice. Super job on the topic.
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
We definitely have to be careful about sending mixed messages to people. It's all too easy to do sometimes. I enjoyed your story. Thank you for sharing.
Jacquelyn Horne03/05/08
Good on topic.
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
Ouch. I felt bad for Jillie. Cute name though. I was waiting for the punch and it hit hard with your last lines. Great job!

RED INK: The sentence with the whipped puppy-it kind of read awkwardly, maybe the way it was phrased? Hope I'm not too nitpicky! ^_^