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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)

TITLE: The Promise
By Kristen Hester


The moonlight cast long shadows across the small bedroom where two figures lay sleeping. The woman tossed and cried in her sleep, reliving a familiar nightmare. As always, she woke from the dream, but found no relief or comfort in consciousness. Her reality was the source of her tormented slumber.

Her slippered feet shuffled softly into the kitchen so as not to wake her spouse. She poured herself a glass of milk and then sat at the table, bowing her head in anguished prayer. Would she ever feel freedom from her guilt? Would she ever feel peace again? She doubted it.

She felt her husband’s presence in the room before she saw him. He kissed the top of her head and then sat down beside her. Reaching across the table for her hand, he looked lovingly at his wife.

“Couldn’t sleep?” He asked tenderly, tentatively.


They sat silently for a moment. There was no awkwardness in the quiet, no need for conversation.

Finally she spoke. “I’m going to visit her tomorrow.”

He winced at her words but said nothing. There was a fine line between being supportive and encouraging what he feared was unhealthy. “When will you go?”

“I thought I could drive up after work tomorrow. I’ll spend the night in a hotel and be back by Saturday afternoon.”

“Do you want me to go with you?” He already knew the answer, but felt he had to offer.

She shook her head. “I want to do this alone.”

As he escorted his wife back to bed, he prayed that she would find restful sleep, that she would forgive herself.

The next day as she started the two hour drive, she released the floodgates of memories allowing herself to reflect on her friendship with Lisa. She smiled and laughed out loud as she remembered the mischief the two had gotten into in junior high. As teenagers, they were closer than sisters and had no secrets. Even when they went their separate ways after graduation, they’d stayed close. No matter how much time or distance passed between them, when they talked, it was like they were back in grade school.

It was dusk as she arrived in the small town where she’d been raised. She knew exactly where to go. She parked her car and as she walked the short distance, she thought about their last visit a month ago.

Lisa had been driving through town, and so they’d met for coffee. They’d hugged warmly, then sat down for an hour of conversation.

“What’s going on in your world?” Lisa had asked.

She’d felt that familiar stirring in her soul, prompting her to finally tell the truth, but once again she’d ignored it. “Oh, nothing too exciting.” She’d tell her later.

They continued on, laughing at past escapades and sharing about their current situations. Lisa talked about her latest boyfriend. She shared about her job and redecorating her house. She never got to what really needed to be said.

Now as she walked up the gravel path, she berated herself for delaying something so important. Why did she pass up so many opportunities?

As she approached, she stood quietly for a moment, then poured out her heart. “I’ve come to apologize,” she began. “I’ve been keeping a secret from you for years. While I was in college I became a Christian. That’s right, I found Jesus. Can you believe it? Me! Everything changed after that.” She paused, wishing Lisa would say something, anything. “I knew I should tell you. More than anything I wanted us share this, too. But the next time we got together and you asked, ‘What’s new?’ I hesitated and didn’t speak up. After college graduation we lived in different towns and didn’t see each other much. I was afraid the religion would come between us, so I remained silent. I always thought I’d get another chance.”

By now tears were rolling down her cheeks, and her words were barely more than a whisper. “I’m so sorry. I miss you so much.” She walked over to the gravestone, kneeled down on the grass and stroked the cold marble. “I know I failed you, but I promise I’ll do better. I won’t ignore the next opportunity I have to tell others about Jesus.”

She stood up, brushed the grass from her pants and headed back to her car. She had some friends to visit before she returned home. After all, she’d made a promise.

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This article has been read 1048 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Debbie Roome 03/13/08
The ending was powerful and caught me by surprise. Excellent reminder to make hay while the sun shines.
Sally Hanan03/13/08
Sensitively done with great writing and dialogue.
Loren T. Lowery03/14/08
I didn't see that end coming, which made the impact of the message that much greater. This certainly gives one pause to reflect.
Peter Stone03/14/08
The unexpected ending drove your point home with convicting power. Well done.
Joanne Sher 03/15/08
The emotion in this is so real. I was expecting her friend to be sick in the hospital maybe, or in prison - not dead. Great twist, with a wonderfully clear and poignant message. The end is just perfect.
jodie banner03/16/08
Wow, what a sad surprise at the end.Great writing and much needed lesson to us all!
Shelley Ledfors 03/16/08
Wow. Very powerful. I had an inkling of the ending just before I got there, but only just. What a great reminder and illustration of the topic!
Jan Ackerson 03/16/08
Kristen, this is one of your best ever...powerful and moving.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/16/08
Awesome storytelling with a powerful message.
Sheri Gordon03/16/08
This is really good--very powerful message. Your writing is engaging, as always, and the story held me captive. Great job with the topic.
Sharon Henderson03/16/08
Wonderful. Powerful. 'nuff said.
Lyn Churchyard03/16/08
WOW Kristen, this was awesome. You just hooked me from the first sentence and kept me till the end. Wonderful example of the topic. Superb!
william price03/16/08
Hopefully somebody shared the Lord with her friend before she passed on. Then this would really be sad. But, excellent story, superb ending as far as the semi-unexpected ending, very real and honestly told. Excellent, Kristen. Great job. God bless.
Lynda Lee Schab 03/17/08
LOVED the ending. A complete and unexpected twist that packed a powerful punch. There was one "head hop" near the beginning when you mention how her husband prayed (you switched to his POV). But other than that, excellent and creative take on topic this week!
Yvonne Blake 03/17/08
I like the way you led up to the decision...the sleeplessness, the nightmare, the husband trying to help, etc.
I got a little confused at the flashback memory, but not for long.
This is touching. Thank you for writing it.
Leigh MacKelvey03/17/08
You attempted to write something different ... and succeeded! I love the tone, almost suspenceful and the ending surprised me. All along, I thought she was going to tell her friend about her Christianity and her friend was going to tell her she'd been keeoing the same secret! Nice Stretch!
Debbie Wistrom03/17/08
I feel we have a placer with this. Your writing shines in this entry, thanks for sharing. Keep stretching, it works for you!
Joshua Janoski03/17/08
Wow. I was in suspense the entire time, and then when I reached the end, the story really had an impact on me.

I truly hope that I will learn to take advantage of every witnessing opportunity given to me.

I would like to see this story place high this week. It is excellent. Thank you for sharing Kristen.
Patrick Whalen03/18/08
This story rings truer for me than I'd like to admit. Great descriptions, emotion and passion!
Laury Hubrich 03/18/08
Great writing as always, Kristen!
Patty Wysong03/18/08
What a punch that packed!! Super job, super message. (super understatement. LoL)
Henry Clemmons03/18/08
If this was a stretch for you, I would say you are in great writing shape. Masterfully told. Impressive.
Chely Roach03/19/08
Absolutely beautiful, well written, and the most perfect example of the topic...I loved it.
Sara Harricharan 03/19/08
Oooh, so very sad! I didn't see that end coming. I figured that maybe she was going to meet an estranged parent in the hospital or something. Wow. So very sad, but true, we need to remember to speak up throughout our everday things. This was great and really good at the end! ^_^
Sara Harricharan 03/20/08
***Congrats, Kristen!*** Way ta write! ^_^
Loren T. Lowery03/20/08
Kristin, congratulations on placing with this winsome piece. Great writing. Loren
Marita Thelander 03/20/08
Ok...now I am crying. I guess from a writer's point of view, that's a good thing. Very moving. Congrats on your EC.
Sheri Gordon03/20/08
Congratulations on your EC, Kristen. This was an awesome piece.
LauraLee Shaw03/20/08
Congratulations on your EC, Kristen!!!! I'm so happy for you!!! ;)
Catrina Bradley 03/24/08
Tear jerker alert! Great job, Kristen. Congratulations.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/01/08
Excellent writing! This is very convicting, and definitely on-topic. I'm glad I found the time to read it today.