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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bridge (07/31/08)

By Shirley McClay


Kelly grasped the timbers of the ancient bridge with the tips of her fingers. The flood waters jerked her exhausted body and pulled at her relentlessly. A chill seeped into her core and she couldn’t feel the splinters that poked from her hand. She almost didn’t care.

Her house was just the other side of the bridge. The van was slowly being pulled crossways in the churning rapids... right past Kelly’s home.

She concentrated on reaching higher… gripping a firmer hold on the bridge that was her only hope. Kelly’s world became focused… hands clutching a wooden beam she could no longer feel; the foam licking her chin and sticking in her ears; hair matted and wrapped around her face.

“Think about something else.” Kelly refused to look at the water, at her waterlogged van rolling over, at the floating debris. She closed her eyes in spite of the scratchy grit and let her mind drift. So much had happened in the last eight hours.

She and Tim had a rocky start to their day… but that was nothing new. Their rough marriage of six years had culminated in this last year of storms and arguments. As he left for work this morning, Kelly watched him and wondered if there was any love remaining between them.

And her doctor’s appointment. She had been feeling awful lately and even entertained the thought that if it was cancer or something terminal... well… maybe it would be best for everyone.

Kelly’s hopeless world had narrowed to a tenuous grip on a rickety old farm bridge. Grief and pain washed over her like the flood waters. Something inside of her broke in the same way the dam upstream had given way. And the torrent that tore at Kelly’s physical body was no match for the sobs that wracked her now. Maybe... maybe she should just let go… give in to the icy fingers that tried to pull her down into the deep and tumble her around until she was freed.

“Oh God.” The whispered words escaped her and Kelly felt the icy fingers around her soul loosen even as her own frozen fingers tightened on the bridge. “I don’t want to die. I want to love my husband. I want his love. I want You to be our Hope. I need hope, God.”
Her cries were drowned out in the roar of water but a peace settled deep inside of Kelly in a place that hadn’t been touched in so long. A place that even her husband had never been able to touch.

“I give up, God. Whether I live or die, whether Tim loves me or not, whether you give me my dreams or ask me to be content… I choose You. I cling to You as my Bridge in my life’s floods.”

She gathered all her strength and cried out as she thrust her body upward toward a higher beam. Her fingers caught and held. Hope seized Kelly once more and she fought against the sucking waters again. But the beam she grasped was rotten. It broke and she lost her grip. She plunged under the water and felt the hopelessness grasping again. One desperate grab and Kelly again had hold of the bridge.

“I’ll wait for You.” She rested as best she could and clung fiercely to Hope.

Then she felt it. Hands slid under Kelly’s arms and she was roughly lifted from the flood. She looked up in wonder at her rescuer. “Tim.”

Her husband sat with her on the bridge. His arms surrounded her and they were intertwined in a way Kelly had never experienced. The intimacy and love in his eyes made hers overflow with tears again.

“I saw the van... it was rolling over and over. I thought I’d lost you.” His voice choked.

“I think you just found me.” Kelly shivered and coughs racked her body.

Tim read the question in her eyes at the wailing of sirens. “I called 911 when I saw the van. I barely hoped but…” his voice trailed off into the kisses he showered on her face.

“I need to get to the hospital.”

“I know… am I hurting you?”

“No... the baby…” Kelly’s voice trembled with exhaustion.


She grinned weakly at Tim’s concerned expression. “The doctor says we’re pregnant…”

Kelly watched as the emotions flickered in his eyes… confusion, realization, shock, disbelief… and joy. He crushed her to him and sobbed into her hair.

Seven months later… Hope was born.

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This article has been read 868 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Chely Roach08/07/08
Awesome imagery, and I loved the last line. Well done!
Erin Brannan08/08/08
I loved this. It is so original and the ending totally brought tears to me eyes. Great job!
Joshua Janoski08/08/08
Powerful descriptions. You kept me on the edge of my seat clinging to HOPE for the woman. Your title fits the story perfectly. I really hope this one places high. I have a feeling it will.
Matt McClay 08/08/08
From the very first line your writing grabbed my attention and swept me right into the scene. And I was curious. To me, the momentum also hid a secret. What a wonderful surprise! Seven months later, Hope was born. Excellent.
Laury Hubrich 08/10/08
Wow! Don't know what to say but, WOW! Awesome story. Wonderful job!
Ellen Dodson08/10/08
"A place that even her husband hadn't been able to touch" is my favorite line. What a twist to find that the doctor's appt. resulted in good news rather than bad. Excellent writing!! I especially love the ending.
Marita Thelander 08/11/08
Oooo...'tis a good one, indeed! ; )
william price08/11/08
Super hook of an opening, very creative story tie in with your title and you ministered your point with ease. Great job.
God bless.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/11/08
I hope this wonderful story places. It surely placed in my heart!
Pat Guy 08/11/08
This is some great writing. You had the hook, line and sinker that developed as the reader was carried along. You put us right there experiencing each moment. Great work!
T. F. Chezum08/11/08
Very well written story with powerful imagery. Great job.
Mariane Holbrook 08/11/08
I hope this one places, too. Like Verna said, it placed in my heart, too! It's a gripping story and so very well told! Kudos, dear one.
Sunny Loomis 08/12/08
Excellent story which kept me reading to the end. Wonderful descriptions. Sad loss of hope, but Hope regained in the marriage and new baby. Great job. Thanks.
Marlene Austin08/12/08
Your words drew this scene perfectly. You selected just the right words to let us know your characters, their feelings, and motivations - all in such a short space. Excellent writing. :)
LauraLee Shaw08/12/08
I can see why this is one of your favorites. Wow. I got goosebumps sitting here in the middle of the mall with my laptop. What an ending. Just the picture of her husband kissing her cheeks all over when he rescued her was enough for me! Yes!
Helen Dowd08/13/08
What can I say? For tears, I can hardly see to put in this comment. What an excellent story. I hope you win first for this. But even if you don't, it is FIRST for excellency...God bless you. I loved the ending---HOPE....Helen
Heather Sargent08/13/08
*sniffle* Wow, you really touched me with this one. My fav so far. Our little guy was to be named Hope, except for well...he's a little GUY. lol.

Excellent, it was believable and emotional. Where's the Kleenex?
Lyn Churchyard08/14/08
This was so good! I could see and hear the rushing flood and the van tumbling in the water. I could feel your MC's despair. What a wonderful way to end the story. I just loved this from beginning to end.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/03/09
This "placed" in my heart the first time I read it. I'm glad it was "highly commended."