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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)

TITLE: Souls in Green Grass
By Eliza Evans


Jennifer Davis gripped the cold sides of the toilet and wretched into the bowl. Her face was blotchy with tears, as she sobbed and gagged.

I loved him so much. I loved him so much, pounded in her brain.

It had been three months since Jenny's husband of eleven years had left her and three months of this morning throw-up "ritual".

She'd even had a few medical tests done, at the insistence of her doctor.

“Well, you're not pregnant,” he said jovially when she went in for her exam.

Could he not see how those casual words exploded around her?

Not pregnant.

Not loved.

Not wanted.

Not married.

Not anything.

"It's just stress, Honey," said her mother on the phone that morning, "You really need the Lor..." but Jenny hung up the phone as she dashed to the bathroom. Again.

Just stress. And hell. And a bad nightmare that just happens to be real, okay Mom?

Jennifer heard her seven year old daughter at the kitchen table, humming and reciting words from the Psalm 23 coloring book her grandmother had given her.

Not too subtle are you, Mom? Jenny groaned inwardly. She could hear her mother's voice and oft repeated words...“You just need the Lord, Dear."

Nope, not too subtle at all.

Little Kimberly skipped into the bathroom with her coloring book under her arm.

“Wow, Mommy. Look how blue, blue the sky is today!” She twirled around on her toes. “It's almost the same color as this crayon. Wow, hey?" Kimberly held up a stub of blue that had obviously colored many a coloring book sky. "And the clouds are all white and poofy, too." She twirled some more.

“Oh, Mommy.” Kimberly knelt beside her mother, suddenly noticing, “Wow, you don't look too good.”

“Knock it off with the 'wow', please, Kim.” Jenny snapped. “Wow this and wow that! Just because your friends talk that way, doesn't mean you should.” Jennifer could see the pain in Kimberly's eyes as the harsh words stung the little girl. Jenny knew she was being foolish and hurtful, but the shame of that only provoked her further.

"You're a big girl now. For Pete's sake, use some different words. Words that actually have some meaning, okay? See if you can do that for a change.” She waved her arm roughly towards the door. “Now, just go in the backyard and play, please!"

Jenny slumped against the toilet when she heard the back door slam.

I feel like I am being split right down the middle. I can't do this anymore. I'm out of control. I'm a terrible mother.

She pounded her fists on her knees. Why? Why? Why? She cursed her wayward husband. How could you do this to us?

When Jenny finally stood up and looked out the window, she saw Kimmy sprawled on the lawn with her book and crayons. She knew she had to go to her.

When Jennifer reached her, she squatted down and stroked her head.

“Forgive Mommy, okay Angel?”

Kimberly took her mother's hand and pressed it against her own tear-wet cheek.

“Maybe if we lay our souls down we'll feel better? That's what the coloring book says. Lay your soul down into the green grasses.”

Jenny smiled.

They lay side by side, hand in hand, and called out the different shapes they saw in the clouds. With a lot of imagination, “Look, there is a fire engine!” “There's a dinosaur!”

As they lay there, Jenny tried to recall some of the familiar words of Psalm 23. Words she had heard throughout her childhood.

My Shepherd
Green Pastures
Still Waters
Comfort Me
Forever and Ever

She closed her eyes. Lord. I am so worn out and so torn up. Please help me. I lay down my soul.

“Mommy. A lamb!”

Jenny looked up into the sky to see a distinct outline of a sheep in the clouds, surrounded by a halo of light. It was all there. The curve of the head, the line of the ears, the fluffy, woolly body and tail. Even the dark eyes, nose and hooves were clearly defined.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

“Wow.” Mother and daughter breathed out the word reverently, and in unison.

And then they laughed with joy.

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This article has been read 671 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 03/20/10
I'm a "find images in the clouds" person too. :) Your title made me smile. I enjoyed your "life in chaos" to "tranquility" story and the illustration of Psalm 23.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/21/10
This is a great story. Something I could easily see happening, I hung onto every word and felt the MC's pain and the delight in the daughter.
Joan Campbell03/22/10
I really enjoyed this entry. I loved the way God spoke to her through her daughter. And the lamb in the sky made me smile - I can imagine God painting images in the sky to get our attention! You wrote the emotions - pain, loss, guilt very well and they contrasted strongly with the start of healing and peace she found in the end. Great job!
Gregory Kane03/22/10
A heartfelt tale that came together in a thoroughly satisfying conclusion
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/22/10
What a sad picture you painted that is all too common in our world. I'm so thankful for the words of hope. The lamb in the clouds was the perfect symbol. I'm so glad to see your well written interesting entries again, Eliza!
Catrina Bradley 03/22/10
The MC's raw emotions tore my heart - very real-life. And the ending gave me goosebumps. LOVE this - GREAT job!
Loren T. Lowery03/23/10
I liked the way you wove your title into your story - that alone reveals a lot. Your story also, to me, illustrates the importance of seemingly insignificant acts that occur in our everyday lives. The grandmother giving the coloring book to her granddaughter. Who knew in the scheme of things just how important that one act would become. You show great story telling ability here - great job.
Carol Slider 03/23/10
What a lot of real emotion you've woven into this story... pain and healing wrapped together. Sometimes we need a child's vision to remind us of the beauty in the world, and the reality of God's love. A lovely story, beautifully written. So glad to have you back at FaithWriters, my friend!
william price03/24/10
Great overall, minus a few speed bumps. The title was very clever and the opening was a classic hook. I had to read on. Look forward to more of your work. God bless.
Sarah Elisabeth 03/24/10
Almost too realistic betrayal of a sad story...but there is always hope!

I was a little confused when the girl thought her mom was an angel...or was she saying to her mother that she forgave her? That part was a little unclear to me.

Loved how you took the snippets of Psalms 23 through her mind. Forever and ever. Amen!
Patricia Turner03/24/10
What a perfect title. I winced and ached for the mother and daughter. What a tragedy it is when poor choices and stress wreak havoc on body, spirit and relationships. As has been so aptly stated your story of pain and anguish turning to peace, trust and tranquility through faith is wonderfully written. I’m so glad to see you back in the challenge too, my friend!
Rachel Phelps03/24/10
The red ink I found has already been mentioned by others, so I'll simply say that your MC was wonderfully realistic. Well done!
Ann Grover03/24/10
"Real"... tender... really liked the title... wonderful lesson about pain and God's love and care. And how children often see God in an uncluttered way.

(Need a comma in the "angel" quote. Might clear the confusion about who is speaking.)
Sara Harricharan 03/24/10
Lovely twist. I like the ending and how the title fits in with it. Good character in the daughter!
Mona Purvis03/24/10
Not hard for the reader to feel the anguish of the MC. You did a very good job telling the story.
I stumbled over a place or two where a comma was out of place.
Love how it's God's Word that has all the answers and she knew deep within.

c clemons03/25/10
This was excellent so very real. Should have placed this week, makes you wonder what are those judges looking for. :)
Sarah Elisabeth 03/26/10
Eliza, congrats on making the top fifteen!
Carol Penhorwood 05/01/10
This was very moving and realistic. Great job with this!