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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Persuasion (not about the book) (09/01/11)

TITLE: The Ax and the Anvil
By Lillian Rhoades


The Ax and the Anvil
“I’m not changing my mind, take it, or leave it!”
The words sank into my heart like lemon on an opened wound. But, that was Lettie, unapologetically acerbic with move verbal punch to the ounce than anyone else. It was always her way or the proverbial highway. Quite often she even tried to block that option.
With her words ringing in my ear, I turned on my heels and was about to leave the room when her voice stopped me.
“Where are you going?”
For a brief moment, I wanted to shoot from the lip just as she always did, but decided against i. This was not the time, besides there was nothing about her definitive declaration that I did not understand. There had to be a better way to convince her than engaging in an endless war of words. Her words, yielded with the sharp edges of an ax, always seem to cut me down to size while I tried to use the anvil of coercion to pound her into submission. To no avail; persuasion could not defend itself against the sharp, hard-boiled blows of intimidation. The match always ended in a forced, feigned acquiescence on my part; but not this time.
With little less than a backward glance, just enough for her to hear me, I indulged her query.
“I’ll be back. I need more time to consider.”
No point in tipping her off that I planned to “leave it.”
With quickened step, I headed toward my private place, a small enclave in the back of the house, sectioned off by evergreens in winter and flowering bushes in the summer. Lettie, confined to a wheelchair would never have a chance to exert her influence here.
I deliberately chose a bench where the sun’s rays landed, sat down and yielded my face to the sun’s embrace. For a brief moment, the wheels of resentment cease to roll , and thoughts stood still. Several minutes passed before Lettie’s words replace the luxury of less contemplative meditation.
Our conflict was not a new fork in the road; we had been down this path many times before. Now, it was time to forge a new path, if I were to remain her caregiver.
As I sat soaking up the sun, I bowed my head and prayed for guidance.
It had not been easy caring for Lettie for twenty years after an accident left her confined to a wheelchair. Actually, caring for her was a cake walk, but I hadn’t signed on as a harbor for the bitter resentment that had worsened over the years. I wondered if she knew how hard it would be to replace me. Perhaps, it never occurred to her that I might leave.
Now, every decision was a declaration of war; suggestions an occasion for conflict. My latest request for a long overdue increase in salary fed her need to make me company to her misery.
Would the thought of losing me convince her to change her mind?
As if by cue, the sun’s rays changed directions and shifted westward. I breathed a sigh of thank you for what I considered a literal sign from heaven.
I stood up and headed towards the house. Lettie had a decision to make, and this time my anvil of coercion would be equal to the task.

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This article has been read 706 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 09/09/11
This was interesting and nicely written. God Bless~
Linda Goergen09/13/11
This was an interesting read and it made me think how we never do anyone a favor when we let them walk all over us, it is unfair to us and to them. And in this case it let Lettie be comfortable with her bitterness way too long! No matter who it is, people need to face consequences for actions. I like the ending and the caretakers decision. Good job…but para breaks would make it much easier to read!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/11
This is a good story and a great message. I know you are agonizing over the little mistakes, but even though you wrote this late there is a reason God woke you and had you submit it. Someone really needed to read this right now. That's the most important thing :) God bless!
Bryan Ridenour09/14/11
It's never fun being someone else's doormat. Thanks for writing this piece to encourage others possibly going through the same thing.
Loren T. Lowery09/14/11
Yes, the paragraph spacing was a bit distracting, but that aside, you had a good message. I liked the way you used the sun rays and clouds to play into the scene. As I began reading I was reminded of the game: rock, paper, scissors. I say this because it caused me to look deeper into your writing/story. You probably meant lemon juice in an open wound at the beginning, but the image was clear nevertheless. Good job and glad to see you writing.
marcella franseen09/14/11
Bitterness. It destroys the one who carries it and all those it comes into contact with. An important message warning of the dangers of becoming a "Lettie," as well as the difficulties of being in the MC's position.