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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fame (05/10/12)

TITLE: A Mother's Son
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom


Choking back sobs, panic twisted Mary’s stomach into knots as the bile gushed up. She broke free from the hands that were attempting to restrain her and dropped to her knees while clamping her hand over her mouth. She squeezed her eyes tight in an attempt to block out the grisly scene of her son’s body.

Her good friend, Lydia, helped her to her feet and guided her into the safety of the house. Sitting down next to Mary, Lydia held her hand and clicked her tongue softly. "There, there dear. You've been through such a horrific shock. Just take some deep breaths and try to relax."

Wiping away the tears, Mary repositioned herself in the chair. "Oh, he was a beautiful baby. The first time I held him I envisioned that he was destined for great things -- people would speak his name for years and children would look up to him.

“When his father died, he did his best to take care of me.” Mary snorted and shook her head. “Until he met those friends of his…. I tried to encourage him to stay home and not gallivant all over the countryside. It didn't look proper. People gossiped and started to resent him. And look what happened -- you don't see any of his buddies now, do you?"

Lydia handed her friend a cool cloth. "They were a popular bunch. Crowds flocked to them until… you know.” Lydia lowered her eyes. “I never would have guessed it would end like it did. No parent should lose a child, my friend. Oh, what a bitter pill ‘tis to swallow."

Mary jumped up and started pacing back and forth. Sounds from the street pulled her to the window. She shivered as she saw the crowd milling around. There were so many people trying to grab a peek of the grieving mother. Motioning toward the window, Mary shook her head. "Look at them; they're like vultures pining for a taste of blood. Why can't they leave me to plan my son's funeral? Not one of his friends offered to help me."

Gently guiding her by her elbows, Lydia steered her friend away from the gawkers. "Oh, dear sweet friend, I'll help you in every way I can. You're not alone. Sit now and relax; remember the good times."

Mary's lip quivered as a faint glow washed over her face. "Oh, he was a smart one. From the time he started toddling about, he had a thirst for knowledge. He would ask questions that made me stop and think, but all the while he already knew the answers."

Lydia handed her friend a cup of tea and nodded, encouraging Mary to continue. "Oh, I'm not saying he didn't have his moments. He could be a mischievous little tot, but even in the midst of a trick his little eyes would sparkle. Oh, how proud his daddy was. He had big plans for the boy, believing he would be a natural to follow in his father's footsteps." She paused to stifle a sob. "Then the last three years, he became a different person." Mary stopped and glanced over her shoulder before whispering, "Actually, it pleased me to see him helping others. Sure I fretted some. I knew the government wouldn't be happy but I never anticipated this.”

Covering her face with her hands, she shook as she sobbed. After the tears had been all cried out, Mary lifted her head. "Next week, he would have been 33 years old. It feels like yesterday when I was holding him in my arms. His father and I knew he needed a special name, a name worthy of greatness.

“We discussed many different options but when his father suggested naming him Judas, I knew it was perfect for him. I envisioned people announcing his name with reverence. However, now he will always be considered a traitor. People will speak his name with hatred. Oh Lydia, supporters of Jesus will run me out of town. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Already I feel the walls closing in. I’m terrified."

Lydia shushed her friend as she brushed her hair from her face. "Don’t worry; Jesus taught love and understanding. Besides, this will blow over soon. Before you know it, people won’t even connect his name with Jesus."

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This article has been read 707 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/17/12
Wow - This was a super fabulous entry! At first I didn't realize it was biblical times. I truly thought is was a child killed by a "stray bullet" or such. I was so surprised at the ending that is was Judas! Such a good job with what Judas' mother would be thinking, and going through.

It held my attentin, it made my heart sad for the grieving mother. And, it shocked me at the end. All elements of a "great writer."

Excellent job. Loved it.

God bless~
C D Swanson 05/17/12
Wow - This was a super fabulous entry! At first I didn't realize it was biblical times. I truly thought it was a child killed by a "stray bullet" or such. I was so surprised at the ending that is was Judas! Such a good job with what Judas' mother would be thinking, and going through.

It held my attention, it made my heart sad for the grieving mother. And, it shocked me at the end. All elements of a "great writer."

Excellent job. Loved it.

God bless~
Dannie Hawley 05/19/12
Terrific title for the article. I was reading this with a friend and we both thought it was Jesus. You should have heard us blurt out "Judas! She really got us." when we came to the revealing line. Super job taking the POV of his mother. I need to consider these folks and how events might have affected them when I read the Bible. Thanks for using this article to point me in that direction.
Genia Gilbert05/19/12
This is a very good read! You kept me in the dark 'til the very end, but it was a great ending. Good take on the topic and well written.
Laura Manley05/19/12
As I read the ending to your wonderful entry, I realized just why you are in the Advanced level of the Challenge. This took me totally by surprise. Excellent entry!
Marina Rojas05/19/12
Great take and a really surprise twist -- wow! This was a fun read.
Leola Ogle 05/22/12
Great story and great writing. Like the others, I thought towards the end it would be Jesus, and was surprised it was Judas. Good job. God bless!
Ellen Carr 05/22/12
A great piece of writing. I, like others, thought it was about Jesus till it was revealed otherwise. Very thought-provoking.
Graham Insley05/23/12
I'm sorry, I have to tell you that I knew it was Jesus all the time. What? No way!

I had to go back and read that word 'Judas' three times. And then I had to reread the entire story. Excellent.

The early middle struggled for me a little; I think because the ''tis to swallow' sentence seemed out of character to the other dialog. But I can't be sure.

Loved the point of view and it made me think more about the suffering of people because of someone else's behavior.

Thank you.
Colin Swann05/23/12
Very thought provoking - two people, similar ways of being brought up but two very different outcomes (it could be that Judas was like you say). Got me to thinking about Hitler and his upbringing and his mum's thoughts and aspirations for her lad.
Good meaningful writing that gets you thinking!

Hiram Claudio05/23/12
This was simply awesome! I too was thinking it was Jesus and was totally blown away by the twist at the end. It was so creative and well crafted - I truly did not see it coming. Excellent piece of writing!
Genia Gilbert05/24/12
Yay, Shann! Isn't this the second HC for you in a few weeks? You did good. Congrats.
Sherry Castelluccio 05/24/12
Congrats on your EC! This was a very well written story and so deserving of the award. That surprise at the end was awesome! Well done!
Edmond Ng 05/24/12
Not all wrongdoings can be blown over through time, for there are exceptions that go down in history. It is truly grievous to see one's own child turning bad to go the wrong path. You have captured in your story the reality which still happens today. Great job on a well written piece.
C D Swanson 05/24/12
Congratulations! Nicely done. God Bless~
Noel Mitaxa 05/24/12
Hey Shann, it's time for you to receive some congratulations, instead of always giving it to the rest of us. You kept me guessing right through about time and location: starting off around now, before I also thought it was Jesus, but Judas! Oh wow! Beautiful depiction of family pain, for someone whose name will never gain any popularity.
PamFord Davis 05/24/12
You crafted a wonderful piece! The two women shared serious moments just as friends would. The surprise ending took this reader by surprise! Congratulations for your Winner's Circle entry.

Wing His Words!
Amanda Brogan05/24/12
Brilliant! I anticipated a twist somewhere, but I didn't begin to guess what it was until Mary mentioned helping others and the government not liking it in the same sentence. And even then I thought it was Jesus! Especially after the 33 years part.

Awesome modern-day twist on a two-thousand year old story!

Congrats on yet another Highly Commended piece!
Leola Ogle 05/24/12
Yay Shann! Congrats! I'm so happy this entry placed. Loved it!
Kathleen Langridge05/24/12
You had me right from the start. The first name that popped into my head was John Lennon but I knew his mother was not around. It had such a modern feel, well done. Congrats.
Danielle King 05/25/12
I am in agreement with all those comments up there. A well thought out tale with a surprise twist. Great stuff! Congratulations on your win!
Denene Humphrey05/28/12
At first I thought you were telling of Jesus' death, imagine my surprise as I continued to read to discover it was about Judas! This was an amazing story. Excellent!
Joan Campbell05/29/12
Hi my friend! Popped in for a visit to find you are still writing up a storm. Congrats on this lovely piece. I've always loved a good twist and this was right up there with the best of them!