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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Expand (07/18/13)

TITLE: Stretched
By Lois Farrow


Next week, thought Mary. Next week things will be quieter and I can get back to my writing.

“Why is it,” Mary asked her friend Sandra, “that everything happens at once, and I never seem to catch up?”

“Why, what’s happening now?” asked Sandra, as she settled in Mary’s tidy kitchen.

Mary listed the week’s events. Minding her grandchildren, her neighbour having a fall and landing in hospital, the church committee asking her to visit two elderly members who were not well; the list went on.

“I’m trying to write those essays the paper wants,” she wailed. “Sometimes I feel I want to run away and hide. I can’t concentrate on my writing when all these other things are happening.”

Mary reached up into the cupboard to get cups and started to make the coffee.

“And now I’m taking your time too,” Sandra said. “But it’s good to have a breather and talk about it.”

As they sipped their coffee and tucked into the wonderful cookies Sandra had brought around, they discussed the problem.

“You’re a very compassionate and caring person,” Sandra said. “God is using your gifts and natural talents to bless others, and you are blessed by helping.”

“I know, but sometimes I just want to hide so no-one can find me. Someone else can get the blessing!”

Sandra laughed.

“I can see God is expanding you,” she said. “Just as you think you are getting on top of things, something else happens and you step in to help. You have a real gift, and you are using it.”

“Yes, I love helping, and people are so precious. It is a privilege to be in a position to serve them.” Mary sipped her coffee and continued. “Do you remember we once thought retirement would be boring? Sitting in our rocking chairs with nothing to do? What a laugh; life seems to be busier than ever.”

“That’s for sure. He also gave you your writing ministry,” said Sandra. “So you do need to make time for that. Let’s ask God to show you how to get the balance.”

“Yes, our tutor used to say read, read, read, and write, write, write. As if I have the time for all that!”

The two friends mused on some favourite scriptures before Sandra left.

“Look at Colossians 2:7. It says we are rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith and overflowing with thankfulness. As our roots grow in God we are strengthened and stretched and increased in our faith. Then don’t you just love this outcome – overflowing with thankfulness? God wants us to be filled with joy in what we are doing, not overburdened. He can give us increased capacity, as we are stretched beyond what we think we can handle.”

Later Mary thought about how both her caring and her writing were for eternity. Thank you Lord for expanding my vision and surrounding me with such wonderful people. Thank you for giving me renewed strength for the tasks you bring into my path each day.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/25/13
This is so lovely. I enjoyed your characters and their deep friendship.

The only red ink I might offer has to do with taglines like he said or she wailed. If you feel you need to use them instead of a narrative line, try to stick to the simple she said or asked. For something like wail you could use a narrative line to show the emotions. EX: She threw her hands in the air and waved them back and forth. "Sometimes I want to run away..." That way you still show the reader who is speaking, but it also paints a picture for them.

I really liked your message. Life is rarely how we expect it to be and God does have plans that may require an expansion of our minds. Your scriptures back that up and your prayer at the end is heartfelt and passionate. I like it when a prayer is included because many people have no idea how to speak to God.
Brenda Rice 07/27/13
Your dialogue between the close friends is believable, your MC is believable especially to any one over 60. I enjoyed your entry. Thanks.
Virgil Youngblood 07/27/13
On topic and thoughtfully written. Well done.
Barbara Caldwell08/01/13
A wonderful article to keep writer's moving forward.