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

TITLE: Not His Job
By Nancy Bucca


I knock on the door... Was that a groan? ... I Knock again. "You up, honey?"

I hear another groan. Did she say she was getting up? I fiddle with the door knob. Locked as usual. "You are up, right?"

I thought I heard my daughter mumble something. She sounds awake. I'll let her be for now.

Thirty minutes later I'm back at the door, knocking harder.

"Come on, Chelsea, move it. Do you want to miss the bus!?"

A muffled jumble of words escapes her lips. Did she just ask the time or was she talking in her sleep? Five minutes pass. Still no sign of her. I do the only think I know to do: tromp downstairs and assault Bill as he heads out the front door. A brief case full of papers flies from his hand.

"Darn my socks! What'd you do that for?"

"I need your locksmith skills."

His papers take priority. "It's not my job."


He sighs, rolls his eyes, and screams loud enough to cause a minor earthquake.

"Chelsea, get up!"

Ten seconds later she tromps down the steps. "You didn't have to yell. I heard you the first time."

Bill slinks into his car and slams the door triumphantly. "There you are. Piece of cake. I showed you how. Next time you do it."

I burst into tears. "But you're ten times the alarm clock I am. Why can't you be the waker-upper?"

Bill sighs and eyes his watch. "It's like I said, it's not my job. It's yours."

"But, Bill, I'm not built like you. Besides, can't you at least give me credit for trying?"

"Credit's overrated. Just do what I told you to. Stretch your lungs, extend your voice, and expand your view of what you can do."

"I'd rather you removed the lock," I suggest as he roars off. "If you did that, it would expand my access to Chelsea's room as well as my muscle strength as I practice dragging her out of bed."

"No way, Mom."


Startled, I look over my shoulder and see Chelsea stretch a blue hair tie around a makeshift ponytail. It snaps in place like a crocodile's jaws.

"No way am I letting you invade my privacy."

"Well, it sure would beat shouting directives from afar," I reply. "Trying to break through that wooden sound barrier makes me feel like I've been locked inside a box."

"Well, I like the box. And by the way, could you drive me to school? Looks like I missed the bus."

I roll my eyes. Thanks a lot, Bill. Thanks a lot, for calling the expanse of my wellbeing "not your job." After all, why pinch pennies you'd much rather spend on lessons to expand my vocal chords, or on building a huge addition to our giant living room (to the tune of a hundred thousand dollars)!?

Grumbling, I start the car and wait for Chelsea to climb in. She fastens her seatbelt, which clicks like a handcuff. My cue to complain loud and long.

"Not your job? Why not, Bill? Unlike me, you've got a job that pays the bills. So why not expand your generosity to me? Take the tiny, mustard-seed sized faith hiding in your big, fat wallet, plant it in the soil of my choosing and watch it grow into a giant tree. I've got lots of bright ideas, if you'd only listen. Why won't you expand your faith, expand your hope, expand your love for me!?"

After listening to me rant for ten minutes, Chelsea breaks her silence.

"Hey, Mom, I know that you and Dad both need each other to expand, in ways that neither one of you is comfortable with, but I've got a better idea."

"And what's that?"

"I think you should expand your view of what the Lord can do. Trust Him to expand Dad's heart and to expand yours too."

My mouth drops open, stunned by the unexpected revelation. With one blow she's just exposed a hidden stronghold in my mind, a fortress of unbelief that I myself have placed around my faith. Why blame my husband for my own bitterness? In fact, why blame anyone at all? Why not just do as my daughter suggested?

"Expand your view of what the Lord can do."

I'll have to try that.

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This article has been read 211 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/28/13
You have a delightful sense of humor. I chuckled throughout the entire story. I noticed some tiny typos that I'm sure you've spotted, and if like me, could be from waiting to the last minute to submit.: ) They didn't take away from the great story.

For me personally, it felt like you used the topic word a bit much. Even that, though, added to the charming humor.

I love it when parents are humbled by their kids. I've heard that almost exact advice from my kids. I think it amazes me that they were actually paying more attention to me than I thought, which probably is a good and bad thing. This story is a good reminder that kids absorb way more than we think, and that grumbling about Dad in front of them isn't the best idea. This is such a great reminder to everyone. You have a few great messages in here. That's not easy to do with such a limited word count. The ending was perfect. Great job!
Linda Goergen07/31/13
Well truthfully, as I read this, I did NOT see the humor in the situation and conversation that Shann did at all... I was plain aggravated reading as the daughter acted so disrespectful to the mom, especially that “she would not allow” her mom to have the lock removed ( irks me children TELLING parents what they can and cannot do!) and then after making herself late, expecting her mom to drive her to school. And the dad, telling the mom, disciplining the daughter “was HER job”. I thought disciplining was the job of both parents! So I felt the dad was also very disrespectful to the mom. And after having those feelings in place, it was hard to tie the end in with the previous actions in my mind. Although the ending was good and spiritually the correct direction, it was hard for me to see it as believable delivered to the mom by such a disrespectful daughter! Hard for me to read the daughter’s actions and then have her turn around and preach to her mom. Personally I ended up feeling the WHOLE family needed to expand way more positively when interacting with each other! I was left feeling the WHOLE family had “a fortress of unbelief” and they ALL desperately needed to “expand”. Maybe the least of all, the mom! But, that was just my personal take on it and the story surely was effective at provoking feelings and emotions in me! :)
Nancy Bucca08/08/13
My apologies. God help me never again to write something so revolting to my readers. I wish I could delete it from among the entries. Sigh.