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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: At Wit’s End (02/13/14)

TITLE: What's Left
By Rachel Malcolm


Dear God,

Life sure has been crazy this past month. I never thought Mom would really leave. Sure, life could get pretty weird, but we were a family. I know she expected all three of us kids to go with her, but who would look after Dad? Somebody has got to look after Dad.

I guess I've always been like that. I mean, I've always been the one to pick whatever gets left behind. I remember when we had to go live with Grandma and Grandpa for a while. Jack wanted the new bed (it was bigger). I wanted it too, but I felt sorry for the little bed that I'd always slept in, so I said that I wanted it.

I don't really want to be here, but Jack and Hannah were packing their bags and I knew I couldn't leave Dad all alone. The day they left was the saddest day of my life.

Mom said that she was at her wit's end dealing with Dad. Some of the stuff he does really is tough to deal with, but that's what love is all about, right? I mean, we forgive and we keep on loving.

I'm only eleven, God. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to look after Dad. Don't get me wrong. I really couldn't love him any more, but I'm just a kid.

Yesterday, while doing a math test, I got this call over the intercom to come to the office. Everyone looked at me kind of embarrassed like. The only reason that kids get called out of class is when a family member dies or something. So there was Dad standing outside the office, “Hey, wanna skip school and go skiing?” he asked.

“Sorry Dad, I'm in the middle of a test. I gotta get back to class,” I answered. He looked so sad. Part of me just wanted to go to make him happy, but someone around here has to be responsible.

Just last week we ran out of gas. He pulled a gas can out of the trunk and said we had to go knock on doors and ask people if they had any to spare. I begged him to let me stay in the car, but he said that people would be more likely to give gas if they saw me there too. Groan! Sometimes I wish the ground would just open up and swallow me.

So, God, would you please help Mom to forgive Dad, and have her come back so we can be a family again?

Your little girl,


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This article has been read 276 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Toni Hammer02/23/14
Sad story told beautifully.

I wish, perhaps, just one more of Dad's incidents had been described--maybe what was the last straw for Mom.

I liked the fact that Becky wasn't just having a "why me?" whine-fest with God. She still sounded like an eleven year old, but like a mature eleven year old; one who has had to deal with a lot more than they should need to.
Danielle King 02/23/14
Aw, this is a tenderly written, sweet but sad story. You portrayed a caring and mature eleven year old beautifully. So mom really must have been at her wit's end to walk out. I'd love the tale to continue to a happy reunion, but life's not always like that, is it. Great job at connecting with the reader.
Judy Sauer 02/23/14
Growing up in a house of family dysfunction is no laughing matter. You wrote a somber piece about how the oldest always feels the burden of caretaker. Made me think of my oldest sister. You kept my interest which is important for readers. Good job.
Noel Mitaxa 02/23/14
Sad POV of a child who is being denied her childhood and thrust into decisions she should never have to make - yet with the maturity to ask for God's wisdom in the whole scenario. Well done.
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/14
What a trooper. She has my heart ...
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/14
What a trooper. She has my heart ...
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/14
What a trooper. She has my heart ...
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/14
What a trooper. She has my heart ...
C D Swanson 02/24/14
Profoundly powerful and sobering piece. To be robbed of childhood and faced with "responsibilities" that most adults can fail at, and yet with the infinite wisdom the child handled it with aplomb, by the grace of God.

Excellent piece.

God bless~

Cynthia G. Peoples 02/25/14
Very creative piece that describes an all often too true situation for a lot of young people. Good job!
Dusty Fontaine02/25/14
This was a wonderful story, Rachel. It is well written.
Your story tells the tale of so many kids in this world. In my own family there are so many of the children smarter and more responsible than their parents. It's sad.
I really enjoyed how you told the story in the form of a prayer. The middle kind of got away from that concept a little, but you brought it back wonderfully. Great job!
By the way, how did you get italics to stay in your story when you posted it? I copy and paste. Is there a better way to do it?
Bea Edwards 02/25/14
Oh my word, you packed a lifetime of reality in this short story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/27/14
Congratulations on ranking 6 in your level and 25 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards. Happy Dance!!