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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: A Gift of Peace
By Karen Treharne


Marcia felt numb. Black streaks of mascara highlighted her sunken eyes that stared blankly into space. The dark wells had formed over the past four days of smoldering tears that waxed and waned; sometimes thunderous, sometimes whimpering; but always chocking and never ending.

No parent should have to bury a child - but that’s what she had done.

“We’re sorry, Mrs. Jamison. You son has a rare form of brain cancer … “

He lived for six weeks after that, and then his ten short years of life ended.

Now she was shaking on the inside with feelings of madness that threatened to pounce like a Jumping Jack - to spring up and down and wobble frantically back and forth, with a chaotic, painted-on smile.

She saw others in the house whose lips were moving and eyes were watering, and there were even signs of laughter. Vague, garbled sounds from friends and relatives that didn’t register a clear signal in her brain. Only muffled, random noise from people she viewed in a fog.

Once or twice, she had a fleeting moment of tranquility - a sense of calm that temporarily overcame her confusion. But it didn’t last.

Her throat was parched, her skin felt tightly stretched across her face, and her cheeks ached to the bone from sobbing. She prayed, begging God for a miracle of understanding, of renewed faith, and for a healing stillness in her body.

She felt weak and powerless, as if she had walked in a desert for an entire day without water. Her stomach felt full to the point of vomiting - yet when presented with a plate of food - she ate like a ravenous dog. She periodically sucked in air like a person who was suffocating.

A disarray of faces came into focus now and then, invading her private realm of turmoil, but they did not provide escape from the disorder of her mind. She knew she nodded her head to some of them, and she felt her mouth form a partial smile in an effort to show appreciation for their support, but there was no definite recognition of who they were.

“We’re so sorry for your loss.”

“I can’t imagine how you must feel.”

“Lean on God.”
They said all the right things. Words of compassion and caring. But what good were they? None of them reached the depths of her grief.

“Mommy. Mommy?” Seven-year-old Amy tugged at her mother’s dress.

Marcia looked down and saw her precious little girl as if for the first time. She remembered that Amy was also suffering from missing her older brother and must be trying to understand why Jason would never be coming home again. She picked her up and sat down on a nearby chair hugging her tightly.

“What‘s the matter, sweetheart?”

“I just wanted to know if you would feel better if I helped you cry?”

Marcia was overwhelmed. Amy’s eyes revealed drops of moisture that oozed out of their corners.

It was then that Marcia was engulfed in silence. The silence that one might experience in the center of a tornado. It filled her body with a blessed calmness she hadn’t felt in many weeks. A feeling of serenity - peace. A prayed-for gift from God.

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This article has been read 1137 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter06/09/06
Beautifully, sensitively written. I'm not sure if you ran out of words, but I felt the ending was a little abrupt - perhaps needed another couple of sentences. But otherwise, I loved it.
Sherry Wendling06/15/06
"A little child shall lead them." How tenderly this story ends, following the buildup, the powerful description of the immense inner pressure of sorrow! It's clear you have been there; and you made me feel it, too. Oh, for the compassion of the little daughter, who instinctively knew she must "Weep with those who weep!" Well done!
Jessica Schmit06/15/06
This was heart breaking! You wrote with such passion and used beautiful words to describe the tragedy of this situation. It's even more powerful now that I now the story that prompted you to write this one. Beautiful job karen.
Sally Hanan06/15/06
This was awesome Karen. I think, to make it even better it needs to have equal amounts of dialogue, emotional descriptions, and regular descriptions. There was a lot of emotional description in the begining paragraphs that could have been broken up a little more so as not to focus on one aspect of the story so much.