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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Great (07/06/06)

TITLE: Swing Low
By Kathy Bruins


How low have I sunk? I just want to escape, she said before lifting the square bottle and pouring herself another drink. Wiping her tired eyes, she sat back, lifted her glass and said, “Here’s to me…Donna Chapan. Everyone thinks she has it all together.” She sipped her drink letting it slowly burn down her throat thinking to herself, if they only really knew.

“Donna, wake up! What are you doing?”

Donna wearily raised her head off the kitchen table and squinted. Oh, the light made her eyes burn. Could it be morning already? She then saw her friend, Sandy, standing over her…obviously upset.

“Sandy, go home. I want to be alone right now,” she managed to grumble.

“Donna, I don’t understand what is going on, but I’m not leaving you like this. I care about you. Don’t push me away.”

Donna laid her head down again. Sandy was always so determined to save the world. Her red fiery hair matches the spirit inside of her. She’s no quitter…not like me.

Sandy turned to the counter, “I’ll put some coffee on.” She placed a bottle of aspirin near me, “You may want to take a couple of those.”

Looking down, Donna said, “I really messed up everything. I try so hard to keep my act together, and I sink lower and lower.”

Sandy passed her a hot mug of coffee. She swallowed the aspirin with the coffee.

Sitting across from her, Sandy took a sip of her coffee. “Donna, I had no idea you were struggling at all. What’s wrong?”

“I’m poor…that’s what’s wrong!” She didn’t mean for it to come out that strong. In a more calm voice, she continued, “I just can’t seem to make ends meet. I try, but I received a letter from the bank that I’m overdrawn…again. There’s a bunch of fees attached to that, plus I don’t have the money to cover the fees, buy food and gas. I’m supposed to be a ministry leader, but I’m truly just a loser.”

Sandy thought for a moment while clinking her mug with her nail. It’s really irritating when she does that. “Donna, you are not a loser. Maybe choices you made weren’t the best, but we all make bad choices. God doesn’t give up on us though. He still is with you, and still loves you totally. There is no greater love, you know.”

“That’s what I tell others, too. But I don’t deserve any of it…especially His love.” I deserve the worse, she thought.

“I don’t deserve anything either. I’m a sinner just like you. But I choose to accept His great gift of grace. God reaches down to us at our lowest moments to pick us up again. We are human…we make mistakes…we are forgiven by Jesus’ blood…and we try again. Give yourself a break, Donna. You always give others breaks. And besides, you can’t afford this type of liquor,” as she dumped the bottle in the trash.

Donna shook her head and smiled, “That’s true. It really doesn’t taste very good anyway. But seriously, I just want to turn my life around and make it work.”

“Jesus will help you. The hard part is giving Him control. Once you do though, you can be assured He won’t steer you wrong.”

“It’s so hard,” the tears spilled. “I hate myself when I do these stupid things. I’ve been failing so much lately, I don’t know if there’s any hope for me.”

Grasping Donna’s hand, Sandy looked into my eyes. “Jesus gave us His hope. All of these things will pass, but not His great love. That’s forever.”

“Could you please pray for me, Sandy? Especially, the part about handing over control.”

She smiled and bowed her head, “Dear Lord, my sister, Donna, and I come before you…”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lisa Vest07/16/06
Good dialogue here. I can see the scene playing out before me. You do a good job of showing us her inner turmoil. I also like the resolution.
Jan Ackerson 07/17/06
You did a good job with the dialog, but at times I felt as if I were reading a sermon thinly disguised as a conversation. On a second writing, maybe include some background or character development...on the plus side, the story had a wonderful, hopeful ending, and a Christian role model for us all to emulate.
Edy T Johnson 07/18/06
I like dialog used to reveal characters. I did notice a couple boo-boos, where you slipped into first person, and it was confusing to this reader. ("She placed a bottle of aspirin near ME...Grasping Donna’s hand, Sandy looked into MY eyes...." emphasis added.)