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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Challenge (NOT the FaithWriters Challenge) (06/10/10)

TITLE: A Lesson Learned
By Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom
06/17/10


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“Hey there how was your day at school?” Mom noticed Wrigley’s stern face and that her hands were balled up into tight fists. “Today was your day to present for the writing Fair, wasn’t it?”

Wrigley nodded her head, she looked at Mom, tears of anger glistened in her eyes. “My score was 100, I’ll definitely move on to the next level.”

“Well you don’t seem very happy about it. You worked hard on everything. I think you deserve to move on. Aren’t you interested in the writing fair anymore?”

Wrigley gritted her teeth, a tiny snort came out of her nose. “They should call it the writing UNFAIR.”

Mom blinked her eyes and shook her head. “What was unfair about it?”

“Madison gets whatever she wants. She didn’t even have posters, she mispronounced half of the words, plus she messed up on grammar. She only got in because her family is rich and important. It’s not fair. Nepotism should not be practiced in Middle School.”

Mom laughed as she muttered, “Most kids don’t even know the meaning of that word.”

“I know that’s my point. I don’t even want to go. It won’t matter who does the best. Someone from one of those rich families or the kids who have parents on the board will win.”

Wrigley stomped off to her bedroom and pulled out her Bible. The reading from her devotion book was Matthew 7:1-5. Wrigley gasped as she read the first verse: “Do not judge or you too will be judged.”(NIV) Tears were plopping onto her book as she finished her devotion.

Next she pulled out her prayer journal. Her hand was shaking as she started her prayer.

Dear Jesus,
Please forgive me for judging others. I was angry when I believed my teacher was giving out high marks to some people just because their families are important.

I realize that it was not my job to pick out the best essays. Please forgive my harsh thoughts. I believed that winning was the only thing that mattered. I wanted to be told I was the best writer in the whole school.

I remember praying and asking that I write the words that would bring honor and glory to You. Soon I was worried about saying the right things. I was trying to make everyone else happy.

The paper I wrote isn’t what I wanted to say originally, but I believed the only way I would win and still be popular is to write what other people wanted me to write. I shouldn’t try to please everyone, as long as I am listening to You, the only person I need to please is me.

Thank you for giving me a desire to write. Thank you for Mom and Dad who always support me.

Thank you even for Mrs. King who graded Madison’s paper the way she did. If it hadn’t been for that unpleasant feeling I had in the bottom of my stomach I may never have realized I wasn’t writing for Your honor. I love you. Amen


Wrigley ran downstairs and gave her parents a hug. “Will you be mad at me if I don’t win first place at the writing fair?”

Mom smiled at Dad. “The only thing that matters is that you’ve done your best. But I really don’t think you need to worry. I read your paper and it’s great. If you’re worried that the fair will be judged unfairly, there will be a whole new group of people picking the winner.”

Wrigley waved her head to stop her mom, “No it’s not that. I’ve been in my room reading my devotion for today and I realized I hadn’t written what God wanted me to write. I only did what I thought would give me the best chance of winning. I have a new idea; if the judges will let me enter it I want to write a new paper. The thing is I won’t have time to make all the fancy props and posters in time to have a presentation that will win first place. But now I know winning isn’t as important as the message I want to tell.”

Wrigley saw her dad wipe a tear out of his eye. He never got emotional, but his voice was all gravely when he said, “I love you punkin. You do what you think is best and we’ll support you.”


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This article has been read 666 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dolores Stohler06/17/10
This is a great lesson for all of us who write for "the challenge" (and for any other writing assignment). It doesn't matter how popular we are or whether we win an award, we need to write what is in our hearts and what God is is calling us to write. Great message! God bless you.
The Masked Truelovers06/19/10
We can all learn a good lesson from the innocence of a child - too bad so many lose that child-like faith in their teens :]
Brenda Shipman06/20/10
Good writing, terrific message!
Rikki Akeo06/21/10
This carries a tune...or is it an undertone?
I feel it...
and I LOVE when that happens!
Colin Swann06/21/10
Lovely piece with a great message. Enjoyed!

Thanks - Colin
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/21/10
What a marvelous message is in your story. Your mc is a winner!
Virgil Youngblood 06/21/10
I believe this story puts into practice the message it conveys: well written and prayerfully submitted.
Ann Grover06/21/10
Good reminder about WHY we write. It's a definite challenge to keep that perspective. I enjoyed this very much . . . thank you.
Joanne Sher 06/21/10
A great reminder of why we should write - and I love that they both got the same message.
Catrina Bradley 06/21/10
Great story! I love that the teen girl took to heart what she read, prayed, and acted on it.
Susan Montaperto06/21/10
A great story that teaches a great lesson. Thank you that the MC is a good example of following through on what she read, and prayed and wrote. I really loved reading this. Keep writing. God bless.
Sarah Elisabeth 06/22/10
Awww, I'm really liking Wrigley. She reminds me of someone...

Precious message told in a precious voice!
Joan Campbell06/22/10
Wrigley is learning this lesson way earlier than the rest of us! I loved the underlying, personal and heart-felt message here. It's so lovely to have you back, with your quiet, gentle wisdom!
Gregory Kane06/22/10
As has been said, there's a great lesson here and I'm delighted to see how many gold boxes you have already accrued.
I stumbled in your story when I got to the diary section. I appreciate that it serves as a device to express your MCs inner feeling, but I felt somewhat that the argument was being force fed to me. I suspect it would have flowed better (although at the expense of word count) had you shortened the diary and expressed the thoughts through dialogue. I know you won't mind my expressing an opinion in this way, especially as you've already had so many positive comments. It's good. But we all want to do better!
Carol Slider 06/23/10
I'm glad Wrigley is learning these lessons early! I was a little unsure why she was so unhappy (when she did, after all, receive 100%). Did the other girl receive 100 as well, or only one of the higher scores? But I enjoyed the story... and the lesson is one we all need to remember. Good job!
Edmond Ng 06/24/10
My sentiments exactly! We certainly ought to write what God would have us write, especially when we are writing for God or writing devotionals. Thank you for sharing this message through the eyes of a kid in your story.
Patsy Hallum07/04/10
I had a little trouble figuring out why mc was mad too, but the message was timeless, keep writing!