Chapter 8 – Are We Done Yet?


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A Desire So Strong

Chapter 8 – Are We Done Yet?


The next morning, Marie bolted straight up in the bed to the voice of God. “Wait a minute Lord,” she said hurrying to the desk for her journal. “And how are you this morning?” she asked turning to look at the clock. Marie always noted the date and time of her talks with God and she wanted to be sure to get it down before she got distracted.
          “Oh Marie, I am excited!” He said.
          “You must be Lord because it’s 4:30 a.m.”
          “I knew you wouldn’t mind Marie” God said through His chuckles.
          Marie, shaking her head from side to side, chuckled back at His humor at that time of the morning. “Lord, what on earth is going on with you?”
          “You mean what in heaven is going on with me, right? She slapped her hand to her forehead. “Okay Lord, wherever you are right now,” she said laughing. “What is going on?”
          “Are you fully awake now child?” He asked.
          “Yes Father.”
          “Now, when you’re riding down the street and a house catches your attention, what is the first thing you’d normally say?
          “I’d say, ‘Oh, this house is beautiful.’”
          “Absolutely. Or something to that effect at least. Now, if an individual is in the market for buying a house, he or she will more than likely contact a realtor and make an appointment to view the house correct?”
          “Yes Lord?”
          “I want to bring your attention to a movie you and I once watched. Remember the movie Are We Done Yet? Oh, and good morning Beloved,” He added as a late greeting.
          Marie roared with laughter. “Lord, you mean to tell me that you woke me out of a deep sleep so we could talk about a movie,” she asked howling with laughter. “Lord?”
          “Yes, and yes again Marie.”
          “You know folk are gonna think you’re crazy God. Okay, give it to me.”
          “Marie, record the opening for this movie please.”
          “Okay Lord, as much as I can remember: Nick Persons lives in an apartment with his present wife Suzanne and their two children. The apartment is really a bachelor pad and is too small for the four of them let alone the four of them plus their big dog. Suzanne finds out that she is pregnant and is carrying twins. Knowing that they needed a larger dwelling, the family sets out to find a house to accommodate them.
          “The Persons meet with a realtor they found listed in a home buyer’s magazine and ask about a home that’s caught their eye. It is located in the suburbs—a reasonable distance from the inner city where they currently live. For Nick, the house’s distance from the city is a huge plus. He really didn’t want to raise two more children in the inner city.”
          God took this moment to interject: “The first thing that captures the Persons’ attention, Marie, is the beauty of the house from the outside—the size and how it has been so elegantly designed. Once on the inside, the family is captivated by the size of the rooms, the high ceilings, the fancy bathrooms, the spacious kitchen, the number of windows, and the generous closet space. Nick gets excited about the possibility of having his own private toilet.        “As the realtor takes them through the house, the Persons are overwhelmed by what they can see and touch—already orchestrating the move in their minds, already setting up house.”
          God continued, “The realtor takes them outside and shows them the guest house and the lake behind the house. It has all the things one would imagine a dream home would have. Nick inhales the fresh, clean air, savoring the fresh aroma. With a little encouragement from the realtor and much desire from within, the family decides to buy the house. Nothing could be more perfect. No one could be more happy.
          “Once the Persons move in, however, things begin to fall apart. All the things they couldn’t see and didn’t know about slowly became visible.
          “All too quickly Marie, Nick’s love for the house diminishes, and the house loses the beauty that initially attracted him.
Instead of life being perfect in the new house, life becomes a nightmare: Doors are falling off, wiring is going haywire, plumbing is exploding, and the roof starts leaking.
          “Blinded by the beauty of the house, the Persons hadn’t demanded proof of what the realtor told them, nor had they asked the right questions of him. Now they were stuck in a nightmare that is draining them of everything: money, energy, peace of mind, and family unity. Attitudes develop, and joy in the house is gone. One day, under the pressure of his nightmare, Nick loses it and fires all the help. Suzanne moves into the guest house with the children and the dog, leaving Nick alone with his nightmare.
          “After little thought, Nick puts a For Sale sign in the yard and takes a stab at the repair work himself. It’s while he’s working on the house and getting it ready to be a memory of the past that he falls in love with it. His attitude changes and he takes on a new perspective towards the house. It’s no longer a nightmare but instead has returned to its original state of beauty. This time though, it is beautiful inside and out.
          “Throughout this session Marie, you and I will be going around and around, and in and out of this movie. There are many insights that I want to share, especially the ways many marriage unions run parallel to Nick’s purchase of the house and its many problems. You’ll be able to follow me because we watched the movie together.”
          “Okay Lord, you’ve got my attention,” Marie said as she fluffed her pillows and got comfortable.
“I’m ready now.”Marie positioned her journal and pen and waited for the Lord to continue.
          “Marie,” He began, “many relationships have been started based on decisions made in the same way that Nick Persons made his decision to buy his house—based on what he could see on the outside, overtaken bybeauty—based on an image he constructed in his mind before he had any experience with the house. Like Nick, people often immediately begin orchestrating in their minds how their relationships are going to develop based only on what they have observed externally.
          “Once a man and woman move into a marriage union, they begin to notice traits about each other that they had not noticed before—undesirable traits. Most of the time, these newly discovered traits cause serious problems for the couple, and many couples will, like Nick Persons, look for the easy way out. They’ll put a For Sale sign on their marriage, or in other cases, an eviction notice. Taking this kind of action though, Marie, is an admittance that the love was not genuine, an admittance that the house was chosen for all of the wrong reasons. And I’m talking about married folk here Marie, folk that are in me. Folk that are called by my name.
          “Now, many realtors, like the realtor in the movie, know the hidden traits about houses they are trying to sell—the things that would cause potential buyers to have second thoughts about buying the house or change their minds completely. But because some realtors are selfish and have their own hidden agendas, they often will not make buyers aware of the problems they know about the house. Instead, they’ll let people, like Nick, walk blindly into a nightmare that will drain them of everything financially, physically, emotionally, spiritually. You see, Marie, some realtors are more concerned with making a good commission or winning achievement awards than they are with the welfare of the buyer, so they capitalize on the buyers’ ignorance. When this happens, of course, the buyer is taken.
          “Let me continue with my analogy Marie. Those who are both on and in the market for a relationship and going through the dating process should seek a realtor who has their best interest in mind and at heart. They should seek out a realtor who has no hidden agenda, who knows through and through both the buyer and the individual on the market. People should seek a realtor who isn’t going to hide the truth and who will give them an honest and clear view of all the buyer is about to purchase. A just realtor will not hide anything from the buyer.
However, the honesty in this buyer/realtor relationship relies on more than just the honesty of the realtor; it relies on the honesty of the seller too. The seller must be honest with the realtor and disclose any known problems.”
          “So what you’re saying Lord, is that we should seek the knowledge and insight of your wisdom concerning people we’re interested in and people we’re considering for marriage.
You’re the realtor like in the movie.”
          “Absolutely Marie,” the Lord answered. “I know every motive and intent of every person’s heart whether he or she is good or bad, Black or White, rich or poor. I also know that some people are disturbed that I have this type of knowledge. But let’s not get too far away from our analogy for the time being. Shall we continue?”
          “Oh yes, Lord,” Marie responded, “let’s continue.”
          “People seeking the union of marriage should search themselves, examining every motive and intent—being completely honest with themselves. They should seek to ask the right questions and pray about every answer. They should go through what I will call the ‘ORA period.’ This is the period where they obtain information and research all.
The period where they observe and reject all that is contrary to my ways, my statues, my instructions for righteous living. The period where they object to mental illusions and resist all fleshly coercion.
          “Desire can sometimes cloud, crowd, blind, deafen, cripple, stunt, and paralyze; desire can kill. Walking in the powers of desire, many couples have ignored signs warning them of ill-suited relationships. They have overlooked pertinent information that could have helped them make better decisions. Desire caused them to overlook things that would become detrimental to their union. Many times this desire is a strong and wrong desire.”
          “Lord, will you define a wrong desire?” Marie asked.
          “A wrong desire Marie, is a longing or yearning incited by unrighteousness. A desire ignited by lust, greed, selfishness, deception, and other similar unrighteous motives and intents.
This is the desire that clouds, crowds, blinds, deafens, cripples, stunts, paralyzes, and kills.
          “Many unions have been formed because of desire and were motivated by traits both seen and unseen. But after being in the union for a while, the hidden traits become visible. The couple’s eyes are opened to new traits about each other—traits that rattle both of them. These manifested traits began to magnify or bring into focus the un-loveable things the couple intentionally overlooked or pushed under the rug earlier in their relationship. The manifested traits shine light onto the unjust things that coasted the couple into the marriage union that has become a nightmare. At this point, a decision has to be made.
          “In the movie Marie, as things began to fall apart, Nick began trying to fix things on his own. But because he had no experience with this type of work, he always made a bigger mess than what was already there. It wasn’t until he finally swallowed his pride that he sought professional help. Before calling for repairmen though, Nick first turned to the realtor for direction and references. The realtor, although only one man, began serving different functions. When Nick had electrical problems, the realtor oversaw the electrical repairs. When Nick had plumbing problems, the realtor oversaw the plumbing repairs. For every problem Nick encountered, the realtor took the lead in its repair. In fact, the realtor became so excited about helping with the repairs that he gave up the convenience and comfort of his own home to move closer to the Persons. The realtor very much wanted to help with the ongoing repairs.
          “So, although the realtor appeared to be unsound and unstable at the beginning of the movie, we find that he actually was the most intact of everyone. For every problem that came up, he had a solution, and even in the middle of all the repairs, he could envision the end results. And throughout the whole ordeal, his attitude remained positive. He exhibited joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. And he had fun. But, he also possessed great understanding and displayed much patience. Do these characteristics remind you of anyone Marie?”
          “Yes Lord—the Holy Spirit!”
          “Exactly Marie”. And remember, the realtor possessed more positive qualities than the few I named. And remember too, the realtor was not only involved with the repair of the house—he was also involved in building the family’s structure.
          “Though as you know Marie, one day Nick finally lost it. When he did, he fired his realtor and with him, all the professional help. But even though the realtor was gone physically, he was still there and at work in spirit. The insights he shared with Nick remained. And because Nick began to play those insights over in his mind, the impact of the realtor’s character on Nick remained too. Yes, the realtor was still at work indeed.
          “The realtor and his efforts turned out to be vital not only to the repair of the house but to the remaking of Nick’s character as well. One by one, the physical problems with the house brought to light Nick’s own personal problems. He displayed an attitude problem and was angry. He lacked patience and had little strength to persevere. Because he was very much out of control himself, Nick was controlling. And he didn’t know how to interact with the children. Nick actually needed the realtor more than he ever could have realized.
          “Left alone in the house, Nick makes an assessment of the progress and realizes that even though some of the repairs have been completed, there still is much work to do. Accepting the fact that he must do the work himself, he sighs, rolls up his sleeves, and begins to work. While he is hard at work, Nick begins to examine his own character. He begins to reflect on all that has happened since he purchased the house.
After much soul searching, he recognizes many situations that he could have handled differently, many times when he could have chosen better words. While he’s making physical repairs to the house, so too is his inner self being torn apart and repaired. He works, searches himself, and reflects. Works, searches himself, reflects.
          “One day while Nick is working, searching, and reflecting, a neighbor comes by to visit. During the course of ensuing chit chat, Nick learns that the realtor has lost his wife and has no other family. Nick is humbled after learning this and sets off to make amends with the realtor. He returns to the house enlightened. With his new attitude comes new determination and Nick resumes work on the house with renewed energy.
          “While pounding nails on the roof, his attention is drawn from his work by the sound of approaching vehicles. When Nick stops to see who’s coming, he’s surprised to find that it is the realtor and all the repairmen returning to work. Now work on the house gets going at full speed. Even Nick’s children join in to help. The end result of the nightmare house is a perfect home.”
          The Lord was silent for several minutes. Marie assumed His silence was His way of giving her a break to reflect on the things He’d already shared and to give her fingers a rest. As she thought on the movie, she became amazed at insight the
Lord had chosen to share. A few seconds into her thoughts, the Lord began to talk.
          “Marie, I want to talk about the roof just a little,” the Lord said with a chuckle.
          Marie smiled at His chuckle. This must be something funny she thought.
          “Whenever there is a problem with the roof of a house,” the Lord began, “other problems will develop in the house. A damaged roof can cause severe problems especially when they’ve gone undetected for a time.”
          “Lord I know exactly where you’re going with this,” Marie said laughing. “You’re talking about the mind—the roof of this physical body.”
          “I am indeed Marie. You see, when the rains of sin and deception fall upon a mind that isn’t armored with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, sin and deception enter causing electrical shortages in the thinking of man. Man’s physical house suffers just as much damage as Nick’s house did if not more. The evidence of collapsing walls and caving ceilings are seen through the unrighteous and ungodly actions of the unarmored one. The infestation of sin and deception is heard through the foolishness of his talk. A damaged roof will mess a man up. It will lead him to do crazy things.
          As God was talking, Marie had been imagining people with damaged roofs experiencing electrical shortages, and by now, she was laughing out loud. “Stop Lord,” she said between gasps for air, “you’re killing me!”
          “So you see what I’m saying Marie?,” the Lord asked, laughing too.
          “Yes Lord, I do.”
          “As Nick repaired the roof of his material house, the roof of his bodily house experienced a transformation as well—and his mind was healed. And it was because of this mental transformation that Nick was able to receive and appreciate the returning realtor and his agents.
          “Now let’s go back Marie, to where we left off with the couple in a nightmare union. A decision has to be made as to whether they will work to repair the union or let it become a memory of the past.
          “The difference between Nick’s house and the couple in the union we speak of, is that the house is an inanimate object.The house couldn’t make a decision concerning repair. On the contrary, the couple is made up of two persons who are very much alive and possess perception and volition and who have the ability to make decisions.
          “You see the roof couldn’t say to Nick, ‘Nah man—you will not tar and shingle me. You aren’t rebuilding me and making me new. Forget it.’ The roof couldn’t jump up to run nor could it push Nick away. Neither could the plumbing, the doors, the windows, the floors, the tiles or any other thing that was being repaired in the house. The house could not resist. The house did not choose its occupants—the occupants chose the house.
          “Unlike the house, however, the couple in the union chose one another. Regardless of motives or reasoning, they chose each other. Because they both chose one another, the two have to make a decision about their union, together. No decision they make is going to be clean cut though—too much is at stake. Whether they stay in the union or dissolve the union, repair has to be made—together or separately.
          “In order for the couple to come to an agreeable decision, the couple must examine themselves, their motives, their intents—they must be truly honest with themselves. They must weigh the problems at hand and measure their depths. They must assess all the damage they’ve caused in the marriage—even the damage they’d previously blamed on their partner.
          “While attempting to come to a decision about the marriage, all of the elements of a happy and healthy relationship that the couple should have considered during the dating process find their way in to the discussion—every last should have, could have, and would have. But the haves don’t arrive as salt to be thrown into wounds. They come as decision-making agents of change to help the couple decide agreeably.
“Finally, the couple makes a decision. They decide that they want the marriage to work. They’ve carefully assessed the damages done in the union. The couple sees the damage from mistrust and lies. They see the damage of ill-spoken words and the ugly names they’ve called each other. They cringe at the horrible damage selfishness and unkindness has done. And as they continue to look back on their marriage, the list of damages continues to grow.
          “Like Nick, the couple realizes that both the damages and the needed repairs are enormous. They realize that they need outside help. In the movie Marie, Nick sought the help of the realtor who knew more about the house than Nick did. The couple decides to seek the help of one who knows more about marriage unions than they know. They decide that the best person to get is the person who instituted marriage in the first place.”
          Marie laughed. God was always making her do that. “There’s not a human being anywhere who can truthfully take credit for the institution of marriage Lord.”
          The Lord agreed and then continued. “The couple turns to me and sincerely asks for my help. What I do then, is step into the middle of their nightmare and set up a workshop just like the realtor did with the Persons. I step into their thoughts, their ideas, their motives, and their intents. I connect with their words and their actions. Because it is the couple who have turned the union into the nightmare, it is between the couple that I set up shop through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Holy Spirit does in the believers, Marie.
          “Marie, for further insight and fun, I’ll give this workshop a name. I’ll call it the S workshop because it focuses on self-analyzing; soul-searching; studying; seeking; succumbing; staying prayerful, submissive, and honest; sharing; and saving.”
          Marie’s eyes lit up.
          “Yes beloved, after your breakup with Jay, you named the phase you went through the R period. You inspired me.”
          Marie was astonished. “The thought of inspiring you has never even crossed my mind. This is amazing to me. I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now. I can only say thank you.”
“You’re welcome Marie. Now let’s talk about the workshop. Though the married couple lives together sharing the same living space, the couple really is separated. But just as much construction and reconstruction took place at Nick’s house, so too does construction and reconstruction take place in the workshop with the couple—they both undergo repairs.
Self-analysis reaches a new level, becomes deeper, and makes truths more evident. Soul searching rips up defenses and tears down protective walls leaving the couple naked. Nothing remains hidden from the eyes of their helper. Every thought, motive, intent, and desire is revealed.
          “In the work shop, the couple reads and studies the bible, the word and instructions of their helper. The couple continually seeks my wisdom and knowledge to help them to understand the scriptures that pertain to their situation. But not only do they seek my help in intellectual understanding, they seek my help to succumb to the instructions given.
          “Through this workshop, the couple learns the necessity of staying prayerful and being submissive to their helper. They come to realize that many problems occurred in the union because of the lack of prayer and submission to both me and my Word.
          “In the workshop, the couple learns to become accountable to one another by being submissive to their helper. The couple learns to always stay honest with themselves and to one another as they too always stay honest with their helper. They learn to share with one another from the inside out as they share likewise with their helper. And it is through sharing that the two learn about each other. The husband learns, perhaps, that the wife loves small surprises like cards, live plants, or hand-written notes expressing kind and loving thoughts.
The wife learns, perhaps, that her husband loves quiet time with her in romantic settings. And when the couple begins to outwardly act on this new information, they begin to bring about inner change as well.
          “The couple starts praying together and for one another. They learn to sweetly disagree, allowing the word and instructions of their helper to be the deciding factor in all disputes. And because of this, they find their conversations with one another to be more delightful and insightful. They laugh more together and share the responsibilities of the home together as a team. Their responsibilities no longer are tasks but rather a ministry. And when the couple comes together in intimacy Marie, it no longer only is sex but rather a shared experience—the ultimate experience and beauty intended by me—love. Through the S workshop, the union is saved.
          “I want to share a bit of additional information Marie.
The repairs on Nick’s house and heart were not completed in one day. It took time to repair all of the damage. The couple’s marriage wasn’t repaired in one day. The workshop is not a one day quick fix. The workshop remains throughout the lifetime of the marriage.”
          Marie put down her pen and sat shaking her head from side to side. Unbelievable, she said to herself. She waited in the moments of silence anticipating to hear the voice of God at any moment. When there was not so much as a sigh from Him, she began reading what He had spoken to her. She smiled thinking to herself of how she should watch movies with the Lord more often and how no one would ever believe that He watched movies.
          Reading the message over from beginning to end, her thoughts took her back to her job, to the four or five minutes that she was able to spend with Edwin each morning. These moments were really special to her—Edwin was a really nice man—and she looked forward to greeting him with a friendly hug and catching up on the previous day’s events. Yet fear was always looming in the shadows, putting a bit of a damper on her excitement.
          Marie had been out of the dating arena for quite some time and hadn’t really given much thought to dating or being involved with anyone. She’d attributed her lack of interest to working all the time and simply not wanting to be bothered with the many lows she’d learned that relationships could bring. Though her childhood desire for marriage the way God intended rested within her, Marie decided that when the timing was right, she’d know. In the meantime, she simply chose not to place herself in any position where she might invite unlovable experiences with men.
          When Marie was involved in relationships, one of the things that always troubled her the most was when her partner interfered in her fellowship with the Lord. The other thing was the lack of fellowship they themselves had with the Lord. If there were ten dates, then there were ten rejections. The date always said, “Marie, you’re too godly for me,” and Marie always said, “And you’re too carnal for me.” When on a date where every other topic of the conversation was related to sex, Marie would rush through her dinner, belch, wipe her mouth, and hurry to end the date hoping that her actions would be viewed as rude as she viewed her date’s distasteful conversation.
          The sadder part about the dates was that they were with men who professed to know her God and confessed an undying love for Him. Wow, she thought to herself one evening after one of her rude exits from a professing confessor, Peter has more cousins than God has children!
          The self-proclaimed God-fearing and God-loving brother was definitely more full of words than actions though. Did he really think that Marie didn’t know he kept dropping his napkin on the floor intentionally so he could look at her legs? “You sho’ have got some pretty legs girl.” Oh please brother, Marie thought, you’re not fooling anyone.
          As infuriated as she was with her date that evening though, Marie had to admit she did get a good laugh on her drive home. She imagined what his reaction would have been if she’d thrown a pair of prosthetic legs on the table and announced, “Here, take these home with you since they seem to rock your world so much.” She laughed about it even now as she thought back on that night.
          Her thoughts quickly returned to Edwin though, and from the vivid image of him in her mind, she began to size him up. He’s six feet tall and has a very handsome face—that’s a plus, she thought. His complexion is even enough and speaks of his Italian and African-American lineage. That’s another plus, she thought. Hmmm, let’s see now, he’s fifty six years old and very toned physically. Plus and plus. He has gentle eyes that hold a slight hint of sadness, but that’s all right. Oh, and there’s no way that I can miss that warm smile, she thought smiling herself. He’s very respectful and a gentleman to the core. He’s also quite neat in appearance, smells good, and has a tender embrace. “I sure do hope his house isn’t like Nick’s Lord,” she said shaking her head.
Although he’d often say hello as he passed through her department and though he made a point to walk through her department t even though he never really needed to, she really hadn’t given him much thought at first. She’d respond politely, but that was it. And because she always just thought he was being polite, she really couldn’t recall how long it’d been since he started noticing her.
          One morning at about 2 a.m., while she was straightening disorderly piles of shirts on a display table, she heard some nearby saying, “With all of the festivals and picnics and seasonal activities going on in the city this summer, I’ll have to find me a temporary woman to enjoy some of those things with me.”
          The phrase temporary woman struck a nerve with Marie. Without thinking, her mouth reacted. “A temporary what?” she demanded turning to see who could have said such a thing.
          “Tell me what a temporary woman is” she commanded the familiar Italian, African-American face.
          Her co-worker laughed, but Marie wasn’t sure if it was because of her question or the look that must have been on her face. Then he explained that a temporary woman was one who would attend different functions with him but only in the capacity of a companion for the event and nothing more.
          Marie looked into his smiling eyes as he spoke and noticed a certain gentleness in them. She also noticed hints of pain.
But then he finished saying what he had to say, smiled at her one more time, and walked away.
After this encounter, Marie began to pay more attention to him as he passed through her department. Eventually, the friendly greetings grew into brief conversations.
          “What’s his name, Marlene?” she had asked a co-worker one night as he passed through.
          “Who?” she asked looking up to follow Marie’s gaze. “Oh, girl, that’s Edwin. He’s been here for a long time. He’s a very, very nice man.”
Marlene began to fill Marie in on some of the things she personally knew about Edwin as well as things she’d heard. When Marlene was finished, Marie better understood some of the sadness she’d seen behind those gentle eyes. Marie vowed to herself that she never would mention any of the things heard without reason. If their causal relationship went any further, he could share with her what he wanted when he was ready.
          Soon Marie noticed that Edwin started coming through her department more and more. Instead of just once a night on his way to clock in, he began coming through on his way back from all of his breaks. Eventually the two began to engage in more substantial conversations, and Marie found herself looking for him to come through the department. She really enjoyed seeing his smile and his laughter gave her great joy.
          Passing through one night, Edwin stopped and said, “You and I really have got to get together to do something.”
          Normally in situations like this, hesitation would stand before Marie’s mouth, front and center. But this time, it was kicked back and laying low with its attention elsewhere.
          “Sounds like a plan,” she said surprised by her own voice.
          “It’s a date then,” he said before turning and heading off back to work. Watching him saunter down the aisle, Marie concluded that at some point in his past he must have served in the armed forces. He had the strut to prove it.
          Three weeks later she gave Edwin her number, and one week later he gave Marie his. The two would call one another at least twice a week. The conversations were short, but no matter the length, Marie enjoyed them and was excited to know he’d thought of her enough to call. They still hadn’t gotten together outside of work, but that was all right with Marie. She’d come to know a few more personal things about him and understood the pace he walked.
          Bringing herself back to the words the Lord spoke to her just that morning, she realized the timeliness of His message and how she should apply it to her growing relationship with Edwin. I must keep in mind the ORA period God spoke about, she thought. Hmmm . . . obtain information and research all.Observe and reject all things that are contrary to the Lord and the standards He’s set for righteous living. Object to all mental illusions and resist all fleshly coercion. Hmmm . . .
          “Yes, Lord?”
          “You know Edwin is falling in love with you don’t you?”
          “I kinda felt that he liked me a lot at least.”
          “Yes, Lord?”
          “He loves you, and he is afraid.”
          “So what do I do Lord?” she asked feeling excitement and uneasiness at the same time.
          “Let him!” the Lord answered.
          “Let him what?”
          “Let him love you, and let him be afraid.”
          “So then, what do I do with this information Lord?”
          “Store it.”
          “What do I do with my fears? And my many imperfections?
And . . .”
          “Marie, do you remember the childhood stage you mothers call the terrible twos when toddlers have learned to ask why? why? why? why?”
          “Of course I do, Lord. They were very challenging times.”
          “Well you’re there Marie. Ha.” Marie screamed with laughter imagining God, head in His hands, shaking it from side to side.
          “We will walk through your fears together Marie, and we will work at those imperfections together, okay?”
          “Yes, Lord. And thanks for being who you are and what you are, which is more than wonderful!”
          “Thank you Marie. And Marie, your phone is going to ring in three, two, one . . .”
          “Lord, it always blows me when you do that. People would never believe,” she said picking up the receiver.
          “Hello?” she answered with a smile in her voice, still thinking of God’s ways.
          “Good morning Baby. Did I wake you up?”
          “No, sweetie. I’ve been up since something after four,” she said basking in the deepness of Edwin’s voice she enjoyed so much.
          “What in the world were you doing up at that time of the morning girl?”
          Marie laughed. “God wanted to love on me.”
          “Hmmm . . . Hey, I’m sorry that I didn’t call you yesterday like I said I would. I got tied up on a side job. But know that I did think about you a whole lot.
          Marie remembered what God had just told her—let him. She had mixed feelings about that.
          Edwin disrupted her thought. “Are you there?”
          “Yes, Dear. I’m here, and it’s okay about your not calling yesterday. I truly understand. Things happen. Don’t sweat it.”
          “Marie, I’m a man who likes to keep his word, and if I see where I haven’t, then I make it right.” Edwin was quite serious.
          “That’s sweet, Dear and a very good way to be. Edwin?”
          “Yeah Baby?”
          “Thank you so much.”
          “For what?”
          “Being who you are.”
          “That really isn’t much Marie. That really isn’t much.”
          “You’re more than what you know Sweetie. Much more than what you know.”
          “Thanks Marie. Call you later?”
          “Sure. I’m meeting my girlfriend for lunch at noon and will be out for a couple of hours.”
          “Okay. I’ll call you maybe around six or so. And Marie, have a good day.”
          “Thanks. And you too.”
          Marie sat the phone down slowly on the cradle. “Edwin, you’re truly much more than you know,” she said aloud.
          “Yes he is Marie,” the Lord said. “And Marie?”
          “Yes, Lord?”
          “Do not listen to people. Hear me.”
          “Yes, Lord—hear you. Got it. But Lord, what you told me about Edwin’s love for me is sort of strange to me. Thinking like a human, I have to say that any man who can love me having never dated me nor spent any significant amount of time with me is either a crazy man or being guided by something beyond human comprehension. He can’t be crazy since you’ve said to allow him to love me. All I’ll say Lord, is, ‘Whatever you say.’ Oh and thanks.”
          It was 9 a.m. Still pretty early! Sleep has evaded me again she thought to herself. And God has had His way with me she thought, laughing and imagining His brow raising at that thought. Terrible two’s huh?
          “Yes, child?”
          “Are we done yet?”
          The Lord laughed heartily. “Children!”
          At that, Marie smiled until her face hurt.

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