I opened my Bible to the chapter I’d been reading in the gospel of Luke, but I had a hard time concentrating. Precious’s comment last night about putting Philip “back on my radar” for the boys’ sake niggled at me. Is that what I’m supposed to do, God? I don’t know how to help him right now! Even if I did, how does that fit with starting up the House of Hope? I mean, this whole idea was impossible, but You kept opening up doors, gave us favor with the city, favor with the Manna House board—even provided the money from my mom’s life insurance so I could make the down payment on this building! But now that we’ve started, I want to do this right. Not be distracted by Philip’s problems.
Talk about distractions. I was supposed to be spending time “reading the Word” and “listening to God”—a commitment I’d made when I’d decided to renew my faith in front of the church a few weeks ago. Trouble was, there were times I didn’t particularly want to know God’s thoughts about something. Not if what He wanted to say might conflict with what I wanted to hear.
Some Christian I was.
Sighing, I closed my Bible and pulled one of my mom’s old afghans around me. It wasn’t just Philip’s safety that was distract¬ing me. It was what he’d said in the hospital the morning after he’d been attacked. I could still hear the words, hear the pain in his voice. “Gabby, I’ve messed everything up so bad. I don’t know what to do! You . . . you were the best thing that ever happened to me, and I . . . I drove you away. Please . . . please, don’t leave me. You have every right to . . . to walk out of here, but . . . can you forgive me? I’m begging you! Please . . .”
I shuddered. Lee Boyer—my lawyer friend, who’d started to become “something more”—had shown up at the hospital right then. Told me what Philip was saying was a lie. Practically made me choose then and there. Either stand by Philip—in a crisis of his own making, Lee reminded me—or come away with him. Choose?! How could I choose! Lee had become a real friend, the kind of guy I should have married—down to earth, casual, fun, kind. Except he wasn’t interested in God or church or faith. And all that “religious stuff,” as he called it, had once again become very important to me.
Something deep down—God?—wouldn’t let me walk away from my husband right then, even though months earlier Philip had thrown me out of the penthouse, left me homeless and penniless, and taken our sons back to Virginia to stay with their grandparents without telling me. Even though it hurt like hell to see Lee walk away that day in the hospital. But I’d told Philip I couldn’t answer his question right then either.
I needed time.
That was a week ago. A week ago today. And he hadn’t brought it up again.
Oh God, what am I supposed to do?
Excerpt from WHO IS MY SHELTER by Neta Jackson. Copyright @ 2011 by Neta Jackson. Published in Nashville, Tennessee by Thomas Nelson. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.
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