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Authors: Neta Jackson

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Stand by Me

BOOK: Stand by Me
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stand by me

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stand by me

Book 1

A SouledOut Sisters Novel

neta jackson

© 2012 by Neta Jackson

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The author is represented by the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
www.alivecommunications.com

Thomas Nelson, Inc., titles may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, e-mail [email protected]

Scripture quotations are taken from the following:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Publisher's Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Any references to real events, businesses, organizations, and locales are intended only to give the fiction a sense of reality and authenticity. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Jackson, Neta.

   Stand by me : a SouledOut sisters novel / Neta Jackson.

      p. cm. -- (A SouledOut sisters novel ; bk. 1)

   ISBN 978-1-59554-864-1 (trade paper)

 1. Christian women--Fiction. 2. Chicago (Ill.)--Fiction. I. Title.

   PS3560.A2415S73 2012

   813'.54--dc23

2011048495

Printed in the United States of America

12 13 14 15 16 17 QG 6 5 4 3 2 1

To the Dumpster-divers
we know and love . . .
it's been an education

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Reading Group Guide

About the Author

Prologue

Midwest Music Festival, Central Illinois

K
at Davies ducked into the billowing exhibition tent staked down in a large pasture in central Illinois like a grounded Goodyear blimp. She'd been at the Midwest Music Fest three days already—didn't know it was a
Christian
festival until she got here—and needed a little respite from the music pulsing morning till night on the Jazz Stage, Gospel Stage, Alternative Stage, Rock Stage, Folk Stage, and a few more she'd forgotten.

Besides, she'd be heading back to Phoenix in two days, and sooner or later she needed to figure out how to tell her parents she'd “given her heart to Jesus” after the Resurrection Band concert last night. Maybe this tent had a quiet corner where she could think. Or pray. Not that she had a clue how to do
that
.

Kat had a good idea how they'd react. Her mother would flutter and say something like, “Don't take it too seriously, Kathryn, dear. Getting religion is just something everyone does for a year or two.” And her father? If he didn't blow his stack at what he'd call “another one of your little distractions,” he'd give her a lecture about keeping her priorities straight: Finish premed at the University of Arizona. Go to medical school. Do her internship at a prestigious hospital. Follow in the Davies tradition. Make her family tree of prominent physicians proud.

Except . . . she'd walked out of her biochemistry class at UA one day and realized she didn't
want
to become a doctor. She'd tutored ESL kids the summer after high school and realized she
liked
working with kids. (“Well, you can be a pediatrician like your uncle Bernard, darling,” her mother had said.) And the student action group on the UA campus sponsoring workshops on “Living Green” and “Sustainable Foods” had really gotten her blood pumping. (Another one of her “distractions,” according to her father.)

Was it too late to pursue something else? Her parents were already bragging to friends and coworkers that their Kathryn had received her letter of acceptance into medical school a few months ago. Feeling squeezed till she couldn't breathe, she'd jumped at the chance to attend a music fest in Illinois with a carload of other students—friends of friends—just to get away from the pressure for a while.

What she hadn't expected was to find so many teenagers and twentysomethings excited about Jesus.
Jesus!
Not the go-to-church-at-Christmas-and-Easter Jesus, the only Jesus she'd known growing up as the daughter of a wealthy Phoenix physician and socialite mother. That Jesus, frankly, had a hard time competing with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

But these people talked about a Jesus who cared about poor people. A Jesus who created the world and told humans to take care of it. A Jesus who might not be blond and blue-eyed after all. A Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor”—and that neighbor might be black or brown or speak Spanish or Chinese. A Jesus who said, “All have sinned,” and “You must be born again.” The Son of God, who'd died to take away the sins of the world.

That Jesus.

That's the Jesus she'd asked to be Lord of her life, even though she wasn't exactly sure what that meant. But she desperately longed for something—Someone—to help her figure out who she was and what she should do with her life. The guitar player in the band who'd challenged the arm-waving music fans last night to be Christ-followers had said, “Jesus came to give you life—life more abundantly! But first you must give your life to Him.”

That's what she wanted. Abundant life! A life sold out to something she could believe in. To give herself to one hundred percent. So she'd prayed the sinner's prayer with a woman in a denim skirt whose name she never learned, and a “peace like a river” flooded her spirit.

Last night, anyway.

But by the light of day, she was still heading in a direction—medical school—that she didn't want to go.

Big fans circulated the air in the large tent, though mostly it just moved the stifling July heat around. Thick, curly strands of her long, dark hair had slipped out of the clip on the back of her head and stuck in wet tendrils on her skin. Redoing the clip to get the damp hair off her neck and face, she wandered the aisles, idly picking up brochures about Compassion International, Habitat for Humanity, and YWAM.
Huh
. What if she just dropped out of premed and did something like this Youth With A Mission thing. Far from Phoenix and the Davies Family Tradition. Go to Haiti or India or—

“Nice boots,” giggled a female voice nearby.

Kat glanced up from the brochure. A cute brunette with a shaggy pixie cut grinned at her from behind a booth that said Find Your Calling at CCU! Kat self-consciously looked down at the Arizona-chic cowboy boots peeking out beneath her designer jeans and flushed. Ever since she'd arrived at the festival, she felt as if she'd walked into a time warp—girls in tank tops and peasant skirts, with pierced nostrils, guys wearing ponytails, tattoos, shredded jeans, and T-shirts proclaiming Jesus Freak. Kat had felt as conspicuous as a mink coat in a secondhand store.

“Thanks. I think.”

The young woman, dressed in khaki capris and a feminine lemon-yellow tee, laughed. “This your first time to the Fest? Where're you from?”

Kat felt strangely relieved to be talking to someone else who didn't look like a throwback to the seventies. “Phoenix. First time.”

“Wow. You came a long way.”

BOOK: Stand by Me
13.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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