Authors: Deborah A Hodge
Tags: #Contemporary Christian Romance
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, events and characters are fictitious in every regard.
Any similarities to actual events or persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.
Deborah A. Hodge
© 2009 Romance Divine LLC
Cover Design by Viper
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NOTE: This is an abridged version e-book.
It contains the complete text as the print version,
but lacks the interior artwork and scripture verses.
The print book is also available: 978-1-934446-64-5.
This book is dedicated to all of those who are patiently trusting God and waiting for Him to work all things together for good.
I would like to acknowledge several people who helped with this book: Libera Garrett, Halle Childress, Inez Hill, Edward Hamil, Victoria Overton and Dylan Hill for proof-reading the manuscript and for their kind suggestions and encouragement.
I am very grateful to Jay Johnson for proof-reading and correcting my Spanish
Deborah A. Hodge
Cate felt like pinching herself to see if she was dreaming, but she knew she wasn’t. It was real; and it was wonderful. She breathed it all in and joyfully savored every sight and sound. They invigorated her, the flight attendant’s announcements and demonstrations, the taxiing of the plane to the proper runway, the roar of the engines at take-off, the movement of the plane as it sped faster and lifted into the sky. As the plane soared into the air, Cate’s spirit soared too. She was on her way to a new beginning, another chance, and a new adventure with God.
As the plane leveled off, the pilot greeted the passengers, and Cate tried to follow along, even as she thought about her new adventure, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is your pilot, Captain Daniel Ortez…approximate flight time…excellent weather between Kansas City and Quito…sit back and relax…We hope you have an enjoyable flight.”
After the pilot finished his welcome, the ‘unbuckle seat belt’ sign flashed on, and Cate surveyed the faces of those accompanying her on her journey. To her left, seated in the aisle seat, was David Barnes, his handsome, compassionate face and penetrating, brown eyes framed by his thick, black, neatly, combed hair. She wondered what he was thinking. Could he be reminiscing about past times in Ecuador with his late wife Jenny, or maybe he was thinking about what lay ahead as he returned? To her right, was four year old, Sarah, David’s daughter. Her hair, eyes, and smile were her father’s, but the rest of her features were those of her mother. Sarah was playing with the doll that Cate’s parents had given her as a going away present. As she spoke to her dolly, she was fastidiously straightening its dress and fixing its hair. She had named the doll Carrie. Cate didn’t have to wonder what Sarah was thinking, she could hear what she was saying to the doll.
“Carrie, you’ll like Ecuador. It’s a very beautiful country. Where we live, you can see the mountains and you’ll like our house. My mommy likes our house. Maybe, we’ll see mommy there.”
‘Maybe, we’ll see mommy there.’ Those words rang in Cate’s ears. She knew Sarah probably believed it, or at least hoped it with childlike fervor, but Cate knew her mommy wasn’t there. Her mother had died in a plane crash when Sarah was three. She also knew that Sarah was too young to understand the finality of that event.
David also heard what Sarah had said. His daughter’s words caused him to shift in his seat.
Cate glanced at him knowingly and whispered, “It’ll be okay. Just give her time. She’s too young to deal with finite concepts like death.”
“I know. It’s just difficult for me to hear her say that maybe Jenny will be in Ecuador when we get there.”
Cate looked sympathetically into his eyes, filled with love and concern for his daughter. She detected lingering grief as he said his dead wife’s name. She wanted to say more, but didn’t know what. Her attempt to think of the compassionate, comforting, appropriate thing to say was interrupted by the cry of a baby somewhere behind them. Cate turned to see where and when she looked back, David had closed his eyes. That led her to believe that he wanted a few minutes of personal privacy to be alone with the feelings his daughter’s words evoked.
Cate focused her attention back to Sarah, who was still talking to Carrie. Suddenly, the flight attendant interrupted the conversation to ask about the evening meal. David and Cate allowed Sarah to choose first.
Sarah answered in a very grown-up manner, “I would like chicken please.”
The flight attendant smiled as she reached for Sarah’s choice.
“What would you like to drink?”
“Milk, it is.” The flight attendant passed Sarah her dinner and beverage with David’s assistance, while Cate helped her pull her tray down.
After Sarah was situated, Cate and David chose and received their meals. The trio blessed and ate their food; fairly appetizing, considering it was airline food.
Afterwards, Sarah announced, “I need to go potty.”
Once again, David had closed his eyes after dinner. Maybe he was praying, or maybe napping. Whatever he was doing, he didn’t respond to Sarah’s announcement.
“No problem, I’ll take you. The restroom is right up there,” Cate nodded up the aisle. Unfortunately, the bathroom visit meant that they had to disturb David. Cate gently touched his arm, and he opened his eyes,
“I’m sorry, but Sarah needs to go to the restroom.”
“Oh—sorry, I was in another world.” David stood to let them out.
Sarah smiled as she walked by, “Daddy, we’ll be right back.”
“Okay, sweetie,” David sat down.
Once in the restroom, Sarah was fascinated by how different it was from those at home and asked many questions. Cate answered her numerous questions, after which they returned to their seats and Sarah soon settled down and fell asleep.
After a few minutes, David noticed that Sarah had gone to sleep, “Look at her, sleeping so peacefully.”
“Yeah, it’s great to have absolutely no problems.” Cate smiled as she brushed Sarah’s hair back from her face.
“Oh,” David nodded, “she has problems.”
“None that her daddy can’t solve,” Cate smiled as she glanced in David’s direction.
“She has problems that
can’t solve, but none that the Heavenly Father cannot solve.”
Cate nodded, “You’re right. I tend to forget that sometimes.”
“So do I,” David admitted.
“You, Mr. Preacher Man?”
“Me, Miss Preacher’s Daughter.”
“But, not like me.” Cate turned to gaze out the small window. “I struggled for such a long time after Justin to believe that God could solve all of my problems, beginning with my need for His forgiveness for my rebellion and sin. But, by His grace, He did forgive me and teach me that He truly can solve my problems, when I seek Him and His will for my life.”
“I’m grateful for what He has done in your life. You’re a very different woman than when I first met you.”
“I know, and I give God the glory for it. I’m just sorry that I wasted so much time and made such mess out of my life—and Justin’s—before I allowed Him to change me.” Cate breathed a sigh of regret.
David knew her thoughts, and gently touched her arm, “Cate, don’t go there.”
“I can’t help it. If I had been totally submissive to God seven years ago, I would’ve never married Justin and had a failed marriage.”
Cate, we’ve been over this. Whatever you might think, your failed marriage was not your fault. Justin chose infidelity. He chose divorce, not you.”
“That may be true, but we both know that I should never have married him.” Cate sighed as pain creased her face and tears filled her eyes.
“Cate, you know that beating yourself up over the past won’t do any good. You can’t go back and change it,” David softly took her hand in an effort to comfort her.
“That may be true, but I can regret it until the day I die.” Tears trickled from her eyes.
“You’ve allowed God to do so much in your life. You need to focus on that. You’ve allowed Him to forgive you, and help you grow into a vibrant, committed Christian. Focus on that—and forgive yourself.” As he spoke, Cate wiped her tears with her right hand as he squeezed her left.
“But, I should have known better. I’m a
daughter. I should have known the hurt, scars and consequences that came with rebellion.” Her tears were now flowing freely; there were too many to wipe away.
“Cate, you know that God can heal hurts and scars, and can help you live with the consequences. He’s promised that His grace is sufficient for whatever we face. You can count on that.”
“I know, but sometimes I just get sucked into that vortex of regret, and forget about God and His sufficiency.” Cate once again tried to wipe the tears flowing down her cheeks.
“Sometimes we all get pushed around by emotions, and the only way to fight back is to focus on God and His promises. Remember He is the God of Second Chances. You know that by experience. You’re on your way to Ecuador to teach at a mission school because God has called you to that. He has a plan for you, and His promises and His grace will be sufficient to carry you through.” David gently squeezed her hand again as he spoke.
“Thank you for the reminder, and thank you for your friendship. I really appreciate all that you’ve done for me.” With her head still lowered and trying to regain her composure, Cate closed her eyes, took a deep breath, sniffed to clear her nose and tried wiping away the remainder of her tears.
“You’re welcome, but there’s no need to thank me,” David turned toward her, gently raised her head so he could look into her eyes and wiped away the remaining tears.
Cate became uncomfortably aware that David was touching her face. She squirmed, shifted in her seat, took a deep breath and whispered, “Thank you.”
“It’s all right, I’m here for you,” he said.
She composed herself and began again. “I do need to thank you. You recommended me to Matthew Kennedy. Without you, I’d never be on my way to Ecuador to teach in a mission school.”
“Matthew made his own decision about you.”
“That may be true, but your recommendation helped a lot.”
“I think God had more to do with it than anyone else,” David said.
“I’m sure that’s right, but I’m also sure that He used you and Matthew Kennedy to get me where He wanted me, and I am extremely grateful.”
“Glad to be of service, to God—and you,” David squeezed her hand.
They both smiled; he was still holding her hand. David had held her hand throughout most of the conversation. It was the first time they’d held hands in seven years. Back then, they were an engaged couple, but Cate had broken their engagement to marry Justin.
Almost simultaneously, they both realized that they were no longer holding hands in an effort to comfort, but were actually
. The realization that they were affectionately holding hands jarred both of them. They knew that was no good.
David spoke first while extricating his hand in an effort to stop the hand holding without admitting what had happened. “Well, I think, I’m going to try to get a little sleep before we get to Quito.” He withdrew his hand and folded his arms across his chest to sleep.
“Good idea. Maybe, I’ll try it too,” Cate said, but she quickly realized that sleep wasn’t possible. The hand holding incident had rekindled strong feelings and painful regrets of the past. As she looked at David on one side and Sarah on the other, she realized how much she had lost by rebelling against God and marrying Justin. She battled to push the memories from her mind and drift off to sleep, but they refused to go. As Cate finally began to drift off to sleep, Sarah stirred as if she was having a bad dream. Cate rose to comfort her, and as she tried to settle back in her seat and drift off to sleep again, the memories re-assaulted her. She was transported back in her thoughts to seven years earlier, to relive it all again. As she began her journey back in time, she gazed intently at the man on her left, now asleep in the chair beside her. Her lack of submission to God
had first confronted her when she met him