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Come take a peek at a poignant scene from The Shadows Come.
Prentis had hung a swing from the biggest tree on their property. It was north of the house, one of the comforting trees right outside Avery’s kitchen window. When she worked in the kitchen, she watched the foliage change from season to season. Today it was chilly, and the wind snapped and sighed, hinting at the coming cold season. Nevertheless, Avery felt she needed to escape to that swing under that tree. The tree still maintained a few leaves, the stragglers, those holding on tightly with all their might, loathe for winter to come and snatch away the final vestiges of summer.
Since Jack was sleeping soundly, Avery quietly exited through the back door, making sure it closed soft and easy, so as not to wake the baby. Listening outside the bedroom window for any sound of disturbance, she stood by the door for a few minutes. Obviously, he still slept.
Then she slipped around the corner.
Pulling her wrap tight, she wound the shawl over her head and about her arms, and then twined her arms around the ropes that held the swing. A soft giggle escaped. She probably looked like an Eastern European peasant woman. In the papers, she had seen pictures. No one would recognize her. She smiled.
God knew it was she. He always did. She had slipped out here to be alone with Him. Of course, she was always with Him, but rarely ever alone. Alone, she needed to be. Tomorrow was her follow-up appointment with the doctor. Nothing had changed.
She settled herself into the swing, making sure all of her feminine undergarments were positioned as they should be, and then she lifted her feet. Back and forth faintly, and then at increasing heights, she pointed her toes first forward and then backward. The wisps of hair that had loosened from her braid whipped about her face. The mid-November breeze stung sharp upon her cheeks. Her eyes watered from it. Or was it the overflow of tears? She couldn’t tell.
The middle of her ached. Great loss was coming. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did. This wasn’t like her first fear that Prentis would be marched off to war. As newlyweds and before Jack had been born, that idea had tormented her. No. This was a settled certainty.
She wasn’t afraid. She simply knew it was coming. She felt as if God was preparing her for enormous sadness. But she also felt fortified by Him, as if His Holy Spirit wrapped her round about like this shawl, penetrating and warming her heart as well.
The loss would be wide, and it would be deep. The loss would be personal.
That’s all she knew. Simply that it would be, and that God was with her.
Tears left tracks along her cheeks as she swung, waiting, listening, hoping to be told exactly what was coming, so she could brace herself. But, rarely did that ever happen on this earth.
Rather, the lesson was to trust God in it, whatever it was and whenever it came. So, trust she would. And He would hold her. She knew He would. Still, she wept, for she would never be the same. She knew this, too.
Refining involved pounding and smashing the malleable clay, God the Potter and she the clay. She would be reshaped. What would she be? Only time would tell.
On the backswing, Prentis surprised her, catching her in mid-flight as she hung in space before the forward motion. His arms were strong, and he held her close, nuzzling his face against hers, squeezing her tightly to his chest.
“Do you have any idea how much I love you?” he whispered over her shoulder.
“No matter what?” she whispered back.
“No matter what.”
And then she wept all the more. She couldn’t tell him why, and she didn’t know if he would understand. But the kindness in his eyes and the gentleness of his touch stated clearly that he knew she couldn’t speak of it, that he loved her, and that he would be there beside her as they suffered the coming losses together.
All would be well with their souls.
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