Sarah bottled up the quart of the calendula wash for Henry Byler in a Mason jar and sent him and Rafe on their way so they wouldn’t be late for dinner. When they were gone, she sank into what had become her reading and sewing chair in the front room.
Caleb would be home any minute, and Simon had promised to be back for supper, so she might only have a few minutes alone to think.
She’d resolutely managed not to think about Henry for all these weeks, and now here he’d come into her kitchen, needing help and undoing all the good work she’d accomplished. And with a worldly pastor as a future father-in-law! There was some kind of ironic justice in that, wasn’t there—to run so far from God, only to marry into the family of a man who made God his business.
But at the same time, there was a big difference. Henry could enjoy his father-in-law and even worship in that church with the long name. It wouldn’t be the same as giving his life to God in service. It wouldn’t mean Uffgeva, that giving up of one’s own will and doing the will of the Lord, as Jesus had done—of saying, “Not my will, Lord, but Thine be done.”
And what about her? she thought in despair. Was this the Lord’s will for her—that her greatest temptation should be brought into her own kitchen for treatment so that she had to see him time and again before he was married? Even though Scripture said that God would not tempt her more than she could bear, Sarah wondered how she was going to manage it.
Because this would rip the scab off the wound that Henry had dealt her on that summer evening in June, when she had met him on the hill and he had told her he was going to marry Ginny.
Oh, she’d known then. Her own treacherous heart had been revealed to her in all its pain and glory, and it had taken her months to recover from it.
She had made the mistake of allowing herself to care, and she’d been paying the price ever since.
It had come on slowly at first—so slowly she’d hardly been aware of it. She and Henry had been friends, neighbors—as much as an Amish woman could be with a man who had walked away from the church and chosen to be Englisch. Somehow their lives had become entwined with those of several others over the summer, and they had become a team, time and circumstance binding them together with invisible cords. They felt good, those cords, soft and sweet and ever so dangerous because the sweetness hid the tiny thorns. Even Sarah couldn’t deny that having a male friend to whom she could say anything was a treasure she didn’t get to hold very often. Not since Michael’s death. So she had held it close—taken it out to examine its beauty—hoarded every feeling and look and shared moment of laughter or discovery.
She had realized to her mortification that his relationship with Ginny had progressed much further than she’d had any idea of because he hadn’t told her—further even than his own relatives knew. But God had told her.
God had revealed her once and for all as a complete and utter fool.
It simply wasn’t fair that when Henry needed help with his cracked hands, he turned to her instead of doing the sensible thing and making an appointment at the Mennonite cash-only medical clinic, or even going to the county hospital outside Whinburg. This was clearly God’s doing. He had brought Henry back to her to test her strength, and now it was up to her to be kind and professional and get his hands fixed up in the shortest time possible, and deliver him unscathed back to Ginny.
Sarah curled up in the chair, pulled the afghan off the back of it, and buried her face in its comforting softness. And by the time Caleb and Simon came in a few minutes later, every last trace of her tears had been scrubbed away.
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Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church, where she was often asked by outsiders if she was Amish (the answer was no), she made her own clothes, and she perfected the art of the French braid. She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, where she teaches as adjunct faculty.
Writing as Shelley Bates, she was the winner of RWA’s RITA Award for Best Inspirational Novel in 2005, a finalist for that award in 2006, and, writing as Shelley Adina, was a Christy Award finalist in 2009.
A transplanted Canadian, Adina returns there annually to have her accent calibrated. Between books, she enjoys traveling with her husband, playing the piano and Celtic harp, and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens.
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