The following is one of my favorite scenes from Chasing Abigail*. I dedicated this book to my Michael, my soulmate, my forever love.
I am Forever in Love with you, Joseph Michael Kinlaw.
“Are you sure you are alright, dear?” Ms. Sheri was the mother Abigail had wanted. Always taking the time to consider her feelings.
“Yes, ma’am. I am fine.” Abigail lied to the older woman, knowing Sheri could see through her falsehood.
“Well, I’m right downstairs if you need me.”
“Thank you, Ms. Sheri,” Abigail muttered softly. The last thing she wanted to do now was talk. She just wanted to go upstairs, kick off her shoes and soak in a hot tub. She prayed the melatonin she had purchased earlier did its trick tonight. She needed sleep like she needed air. Her day of feigning happiness had left her drained.
“He’ll come around.”
She gave Ms. Sheri a nod, she could not force words from her lips for she knew if she did, she would be bawling all over again.
“I know you are hurting, dear. But I have been praying for you and Michael since that first day he ran with you. You were meant to be together, and I know God will work it all out.” Sheri put her arm around the younger woman’s shoulder and pulled her near. “You just wait and see what I tell you. That man still loves you. It was written all over his face today. Don’t give up on him yet.”
Heaving her tired legs, and few packages upstairs, she remembered Michael’s face when they met at the church. At least he had taken the time to speak to her. His abrupt departure from the sanctuary had left her bereaved again. Emma and Sheri did their best to cheer her up. They assured her that she and Michael would work things out. She hoped they were right. But from where she stood, she did not know if he would ever forgive her.
She sighed at the placing of her foot on the flat wood surface of the small porch that opened the way to her front door. Looking down into her pocketbook to grab her keys, Abigail’s eye caught the gifts left by Michael. Kneeling on the cold floor, she held the roses close to her chest, inhaling their sweet fragrance. The small lantern that lit up her entrance did not provide her with enough light to read his letter, so she opened the door, throwing her packages on the floor. She sank deep into her couch, pulling her legs underneath her. She held the small bag in her lap while unfolding the letter.
My dearest Abi,
Yes, my sweet Abi, you are still the dearest thing in the world to me. I am so sorry for the way I have treated you. Instead of trusting your love for me, I allowed my pride and ego to rule, and I accused and judged you without cause.
The night you came home, my father was at my house. After you left, he gave me a ‘good talking to’ like he has so many times over the years. He asked me to read Isaiah 53 and 1 Corinthians 13. I would like to invite you to do the same if you will. My father also reminded me that love is not a contract or obligation that one must fulfill. It is a commitment. The day I told you that I loved you, I committed myself to loving you completely. But I failed you, Abi. I chose to be angry, instead of understanding. Instead of listening, I judged you. For that, I will always be sorry.
I wish that things could have been different and that you would have been able to ask me to go along with you. I will not apologize for worrying about you, nor will I apologize for missing you. When I first found you gone, I thought I had lost my whole world.
My Father, however, reminded me that it was God who had put us together and it was God who would hold us together. Not only did I fail to trust you, but I also failed to trust God. I have asked God to forgive me, now I am asking you.
I pray you find it in your heart to forgive me. I so desperately need you. I love you, Abi, and no matter what happens, I will always love you. In the bag, you will find a gift that I was going to give you on the day you left. I hope you like it and will cherish it.
If you are willing to give us another chance, I promise I will be slower to judge and less apt to speculate on your actions. I promise I will trust your love for me. Above all, I will trust God’s plan for us to be one because I still believe you are my one.
Forever in Love with you,
She could barely see the gift bag for the many tears that flowed from her already swollen eyes. Setting the bag on the coffee table in front of her, Abigail reached for the Bible Michael had given her. She had to know what had changed his heart towards her. Opening the cover to the first pages as he had told her to do, Abigail found the page number for the book of Isaiah. Thumbing her way past the familiar book of Psalms and Proverbs, she found the fifty-third chapter as he asked.
Popping the lid from her pink highlighter, she began to read the passage slowly. With each passing verse, the love of God poured into her soul. Filling her with a new sense of need and wanting. For so long she had thought she did not need God. Why she had even laughed about how she could outrun anyone, except God, and here He was again, catching her. Her hands busily highlighted the verses that grabbed her heart.
Abigail reached within the bag and pulled out the small velvet jewelry box. Tugging gingerly at the ribbon, she opened the lid to reveal Michael’s heart-shaped locket. Her trembling hand lifted the golden chain from the silk liner revealing another handwritten note.
“The way I see it, if you give me your heart, and I give you mine, we will each still have a heart. It’s a win-win situation, my dear.”
Abigail’s heart fluttered as the revelation of truth overpowered her.
“If I give you my broken heart, Lord, You will replace it with Your perfect one. Michael was right. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.” Abigail laughed to herself. “You really did send Michael to trip me up, didn’t You? Everything he has done, carrying me, holding me, loving me, has been a reflection of You. I have been so blind to Your love for me all these years.”
Kneeling on the floor between her couch and coffee table, Abigail prayed for salvation.
“I don’t know what to say or how to ask for it, but Lord, I know that I need Your love and forgiveness. I believe everything. Everything that I have read and everything that Michael has told me. I am in desperate need of saving, and I ask You, to come into my heart Lord. Forgive me for all my sins. Heal my brokenness. And Father, increase my love for Michael. Help me love him the way You do. Thank You for sending him to me. Thank You for chasing after me all these years and never giving up on me. I ask all these things in Your name, Amen.”
She felt the weight of the past lift from her as she raised herself from the carpet. Picking her Bible and new locket up from the table, Abigail shut off the lights and made her way to her bedroom. Too tired to read now, she placed her Bible by her bed, she would read the passage in Corinthians in the morning before she got dressed for church. Reaching across the nightstand to click off her lamp, the locket caught her eye. There was something engraved on the back. Squinting her tired eyes, she read Michael’s last declaration of love for her before falling into a peaceful rest.
“Forever in Love.”
A few miles down the road, Michael donned his thick winter coat and walked out to the roaring Atlantic. He felt closer to God here than he did in his house. There was something special about being under the stars as he and the Father conversed.
“Whatever happens, Father, it is in your hands. I will trust You and Your love for Abigail and for me. She is my one. The one You created just for me. Please guide me in the right way. Bring us back together, Lord.” He swiped away the escaping drop of water. The stars were big and bright tonight as if the angels were gathered near watching over him, preparing to redeem what God had ordained. “You were already here, waiting for me to come, weren’t You, Father? That’s just like You, always knowing what I need.” Michael took a few steps closer to the outgoing tide. “Your love is as vast as the ocean. Deeper than any sea. Stronger than the wind and waves. We need Your love to shape us into the perfect mates for each other. Mold me into the man she needs me to be and teach me to love her the way You do.” Looking down the stretch of sand that led to Abigail’s place, Michael smiled as the image of her running to him filled his mind. “Thank You for the gift of her. All that spunk and sassiness. The vulnerability, her beautiful face, the touch of her hands, her kisses, her gorgeous…” Michael bit his lip shyly. “You get the idea. I love every bit of that feisty little woman, You made for me. I promise to chase her forever. Now, if you will help me catch her once again.”
“Love never fails.”
*Chasing Abigail, copyright 2018, Renee Kinlaw, Chapter Twenty-Three