One Year does not Erase 10 25

Angel refused to defend herself against Paul.  What was the point?  She was polite. She was silent. She stood firm even when she wanted to run away and hide in a dark place where she could curl into a tight ball.

“I am not a harlot anymore.  I’m Not!”

Michael made her life meaningful.  He saw God in everything.  A quiet voice in her head said over and over,

Come forth, beloved.

Angel only saw Michael and worshiped him.  When he would read the bible every night, she was lost in his voice.  He made even the nonsense sound like poetry.

Talk of babies came up again.  How could it not?  Elizabeth was starting to show and little Ruthie asked Angel when was she going to have a baby?  Angel didn’t want to share with anyone that in her past that choice had been taken away from her by Duke’s Doctor.

Midwife?  Elizabeth started Angel with her asking for Angel to be her midwife.  Michael agreed it was a great idea and would be good for Angel.

After Michael’s reading in the bible one night Angel asked him about the young bride in the story.  Wondering why would a bride play the harlot for her husband?   Michael explained it was joyful for her husband to be aroused by her dancing. It pleased him.

“And your God says it’s all right to entice a man?”

Michael know that John Altman stared at her in the beginning.  And Paul.  Sometimes Michael wondered what when through Paul’s mind when he saw her?  Did it flash back to what happened between them on the way back to Pair-a-Dice?  He had to push those disturbing thought away, or they would torment him.

She knew Michael saw other men look at her, he say’s it doesn’t bother him.  They can see that she is a woman in love.  His love for her had purpose in his life.

Michael depended on the earth, the rains, the warmth of the sun.  And his God.

Especially his God.

“I would be dead by now rotting in a unmarked, shallow grave by now if Michael hadn’t come back for me.  I am so glad he did.  I’ll never do anything to make him sorry….. Oh, God, I swear”

The more Michael read the stories of the bible the words found their way into the deepest part of her, somewhere inside, a place shed been unable to close off and then one night as she lay next to Michael she heard a still quiet voice….

“I AM”

How many time have you swore the same thing as Angel?  Oh, it grieves me to say I have many times and then done just the opposite.  But like Angel I am so thankful someone came back to get me.  That someone is my God and Savior.  Has he been there for you even when you didn’t deserve it?

Do you know the great….I AM?

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is the Conscience according to the New Testament? — Logos Bible Software Blog

When interpreting Scripture, it’s all too easy to impose our own ideas onto the text, rather than drawing out what the biblical author and the Holy Spirit intended to convey. Sound biblical exegesis is all about getting back to the original author’s intent so we can faithfully apply the text to our lives, and the lives of those…

via What Is the Conscience according to the New Testament? — Logos Bible Software Blog

How to Do a Bible Word Study on “Love” — Logos Bible Software Blog

When Jesus is asked to sum up the law, he responds with two commands involving love: In both commands, the English translation “love” translates the Greek verb agapao. Partly because agape is one of those Greek words that many theologically literate Christians know (along with logos, christos, doulos, and a few others), Bible readers often…

via How to Do a Bible Word Study on “Love” — Logos Bible Software Blog

Paul 24

Paul.  He just couldn’t let his brother-in-law be happy with this woman.  He pitied Michael.  He wasn’t sorry Michael hadn’t found Angel.  He was sorry Michael was torn up about losing her.   She wasn’t worth grieving over.  She was coming between them.

Paul is set on avoiding Miriam’s attention. Yet his heart would jump when she would visit.   He thinks she would be perfect for Michael.

“I’ve got no right feeling this way about a girl like her”

Angels words ran through his head,

“I know what I am, mister, but our call yourself his brother?”

He should just go the nearest brothel for his desires but the very thought of it sickened him.  Life was empty and meaningless with out Tess.

He would make it up to Michael by leaving Miriam alone so that when Angel would leave him again there would be a decent girl waiting for him.

He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking of Miriam.  A year ago, he hadn’t thought the pain of losing Tess would ever go away.  But then, a year ago, he thought he would never fall in love again…

Miriam confesses she loves Michael but she loves Amanda too.   She dreams of marrying some day and knows finding a man a good and wonderful as Michael will be hard. Michael mentions her interest in Paul and Angel gives him a NO Way NO How.  But he drops it with

“Leave it to the Lord”.

“They look good together don’t they”stock-photo-84462861

Paul taunts Angel as Miriam and Michael dance together as the Altman’s party.  Michael reminded her to be patient with Paul.  She would swallow her pride if need be.  For Michaels’s sake, she would take whatever Paul had to throw at her.

Angel watched the two people she loved most in the world dancing together and laughing and wondering if Paul wasn’t right about everything.  Would she stay put or run and hurt Michael again?

 

 

I Can’t Let Myself by Happy 22-23

stock-photo-91327035Poor Angel, such a beautiful night of love the night before, but that’s the reason she has to leave.  She’s falling in love with Michael.  But love doesn’t last.  It’s not enough.  They all leave eventually and so would Michael.  So she had to go now.

She was being protected over by her Heavenly Father but she didn’t know who He was yet.  She got a ride with an older man, a traveling salesman who wasn’t very good at selling or peddling his wares.  The men in the camps were cruel and mean to him.

This time to pay for her ride, she helped him sell out of all his wares.  He was very pleased.  He said she had talent for sales.  That’s a first, a talent for something other than pleasing men.

Sacramento, getting dark and no where to go.  There is her Heavenly Father once again in the darkness giving her a beacon of hope.

Hochschild’s General Mercantile 

Joseph was so happy to see her.  She would stay with him and work for him.  She had been told she had a talent for sales so now on her own she would have a place to stay and a decent job she was good at.

Joseph sent word of course and told Michael she was there.  Why not, they were friends after all and he know Michael would be out of his mind with worry.

Once again, Michael her Savior, was standing in the doorway.  Oh how her heart skipped a beat, love, happy to see his face again but then fear and panic.  She tried to get free of his grip but she really was putty in his hands. She resisted but he knew she was not fighting him but fighting loving him.

“You want to know what love feels like to me?  It feels like you’re ripping my heart out.”

When he drew her back into his arms again, she didn’t resist.  He loved her and she knew now she loved him.

“You make me hope, Michael.  I don’t know if that’s good or not.”

Michael agreed that Joseph let her stay as a favor to Michael.  He also know God had His hand on her when she walked in that door that day.

“It was pure luck that I found Joseph when I did, Michael.”

Angel didn’t want to think of what might have happened if she hadn’t found the storekeeper.  She was so weak.  It was a loathsome thing to face about herself.

“You saved me again, Michael”

“I’m only a tool, beloved.  Not your savior.”

Back home again felt right.  She went right back to work helping her farmer husband by being a good farmers wife.  She loved working with him, getting her hands dirty.  Took pride and ownership in her work.  She was loving becoming a farmer.

Angel admits to her new best friend, Miriam the he only has to look at her and she melts.

Paul has spoken to Miriam about how Angel has hurt Michael and he thinks she will run again.  Miriam gets angry and defends her but little Ruthie overhears and tells Angel.

Angel could be angry and lash out at Paul but instead she honors her husband and defends Paul, not wanting Michael to know Paul is still badmouthing his wife. After all, its the truth.

As Angel compares herself to Michael, he confesses to her that he has many things he is ashamed of also and not deserving of this blessing they have together.    He tells her:

“Don’t you see, neither of us deserve this.  Every Blessing comes down from the Father, not in payment for good done, but as a gift.”

God, she believed God was wrath and that He would continually punishing her for living a life she was forced into by a seedy old drunk who didn’t know what he was doing.  God was unmerciful and enjoyed inflicting pain.

“I don’t know what I did wrong, I never knew, but I understood from the earliest time I can remember that I was never going to be good enough to deserve a decent life.  I take away the decency of others just by being near them”

“Oh God, if you are there, why have you done this to him?”

“For you, Beloved!”

 

 

Back in their own Cabin 20-21

Each chapter now holds so much emotion. So much hope. So much despair.

Surprise, the Altman’s will be their neighbors.  Angel helped with all the working of pulling off a great surprise.  It didn’t matter though if the  Altman’s moved to Oregon or just 2 miles away, Angel felt all alone again.

She began withdrawing. Seeing the baby growing in Elizabeth was a constant reminder that she couldn’t give Michael a baby. Not just him but she wanted one also now. Someone to love with out expectations. Miriam would be a better wife for Michael.  Another reason to not stay.  She was back in her own cabin again but felt all alone. Falling more in love with Michael every day. Which scared her to death.

Seems like every time Angel visits the Altman’s in their new home Paul is always there. Sneering at her. How she wished he would just let it go and accept she wasn’t going to hurt Michael again. She was staying. She was falling in love. Michael’s touch was beginning to mean everything to Angel. His touch could melt her.

How long before would she lose Michael like she always loses anyone that she cared for. Michael fed her hope but Duke says hope is deadly. She could hear Duke say:

“Love is a trap, Angel. Stick to pleasure. It doesn’t require any great commitment.”

Angel now falling deeply in love confessed the worst of all that she has done. Michael is appalled, they had the biggest fight ending with her slapping him.  He wanted to slap her back but with God’s help he finds his way back to her even more compassion and love.

“Do you ever get the feeling Dog is playing some horrible joke on you?”  She asks Michael.

Why would God do such a terrible thing like this to Michael, Angel questions him.  Michael admits he has asked God the same thing himself.  But he knows the truth.  He tells Angel,

“To strengthen me.  I’m not strong enough for what’s yet to come”

God and a friend 18 – 19

Before leaving Sacramento, Michael stopped at a small building.  He intended to go to church.  He missed the fellowship, singing with others and the sermon.  Angel tried to sit and enjoy it like Michael was but the preacher was looking right at her and she felt all eyes were on her, so she bolted.

Michael left her to sit alone in the wagon while he went back in to worship.  Angels idea of God was a great eye in the sky waiting for a chance to squash you like a bug.  Oh, mom had been Catholic but in Angels mind God had no forgiveness for mom or her.  Angel had not forgiven anyone either.

“Amanda, what are you afraid of?”  Michael ask again, “Did anyone ever say anything nice to you?”

“What do you see in the mirror Amanda?” Michael asked     “my mother” Angel said.

Michael opened up on the ride telling Angel about his life with his father and an old slave he loved very much.  He told how his father gave him over to that slave, took all his inheritance, family, everything away from him.

“You must have hated him.”  Angel said, but Michael smiled and said, “No. I loved him, and I’m grateful he was my father. Without all that, I might have never come to know the Lord, and in the end, my father had more reason to hate me.  I left and took my sister Tess and Paul, her husband, with me.”

Angel felt a soft warm feeling curling in side her.  She wasn’t feeling threatened nor used with this man.  When he smiled at her she found herself smiling back.

The Altman family were stranded on the road and Michael insisted on helping them get their wagon wheel back on and he invited them to stay with them for the winter.  Angel couldn’t believe it.  He even told them they could have the cabin and he and Amanda would stay in the barn.  The Barn?

The Altman’s said she was an Angel of Mercy. Angel took care of that quickly by informing Mariam how Michael had met her in a brothel.

Miriam wasn’t rude or shocked or anything.  She asked if they could be friends.  Angel hadn’t been friends with any good girls.  What would they have in common.

Angel watched the Altman’s and Michael as they all got to know each other better.  Mrs. Altman  made dresses for Angel out of the material they had purchased in town. She said a newlywed needed nice undergarments too so she gave them to her as a special gift.

Angel couldn’t understand this kindness and affection for a complete stranger.  She was guarded but did like having someone to talk with and help with the chores and all.

At night they played games while dad played the fiddle.  Sang hymns of God and His love.  No way was Angel going to sing praises to God for anything.

“Not yet”  Michael said as he held her in his arms.  She could feel him touching deep inside her fanning the spark into a flame.

Little Ruthie never left Amanda’s side.  She started calling her Mandy.  She tried to tell them her real name was Angel and Michael called her Amanda.  But they all said they thought Mandy fit her better.

Miriam and Angel were becoming closer and talking about men and love.   Miriam was interest in meeting Paul, Michaels brother-in-law who lived near by.  Miriam shared that she could only dream of having a man like Michael love her. Paul wasn’t that man.

Angel was settling in yet she kept hearing the Duke’s words:

“Everybody wants something Angel.  Nobody gives you anything without expecting something back.”

Angel closing her eyes, said “I don’t believe you anymore, Duke.”

Don’t you?

She was going to pretend that she was pure and whole and not let the nightmares of the last 10 years destroy it for her.  Not this time. Not if she could help it.

I pretended also when I first came to church, no way was God going to forgive for the ugly things in my life.  I was content just watching Him from a distance.  I didn’t deserve Grace, that was for the Good People.  I can relate to Angel in so many ways.  Can you?