This is an ongoing, ever-evolving piece of fiction. Did you miss John’s story? Check out the episode list at the bottom to follow the story. If you prefer non-fiction, check out my book Becoming Tasoni!
Jane is as sharp as they come. She’s got the degrees to prove it, and a great job to boot. And Jane is beautiful–inside and out. People can’t help but be attracted to her, can’t help but befriend her. She has a family that loves her and supports her. She has a church family that thinks she’s the cat’s meow.
Jane doesn’t believe she’s smart enough, beautiful enough, loved enough as she is, deep to her core. And who of us does, really?
So, she starts dating a guy outside the church.
Jane couldn’t be happier. She thinks. Maybe.
At least she’s put to bed all those voices about how she’s not good enough or pretty enough. Here’s a guy who wants her.
But sometimes he’ll say something or do something, and Jane’s heart will whisper, “That wasn’t quite right.”
Jane is torn up. Her heart says God, but her mind and body say, “Take it where you can get it.” She categorically does not want to be alone for the rest of her life. She wants the house, the kids, the life. She looks around, and there’s a sea of older, prettier, smarter friends still waiting. And here’s someone who isn’t making her wait.
We all know how the story goes. She’ll skip a Sunday liturgy or two. She’ll stop serving in Sunday school. She’ll believe the voice that tells her church wasn’t really her thing anyway.
Jane hasn’t told her mother quite yet. Mom knows but doesn’t know, you know? And dad definitely doesn’t know.
Jane looks down at the hand which holds her own. The large, pale hand with light brown hairs has lean, calloused fingers which curve around her own. When had they started holding hands? Jane blinks away the memory, pretending it wasn’t vivid in her mind. The first line crossed.
“And for you?” The waitress speaks through Jane’s thoughts, pen and notepad at attention.
“Uhh…” Jane looks across the table at her new boyfriend. “I suppose my usual… The stuffed chicken.” Never mind that it’s Friday, a voice whispers in her ear. “And the Caesar salad on the side. Extra cheese.” That’s right, if you’re in, you might as well be all in, it coos, You’re too cool for that kind of thing anyway.
Shane smiles broadly at her across the table. He is so genuine, so sincere. Why does that make her feel so guilty?
He’s a good man, the voice says. He’s hard-working. He’s good-looking.
But he doesn’t really believe in God, Jane responds within. It comes out as a slight but audible sigh.
“What’s wrong, Jane? Everything ok?”
“Yeah!” Jane says forcefully, mimicking his grin. “I am just so hungry! How was clinic today?”
“Ugh! Too many patients crammed into too few slots! So, the usual, but let’s not talk about that. Are you ready to see Drake tomorrow?”
He’s a doctor, she repeats in her mind, he’s a successful doctor. My family can’t help but love him… right?
They’ll come around, the voice says.
At some point she’ll get the invitation. Up the stairs, into the bedroom. Depending on the guy, this could be a few weeks in, a few months in. And the voice will say stolen water is sweet and bread eaten in secret pleasant.
But she’s not thinking about that now. Here comes the chicken. Best not to dwell too long in her own mind. She’s young. She should enjoy herself. Shouldn’t she?
Jane wants love. Jane deserves love.
But God is love. And love without God is just an illusion. The world shall pass away and all its desires.
God–who sacrificed His Son on the cross for Jane’s sake–is asking Jane to love Him. To love Him with her own sacrifice: obedience. God has asked her to wait on Him, to seek Him.
Sure, God, I love You. But shouldn’t I be happy? He makes me happy.
Does he, Jane?
Jane blinks, twice this time to clear her head for good, and stuffs the first forkful of lettuce in.
(To be continued… Did you miss part one John’s story?)
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