Chapter Twenty-One, Struggles..., of A Love From Above, Free Christian E-Novel

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STRUGGLES...

Chapter 21


Work this week had been a breeze! It was already Wednesday. The days had gone by so fast, and everything had just fell into place. Denise's enthusiasm for life showed in her step and the constant smile on her face, which came directly from her heart, and the patients had responded to her cheerful offers to help with overwhelming gratitude. Familiar patients and new patients alike praised Denise for even the smallest things done, and she became a little embarassed at such open adoration. But, she understood they sensed a difference in her. She knew it was the joy of the Lord!

The routine was the same, the nurses, and volunteers were the same, but Denise was different.

Maria commented to Denise. as she entered the cafeteria behind her, "Something good must have happened to you this weekend!"

And Denise, hesitating, decided to share the good news, wondering what Maria's response would be, if she knew, and decided it wouldn't matter.

"You're right, Maria! This weekend I accepted Jesus as my Lord! And it's the best thing that ever happened to me!"

"That's wonderful, Denise!" And right there in the cafeteria line, she gave Denise a big,sisterly hug!

They sat together at lunch and got really acquainted. Denise found that, even though Maria was older, and married, they had a lot in common.

"Are you going to church anywhere, Maria?" Denise questioned, knowing now that Maria was a fellow believer in Christ.

"I've been visiting churches here since we moved, but I'm not sure where to get really involved, you know what I mean? Everyone has been really nice. I'm praying the Lord will show me where he wants me."

"It would be great if He put you in our church! I'd love having you there!" Denise explained where the church was located, and told about the pastor, and that it was a very active church. She admitted she had not been involved with the church activities, lately. But now, there was nothing to keep her from being involved. In fact, she was looking forward to it!

Maria promised to talk with her husband about it, and said maybe they could visit there Sunday.Before they knew it, it was time to get back to work!

Denise knew she had found a close friend, one who would be supportive of her new choices. Rejoicing, she started to the elevator on her way to the next patient.

Nancy was just getting on the elevator as Denise approached it. "Hi, Denise," Nancy called out when she saw her coming around the corner. "Where have you been lately?"

"Oh, Nancy, I haven't seen you in such a long time! I've been really busy, and I suppose you have too, since they put you on the fifth floor! How do you like it up there! There must be a lot to do, since they keep you up there all the time!"

"Well, there have been a lot of patient admissions up there! And you know how it is with a new patient! Most of them feel really bad, or they're bedfast, and there are a lot of things they want me to attend to. But, enough of that, how are things with you? Your folks still gone on vacation? I can't believe you didn't go! And, Jon, how is he? Tell me, quick, before the elevator stops," Nancy said, talking fast at the end, and laughing.

"Yeah! Well, there has been a lot going on, lately! Jon and I aren't seeing each other anymore, and it's best that way! And Mom and Dad will be back probably Saturday or Sunday, and we'll get to hear all about Europe for a month, I bet! Oops, here's where I get off! Give me a call sometime, OK?"

"Wait a minute". Nancy said, as she grabbed Denise's shoulder, and walked off the elevator with her. "What did you mean, you and Jon aren't seeing each other? Did he break up with you? What happened?"

Denise smiled, knowing Nancy just loved a bit of juicy gossip, and would have to hear the details! "No, I broke it off with him!"

"You did what? I can't believe you, Denise! You were so in love with him. Tell me what happened." Nancy's eyes held a look of disbelief.

"I just thought I was in love. Nancy. Things have changed a lot since we talked last! I just found out that we didn't have much in common. You see, I've made Jesus Lord of my life now. I intend, with the help of the Lord, to live like a true Christian!"

"Oh, no. Denise! What's happened to you? You were always so practical! Don't you know you won't be able to have any fun anymore? I can't believe I'm hearing this from you!" Nancy's voice went from disbelief to pity.

"It's not like you think. Nancy. Really, it's not! It's the best, and most practical decision I've ever made! I've never been this happy before!" Denise's eyes showed her determination to pursue this new life.

Nancy shook her head. "Gosh, Denise. I've gotta get back to work. I hope everything works out for you. See ya!" Nancy said, cooly as the elevator door had started to close. Nancy pushed it open, and stepped inside.

Denise smiled to herself. Her best friend! But she knew if the tables had been turned, just two weeks earlier, she probably would have reacted in the same way. Well, she would have to pray for Nancy, that maybe someday, she'd find the way, too!

Completing her rounds for the day, Denise decided to make one last stop before visiting Joanie. The gift shop! So many of the patient's rooms were filled with flowers, plants and cards, but Joanie's room was bare. Of course, if she'd had family close by... But, she did! Denise was sure, by now, that she was Joanie's daughter. She wanted to get her something, not elaborate, just a little something.

She looked around in the little shop until she found it! Just a little ceramic coffee mug, filled with pretty multi- colored silk flowers. The mug was yellow, with pink designs and said 'FRIENDS*. It was perfect, and relatively inexpensive, Denise decided, as she paid the clerk.

She entered Joanie's room with the gift behind her back.

Joanie said brightly, as she saw her, "There's the girl with the sparkle in her eyes!"

"Why do you say that?" Denise asked, laughing. "I've been hearing such things a lot lately!"

"Well, there's something definitely different about you, the last few days. Say, what are you hiding there?"

Denise handed Joanie the gift, and watched as Joanie's eyes misted, and she thanked her. Joanie placed the cup of flowers in the center of her bedside table, and commented, "That sure brightens things up in here! I love those colors. I hope you didn't spend much!"

"I'm glad you like it, Joanie. I see you're out of that traction set-up! Are you enjoying your new freedom?"

"You bet! And the physical therapist came in today! He's gonna start teaching me to walk with crutches tomorrow. The doctor said I'll probably be ready to go home Friday or Saturday!"

"Hey, that's great!" Denise replied. "But, how? You can't go home alone! Who's gonna take care of you?" She asked anxiously.

"That's all been taken care of!" Joanie informed her, excitedly. "You remember I told you about my older brother's family who live in Colorado? Well, he had a daughter, Pam, who's been going to college, but she's free for the summer, and she's coming down to help me get back on my feet. She'll probably be here sometime tomorrow. I hope you can meet her. She's really sweet."

"Oh, I'm glad. I would have been worried about you, you know, if you didn't have someone to help you! I hope I do get to meet her," Denise said sincerely.

"Now, back to those sparkling eyes! What's going on with you, Denise? You seem very happy! Are you in love?" Joanie asked, teasingly.

"No! In fact, I just broke up with my boyfriend. But you're right! I am happier than I've ever been."

"Then he must not have been too good for you. It sounds like you're better off without him. Had you been seeing him long?"

"Oh, about six months, I guess. He's a pretty nice guy, and he's real good looking. It won't be hard for him to find someone else. I've just changed, I'm not the same person I used to be." Pausing for just a minute, she explained, "I've accepted Jesus into my life, and that's the difference that everybody is seeing, I'm sure!" Denise explained, hoping Joanie would understand.

"I'm very happy for you, Denise. I remember when I first accepted the Lord. It was wonderful! It was right after I held my little baby in my arms that one time. Then I knew that there had to be a God to have created something so beautiful, and so precious from something so terrifying and awful. I had been taught about the Lord all my life, but it had never really made any sense to me until then. And I've never been the same since. It's a wonderful thing, to serve the Lord," Joanie added.

Denise sensed a new bond with this new, pretty friend, who was probably her biological mother. Whether or not the truth ever came out, Denise felt she would always love her.

"You seem so mature for your age. How old are you, Denise?" Joanie quizzed curiously.

"Sixteen! And I'll be a Junior at school in the fall," Denise answered proudly, feeling just a little uncomfortable. She wondered if Joanie had any suspicions about Denise being her daughter. Of course not! She didn't know enough about her to be suspicious, Denise quickly decided.

But, then Joanie asked, "When is your birthday, Denise? I'd like to remember it, since we've become pretty good friends", she said, almost apologetically.

Hesitating longer than appropriate, trying to decide how to answer without sounding gongs in Joanie's head, Denise said simply, "July 10th." Watching Joanie's eyes, Denise was amazed by the lack of surprise.

There was a moment of silence, then Joanie said, "Well, that's quite a coincidence, isn't it! You know, I can hardly wait for you to meet Pam." She continued, "you two have a lot in common.

"How's that?" Denise questioned, wondering what she could possibly have in common with this stranger, Joanie's niece.

"Oh, you'll find out!" Joanie stated with an odd little laugh.

How strange, Denise thought as she looked at her watch, realizing she had visited much longer than she had intended. She'd have to hurry to get changed, eat supper and get to the youth service that was held immediately before the Bible study at church.

Apologizing for her abruptness, she said good-bye and hurried home, wondering all the way what she and "Pam" could possibly have in common!



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