Evie: An Angel's Redemption

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THIRTEEN

Thursday, December 24th

Lying in bed that night, she thought of her eldest brother in New Jerusalem and among humankind. “Lamb of God, you said you were proud of me when I left. You said your love would guide me. Do you still love me?”

I do, Evie. Come back to me.

“I want to, Eldest Brother. But how?”

I will show you. You must trust me.

His answer frustrated her; she had also heard it before from the Father. It still made her sad and discouraged. Although she tried to understand, she felt the tears run down her face. Only after a long time of fighting the sadness did she finally fall asleep.

Saturday, December 26th

Having enjoyed celebrating Christmas with her new family, some time at the Après Café appealed to Evie: she needed time to think. Walking in the door to the Après Café, two familiar men came into view. Apparently, Michael and Faroh were ‘slumming’ it in the Après Café. “Michael? Faroh?” She couldn’t contain herself. She ran towards them with all her might.

They both looked up in time to see her coming directly towards Michael. She gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Michael. Oh my gracious. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”

Michael just smiled. “Let’s face it sis, I can’t stay away from you very long, or I’ll miss having someone tease me.”

“Well, thanks a lot!” She gave him a mock hard stare. “Look here, you brat. You’re not going to get away with that. I’m allowed to miss you: I’m your sister.”

“Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve missed you too,” said Michael. “So...how are things?”

“Things are okay, I guess. I’m still struggling with how to obtain redemption. I’m sure the answer is simple, but for now it escapes me.” She turned to Michael, who studied her seriously. “What’s wrong, Michael?”

“Take courage, sister. We may not be around a lot, but you can be sure we will always love you, and want the best for you. Keep looking for the Father, and you’ll find Him. Honestly.”

“Really?” She dared be hopeful. “Gosh, Michael. I miss Him so badly, I could cry.” In fact, her eyes glassed over even as she spoke.

Michael hugged her gently. “You’ll find him. I can at least promise that.”

“Thanks, Michael. That means a lot to me. I don’t know if I would’ve made it this far without you and Faroh.”

“That’s what big brothers are for, dear sister.”

Faroh smiled. “Take care Evie.”

“I’m trying, guys. Pray for me.”

“You can count on it” Michael assured her. With that, the two angelic visitors returned to New Jerusalem.

Evie couldn’t help but feel a little better about things. Maybe she would figure out how to get back to the Father’s good graces after all. She walked home smiling and singing a happy song to herself.

Friday, December 28th

“So...have you heard anything from Peter, anyway?”

She didn’t answer right away. She usually tried to avoid this loaded subject “I wouldn’t know, Gracie. I haven’t seen him lately.” She needed to change this subject quickly. Gracie frowned, lines creasing her forehead, and her chin started quivering.

She didn’t want her to break down again. The last time this happened, it had been a nightmare.

Two Days Earlier

Evie walked into the living room, and found Gracie on the couch, crying. She knew what it was about, but she figured she’d better at least humor her a little.

“What’s wrong, Gracie?”

“I miss him.”

How was she going to answer that question. Abba, please give me wisdom. “Gracie, I don’t have a quick answer for that. All I can say is that you’ll have to figure out what to do with your relationship with Peter. You might want to do some soul searching, and try to learn from this.”

Gracie just started crying more. “Yes, I know,” she choked, “I have to learn to control my anger, which comes from being insecure. It’s hard Evie. I’m trying, but in the meantime, I feel like theree’s a big hole in me without Peter in my life.”

“Seems to me, you need to fill that hole with the love of The Father; only he can truly give you what you need,”

“You’re right, Evie. Thanks. It’s hard, but I know I need to do it.”

Evie walked back towards her bedroom, and asked The Father to heal her new sister’s heart.

She hummed her way back into the condo. She had spent a nice evening with Carlo and some of her colleagues at the Language Institute, although Velma was conspicuously absent. She couldn’t figure out why Velma seemed so cold to her: they had had such a wonderful conversation when they first met. Her coat returned to its usual place in the closet, and she walked into her room. The clip in her hair went back to its place on the vanity, and the familiar, insecure voice started again.

“So how’d it go?”

The whine in Gracie’s voice mad annoyance rise in her. “It was very nice. We had a wonderful time.”

Gracie smiled wistfully. “I remember when I used to have wonderful times.”

Her patience had reached an end. “Gracie. Look. You and Peter aren’t dating any more. You need to get that into your head, and quit coming to me and moping about how rosy everything used to be. Move on with your life!”

Gracie reddened. “I think you put the thoughts in his head. I noticed you eyeing him as though you wanted him.”

She really lost it now. “Look. For your information, Peter broke up with you of his own free will. You blew it, Gracie. Face it. Why don’t you just learn from it and do better next time?

Gracie’s chin quivered. “Thanks a lot. You’ve made my life miserable.” She ran back to her bedroom, slamming the door behind herself.

Evie let it go. Prolonging the pity party Gracie threw for herself always proved a disaster. Instead, she put on her pajamas, went to bed and smiled thinking of the night’s events.

Tuesday, January 1st

The opening night of Frank Chen’s new restaurant, Le Chateau Bleu, had finally arrived. He walked in and surveyed the scene, eyes honing in on two attractive Asian women, stunning in their shiny, elegant evening dresses. A young man, apparently related to them, didn’t look too shabby in his tuxedo. His eyes re-focused on the women, especially the older one. Oh my. Things are looking up: attractive woman on the horizon. This portends some serious sack time in the future. It’s been a while, and I intend to make the best of this.

The two women walked to a sushi bar to sample some of the wares there, chatting with each other. He was sure he had caught their attention when the shorter one looked at him first. These kinds of affairs offered opportunities to impress people, and he intended to do just that. He had cultivated the best looks and appearance that money could buy. A silk suit and tie adorned his form, and Gucci loafers his feet. A Cartier watch glimmered on his wrist, and perfectly straight and white teeth flashed a thousand watt smile. Eyebrows trimmed just so, nails perfectly shaped and buffed to shine with a highly polished gloss acted as his accessories. Coiffed hair to the tune of $125.00 covered his head, and not a single hair was out of place.

As he got closer to the two women, he heard the shorter one say to the taller one, “Don’t look now, but there is a gorgeous specimen walking our way.”

The taller one started reprimanding the shorter one. “You are such an incorrigible flirt! I must admit, though: this guy is seriously hot. But ought to be ashamed of yourself, big sister.”

The shorter one punched the taller sister playfully in the arm. “Hey. I recognize the kind: all charm and not substance. He’d be nothing but a heart break. What’s more, I’m not sure he’s a believer, either.”

He approached, concealing the fact that he had heard their banter with him as the subject. Turning on his characteristic charm, he said, “Hello. How are you lovely ladies this evening? I must say, you’re both very easy on the eyes.” He paused for effect. “My name is Shane...Shane Logan. And you?”

The taller one spoke first. “Hi, Shane. Lovely to meet you, I’m sure. I’m Evelyn Chen, and this is my sister, Grace Chen. We were just enduring all of the boring conversations about investments, office politics and hostile takeovers. You know: the normal business drone…seems like our evening may have just become more interesting with a break from all the drone about business.”

Shane turned up the charm, smiling broadly. “I believe the pleasure is truly mine. What finds you here, other than enduring office politics?”

Grace seemed interested. He wanted nothing more than to oblige her. His eyes feasted on her features, and drank her in thirstily. He had already pictured tasting more of her charms in his mind; so he made it his goal to get in Gracie’s good graces, and from the look on her face, they shared the same sentiment.

Grace spoke now. “Daddy is the owner of this restaurant, and we thought we’d come here for moral support, not to mention the fact the we were dying of curiosity to see not only the restaurant, but what kind of people would come. Now the politics may be boring, but the people certainly aren’t – present company notwithstanding.”

Grace’s flirtation bode well for things to come.

“It seems like everyone here has something interesting we could use to blackmail them, should we be so inclined,” she observed.

He continued the pursuit, following her lead. “Oh dear!” He put his hand over his mouth in mock horror. “I guess I’d better be on my best behavior or the next thing I know, I’ll be on the front page of one of those gossip rags, involved in some huge scandal.” The act continued with mock seriousness. “I can just see it now: ’Young up and coming businessman put under arrest by two gorgeous sisters, for being indiscrete.’ I might also add that you two look a formidable duo. I guess I’d better watch my step -- for now.” A sly smile followed his remarks.

“You sir, are incorrigible,” Gracie said.

Shane smiled. “I meant no harm.” Putting out his hand to shake Gracie’s, he said, “Well, it has sincerely been a pleasure meeting you, Evelyn and Grace. Perhaps we shall meet again?”

Evie said, “Well, as long as you don’t mind me inviting our friends as well.”

Evelyn had thrown down the gauntlet, so he rose to her challenge. His shoulders shrugged as he smiled. “Hey, the more, the merrier! In fact, here is my business card. Email me with your phone numbers, if you’re amenable, and I’ll respond. I’m serious about getting together some time. I seem to have a knack for ending up at functions with my dad’s crowd. It would be nice to hang out more often with people nearer my age. Be good ladies...and go easy with your blackmailing.” His eyes twinkled. “I really am a nice guy.” With that, he turned to leave.

Grace called out after him, “Oh...and you can call me Gracie.”

He turned around and flashed pearly whites that only a dentist could create. “Sounds good, Gracie.” He disappeared up the stairs.

“He seems to be a very smooth operator,” Evie observed. “Snakes in the grass are in the same category. I’d be careful about getting involved with a guy like that. My Angelic Intuition is throwing up red flags all over the place.”

Gracie shook her head in agreement. “Yep. He’s a snake alright; handsome, but a heartbreaker.”

“Keep that in mind,” she said, eyeing her sister warily.

“Alright, already. I got your point.”

“You’d better. I’m keeping my eye on you.”

“Yes, momma,” Gracie said with mock obeisance. “I’ll be a good girl.”

Thursday, January 3rd

In the living room, she found Gracie curled up on the couch with her nose buried in her latest romance novel. Evie’s head shook, but she decided it would be better to leave it alone; instead, she just walked over to the couch, sat down beside her older sister, and hugged her. “I’m glad you have finally let go of Peter. It’s so much nicer when we all can actually enjoy each other’s company. By the way, I invited my friend Carlo from work over tonight.”

“No problem; and you’re right: it’s actually difficult to expend that much emotional energy uselessly. I’m ready to move on.”

“I’m really happy to hear that, Gracie. Honestly.”

A few minutes later, Carlo walked in and sat down next to her. The trio watched one of those medical shows, with a handsome male lead actor, whose character had just entered the scene.

“Uh oh. Here we go,” she thought, mentally rolling her eyes. She could feel Gracie about to fall into her feel-first, think later mindset, and she just lay low, watching events unfold.

“Now he’s cute, said Gracie. “In fact, he’s hot!

Silence ensued for a few seconds. “Would you date somebody like that?” she asked.

Gracie started right in. “Well, given the right circumstances, I suppose...I mean, I would have to get to know him first, of course—.”

“But would you go out on a date with him simply because he’s handsome?”

Gracie looked at her for a second. “Sure. Why not?”

“Wouldn’t it be better if you actually liked the guy? I mean, if all you like about him are his looks, what do you do in that kind of relationship.”

Gracie, obviously caught in her own lustful ways, looked away, and then flinched. “Okay, okay. I’m naughty. I’ll admit it. Just quit looking at me like that. You’re making me feel guilty.”

Evie’s eyes remained expressionless and stoic while Gracie fidgeted even more.

“Carlo! Help me,” Gracie pleaded.

”Hey, you’re on your own on this one,” he said.

She had made a strong point, and done it quietly. Carlo watched intently as she continued to heat her sister over the coals and turn the spit.

“You see, relationships will last only if you invest in the person you’re having the relationship with: not controlling them, but really getting to know them. It’s like dating a guy like Shane Logan: if you only see his handsomeness, you’re in for a world of hurt.”

“Thank you, Ms. Chen. But I think I’m old enough to figure out how my relationships need to work.”

“Well, I sincerely hope they work; that’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Gracie averted her eyes from hers, and looked forlornly down at the floor, surrendering. “I guess I’m not very good at that, am I?” Gracie turned her glistening eyes to her. “Well, I think I’m going to my room now.” She got up abruptly, and left.

Carlo turned to her, looking straight into her eyes. “Don’t waste energy worrying about her. She’ll have to find out on her own how to make her relationships work. We can’t codepentantly enable her every time she fails.”

“Yes. That’s fair.

She returned from the kitchen, with a drink for herself and Carlo, who took his drink, and she sat back down next to him.

“I’m amazed Evie. You really let Gracie have it, but managed to be diplomatic about it, even when she obviously won’t listen. She’s so proud.”

She smiled and let those ‘steely blues’ gently bore deep into his. “She loves much who has been forgiven much. Trust me; I’ve had Gracie lay into me on more occasions than I care to remember. I can make my point without having to wound someone doing it.”

“You’re amazing that way; I still can’t understand how you do it.”

“You just remember to do to others as you want them to do to you.”

Carlos smiled and said, “When you’re right, you’re right. Touché, Ms. Chen.”

“Thank you.”

In her room, she sat on her bed, lost in thought. Her friend Carlo and her new family made her happy, but she still missed the One who always comforted her in her quiet moments. Do you still love me, Abba?

Yes. I do

The thought of his warm love toward her made her miss Him even more. Tears ran down her eyes as she fell asleep.

Friday, January 4th

Evie, as she walked toward her desk stopped by Carlo’s office. “How was Gracie after last night’s indictment of her wayward behavior?”

“Oh, she’s fine. She has her moments, but she gets past them. She’s dealing with the fact that she lost Peter by letting her pride and her anger get the better of her.”

“Well, Peter is probably better off – at least for now. I’m sure one day Gracie and Peter will figure things out, and try to work things out.”

“Speaking of relationships, do you consider me a good friend?”

“Of course Evie. You are a very special friend. I’m very into you.”

“Do you think that we could become better friends?”

Carlo said nothing at first, staring uncomfortably away. Then, he said, “Well, I’m not exactly sure of what you mean by that. I’ll admit I wouldn’t mind taking you out sometime.”

“Well, that’s sweet of you. I look forward to it.”

Smiling at her revelation, Carlo said, “You understand, of course, that I’m not perfect by any means. I have my moments; just like Gracie. Only not quite so intense, obviously.” They both laughed.

“Well, I’m not perfect either. I live in this world, and it’s fallen. Apparently, I am too.”

That empty feeling reared its dark head again. She didn’t know exactly how to feel about all this. Yet, her relationship with her Father and The Lamb came into question again. All she could do was speak from her old experiences.

“I know God very well. I just don’t know where He is now. I don’t know where I stand with Him.”

“He’s as near as your next prayer.”

She smiled, but didn’t answer. She wasn’t sure what she felt about God at this point, to tell the truth. It’s not fair, Father. Why can’t you love me as you did?

Maybe one day she would be able to talk freely with Him again, but she wasn’t sure how, and Lord Jehovah wasn’t mWorse, might be taking her focus off her finding the Father again. “Thanks for the encouragement Carlo. It’s still difficult for me to figure this out. But I will pray to the Father about it.” Smiling, she said, “Talk to you later.” Then very tongue in cheek, she added, “…and I’ll be wating for that call for an evening together.” In her office, she fought back the frustration. She wouldn’t admit it to herself, but deep down she wanted even more to be able to talk to Him, and have Him hold her in His arms, as she had just before she went into self-initiated exile.

***

Carlo frowned and looked away from his work. It disturbed him that talking about the Lord bothered Evie so much. He really cared about her. Good grief, I feel like her brother. The truth was, whether he could admit it to himself or not, he cared a great deal for her. He instinctively knew better than to stand in her way. She needed to figure this out for herself. If he stood in her way, she’d only resent him for it. His brow furrowed, he rubbed his eyes, both from fatigue and from the emotional stress he felt.

His own sister rebelled against the Lord, and tried to find happiness in guys that used her badly. The memories came flooding back as though they were yesterday. He cringed at the images he saw in his mind of his sister Celeste in great emotional pain, yet unable to stop it. Only prayer had pulled his sister Celeste through, and only prayer would pull Evie through. He just needed the Lord to help him remember that.

He could still remember the great relief that went through him as his wayward sister gave up that fight and gave her chaotic life to Jesus’ lordship. Evie all too vividly reminded him of Celeste. This would probably be a long road for Evie. He didn’t like it, but he knew she was going to have to be broken.

He remembered reading in Psalms, ‘My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.’ Evie was going to have to be willing to deal with her pride before she could find the redemption she wanted. Then he realized that this was the Lord’s battle, and not his.

Saturday January 5th

Having just finished and passing her driving test earlier that morning, Evie went for her maiden voyage in her car. Cars beeped and honked at her impatiently. They quickly whizzed around her and past her.

“All right, all right! Give me a break!”

Trembling, she managed to get out of the way of the speeding daredevils who passed for everyday commuters during the workweek in the District of Columbia. Driving unnerved her, especially having other cars wanting to force her to drive faster, and most of the drivers in the District of Columbia were, in Evie’s opinion, in too much of a hurry to get anywhere.

After her first harrowing experience driving, Evie wobbled into the condo, still shaking from the experience. As Gracie walked into the living room, she held onto the counter in the kitchen. “Instead of driving a car, couldn’t I just transport myself from one place to another? I might live longer if I did, don’t you think?”

Gracie laughed. “That’s just the way it is with our limited abilities. We do the best with what we’ve got, and learn to live with it.”

“You humans are indeed strange creatures. You want to live long, happy lives yet you do insane things: you murder each other, steal from each other, and drive in these death contraptions you call cars. You’re such contradictions, as you once quoted Paul as saying.”

Gracie sighed. “Yep. You’re right. We are indeed strange creatures. But as the old saying goes, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’”

“I suppose, but I’m not even sure what the ‘Romans’ do.” She faced the floor, afraid to look at Gracie. “Besides...I really want to be an angel in New Jerusalem, serving Lord Jehovah again, and have the Father hold me and tell me he loves me. You’ll never know just how wonderful that felt.”

“I can only imagine. But I do know, that if you let Him, he will hold you again...almost as if you were directly in his presence. You just need to reconcile yourself to the Father. And you should know how.”

“I know what the Scriptures say, but I don’t see why I need to do that. I’ve had a relation with Him all my life. I don’t see that as being necessary for me.”

Gracie’s eyes squinted, and her hands jutted towards her. “No, Evie. You won’t see why it is necessary. Better get used to it; you’re human with a fallen heart.”

Conviction weighed upon her, but her heart wouldn’t hear the truth. Pride was another affliction to deal with.

VD grinned with delight as Evie once again listened to her lies about her familiarity with Lord Jehovah. “I just love it. The plan for redemption is right in front of you, and with my help, you refuse to see it. Oh, this is delicious.” She turned to her partner, Poisonous. “For an angel, she certainly is gullible. By Lucifer, I might even have her lusting for Carlo’s body, if I play my cards right.”

“I’m not so sure you could handle that as well as me,” Poisonous retorted. “I am a lust nymph and lust and sexual fantasy are what I do best. Why don’t you just leave those things to the pro? Okay, sweetie?” Poisonous smiled very condescendingly at her.

“Look, cow. I mislead, and I can also put lustful suggestions in their mind as well, honey, so back up offa me, you hear me?” She balled her fists, steeling herself for a fight. “And besides, when was the last time you deceived someone into doing something wrong, and not just injecting your victims with lust?”

Poisonous curled her fingers and her claw-like fingernails. “You dare insult me? Would you like to feel my wrath?”

“Bring it on, cur…”

She and Poisonous launched into a scratching, kicking, and screaming catfight. The air filled with snarling, cursing, and fists flying. What they didn’t see was Politically Correct, the Prince of the District of Columbia casting a dark shadow as he descended towards them. A loud, guttural lion’s roar expressed his displeasure, capturing both of their attention. Their fight stopped.

“I need not remind you ladies that if you disrupt the plan to keep Evie from redemption or drag her and Carlo into a lustful affair, there will be more than just Hell to pay. You’ll answer to me.” His perfunctory smile did not match the cold menace in his eyes. “Do we understand each other, ladies?”

VD realized that neither she nor Poisonous were a match for demonic princes: they were very large, very strong and very evil. She tried to stay away from them, and especially Principalities, which controlled regions or even countries. She had seen one of them before as well, and thankfully, only from a distance. They could crush her to an oily puddle on the ground with very little effort.

“Yes, PC. We understand you,” they both said.

“Good. Now why don’t you two ladies run along and fulfill your duties? Try to work together from now on. I would hate to have to take correctional measures: none of us would enjoy that, now would we?”

“No, my lord. Not at all.”

“Now BE GONE!” Politically Correct thundered.

She and Poisonous slinked away, not looking back at the prince of D.C. They didn’t speak another word to each other for quite a while.

Monday, January 6th 10:30

Michael stood before Lord Jehovah ready to make another report. “My Lord. Mighty Warrior Security serves us well as a cover for keeping surveillance on Evie. Nonetheless, I’m very concerned about her. The demons, especially VD, are doing their best to blind Evie to her need to ask for forgiveness and give her life to you. Father, why does my little sister not see?”

Lord Jehovah smiled. “You see, son: no prize ever means anything unless one gains it by force. If Evie doesn’t have to earn her redemption, it will mean nothing.”

“I understand, My Lord.” He bowed and walked away. Evie would have to come out of this on her own. He believed in his heart of hearts that she would overcome her doubts. Nevertheless, it would cost her emotional bruises and scars in the process. It had to be that way; but he didn’t have to like it.

Wednesday, January 8th

Along with being a family law attorney, Gracie executed of all major decisions made by her father. She also, just for making matters convenient, executed the duties of a notary public, and witnessed all major decisions and contracts her dad entered into.

She sat at her desk, reviewing the contract between her father’s company and Mighty Warrior security. The corporate lawyers in the sister office across town reviewed all the paperwork submitted by, and subsequently returned to Gracie.

Mike Angelo and Frank Chen walked into at the law offices of Halbreath, Petrovich, and Chang.

“Hello, Miss. Mr. Angelo and I are here to meet with Grace Chen. We have an appointment at ten o’clock,” said Frank.

“I’ll let her know you’re here,” the secretary responded.

“Your ten o’clock is here.” She said into the phone.” A pause. “I’ll send them right back.”

“Looks like all is in order…” She called up her secretary Laurie, and said, “Show the gentlemen in, please.”

“Right away, Ms. Chen.”

She gestured to Frank and ‘Mike Angelo.’

“Come in, gentlemen. Please...make yourselves comfortable. So daddy...Mr....uh...what was your name again?

“Michael Angelo” Michael answered. “But you can call me Mike.’

She smiled graciously. “Sure, Mike. Anyway, I was about to say that we can go ahead and get this matter settled in short order.”

Then she set down to work, getting all the necessary signatures and adding her notary information. The process passed quickly and efficiently. Frank thanked Mike and gave her a peck on the cheek, and excused himself. After Frank had disappeared around the corner, Michael said, “Oh, and by the way Gracie…thank you for the compliment.” He let it sink in a few moments.

Gracie blinked in embarrassment, trying to figure out who this guy really was. “Okay. I’m kinda lost here.” She tried to think of how he would know her. She studied his visage: his curly blonde locks, bright blue eyes, and square, determined jaw. “Help me out here, Mike. Have we met—” She stopped in mid-sentence; her mouth dropped and gaped open. Recognition hit her hard, like a sledgehammer pounding on a flea. “Oh my Lord in Heaven” she gasped.

Michael put a finger over his lips, signaling that he did not want her to broadcast her newfound knowledge. “Try not to arouse any undue attention to me, Gracie. Yes, I am Michael, and I’m here because the Trinity has put in motion a plan to keep up with Evie’s progress.”

“Wow! The Trinity is watching her every move?”

His voice grew softer as he looked around. “Yes. This information, for obvious reasons, must stay between you and me and a select few others.”

“Sure. You have my word on it.”

He paused, quiet for a few moments. “This kind of thing has no precedent in Heaven, so we’re taking very careful notes of all that is going on. You might say it is going to be a book similar to your Bible. In your bible, the Lord communicated to the nation of Israel; both those few who came from the descendants of Abraham, and those who are of the nation of Israel by spiritual in grafting. We are compiling a similar book for the angels… ’The Book of Angels, you might say.

When he smiled, his bright blue eyes sparkled, which didn’t escape her notice. “This sounds unbelievable. I love Evie very much, but I guess I forgot just how much she is loved by her family in Heaven.”

“Oh she is. Especially by me.” He paused. He was getting misty eyed.

“I didn’t realize how much you care about Evie. She’s really special to you, isn’t she?”

“Yes. I’ve known her since we were both new angels. She was always ready to fight in battle.”

“Aw-w-w-w. That’s so sweet!” She shyly turned away as soon as she had made that remark. “I hope I didn’t embarrass you by saying that.”

“It’s okay, Gracie. I don’t mind anyone knowing how much I care about Evie.”

Michael’s face turned sober. “But back to the business at hand. We don’t want it to seem glamorous to be human. We want it to be the truth. We figure this might answer a lot of questions, and head off a mass exodus of more angelic expatriates”

“Well Michael,” she offered, “if there is anything you’d like me to do, please let me know.”

“Just pray, Gracie; you, your family and friends. It’ll make a great difference in Evie’s life.”

“I’ll make a concerted effort to do just that.”

“Great! As one who responds to such prayers, I know the Father will answer them. She will experience salvation, but at a great cost. We can’t guide her directly, but she can be guided by prayer.”

He turned to leave. “Oh, and one more thing.” He was smiling now. You’re an attractive young woman yourself.” He grinned, and then disappeared from sight.

Back at her desk, Gracie still shook after having met Michael up close and personally. It was one thing to have seen Michael from a distance; it was quite another to talk with him face to face, as though she were talking to a human friend of hers. To top it all off, she had called him a ‘hottie’ the first time they had met and he had just returned the favor in a very gracious way. The blood rose in her face. She blushed furiously and had to shut her door.

“Hold all calls for a while, Laurie.”

“Holding, Gracie.”

Deep in the recesses of her memory, she remembered that events in her past had tarnished her ‘beauty’. She felt very guilty all of the sudden about recent events. She was no real angel herself; but wasn’t she obliged to help Evie not to make the same mistakes she made? It’s all so confusing, Lord.

A gentle voice somewhere in her spirit spoke to her.

Keep praying, and trust me.

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