Marianne felt the phone in her pocket vibrate and answered it before it started playing the tune of "You're so Beautiful." "Hello?"
"Hi, it's me. It's an emergency." On the other end of the phone was Marianne's dear friend Caroline.
"What's going on?"
"I just got off the phone with Thomas. He's threatening to take me back to court again."
"On what grounds?" Marianne asked. She felt for her friend. She has been through so much already, Lord, she thought, isn't it time she got a break. "Hey, give me a second, I have to get off Ziggy and open the gate."
"You're talking to me while you're on your horse?" Caroline started laughing.
"Yes, and I had to stop and open the gate and join the others on the trail," Marianne chuckled. "I have been neglecting him lately, and he was none too happy about the short ride today, but enough about us. What's going on?" she asked again, as she closed the gate behind her and got back up on her Tennessee Walker.
"So, Thomas called me about the girls and the upcoming holiday and before I knew it we were arguing about money again. He is now severely behind on his child support payments, and somehow he still makes me out to be the bad guy. Now he's supposedly got an "ace" up his sleeve and is taking me back to court. I know I should put my trust in God, but I am so tired of fighting like this."
"Tell me exactly what he said," Marianne encouraged her friend, knowing that a burden shared weighed less. She had been there herself just a few years earlier. The ugly divorce that came just nine months after her wedding vows. She struggled for so many months on her own and learned from her mistakes that she should have reached out to her friends, no matter how scared she was to appear the fool for marrying Harry after only knowing him for four months. From her own experience, she learned that everyone needs someone to confide in, but more importantly, everyone needs someone to pray for them.
Caroline recounted the ugly phone conversation she had just had with her ex-husband and waited for Marianne's reaction. She was sure of one thing: Caroline had handled herself much better this time. From the sounds of it, she had not fallen apart, and she had not hung up on him or threatened him in return. She'd come a long way from the young blushing bride she had been ten years earlier, when she and Thomas had married. Maybe she had needed to grow up a little more. It seemed unfair that this was the way God had chosen for her to mature, but no matter how difficult they would sometimes seem, Marianne was confident in God's ways. She continued to listen patiently as her friend relived the last half-hour. She knew how much Caroline had already been through, losing her husband, losing her house and taking care of two children on her own. When Caroline finished talking, Marianne thanked God for her friend before offering her encouragement.
"It sounds to me like you handled this very well, Caroline. I am so proud of you for not falling apart and for keeping your composure. Remember, we don't fight flesh and blood, but the powers and principalities." Marianne knew that Caroline was familiar with the scripture she referring to.
"I know. And thank you. I'm proud of myself, too."
"I really don't think Thomas has a leg to stand on. What judge is going to listen to a man who is already breaking the law by not giving you what has been court-ordered?"
"Well, that's what I was thinking, too, but I still get so scared that he is going to be able to hurt us in some way."
"Let's pray right now for God's protection and for His strength and wisdom," Marianne said as she began to pray for her friend.
And the instructor said:
It's going VERY WELL, Katja. You know we must be creative and you know why. So just let it flow into your private writing time. Eva