We’re just FIVE days away from the release of Home to You, my next full length novel! I thought I’d post a chapter from the book I wrote for my girls, A Little Faith, as a preview of what’s to come. Home to You is written from a grown up Faith’s perspective, while A Little Faith was written from her eight year old perspective. (And the subject matter in this particular chapter? Is SO going to play a part in this next book.)
Enjoy… and just FIVE days! September 1st! Eeeee!!!
We’re almost always late for Sunday school, which means we usually miss getting donuts before our teachers start telling the Bible story. Gracie gets especially peeved about this and has been known to stand in the hallway at church, hopping around in a circle, groaning, “donuts, donuts, donuts” all low in her throat until Mommy, who has been smiling pleasantly at church people, looks over to her and mouths, without any sound, “Stephanie Grace, I am going to snatch you completely bald-headed if you don’t stop that!”
We know that’s what she’s mouthing at us, because we’ve heard her say that so many times in her normal voice. (And in a louder voice, sometimes.) I don’t know what it means to snatch someone bald-headed, but it doesn’t sound good. Besides, Gracie has nice hair, so she’d probably like to keep it.
Mommy’s friend, Mrs. Morales, tells me that this is normal when you’re the pastor’s daughter. Her daddy was a pastor, too, a long time ago, and she said that she once walked these very same hallways, saying hi to people, getting hugs, and giving out handshakes. She told me that one day I would like walking through the church, talking with all of the people like Mommy does.
It only got harder during the service. After Daddy preached, we were all called up to the front, to stand with him, as lots of people came and put their hands on us and prayed. I was sad enough about leaving before, but after spending time with all those people who cared about us so much, I only felt worse.
Yes, they threw a party for us. Every once in a while, we would have a party of some sort after church on Sundays to celebrate different things. The teenagers would be raising money for camp and selling tickets to a lunch, the deacons would be serving lunch to all the widows in the church, we’d have a lunch to welcome a new person to the staff of the church – things like that. And no matter what the celebration was, we’d have to be there, sitting beside an empty seat that we kept for Daddy, who usually never even got the chance to sit down and eat.
Gracie had run off with some of the other kids and the children’s minister to play games, but I had stayed behind at our empty table, picking at what was left of my food. I wasn’t sure what it was that I had just eaten. Some mysterious casserole thing. That’s what we usually got at potlucks. Mommy once told us to just eat it and smile… and figure out later what it was.
I wondered if our new church would have mystery casseroles like this.
Sam. Sam Huntington. Samuel Thomas Huntington.
Sam is eighteen years old… which is old. He has brown hair and hazel eyes and a really deep voice. Like Daddy’s, almost. He’s a lot taller than me, and he has a nice smile. Our mommies are good friends and sit next to each other in church most Sundays. And when they do? I always sit next to Sam. And he always gives me a piece of gum and helps me color a picture.
He sat down next to me with a cookie in his hand. He broke it in half and held out the bigger piece to me.
I took the cookie and said, very quietly, “Thanks, Sam.”
I wasn’t very excited at all. I frowned up at him. “Not really.”
Gracie had already figured this out. Ever since pancake day, she’d been begging Mommy and Daddy to make plans for us to visit Mickey Mouse as soon as we got to Florida. I think Gracie would live at Walt Disney World if they would let her.
“Yeah,” I sighed. “Mice don’t really talk, though.”
“Yeah,” I said, “they’re just people in costumes. Like the Santa at the mall.”
“I’m eight years old, Sam,” I said, frowning at him. “I’m not a baby, you know.”
“Maybe,” I said. “But I like the beach better. They have that in Florida, too.”
I thought about the beach. And about Sam. And about how if Sam and I ever went to the beach together, I could probably count on him to build a giant sandcastle, at least three stories tall, for me. Or, if the sand wasn’t good for making castles, he would probably let me bury him in it instead.
Would I meet other people who talked to me like Sam did? Would anyone at my new church want to talk to me at a party like this, or would I be sitting all by myself while Daddy worked, while Mommy talked, and while Gracie ran around like a hollering monkey?
“Hey, Faith,” he said softly. “You’re going to have a great time in Florida.”
“I know the feeling,” he said, smiling over at me with his own sad eyes.
“Well,” he sighed, “I’m leaving, too.”
That seemed impossible. But it would be the greatest news ever if Sam was moving with us!
“Yeah,” he said. “I leave for basic training for the Marines next week.”
What were the Marines? What was basic training? And where was he going to be?
“Said goodbye to your brothers and Savannah already,” she said to him, as Mrs. Huntington wiped away her own tears with a Kleenex. “We sure are going to miss all of you.”
Mrs. Huntington started crying harder. Mommy looked over at her, then turned back to Sam, and said, “Oh, I know, and it’s one of the worst parts of us leaving right now. I was going to take your mother out for a lot of mindless girls’ night out excursions to get her mind off of…. but we ran out of time, didn’t we, Jess?”
“It’s not like I’m going away forever,” Sam said, still smiling.
My mind raced as I tried to solve the mystery behind what was about to happen to Sam…
“Yes, ma’am,” he answered.
War zone. The Marines meant going to war. Sam was going to war. People were going to be shooting at Sam. He was going away to some horrible place called basic training because he’d been enlisted, and people were going to be shooting at him! He would probably die, no matter how hard we prayed.
How would he marry me if he was going to die?!
“Faith,” Mommy said, worried, tears in her own eyes. “Why are you crying?”
Mrs. Huntington seemed to cry harder at the mention of Sam dying. I know!, I wanted to scream at her. Sam will be dead. DEAD!
She likes Sam. And she likes Mrs. Huntington. She’d be glad if Sam married me. Which he would, of course. If he didn’t die first in this horrible thing called basic training with these horrible people called the Marines, and –
“But people will be SHOOTING at you, Sam!,” I cried. “The Marines are going to be shooting at you!”
“Don’t go,” I whispered, looking up at him. “Please don’t go. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
Maybe all of the sadness about leaving was making me cry harder about Sam. Maybe I didn’t trust Jesus as much as I kept saying I did, because I was so, so sad and scared and upset and worried about everything. Florida, the Marines, all of these changes –
And I began to calm down, hearing him promise this. “Really?,” I asked.
“Every day,” I said. And I meant it. I’d pray for a different solution to this mystery, every day, until he came home to me.
“Sam,” I said, crying harder, even as I leaned against him. “I won’t be here anymore.”
We were in our closet, which is where we always went when we had to talk after bedtime. If we whispered in there, Mommy wouldn’t catch us up and out of bed.
IF we whispered. Which Gracie most certainly was NOT doing.
“Like the time I got four shots at the doctor?!,” she asked.
“No, Gracie,” I hissed at her. “Like… with a gun!”
“No, Gracie,” I said again. “He’ll be dead. DEAD, Gracie.”
I had thought about this, too. It was a shame. Gracie would have looked so pretty. I would have looked pretty, too, in my big, white, princess dress, and –
I frowned at this. “I don’t think Sam will be sad without his mommy. He’s old, you know. Almost a grownup and all.”
“Gracie,” I said softly. “Are you sad about leaving Texas?”
I had thought the same things so many times. But if I know anything about being a big sister it’s that you have to be brave for your little sister.
“It’s going to be great,” I said. “We just have to have a little faith that Jesus has it all worked out already.”
Want more? You can find A Little Faith right here. Happy reading, friends!