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Fragrance of Love
by Joanna Stricker 
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A year has passed since I saw my husband. He left not long after we were married. I was to go with him, was eager to go with him, but life has a way with interfering with man-made plans. His grandmother became ill. I knew we must care for her, yet Godís calling was so strong. He felt it too.

We prayed together. It is a treasured memory during this long wait--the sweetness of communion, the presence of our Lord, the unity of mind. He looked at me; I looked at him, and knew. One would have to stay behind. Me. I cried. He comforted, yet I knew his pain was as great as mine.

It has been almost a year since I saw my wife. When I left, she followed me to the gate. Our friends showed their respect by lingering on the porch. She placed a burlap sack in my right hand. My mouth waters at the memory of the sackís contents. Chicken, plums, homemade bread. My stomach rumbles. The meals since have been incomplete and meager. In my left hand, she put her familyís Bible. It has fed, not only me, but others over these long months. I never dreamed there would be rush for gold in these mountains. Praise the Lord, He knew and sent me with His Love-message. Its power answers the deepest Heartís cryóthat thirst which money never satisfies.

In the Lordís timing, his grandmother passed peacefully. Angels surrounded, filling the room, and His presence comforted me.

My friends have been with me through this long wait. Even during the long winter months, they came and sat awhile.

How hungry I became before remembering to pray! I began to bake for the grocer. He gave back left-over bread. I made bread pudding for him to sell. The next time I bought goods, he slipped in extra eggs and a large number of lemons. I made more pudding with lemon sauce. I now bake a variety of sweets for his customers. I never realized how versatile lemons can be.

There have been dark moments. Three months ago, an icy winter night, I stood alone on the porch and cried. I long for you, my love! I searched my mind for comfort, but I couldnít remember the words from the Book. I prayed, poured my loneliness before Him. Something changed.

Now each night, before retiring, I go to the porch, look down the street, and pray. Slowly, hope stirs. A month ago I felt His whisper. You are coming home. Hurry, my love!

I finally felt that releaseó a temporary reprieve in this fieldís work. I have made friends; and I feel the burden for the many who flock hereóthey donít know Him, nor about His grace. I long for you to be by my side, telling of His great love!

At night I look to the eastern sky. Iím coming, my love! Soon Iíll feel your sweet embrace!

Tonight, as I step outside, the aroma of spices follows me. Oregano, thyme, pepper for the roast; dill, garlic for the vegetables. It was to be your dinner, as has every meal this month. It is too late for our friends to partake as usual. Tomorrow they can dine. I hoped today you would come. There is asparagus and tender young carrots from my garden and my arm aches from beating meringue for lemon pie. Iím ashamed to admit to the tears I blink to hide. It has been a month since I felt His promise of your return. Please, my love...

Itís not how I planned my return. I pictured you waiting, running into my arms. Instead the night is dark, a couple of hours past when you have surely gone to sleep. I try to make my steps longer, but my legs ache from the travel. You would say I was foolish not to stop for dinner today. But I am anxious to hold you in my arms! Now my body does protest my fast, even my mind betrays meóI imagine I smell a feast! A block to go. Oh, my love!

As I pray, I feel His sweet comfort. He has been so faithful to me over these twelve months. I know I will never forget these daysóHis presence and provision. He cares for me. I look at the dark sky, smile and then sigh. How long, howÖ Wait, whatís that sound?

The front gate rattles, can it be? My love!!

Oh, my love!!!

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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