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TITLE: Heart's Desire ~ Prologue
By Chanda Ricks

This is a Christian Romance novel I've completed and about to take the next step to having it published. Targeted to young adults, it's enriched with the wisdom of God's word and will be a blessing to all those who read it. Please, I welcome your critiques to maximize my story's potential!

“Angela! What a pleasant surprise!” Pastor Riddick greeted Angela and invited her into his two-story, European design brick home. “What brings you here in such inclement weather?”
“I really need to speak with you, Pastor,” Angela said while he helped her out of her metallic gray rain jacket. A rumble of thunder roared as Pastor Riddick led Angela through the foyer and into his study. He motioned for her to sit down at his cherry wood office desk and he settled on the opposite side facing her.
“Your home is so lovely,” Angela admired before sitting down. The study accommodated stylish, cherry wood furniture; and the walls were accented with degrees, ministerial licenses, as well as pictures of his wife and four children.
“Thank you, Angela,” Pastor Riddick replied in his deep, southern accent. “Well, something serious must have brought you here in the storm and rain. Certainly it wasn’t just to chat about my home.”
Angela cleared her throat. “Well, um…I had a dream and I think it was from God, but I’m not sure. I know you’re a busy man and I wouldn’t want to bother you with anything silly.” She fondled with the button on her blue, jean jacket as her mouth creased into a timid smile.
“Angela, when my people come to me for counseling, nothing is silly,” Pastor Riddick reassured her, returning her smile. Angela wondered if he’d feel the same way after she’d described her dream. Yet, she had to know if her dream had any meaning at all. She shifted in the seat, wiping her clammy hands on her jeans.
“Okay. I was sitting on a bench in the park reading my bible. When I looked up, you were walking toward me and sat beside me.”
“Uh-huh,” Pastor Riddick responded, squinting his narrow, beady eyes as if already about to receive a revelation from God.
“And um…” Angela closed her eyes and sighed.
“Just try to relax, Angela,” Pastor Riddick encouraged, warmth lacing his words.
“Alright. We were having a casual conversation at first. Then, out of nowhere, you told me that the man standing next to me was my husband.” Pastor Riddick leaned back in his leather, swivel chair and chuckled. He nodded his head and she was encouraged to tell more.
“I saw a man from the corner of my eye, but….I only saw part of his figure, as if I was too distracted by something to really take full notice of him. Then, the dream ended. That last statement you made in my dream rang in my head all day and I had to talk to you. I know it sounds silly, but—”
Pastor Riddick chuckled again and Angela sank into the chair. She raised her eyebrows, forming two slight creases in her forehead and awaited the affirmation of how insignificant her dream was.
“Can I ask you a personal question, Angela?” Pastor Riddick leaned forward and removed his glasses.
Oh God! Here it comes! Angela thought to herself.
“Of course.”
A moment of silence saturated the room. She clamped her moist hands to the seat of the chair and waited for what seemed an eternity for his interpretation.
“How did witnessing your best friend’s wedding a couple weekends ago really make you feel?”
Angela blinked with stupor. She felt she were at a job interview and was asked a question that caught her off guard and that she wasn’t prepared to answer.
“Did I put you on the spot?” Pastor Riddick asked with a tiny smile.
“Well, I didn’t see that one coming.” Angela answered. A troubled expression settled upon her features. She intertwined her fingers and tapped the tip of her thumbs together. Self-reproach permeated her as she recalled the envy and despair that assailed her as she watched Myra march down the aisle, exquisitely arrayed in an elaborate wedding gown.
“For the first time in our friendship, I feel like I’ve betrayed her for how much I wished it were me instead. I actually hated that it wasn’t me.”
Pastor Riddick leaned back again in silence, as if premeditating on how he would counsel her. She truly admired him and his wife for their warmth, wisdom and understanding. She, her mother and older brother were grateful to Pastor Riddick and his wife, for taking them in when her father had deserted them, years ago. Pastor Riddick had become a father figure for both her and her brother.
“Angela, it’s typical for you to have felt somewhat envious when it was something you desired for yourself as well. But, you have to constrain that emotion so that it doesn’t tarnish or even obliterate the camaraderie between Myra and yourself.

You don’t want to allow the enemy to locate vulnerability in your life. The devil knows this is taunting you and he too, is starting to afflict your thoughts to provoke arousal of envy and covetousness, two things God abhors.”
“Wow!” Angela wasn’t sure if she responded that way because of his profound wisdom or imposing vocabulary. However, she felt some relief. A burden had actually been lifted off of her that she hadn’t realized was there.
“Angela, you’ve got to take into account that your Heavenly Father knows the desires of your heart. If you will only delight yourself in Him, He will bring your desires to pass. Just trust Him and don’t try to help Him out! He knows what’s best for you and the preferable time for you to meet and marry your husband.” Angela nodded her head, soaking in all he had said.
“Now, about this dream. It appears to me that God has indicated to you that your time may be approaching, but…” He paused, throwing up his forefinger. “You’ve got to be patient. Be prudent and vigilant. You don’t want to step outside of God’s plan and give your heart to the wrong one. Perhaps this fellow isn’t what you’ve been expecting or have imagined which is why you saw only part of his figure.”
“Oh God, who could that be?”
“Just pray about it, Angela, and avoid hasty decisions. Your partial visibility of him can in fact be due to blindness—blindness caused by impatience to take notice of notable attributes endowed upon him by God. Trust God, and acknowledge Him in all your ways. He will direct you.” A loud clap of thunder convulsed the room.
“I believe you should be getting home now, before this storm worsens. I just heard there’s a tornado watch for this area.” Pastor Riddick told Angela as he arose from his desk. Angela followed suit.
“Thank you so much for talking with me, I feel so much better,” Angela said while retrieving her umbrella and rain jacket by the door.
“Of course. Just let me know when it’s time for the wedding bells,” Pastor Riddick teased as he escorted her out of the house.
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