Marissa craned her neck, awe-struck. And decided that heaven totally rocked. She walked around glassy-eyed most days. The song, "I Can Only Imagine" came to mind. It was true: no one could.
The angelic guards beckoned her into Gabriel's office. She was terrified and wondered if they noticed. Swiping sweaty palms on her jeans, she was comforted by the familiar broken-in denim. Who would have thought her favorite Levi's qualified as heavenly attire? And with her new body, they weren't even snug anymore.
Marissa had only been there a few weeks. Rigorous orientation completed, she was settling in nicely. But that morning, a message had arrived, summoning her to Gabriel's palace. And sent her into a meltdown, fearing she had committed some paradise rule infraction.
Her housemates tried to convince her that she wasn't in trouble and that it was routine. They coached her on proper conduct and even went along for moral support.
And here she stood, quivering before Gabriel. She was surprised when he pulled in for a feather-touch hug and settled her in a nearby chair.
"So, Marissa, how are you? Your accommodations acceptable?"
Her mouth opened and closed like a guppy sucking air. A nod was all she could manage as he continued.
"Very good. I want to talk to you about your first assignment. We don't just sit around and play harps, you know," he chuckled. "I have a very special task for you."
Marissa sat up a little straighter, excited at the prospect of being entrusted with a significant assignment. "I'm ready and I promise I won't let you down. I have all kinds of ideas about things I can do. I've even written them down." She pulled out several pages filled with writing. "Here let me show you..."
Gabriel smiled. "I have complete confidence-no need to convince me. But I already have something in mind. I'm sending you to talk to someone that needs a reality check. And you're just the person for the job."
Curiosity piqued, Marissa cocked her head. "Really? Who is it?"
She almost fell off her chair as one of the sentries reached to steady her. "Chase? As in my ex-husband? You're kidding, right?" After the words slipped out, Marissa's cheeks flamed. Had she seriously just questioned Gabriel? THE archangel himself?
"Umm, no disrespect intended, but I'm not so sure that's a good idea."
"None taken. And I think it's a grand idea. Who better than you to convince him to change his ways? I've seen your powers of persuasion over the years. You've perfected it to a fine art," he said dryly.
Wagging her head in disagreement, she relived all the times she had nagged, manipulated, and bullied Chase. Gabriel thought these were positive traits? She shuddered, her eyes pleading for mercy. "I just don't think I'm the right one. What if I...mess it up?"
"Marissa, sometimes we must use whatever means available in order to accomplish the goal." The guards were already hustling her out the door, despite her protests "Now off you go and don't forget to report in when you get back."
The housemates trailed behind, whispering.
The sentries turned to Gabriel with questioning eyes. One cleared his throat, garnering their commander's attention. "Do you think she has any idea what this mission is really about?"
Gabriel chuckled as he motioned for them to gather around. "Well, not right at the moment, but I think she'll figure it out soon enough. This is really a two-fold operation. For sure, Chase needs a 'wake-up call.' He's headed down a path that will be his demise if he doesn't make some changes."
At their nods, he continued. "But she has lessons to learn as well. Her years with Chase were filled with pain and bitterness-mostly created by her. Her controlling, manipulative ways were a weapon she used in their marriage. Combined with feminine wiles, well, let's just say she they have a lot of unfinished business. Honest interaction with Chase, talking about the past, and taking responsibility is all part of her training."
"I have great plans for Marissa. There is much she can accomplish for the Kingdom. Remember: What the enemy intended for evil, God will use for good. She is a mighty warrior in the making. Now all we have to do is get her to believe it.
Might take a bit of persuading..."
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