Christine’s patience paid off in the end. Only two months later, the Jenkins were invited to the Pierce’s and both families went sleighing together. Both families’ carriages had runners put on them and another carriage was acquired so that everyone would fit.
Once they were all bundled up and ready, they went outside to the sleighs. Charlie approached Christine as she stood aside, waiting for everyone to get settled.
“Christine, will you join me in my sleigh?”
“Your sleigh?” Christine asked, puzzled.
“Yes, I bought my own carriage just recently and put runners on it this morning. Will you join me?” Charlie asked hopefully.
“Oh, I don’t know if–”
Charlie leaned toward her. “I spoke to your mother; she gives her permission.”
“Well then, I will be glad to.” Christine’s heart leapt as Charlie handed her into the carriage.
Both carriages were soon filled and the families were off. Charlie stayed back and let the others go ahead. Then they also were off. The chilly air and white snow filled Christine with liveliness and joy.
They rode through the streets and then turned off into a large open area. The other sleighs were far ahead by now. Charlie slowed down and took a deep breath.
“There’s something special about the winter air. It seems to give one energy and joy and make one feel very much alive.”
Christine laughed. “I dare say it does! And look, it’s snowing again.” Indeed, it had begun to snow once more, but it was only a very light snow and did not bother the two young people in the sleigh.
A silence followed and Christine found herself gazing at the man beside her. We should not blame her as Charlie was a very pleasant man to gaze at. His soft features were kind and caring. He carried himself with confidence and dignity. In his presence, Christine felt secure and happy.
Charlie turned and met Christine’s eyes. She held his gaze for a moment and then smiled. Charlie returned her smile
“What are you thinking about?” He asked.
“I was thinking of what a wonderful man you are,” Christine answered quietly.
Charlie looked away, shaking his head. “I do not agree; I’m afraid I’m not quite what you think me to be. But, by the grace of God, I am what I am.”
“At any rate,” he continued, looking back at her. “It is pleasant to hear that from you.”
Christine turned her gaze to the snow covered trees and white ground. The ride was very pleasant and the sleigh drove smoothly. Looking up into the sky, Christine felt the cold snowflakes on her face.
She turned and looked again at Charlie. His expression was hopeful and thoughtful.
“Christine, I love you very much. I have for some time, but I wanted to wait until everything became clear, and until I had hope that you could return my love. My love for you has grown so strong that I could not wait any longer to make it known to you. You are a godly woman which is beautiful in God’s sight and in the sight of his servants. I see in you a heart that sincerely seeks to obey and serve the Lord. You are my heart’s desire, Christine, and I long to serve the Lord with you by my side. I will cherish and protect you as Christ does the church. Tell me, do you love me as well?”
Charlie’s face pleaded with her as she found words to answer. “Charlie,” she breathed softly, not crying as she had expected. “I do love you, very much. I have for months but tried to wait until you were ready to tell me the same.”
Charlie smiled broadly. “Ah, my patient little lady!”
“But how you love me, I do not know,” Christine continued, confused. “I am not at all what you think. I have so many struggles and faults–”
“My dear, so do we all. But you are sincere and your heart seeks to serve God truly. God looks upon the heart and sees every sincere desire as done perfectly unto him for the sake of Christ. Despite your faults, I love you and none other. Christine, will you become my wife?”
Meeting his eyes and looking deeply, she answered. “Yes, Charlie, with all my heart.”
Charlie smiled contentedly and took her hand in his. “That makes me very happy, my dear.” He took a small box out of his pocket and opened it. Removing a silver ring inlaid with jewels, he slipped it on her finger.
“Charlie, it’s beautiful; thank you.”
Christine then realized that they were driving on the roads again and approaching Charlie’s house. The other sleighs were empty, their passengers having already retreated to the warm house.
Charlie pulled his sleigh to a stop and jumped down. Taking Christine’s two hands, he helped her as she stepped down. Looking straight into his face, Christine felt more love than she had ever known.
“Oh Charlie,” Christine burst out. “You were meant to live. God brought you safely through that surgery for a purpose.”
Charlie smiled. “And what do you think that purpose was?”
Christine blinked back her tears. “That in friendship and in marriage, we might have each other to encourage and to love as we serve the Lord.”
“Amen, my darling. Let us always serve our Lord together, as one, united by the love of Christ.”
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