This pastor's wife has been out of the job market for 30 years. When her husband dies in the pulpit, she has to reinvent herself.
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Leona Harper loves being a pastor's wife. Her impressive resume touts thirty years of coaxing hot water from rusty parsonage plumbing, planning church potlucks, and standing beside her husband while members take potshots at his sermons. Except for the little tiff with her grown children, Leona feels her life is right on track with the wishes of the Almighty...until her husband drops dead in the pulpit.
When the church board decides to fill the Reverend's vacated position Leona is forced to find a paying job, mend her fractured family, and tackle her fears. With life spiraling out of control, Leona might find the church members antics comical if she weren't so completely panicked. Can the faith of an overwhelmed widow withstand the added heartache of two resentful children and several underhanded church members? If Leona can't trust God, how will she learn to trust herself?
“Living in the parsonage is not for sissies.” Leona Harper’s husband planted a kiss on the top of her head. “You knew that when you married me, darlin’.” He tucked his Bible under one arm and offered her the other. “You can do this.”
Leona considered the man standing before her. J.D. Harper was as handsome as the day they met some thirty years ago, even with the silver streaks traipsing across his well-trained waves. Folks often mistook him to be a successful CEO of some major corporation rather than the pastor of a dying church in a small Texas town.
“And if I don’t?”
“Maxine Davis wins.” He had her, and he knew it. “Is that what you want?”
Ignoring the righteous twinkle in his eye, she threaded her hand through the crook in his suit-clad arm. “I hate it when you preach at me, J.D.”
“If it weren’t for guilt trips, you wouldn’t go anywhere.”
“My point exactly.” Leona scooped up the Tupperware caddie that contained her famous chicken pot pie and set off to face yet another Sunday at Mt. Hope Community Church.
J.D. opened the door to the fellowship hall. The familiar aroma of coffee and casseroles assaulted Leona’s nose. If only she had a nickel for every meal she’d eaten in this dingy room, maybe they could pay all their bills, save a little for retirement, and even afford this little vacation J.D. had reluctantly agreed to take when the kids came home.
Leona headed for the kitchen, weaving through the scattered tables. Crock pots brimming with roast and carrots or pinto beans and ham lined the counter.
While J.D. checked the overloaded power strip, Leona deposited her contribution for the monthly potluck scheduled to follow the morning service. She glanced at the dessert table. Maxine’s coconut cake was not in its usual place. “I’m going to get a seat in the sanctuary.”
“You can’t avoid her forever.”
It wasn’t that she was afraid of the sour elder’s wife, she just hadn’t figured out the best way to address Maxine’s latest attack. Why God had seen fit to park them at a church where the chairman of the elder board’s wife loved only two things—having the last word and adding to her list of complaints against the Harpers—was first in a list of pressing questions she intended to ask God when she got to heaven.
“An ugly encounter with that woman would ruin my worship, and I’ll be hanged if I’ll let her take that too.”
J.D. smiled. “That’s my girl.”