Saddle sore and weary from hours of trail riding, Moriah dropped from the side of her pinto mustang. “Good girl, River. How about some water and food.” She pulled her arms over her head, bent to touch the ground, then straightened up. She lifted her head and looked at the snow-tipped mountain in front of them. The stream gurgled a few feet from her and the breeze brought the tip of her ponytail across her nose. She pushed it out of her sight.
“I’ll take care of her.” The deep tone skirted down her neck and across her arms.
“No thanks, Jadon. I rode her. I’ll care for her. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?” She smiled and pulled on the reins, then guided her horse to the water’s edge.
He drew up on the other side of the red and white mare, “Actually, Mr. Hollis told me to. I guess he wants to see you.” He reached for the halter and slid his hand down the lead bumping her hand as he pulled.
Shivers raced over her. Moriah rubbed her hand over River’s neck and turned back to the newly set-up camp.
“Mr. Hollis, were you looking for me?” Who would believe such an old guy could lead this adventure. If a strong wind blew through the nearby trees, he’d find himself lifted off the ground like a loose kite.
“No, not me.” He removed his hat, scrubbed his buzz-cut head, and reset the Stetson. “Your mother did.” He nodded toward one of the newly pitched tents.
“My mom’s here?” Moriah strode to the place he’d pointed. Just as she arrived, the flap pushed back. Her uncle stepped out and ushered her in.
Lily paced around the enclosure, then looked up.
“Mom, what are you doing here? I’ve only been gone one day.”
“Sit down.” Lily drew in a deep breath and lowered her shoulders. “Would you please sit down for a minute?”
“I’d rather not. I’ve been sitting most of the afternoon.” Moriah glanced around the space. Two cots already took up most of the area. A folding chair stood by the tent-flap. A quiver raced across the base of her neck.
“What’s wrong?” Moriah heard the shake in her voice over her drumming heart.
“We’ve lost everything. All our money. We only have the house.” Lily covered her face with her hands.
“I’m glad you still have that. When did this happen?” Moriah reached her hand out and touched her mother’s shoulder. “Where’s Dad?”
“Uncle Buck brought me. Your father can’t face you. He feels like he’s let you down. It's been coming for quite a while.”
Moriah helped her mother sit on the creaky cot. “Why? Money’s never been a priority to me, but you know that. I’m sorry about what’s happened, but no one let me down.”
Lily raised her head and looked at her daughter. Their gaze held for several moments. “You’re serious.” A breath caught as she spoke. “I thought you just didn’t want our help, and were being independent. We’ll have nothing to give you for your wedding.”
A snort escaped Moriah’s nose. “Mom, first of all, I’m not even dating anyone—”
“What about that nice young man who helped with your horse?” Uncle Buck jumped into the conversation.
When had the tent become so warm? “We barely know each other, and I’m in no hurry.”
“I talked with him a few minutes ago. Seems nice.” Buck’s eyes danced.
Moriah crossed her eyes at her teasing uncle. “And” She strung out the word, “I’m happy with all God’s—”
“You’re going to start telling me about this God of yours who takes away all your problems, aren’t you?” Lily stood so fast the folding cot wobbled. She swiped at invisible wrinkles on her perfectly creased designer jeans.
“I’d like to, but I won’t push Him on you. Besides, God doesn’t take away my problems, He helps me through them.”
Lily continued watching her daughter, then abruptly sat again. “You’re really serious about this God-thing, aren’t you?”
“I am because He’s serious about me … and you, and Dad, and Uncle Buck.”
Lily’s shoulders sagged, and she sat down again. “I'm so afraid." A shudder followed the words. "Perhaps when you’re back home from you’ll come and tell us more. I think it’s time we listen.”
“I’d love that.” She reached her hand out and rested it on Lily’s arm but didn’t hurry to remove it. “Would you like to stay for our evening meal? We’re going to sit by the fire, enjoy the starlight, do a bit of singing, and talk about what God’s been teaching us.”
“Everyone is going to talk?”
Moriah smiled. “Whoever has something to share will.” A few more seconds passed. “I’d really love for you to stay. You can share my tent tonight,” she looked up toward the tent flap, “and Uncle Buck, you can bed down in one of the wagons if you’d like.”
He winked at her. They shared more than a physical bloodline. His love for God had changed her life.
Lily shuddered. “I would like to hear what has shifted your thinking so much.”
Moriah thought of that old cliché … would wonders never cease? Hopefully, God would always keep surprising her.
Picture by: Erika Hammond
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