Shelly has spent her life working towards becoming concert singer and recording star, so when she meets Jeffrey Billingham and discovers he is a music producer she is thrilled by the prospect he offers. Only one problem: Jeffrey produces praise and worship music and Shelly is not a Christian. Jeff is intrigued by Shelly. She’s attractive, talented and caring. He longs to put a ring on her finger and her beautiful voice on his labels, but as long as she’s denying Christ, he can do neither. Is there a chance she’ll have a change her heart and accept Jesus as her Savior?
Shelly slammed on the brakes and grimaced as she narrowly avoided rear-ending the car ahead. She knew it was her fault. Late nights spent singing in a bar took its toll on her the next day. She pulled into a slot at the restaurant and noticed it was busy, as usual. When the breakfast rush was over, her shift would slow down.
As she entered the kitchen through the back door, she inhaled the familiar smells of coffee, bacon and warm biscuits. Her stomach growled. Once again, she hadn’t taken time for breakfast. Making sure her brother was still breathing ruined her appetite. One day, Patrick would straighten up. At least that’s what she kept telling herself.
She donned a white apron and picked up an order pad. She passed Jed, the grizzled old cook.
He saw her and smiled as he ad-libbed a tune, and sang, “This is a beautiful start of day, ain’t anybody goin’ to be mean...”
Following suit, Shelly sang back, “The birds are singing and the grass is green…”
“We should be thankful ‘bout everything...” Jed’s baritone filled the air.
“And hope for good things the day will bring,” Shelly felt lighthearted as she sang the words.
She swung through the door and stepped into a sunny, rectangular restaurant. In the summer, they often had to close the blinds to keep out the afternoon glare. In the morning, it cast an amber glow that made the tables and booths look inviting.
She nodded at the cashier on the way to greeting an older couple at one of her tables. She took their order, clipped it to the order wheel and took the next table, occupied by a man sitting alone.
Stunning sable eyes entranced her as he looked up. Light brown hair, neatly cut, swept across his forehead, defying the mousse that held the rest of it in place. His eyes reminded her of twin pools of milk chocolate.
“What do you recommend?”
“The eggs and ham are good. So are all the waffle combinations.” Her breath caught in her throat. His voice was deep and mellow and went with his rugged good looks. She wanted to stand there and study his every tone and nuance.
“I’ll go with the ham and eggs.”
Reluctantly, she glanced at her order pad and jotted his choice. She wanted to linger and look into those intriguing eyes a little longer, but she had work to do. She took pride in her efficiency and had never had a complaint regarding her service.
When she returned with his plate, he glanced at her name tag. “Thank you, Shelly. You’re very efficient. Have you been doing this long?”
“Since I was sixteen.”
“That must have been yesterday.”
“Not hardly.” She grinned at his blarney. “I’m working to become a recording artist. Born and bred here in Memphis, what else could I be?”
“I heard you singing.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for anyone but the cook to hear. It’s a habit we’ve gotten into.”
“What else do you sing?”
“Popular, soft rock.”
“Really? I’d like to hear you, sometime. I’m a music producer and you have a lovely voice.”
Shelly’s heart sank. How many times had she heard that line? When a guy heard she was interested in recording, he was suddenly a music producer. She hadn’t figured him for just another liar. He was too beautiful for that. She’d been neglecting her other customers for a handsome face and smooth talk. “I have to get back to work. I’ll have your breakfast right out.”
Shelly hurried away and didn’t return until it was time to pick up his empty dishes. When she left his bill at the end of his meal, he smiled, showing a dimple in his chin.
“You were right. The eggs and ham are good.”
“I’m glad you liked them.”
She avoided his gaze. She was sorry he’d turned out to be a phony since he was the most attractive man she’d ever seen. The sad discovery hovered over her for the rest of the day. She had met a lot of shallow, good-looking men. She’d hoped better for this one. It was disappointing when the attractive outside didn’t match an attractive inside.
When her shift ended, she grabbed a bite to eat and went back to her apartment. She had so much to do and she felt exhausted. The floors needed cleaning and dishes lay in the sink. She needed to go to the grocery store, and dirty laundry lay piled in the basket. Overwhelmed, she laid her head on her arms and drifted into a dreamless sleep.
Hours later, she awoke, startled to find she’d fallen asleep at the table. But the nap did her some good because she felt refreshed. By the time she left for her night job at eight o’clock, she’d made a dent in the pile of laundry and had cleaned the floors. Her heels clicked along the outside walkway, and down the metal stairs, her silky red dress clinging to her carefully-maintained figure. Perhaps tonight she would be noticed for her voice and hard work.
(Q1) Have you ever blamed God when a loved one was sick or disturbed?
(A1) God gave us the Garden of Eden and we chose not to remain in it. This world is not Heaven and bad things happen. How wonderful we can look forward to Heaven.
(Q2) Have you ever felt your life was going nowhere, even though you longed for a certain thing?
(A2) Be patient. God works in His own time. If it is meant to be, God will bring it about. If not, you really don't want it.
(Q3) Have circumstances in your life left you scarred?
(A3) Remember that people who hurt us are not acting in accordance with God's will. Look to God not to others to find recovery.