CHANGE OF HEART:

Clay - Repent and Change Back to Sheri

Sheri sighed wistfully and lifted her lips in what she hoped was at least a lopsided smile. Deep in her heart, God was whispering. It was between God and her before Clay and her, or her relationship was not blessed. Not built upon the Cornerstone, but upon the uncertainty of shifting sandy soil.

Clay still stared at her, intent, his so handsome head resting upon his cocked elbow on the table. "Your eyes may still hide behind green veils, but that is about the saddest smile I've seen."

He sighed heavily. "Don't you love me, Sheri? Don't you hear all that God is whispering into your heart? Listen with your heart, Sheri love. We're doomed if we can't communicate, so confide in me. Tell me, not Troy, what is in your heart."

"Right and wrong. I know the difference, Clay. There can be nothing between us until I am on the same spiritual, morally right, road." She swallowed, and this time managed to say the word in a wishful whisper. "Forgiveness."

He stood and held out one calloused hand toward her. "Yes, Sheri. Forgive to be forgiven. Let Jesus heal your heart and it's possible."

Trembling with the urgent plea from her heart, Sheri stood and took his hand in hers.

Then she walked with him to the living room where she knelt and he knelt beside her after giving her hand a little reassuring squeeze.

She closed her eyes and centered her entire focus on praising Jesus, honoring Him with her repentance, turning all her remaining unforgiveness and anger over to Jesus.

Clay prayed for her, with her, agreeing with her, before adding, "Please, God, show her Your plan for her. Open the doors. Soften her heart to You and me ever more. Let her know, without even a hint of doubt, who You have chosen as her soul mate and husband."

Sheri added her, "Amen." Then she swiped at the tears on her cheeks, tears from intimate time spent on her knees in the presence of praising God. "I need to leave now, Clay, for Dallas where I have some very important business."

Clay rose from his knees, big body unfolding from the humble position, and walked to his desk where he opened a drawer.

"Here," he offered as he held out a paper. "Marvin Reynolds. Prayed that you would call him. Think it would be wise to call and make sure he's home and not on the road before we drive the long haul to Dallas?"

She accepted the paper and picked up the phone before actually speaking to Marvin Reynolds. In that instant, she knew for certain she was supposed to speak to the man face-to-face and offer him her forgiveness.

Without wanting to tell him too much over phone, she asked to meet with him. He was due out on the road in about four hours. She'd never make it there in time by driving, but she was determined to try.

Clay called Rhonda the Rodeo Queen and explained the situation with his mom placing the ad, interviewing, setting up the dates, without consulting him. He already knew the woman promised to him as his wife by God's plan, His will. After he hung up, he announced, "She understands."

Then he cocked his elbow toward Sheri and winked at her.

She joined him and grabbed the jangling keys to his old truck out of his fingers. "I'll drive."

His golden gaze glinted and he smirked. "Try to save a little adrenaline. You can drive us to the airstrip. I'll fly us to Dallas."

"Deal," she grinned. By flying, Clay would get her to Dallas for certain before the truck driver could leave.

During the flight there, every time she glanced toward Clay's handsome profile, she saw him praying so softly she couldn't hear over the roar of the little two-seaters' engine. So, she would pray a while herself while taking in the beauty of the landscape patches zooming by below.

In a very short while, Clay had rented a car and pulled to the corner where he placed the car in Park.

"Ready?" he asked as he shut off the engine.

She nodded, yet her hand rested on the door handle. "Would you be so kind as to-um," she cleared her throat twice but no words would come.

Sheri exited the vehicle and stepped on the first stair leading to Marvin Reynolds' porch.

She gasped when Clay laid a reassuring, protective, hand on her lower back and led her to the door. "You didn't think I'd let you go alone, did you?"

Sheri smiled just as Marvin Reynolds opened the door to her knock. "Hi. I'm Sheri Knight."

The weary old man swept one hand in a shooing motion. "I'm not interested in whatever you and your fella are sellin'." Then his already pale skin seemed to lighten another ghostly shade. "Did you say Knight? Kin to Steve Knight?"

Sheri took that opportunity to shake the stunned man's hand. "Yes. His sister."

After a heartbeat or two, she added, "This may seem kinda strange to you, Mr. Reynolds, but God wanted me to come tell you that I forgive you. You don't need my forgiveness, though, as it was an accident. Steve's in a far better place with the rest of my family now."

"His death has haunted me for months now," Reynolds choked out.

"God doesn't blame you," Sheri said softly. "I don't. Don't let the devil torture you with guilt."

Marvin Reynolds invited them into his living room where Clay sat across from the man and continued to witness. An hour later, they all joined hands and the trucker turned his heart, his life, onto the true path as he accepted Jesus into his heart.

Fifteen minutes later, after Clay shut her car door then slid in his side and did the same, he grinned at her. "The angels are rejoicing."

However his grin turned into closer to a grimace when Sheri grinned and pointed at the huge mall. After finding them a parking place, he looked resigned to suffer the pangs of shopping.

Sheri stopped in the very first shop, a beauty salon.

She turned and waved bye to Clay as she walked into an appointment as if she were still following God's will. To her exasperation, though, it was the beautician and Clay who discussed the exact shade of her hair. Dark brown with mahogany streaks that glowed in the sun.

She had to admit much later, though, the color was exactly like her natural hair. After she paid the woman, and Clay wouldn't stop grinning at her like an idiot, she asked him to please retrieve the car.

While he was gone, Sheri dashed into the restroom where she plucked out her green contacts and flicked them in the trash. In the mirror, the familiar blue-eyed brunette staring back at her smiled.

Parked out the front entrance, Clay opened her car door for her. Before she slid in, he whispered, "Welcome back, Sheri love. Welcome back into the family of God."

She laughed when he joined her, but rode in silence; pierced by the intent gazes he shot her way and his muttered, "So beautiful."

At the airport, once he had taken off and adjusted to the proper altitude, she cleared her throat nervously and then took a few deep cleansing breaths until she bolstered her boldness. "Clay," she said as she leaned closer to him and rested one of her much smaller hands over his large one on the controls. "I love you."

His answering smile, alluring dimple and all, beamed brighter than the afternoon sun. He stroked one knuckle over her cheekbone. "Come to church with me. Be my date to the fellowship party at the ranch."

After a pause, he grabbed her hand and kissed her palm before laying it over her heart.

Her heart triple-skipped in time.

"I love you, Sheri Knight, always and forever. Would you give me the greatest honor and blessing as to agree to be my wife?"

"Yes, Clay. It would be my pleasure to marry you. A little girl's dream come true."

Her heart rate flew faster than the plane as a bolt of boldness hit her. "How about announcing it at the fellowship party tomorrow . . . and celebrate our lifelong vows on the Fourth of July?"

He laughed outright. "Deal future, Mrs. Sheri Dillenger. Then my wife can lay on a blanket every year with her husband, taking in the awesomeness of God's starry nights before the fireworks they'll set off to celebrate on our anniversary each year."

She sighed happily. "Thank You, God, for your plan for us."

"Amen," Clay added. "Thank You, God, for guiding us and blessing us, for being our center, for making us a winning team."

Happily ever after!

Clay and Sheri fly off in the sunset with God as their co-pilot.