Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God. I have applied all this to Apollos and myself for your benefit, brothers and sisters, so that you may learn through us the meaning of the saying, “Nothing beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of one against another. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
I am now under the equivalent of house arrest. My parents want me to stay indoors, at least during the day, to protect me from the attacks of local people. They used to love us and now, because of me, even my parents have to be careful. The good news is that it is almost winter and the days are shorter. I go outside at night before bed, say my prayers and look at the stars. They were abundant last night, reminding me of God's promises. Like the stars, those promises seem very far away.
Mama has decided to focus on preparing me for the journey. She is very upset, but the sewing and handwork at least gives her something to concentrate on. She has talked privately to a few women that still remain our friends. They are going to help me get ready for the trip to Bethlehem. Tomorrow they will come and sew with Mama, bringing things they have left from their babies to loan to me. Their friendship really bolsters my mother's faith, as these are women who say they believe that God is using me. There are always a few good people, despite the anger and fear of the rest of the village.
I keep remembering the Psalms we used to sing and pray. The words of this psalm keep running around in my head. "I lie down in peace; at once I fall asleep: for you only, Lord, make me dwell in safety." Auntie, I cling to these words like clinging to a solid rock. They help me see light in the darkness. When the baby stirs and kicks, I can only think of you and your big belly and the kicks of your son. You and your faith give me great hope. Remember to pray for me and especially for my parents. They carry such a heavy burden these days.