Christian Short Stories
My Peace I Give You
By Laura McKelvey
Laura writes: "I've loved to read and write for years, and one of my writing goals is to one day compile a book of Christian short stories - and this would be one of them :) I pray this story will bring glory to my Heavenly Father!"
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
I have one green eye and one brown eye. I was born this way. The green eye sees truth, but the brown eye sees much, much more.
The green one sees truth because I am watching my fiancé sign the document giving the go-ahead for the city of Dundee to be destroyed because it failed to abide by his surrender terms.
And I see him for what he is—a man who cares only for power and glory and who will push aside any in his way to get those things.
My brown eye, hidden behind a bandage as it is, because my fiancé struck me in one of his regular drunken rages, sees darkness, and I realize that is what this land will see if someone doesn't change something.
I know my life will be awful if I marry this man, but I also know that it will make me duchess and capable of making new rules around here; news rules that will help the people. And how I can sacrifice the people for my own wishes when my Lord Jesus Christ died for me?
A man leaves the room then, taking the document with him and closing the door. My fiancé turns to me.
“What have ye decided, Kat? Are ye goin' to wed me or break off the arrangement?” he asks, looking annoyed. I had told him just before that man came in with the document that I didn't know if I could go on with our engagement. I'd been forced into it by my mother so that she and I could live better - have nicer things. And besides, she'd said, there was not likely to ever be a man so willing to marry a freak like me, what with my oddly colored eyes.
But I had gotten to know him—Colin O'Connor, duke of Edinburgh—just a bit better, and I'd begun to realize that he wasn't a good man at all.
But back to the present. I look at him for a moment. Our marriage for me will mean physical and mental abuse. It will mean many a long night spent in pain, loneliness, fear, and sorrow. It will mean losing the already fleeting freedom I have.
“Kat, you try my patience,” Colin says, his voice low and cold.
Everything in me is screaming no, telling me to run far away . . . but then I realize something. I think to myself, I have to do this for Edinburgh. My life's not so important that hundreds should die.
“I'll wed ye, Colin O'Connor,” I say, struggling to accept my fate bravely. Christ knew he would die a horrible death for you, and he didn't start pleading for his life or crying, I think.
He looks as triumphant as if he's just taken over another city. “We wed tomorrow,” he says simply, and then he leaves the room.
I feel like I have been stabbed in the gut. It's almost impossible for me to believe that I've just agreed to marry this monster.
This is for the people, my heart reminds me. And it is for the glory of God. Forcing my fear and disgust back, I straighten. This can be done if I look to Christ and remember what he sacrificed for me; if I lean on him for strength. A great peace floods my heart, and I know He won't let me go.
It has been ten years since I became Katrina O'Connor . . . ten long, hard years.
And yet, they have not been devoid of joy and hope; they have not been worthless. In those years I was able to change some things for the people. Men would listen to me, the duchess, because, though a duchess had the more lowly position, the people knew I was on their side. They knew what a sacrifice I'd made for them.
And so it had happened. Sometimes I'd worked behind my husband's back and other times I'd had to work right in front of his face. But he hadn't ever found out . . . at least until the last year or so, when more and more reports of secret workings began creeping in. After awhile he'd pieced all the information together and realized that the unknown person working against him was me.
He'd been outraged the day he'd found out, storming off to find me and beat me in front of our nine-year-old son and our three-year-old daughter. He'd screamed curses at me and called me a traitor, beating me within an inch of my life. And then he'd had me thrown into our dungeon, telling me I would die with the next sunrise.
I hadn't even gotten to kiss my babies goodbye. My poor, poor babies. They would grow up with a monster for a parent. Thankfully, though, some of the women that worked for us were Christians and loved my children like they were their own, and they constantly spoke to my children of Christ. So, though my babies might be losing their mother they had at least five other women that would be like mothers to them for me.
Still, though much of my life had been terrible ever since I'd met Colin, it had been worth it. I had given my all to serve my Lord, fighting my husband's tyranny for the people. I had learned what it was to have a true servant's heart, and I could die in peace knowing I had brought even a little joy and freedom to my people's lives. And while there was sadness and pain in my heart, the greatest feeling I have is peace as I stand before six archers, my death stealing ever closer. My dear Lord promised in His Word to give me peace and strength, and He is doing so even now.
“And because of her treachery I condemn this woman, Katrina O’Connor, to death,” my husband finishes.
The reverend stepped near to me, tears streaming down his cheeks. “God be merciful to ye. He knows you don't deserve this,” he murmurs.
“Ye're words are kind, Reverend, but God knows I, a horrible sinner, deserve worse than this,” I say, smiling sadly. “But He has been merciful to me, and I pray His face will shine on all of you.”
The reverend, struggling to control his emotions, recites Psalm 23 to me.
“Revered, ye've taken long enough,” Colin growls. The reverend squeezes my shoulder and hurries away, crying openly. Colin scowls before continuing, “Do ye have any last words, traitor?”
“I forgive ye for all ye've done, Colin,” I say softly. Then I look out at the crowd. “God be with ye! I pray to see ye all again someday,” I call out.
Still scowling, my husband nods to the archers.
“Ready!” one archer shouts. “Take aim!”
I look up at the sky one last time. The sunrise is truly glorious today, as if Heaven itself is opening up to welcome me in.
Here I come, Lord! I think, smiling. I have fought the good fight by God's grace, and I have finished the race.
And as I faintly hear “Fire!” and I listen to the arrows' feathers singing on the wind, I close my green and my brown eye . . . and I get ready to go home.
(© 2010 Laura McKelvey – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)
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