“Okay, let’s see…” Miss Esther dropped down into her armchair and looked at her list. “We’ve had lunch, the guest room is ready, soup is simmering on the stove, the library is arranged for Bible study tonight, the apples are washed for our snack afterwards, the Bible study books are stacked on the table and…my discussion notes are ready too.”
Miss Esther set the list on the table and leaned back with a slight laugh. “Thank-You, Lord, I wasn’t sure how we were going to get that all done!” She closed her eyes. “And there is still a little time left before our guests arrive!”
Miss Esther gave herself permission to just sit and pray for a few moments. “Lord, would You watch over our Bible study tonight? Please prepare all of our hearts for what You want to teach us through Your Word. Help my sisters and I to show Your kindness to every girl who comes. Fill our home with Your Presence and joy.”
Miss Esther drew a deep breath. “Grant me the right words to lead the discussion and to help the girls understand how they can study Your Word for themselves. Guard my words, I pray. I mess up so easily! But most of all, may You be glorified in this whole evening. Thank You, Lord. I love You. In Christ’s Name, Amen.”
Miss Esther opened her eyes and reached for one of the Bibles lying nearby. She flipped to the book of Proverbs and found the chapter that matched the day of the month it was. Miss Esther had a habit of reading in the book of Proverbs in the afternoon, whenever she could. It helped her to refocus her mind on the Lord.
Finally Miss Esther set the Bible aside and smiled. “I’m so glad You gave us Your Word, Lord! It grows dearer by the day!” She glanced at the clock. “I’d better freshen up! Our guests will be here soon.”
Miss Esther laid the Bible back on the table and hurried downstairs. She washed her face and sponged a few wrinkles from her skirt. The quiet atmosphere of her room gave Esther a calmer feeling. She took a few slow breaths and then let them out again.
“Okay, Esther, you’re ready.” Miss Esther often talked to herself. “Now forget about yourself and focus on the Lord and others. This is about His glory, not yours.”
Miss Esther made her way upstairs and went to stir the soup. She tasted it. “It’s just the perfect degree of hot. And my sisters and our first guests should be here in about five minutes!”
Miss Esther put the lid back on her soup and took the few quick steps to the icebox. She pulled out a small plate of cheese squares that she’d prepared earlier and set it on the table. As she sliced the fresh loaf of bread she’d ordered from the Bethany Bread House she tried to think of good questions to ask during dinner.
Miss Esther had just finished arranging the soft slices in a bread basket when there was a knock at the door.
Miss Esther set the basket on the table and hurried to answer it.
“Good evening!” Miss Esther smiled warmly as she opened the door but to her surprise she saw no one.
“Good evening! You must be Miss Esther.” The voice came from somewhere below her gaze.
Miss Esther glanced down. Two small girls stood looking up at her, a rather large suitcase next to them.
“Yes, I am Miss Esther!” Miss Esther gave them a warm smile and stepped back to welcome them in. “You must be Dorothy and Beverly!”
“Yes, we are.” The one with long blonde hair led the way inside. “Thank-you so much for having us.”
“Thank-you for coming! My sisters and I love hosting friends.” Miss Esther closed the door and extended a hand. “So which one of you is Dorothy and which is Beverly?”
“I’m Beverly.” The girl with the long blonde hair took Miss Esther’s hand and gave it a hearty shake.
“And I’m her sister Dorothy.”
Miss Esther turned slightly to see the other girl. Dorothy was the same height as her sister, but her hair was much shorter. She set the suitcase down just inside the door and then shook Miss Esther’s hand.
“It’s a delight to meet you both!” Miss Esther liked the two sisters right away. “Supper will be in just a few minutes. Let me show you to your room and you can get settled in if you like!”
Miss Esther picked up the suitcase and led the way upstairs, her guests following.
“Oh, this is beautiful!” Beverly’s eyes shone as she eyed the guest room. “Look Dorothy, see all the pretty patterns in the quilt?”
“Beverly loves pink.” Dorothy gave Miss Esther a sisterly smile. “I can tell she feels right at home.”
Miss Esther left her guests to get settled and went down to stir the soup one last time. Susanna and Priscilla came home from work and Miss Esther told them their guests had arrived. Her sisters nodded with eager smiles.
Soon small footsteps were heard on the stairs and Miss Esther looked up to see their guests coming through the library.
“Books! Oh Dorothy, look!” Beverly stopped partway across the room. “They have books that are our size!”
Dorothy looked where her sister was pointing and her eyes widened with joy. Instantly Miss Esther knew that while Beverly loved pink, Dorothy loved books.
“You’re welcome to borrow any of them while you’re here.” Miss Esther gave Dorothy an understanding smile.
Miss Esther introduced her sisters and soon they were all gathered around the table. Susanna thanked the Lord for the food and then Miss Esther began dishing up bowls of soup.
Conversation flowed quickly around the table. Though Dorothy and Beverly were about a third of the size of the MaeWell sisters they turned out to be older. Beverly was a dressmaker and nanny from Oak Haven. Dorothy was a librarian in the same village.
Miss Esther was dishing up second servings of soup when she brought up the subject of the evening’s Bible study. “My sisters and I host a Bible study here almost every Wednesday night. We’d love to have you join us or you’d be welcome to just rest upstairs too.”
“A Bible study?” Beverly and Dorothy looked their delight at the same time.
“Yes!” Miss Esther handed Susanna her re-filled soup bowl. “We’re starting a new study tonight and have extra books in case others want to join us!”
“We’ll be studying the first chapter of John one verse at a time.” Priscilla buttered a second piece of bread. “It’s based on the AEIOU Meditation Method.”
“Sounds wonderful.” Dorothy’s eyes had an extra sparkle.
“Dorothy reads Greek and Hebrew as well as some people do English!” Beverly smiled at her sister. “Did you bring your Greek testament with you, Dorothy?”
Dorothy nodded but made no comment.
Inwardly she sent up a prayer for courage. “Lord, would You grant me the grace to be courageous? It’s going to feel so strange leading this study with Dorothy in the group. She clearly knows so much more than I do about Your Word! Help me to focus on You and not how extra inadequate I feel!”