by Daniel Whyte III
with Meriqua Whyte
with Meriqua Whyte
About this Serial Novel
Based on the story of Esther.
Years of discord between a prominent pastor and his wife culminates in her publicly refusing a simple request and their marriage ends in divorce. But, before long, the search begins for a new woman to take over as first lady. The only problem is, the woman who could be the pastor’s new bride, Charmaine, belongs to a community of immigrants hated by the assistant pastor, Bro. Martin. Behind the scenes, Bro. Martin works to get the community of immigrants kicked out of the church. When Charmaine uncovers his plot, will she choose to keep silent? Or will she risk her position to stop Bro. Martin in his tracks?
We welcome the presence of you and your wife, your assistant pastor and his wife, and any young pastors in training and their wives, and whosoever will to this, our first national non-denominational, Gospel convention at the All Peoples Non-Denominational Church in Oklahoma City at 333 Gillespie Avenue. Plan on spending one full week hearing great preaching, having great fellowship, sharing the Gospel, getting refreshed and refueled to return to your “Jerusalem”to lead your people forward in this great fight of faith.
Date: August 20-26
Time: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Theme: Taking the Gospel to all People
Call: 777-777-7777 for more info and to pre-register
Pastor Roland Gillespie, pastor of the prominent All Peoples Non-Denominational Church, was richly blessed of the Lord. His church occupied an area large enough to hold a public mall. It housed a bookstore, a children’s library, an adult library, an elementary school, a high school, a college, a ladies’ boutique, a health and fitness center, and a gym. Three shuttle buses transported people around the property to and from various points. God truly blessed him at a young age for his faithful and humble labor of love in the ministry, so much so that he was heard on radio and television world-wide. The envy of pastors across the nation, he was loved and highly respected. His advice was sought by many.
The meeting was well underway. The men were in one section of the buildings; the ladies were in their conference area, and the children were in a special section set aside for youth. Everyday at ten o’clock, the men went out to share Jesus with others in the community and returned with glowing reports of their experience. “If you want to experience true joy and at the same time lay up treasures in Heaven, then tell someone about Jesus,”Pastor Gillespie repeated throughout the week. “Tell them what God has done for you and what He can do for them. Tell them that all they have to do is believe on Jesus Christ and they will be saved from hell and they can have life everlasting with God.”
About midway through the conference, Pastor Gillespie sent for his wife. “For those of you who haven’t met my wife yet, I’ll introduce her to you in a few minutes. She’s coordinating the ladies’ meeting so give her some time to get over here.”Deacons Walsh and Wiley left to deliver the message to the first lady.
The ladies were doing their thing and were having a grand time. There were aerobic classes in the health and fitness center, classes on health and beauty with a free cosmetics give away, a daily shopping spree, and much more. Various female speakers were on schedule to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences throughout the week on how to be a happy woman, how to bargain shop, how to raise healthy children, how to handle your man, and much more.
The deacons arrived at the ladies’ conference area and delivered the pastor’s message to his wife. “All right,”Sis. Gillespie said but she made no move to carry out her husband’s request. “You can go on ahead,”she told the deacons who were waiting to escort her over to where the men were meeting. “I’ll come as soon as I can break away.”
Pastor Gillespie gave her time to make it over, but ended up sending the deacons back over with a second message. The deacons said, “Your husband said we are going to close our session soon and he wanted to introduce you to the audience before we close.”
With obvious irritation, Sis. Gillespie said, “Look, tell him I am super busy right now.”Ladies raised their heads and eyebrows at the sound of her voice as it echoed across the auditorium through her lapel mic. She was unaware that it was still on.
The deacons were stunned and did not say another word. They went back over to where the men were meeting.
Mother Louise, the oldest and longest standing member of All Peoples Church, gave Sis. Gillespie a long quizzical stare. She was sitting next to Sis. Gillespie and had overheard Pastor Gillespie’s message as the deacons delivered it. She leaned over slightly to get Sis. Gillespie’s attention.
“Now, Sister, with all due respect to you, don’t you think you should go see what your husband wants? I mean, for him to send for you twice, it must be important.”
“Mother Louise, he does not want a thing. He just wants to bother me, and that is all he has been–nothing but a bother throughout the marriage, and even more so since he started planning for this convention,”Sis. Gillespie said in a whisper.
“A bother? You his wife. Who else is he to bother?”Mother Louise wisely asked.
“He has many others he can bother right now, especially since I am busy over here heading the ladies’ meeting. I certainly don’t need any of his petty mess this week.”
“Well, why you married him then if you did not want to put up with any of his petty mess?”Mother Louise asked with a smile. “The Bible says you must be a ‘help meet’to him.”
The majority of the ladies overhearing the conversation listened intently. They held Sis. Gillespie in high esteem and moved whenever she said ‘move.’
“I’ll be a ‘help meet’to him. I’ll help him by staying out of his way, and he can help me help him more if he stays out of my way,”Sis. Gillespie responded.
“You know, Sister,”Mother Louise said in her quiet way of speaking, “you really ought to check your heart. You’ve done nothing but put your husband down every chance you get, but especially since we started planning for this convention, and that is not good.”Looking around, Mother Louise continued, “Besides that, what kind of example are you being to these other ladies? The whole church sees how you are dishonoring your husband.”
Sis. Gillespie kindly, but abruptly, excused herself to ‘mingle with the crowd.’ She had a high respect for Mother Louise as an elderly lady, but drew the line as far as anyone dictating to her how to live life as a wife. After all, she thought, nobody knows my husband better than I do.
One of the ladies pulled Sis. Gillespie to the side and whispered in her ear, “Did you know your lapel mic was on?”
“Oh, so it is,”Sis. Gillespie said reaching up to turn it off. With a “Thank You,”she continued on her course obviously unaffected by that newly acquired knowledge.
The deacons returned to Pastor Gillespie and discreetly relayed his wife’s message to him. He was somewhat taken aback at her refusal. But then again, he wasn’t shocked because shortly after their marriage began, she started displaying signs of disrespect, disobedience, and rebelliousness. He gave her all a wife could ask for: a huge house, that in his opinion, was far too large for just the two of them. He thought that maybe God would bless them with many children to fill the house, but after ten years of marriage, he had to accept the fact that children would not be one of his blessings; his wife expressed no desire to have children. In fact, she always avoided the conversation whenever he tried to bring it up. Sis. Gillespie hired two maids, against his wishes, fr
om a house cleaning service to keep the house clean, plus a full-time gardener for the upkeep of the yard.
She had a Bentley and a BMW which she traded in every year, but for what? To uphold a certain image. She had so many clothes, a room was set aside for that purpose only. She had enough shoes to open up a shoe store, not to mention the jewelry and other accessories to accent her attire. She held a prominent position in the church and was on certain boards in the city. She was head of virtually every ladies’ event at the church. In fact, she insisted on that, and she hosted many social events in the city. Even with all this to keep her busy, she was getting worse in her attitude towards her husband and towards anything new he tried to implement at the church.
As much as Pastor Gillespie hated to admit it, even to himself, his wife was a typical Proverbs 14:1 woman seeking to pluck down their home (Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.) Many times he wanted to quit and end the marriage, but he knew God would not be pleased. He decided to do the mature thing and not make an issue out of it, especially before others. He kept the marriage together for the ministry’s sake and for the glory of God even though he was tempted to take another women as his wife, from time to time.
Pastor Gillespie forced himself into thinking that with all that was going on with the ladies, she misunderstood his message and so he sent the deacons a third time with the same message. “Tell her to come over for about ten minutes. I want the visiting pastors to meet her.”
When the men arrived at the ladies’ auditorium, Sis. Gillespie was at the podium. She stopped to address both men as they entered without making any attempt to turn off the mic. Any discerning person could tell she was irritated at their presence even though she tried to cover it up with a soft answer.
“Excuse me, ladies. May I help you, gentlemen?”All heads turned to see who these gentlemen were.
“First Lady Gillespie, Pastor Gillespie wants you to come over for about ten minutes so the other pastors can meet you,”the tallest of the deacons, Deacon Wiley, said.
“Didn’t you deliver that message earlier?”she asked. There was a hush all over the room.
“Yes ma’am, we did. But he sent us back. He wants you to come now.”Deacon Wiley put an emphasis on the word ‘now.’
“It’ll take a full ten minutes just to get over there. Tell him it will have to wait as my hands are full right now,”Sis. Gillespie replied, trying to make light of the matter.
The ladies exchanged glances as the deacons turned to leave. They all knew that no matter how you feel and no matter what you are doing, when your husband calls, you drop what you are doing and grace him with your presence. The ladies waited almost breathlessly to see what would happen next. Sis. Gillespie went on as though that little scenario did not happen at all. As the planned events for the day proceeded, a few ladies came up to her with comments such as:
“That was really brave of you to not let your husband interrupt what you were doing. That will show him and other men that what we do for God as women is just as important as what they are doing.”
“Isn’t he going to be furious? I know my husband would be.”
“Oooh, you go girl!”
“It is time out for demanding, bossy husbands in the church. I’m glad you stood your ground; many of us would have never done that.”
“You keep it up and we’ll stand behind you.”
Sis. Gillespie soaked up all the flattering comments which inflated her ego even more. Mother Louise had her say also: “With all due respect to you, Sis. Gillespie, don’t you think you answered your husband a little foolishly? Would it have taken anything from you to go see what he wanted?”
“Mother Louise, believe me, whatever he wanted can wait. Plus, if it is that important, he could have buzzed me on my cell.”
Being the insightful and observant lady that she was, Mother Louise asked, “Is your cell phone even on? Where is it anyway? I’m used to seeing it in your hand. I used to think it was attached to your hand,” she said with a smile. “It’s probably tucked away in your office–oh, wait, that was done on purpose, of course.”
Sis. Gillespie did not respond. How Mother Louise knew or guessed correctly at these things was beyond her. But she hit it right on the head. “Mother Louise, I wouldn’t worry about me and Pastor, if I were you. You have lived your married life and I dare say lived it well. Let me live mine now. We’re two different people married to two different men at two different times.”
“Yes, yes, I agree with you,”Mother Louise said adjusting her beige hat with the burgundy feather. “But some things are universal and never change, and one of those things is respecting your husband and going to him when he calls you whether you feel like it or not.”
Sis. Gillespie excused herself. Right now, Mother Louise was not adding to her inflated ego; she was, instead, trying to beat it to the ground.
Pastor Gillespie was not pleased with the message the deacons delivered to him. “My wife says she is extremely busy and sends her apology,” he said to the pastors who were attending the conference. “I tell you, those ladies must be doing it up over there.”
After turning the podium over to the next speaker, he met with the two deacons in the back of the auditorium. “You did your part,” he assured them.
“If you’ll allow me to say something regarding this matter, Pastor,” Deacon Wiley said, “I think she was trying to make a point to the other ladies. She could have discreetly given us the message. Besides, with all those ladies present, surely one of them could have kept things moving along until she returned.”
“Yes,” Pastor Gillespie agreed. “She could have come on over when I asked the first time.” Pastor Gillespie knew his wife to be a controlling person who felt the ladies’ meeting could not go on without her. “However, let’s enjoy the rest of our meeting. No need to let this situation dampen our spirits.”
The Lord blessed the last two days of the conference. On purpose, Pastor Gillespie did not bring up the incident with his wife. However, he brought it up immediately on the Saturday after the conference ended.
“Why didn’t you come when I sent for you at the meeting the other day?”
“I already told you why: I was way too busy taking care of the ladies.”
“Surely they could take care of themselves for ten minutes. But to disrespect me like that in front of all those ladies!”
Sis. Gillespie smirked. “You weren’t embarrassed, were you?”
“No, Gloria, you made yourself look bad. Those ladies may have agreed with you and secretly patted you on the back, but I guarantee you none of them are having this kind of conversation with their husbands this morning,” Pastor Gillespie said.
“You don’t know that.”
“Oh, yes, I do know. But that’s not important right now.” He glared at her as he continued, “What’s important is, I’ve tried to keep you
r rebelliousness behind these house doors, but you opened the door wide and let it all out this past week. And I am not going to let you disrespect me like that and get away with it. You have pushed me far enough. I want you to send out a letter of apology that I approve of to all the pastors and their wives so that we can clear things up in their minds…”
Sis. Gillespie interrupted him with a smirk, “Puleez. I would leave before I ever do that because I am not in the wrong. Just because I’m the pastor’s wife doesn’t mean I ought to come on demand.”
Pastor Gillespie sat quietly. He knew that his wife enjoyed her position as first lady and the prominence that it gave her in the community. And he didn’t think she would easily give up that position if she could help it. The time that they had separated before, she came hurrying back after only three weeks of them being apart.
“There is no need for us to separate again or even go the divorce route,” Pastor Gillespie said. “Just write the letter of apology and let’s go forward together in the great ministry God has given us.”
Sis. Gillespie turned and marched out into the hallway. “Not doing it,” she shouted over her shoulder. Even though she knew deep down she was taking a chance at losing everything, her pharaohistic pride and stubbornness would not let her give in.
On Sunday morning, they went to church — separately, as usual — he in his Lincoln and her in her Bentley. Everyone had nothing but good things to say about the conference of that past week. Immediately after services, Pastor Gillespie called a special meeting with his main deacons who, though older than he, had a high respect for him. His assistant, Bro. Martin, was also present.
“Men, thank you for helping to make this week a successful one. I believe God is pleased with all that took place, but I also know Satan is at work. Something came up and I’ll get right to the point. I’ll need your honest input regarding the matter.”
The men nodded, giving him their undivided attention. They all loved and respected their pastor.
“A couple of you already know of this. I sent for my wife to come over to our meeting on last week for no more than ten minutes to introduce her to the visiting pastors, just so they’ll know who she is. Well, she outright refused to come even though I sent for her three times. What takes the cake is, she did it in the open for all the ladies to see and hear.”
Most of the deacons did not look surprised. They already knew how Sis. Gillespie was, and besides that, they had already heard about the situation from their wives.
“The truth of the matter is,” Pastor Gillespie continued, “We’ve been having some problems for some time now. I’ve taken the high road and the mature route and spoken well of her, but this past week brought things to a head. I asked her to apologize publicly regarding this matter, but she absolutely refuses to do so risking separation again, or possibly, even divorce. So I just want to give you a heads up and prepare you for that possibility. I don’t want to get a divorce because I know it can have a negative impact on my ministry, this church and my nationwide reputation, so I really need you to pray hard for us.”
The men expressed their understanding of the matter.
“Pastor, what if she actually files for the divorce?” Deacon Walsh asked.
Deacon Wiley jumped in before the pastor could answer. “Well, don’t try to hold her back. Let her go. I’m sorry to say this, Pastor, but she may have to be the example to other ladies, including my own wife, as to what can happen to them if they choose to be rebellious and disrespectful to their husbands.”
“Pastor, I agree with Deacon Wiley,” Deacon Lester said. “If she can’t respect you, she’s not worth fighting to keep. Plus, if you let her get away with what she did, all the ladies who were present at the convention will begin to think that it’s okay for them to disrespect their husbands.”
Heads were nodding around the room. “I wouldn’t doubt if what she did is not the topic of conversation among many of the ministers and wives who came to the conference from all across the nation. So her disrespect of you not only affects this church, but it affects churches across this nation.”
“She is looked up to by many ladies across the country. In fact, Pastor, I have been told that she has more Facebook and Twitter followers than you do. She has over one million Facebook followers and over two million Twitter followers. She is very popular. But this defiant act can be the ruin of many marriages and ministries, Pastor,” Deacon Marks said. He was a quiet, soft-spoken man with much insight.
“One more thing, Pastor,” Deacon Wiley added, “I wouldn’t even worry about the church ministry suffering or being affected by this. By the grace of God, we have grown and have impacted the lives of thousands, and by the grace of God, we will continue to do so.”
“Amen,” the deacons agreed. “Some may leave disgruntled, but God will replace them with three times their number,” Deacon Lester assured them. “Whenever one person leaves the church, I always pray for God to replace that person with three more,” he said grinning.
Pastor Gillespie felt encouraged. He often thanked God for these faithful deacons who had stuck with him through thick and thin. When the chips were down, these were the ones he could call on. He did notice, however, that his assistant pastor, Pastor Martin, was quiet the entire meeting. Pastor Martin had been with him for some six years now, and knew Pastor Gillespie’s heart, and he had proven himself faithful and came highly recommended.
“What’s on your mind, Bro. Martin? You’ve been quiet the whole meeting,” Pastor Gillespie said to him.
“Pastor, you know I have always supported you and will continue to do so,” he answered, somewhat reluctantly. “But contrary to what Deacon Lester said, any pastor who serves God ought to fight to keep his marriage together. Divorce cannot be an option.”
Pastor Gillespie thanked the men for their honesty and asked again for their prayers for he and his wife.
When Pastor Gillespie arrived home, around 4:30, his wife’s car was in its usual spot. She was waiting for him in the living room when he walked in. “About time,” she greeted him sarcastically. The church worship hour had given her time to decide what course of action she was going to take.
“Have you written your apology letter yet?” Pastor Gillespie asked her.
“No, I have decided this is a matter between you and me, and I do not have to apologize to anyone who was present at that meeting. You interrupted me at the most inconvenient time and anyone who hears of it will agree with me. I have all those ladies on my side, and that’s why I gave my answer as I did and in their hearing. You should have seen how they nodded their heads in agreement at my response to your message. So many of us can’t be wrong.”
Pastor Gillespie did not dignify her words with a response and that baffled her, and frankly, was throwing her off of her well rehearsed speech, but her prideful spirit pushed her to keep on talking.
“The days of women running at the beck and call of their husbands have come and have long gone, baby.
We have been liberated from such mess,” she said, feigning a sweet tone of voice.
We have been liberated from such mess,” she said, feigning a sweet tone of voice.
Pastor Gillespie let his wife ramble on. She would be out of fuel soon enough and then she would walk away, as she normally did whenever they had their arguments. His silence continued to baffle her. After she had finally finished saying her piece, he calmly responded. “Gloria, we have had many disagreements in the past and I’ve kept them behind closed doors. However, because of your behaviour during the conference I have let the deacons know and have asked them to pray for us.”
“Our business is none of their darn business,” Sis. Gillespie retorted. “How dare you go and tell something on me to the entire church in my absence. I won’t stand for this disrespect!”
“The entire church was not involved,” Pastor Gillespie said. “Only a few of the deacons.”
Sis. Gillespie was surprised at how calmly her husband was responding to her. Normally a heated argument would be underway by now with him raising his voice and getting in her face, and her smirking and rolling her eyes.
“That’s it,” Sis. Gillespie told him angrily. “You know what, I’ve had enough. Enough of you. Enough of our pretending to have the perfect marriage for the church. We’re through.” She picked up her purse and cell phone off the side table and stormed out the front door, halfway expecting him to call her back to work things out as he had done in previous arguments.
Tossing her purse and cell phone into the passenger seat of her Bentley, she slammed her car door shut, raced out the driveway, down the road, around the corner and off into the distance.
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