'Dear God, Send Me a Husband'

Faced with few prospects, the heroine of a Christian romance novel asks the deity to intervene in her love life

BY: Lois Richer

Excerpted from 'Mother's Day Miracle' with permission from Harlequin Enterprises.

"Dear God, I wish You'd send me a husband -"

Clarissa Cartwright chewed on her lower lip as the words echoed around the empty library. The patrons were gone now, trickling away one by one, hurrying toward family and home. She could imagine them gathered around the dinner table, laughing as they shared the day's events with their dear ones, making plans to sample the sweet-scented spring evening with that one special person who made your heart thump in anticipation.

Clarissa sat alone, her heart longing to be included, to be part of something. To be needed.

She tried to formulate the petition in her mind, to choose just the right words so God would understand how deeply the ache went. It wasn't hard to say it out loud. She'd been turning the words around in her heart in a silent prayer for ages, even more frequently since her cousin's Hawaiian wedding two weeks ago.

"Could God answer this fast? Of course He could. He was God!"

But here in the Waseka, Missouri, town library, alone among the books she'd cared for these past ten years, Clarissa felt strangely comfortable about voicing her request to the One who'd promised to answer.

"I didn't want to be a burden, Lord, as I was growing up. But I'm an adult now, and I'd really like to be a wife." She hesitated, then breathed out the rest of it. "I want to be a mother."

It sounded like such a big request, so demanding. She hurried on to quantify it, make it easier for God to fulfil. "He doesn't have to be rich. Or even handsome."

That sounded desperate. And she wasn't. Just lonely.

"But not just any husband," she modified, staring at the stained and peeling plaster ceiling as she spoke. "A man I can love with all my heart. A man who doesn't care that I'm not young and gorgeous with lots of money, or smart, and upwardly mobile. What I really want is a man who wants to settle down and have a family. I'm so tired of being alone."

Was that everything?

Clarissa tried to get her mind off chubby babies with rosy cheeks and fisted hands. It wasn't easy. Lately she dreamed of babies all the time. She thrust the bundles of joy out of her mind. But her replacement vision of glistening white tulle over satin and lace didn't help matters in the least. Clarissa twisted her homemade flowered cotton skirt between her fingers, scrunching her eyes up as tightly as she dared.

"Could You please send a man who will love me?" she whispered, whooshing the words out on a wish and a prayer.

"Excuse me?"

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