“I’m tired of hearing it.” Linda Stokes threw her jewelry in the suitcase on top of her clothes and slammed the lid, “I’m through. I’ve had nothing but promises from you for twelve years, and I don’t want to hear anymore.”
“Please, Baby; this is the big one.” Jerry Stokes followed her out of the room. “I promise, Friday night, we’ll be celebrating. You’ll see.”
Linda didn’t look back. As far as she was concerned, it was over. Her Buick left a skid mark on the pavement when she pulled out. How could he do this, after I’ve worked so hard to get us out of debt and pay our creditors? He knew that money was for the down payment on our house.
Linda reached for her cell phone to call her best friend, Lisa. “Well, it’s over. I left him.”
“Really? What happened?” Linda heard Lisa catch her breath on the other end of the line.
“I’ll tell you about it when I get there. Oh, by the way, can I stay at your place for a couple of days?”
“Sure, my door is always open.” Linda knew that Lisa would do anything for her. They had been best friends since third-grade.
“Great, I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.”
Twenty minutes later, she rang Lisa’s doorbell. Even in blue jeans and tee shirts, Linda was beautiful. Her dark eyes needed no make-up. Her French braid made her look younger than her thirty-four years.
“Come on in; the tea is on the coffee table.” She could tell that Lisa knew it would be a late night. “What happened? The last I knew, Jerry was doing well, and you were saving for your new house.”
Linda slowly set her cup down. “I thought everything was fine until I got the bank statement today. He paid our twelve-thousand-dollars to his bookie. He even tried to convince me that he invested it, and we would double our money on Friday.”
“You’re kidding.” Lisa was stunned.
“Lisa, he took the money three-weeks ago. I don’t understand why he can’t just be content to live a normal life. He keeps telling me that he’s going to be great one day. He’s going to make it big.” Linda twisted her used Kleenex.
“Hum, the problem is that big is never enough.” Lisa bit into a cookie. “I just wish Jerry could believe that God can give him what he needs.”
“Yeah, he has such a warped sense of values. We just paid all his debts, and now he owes another twenty-eight thousand dollars. I’ve never seen him so afraid. He pretends that everything is okay, but I know someone’s after him. I’m almost afraid to be in the house anymore. I can’t go through this again. His bookie, Sam Tillson’s, not a patient man.” Linda drained her cup and reached for the teapot.
“I don’t understand him anymore. He says that he’s doing it for me. I just want a great guy, not someone who is great. My idea of greatness is a couple of kids, a house, and a husband who loves me and will serve God with me. I never know from week to week how much we owe some bookie. Tillson has a reputation for going to serious lengths to get his money back, and Jerry owes him a lot.”
Lisa reached for her friend’s hand, “What are you going to do?”
“I’m not sure. I guess I’ll rent an apartment. I just know I can’t live like this.” She squeezed Lisa’s hand. “I’m just glad I have you, or I don’t know what I’d do right now.” Linda stifled a yawn. “I guess I’d better go to bed. It’s after midnight, and I have to be at work early. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” Lisa hugged her just before she closed her bedroom door.
Linda quickly fell into a deep fitful sleep. At 3:02 AM, her bedroom door opened, and the light came on. Lisa stood in the doorway, her face ashen. “Linda, the police are here. They want to talk to you. It’s about Jerry.”
Although she had only two hours of sleep, she was wide awake seconds later when she entered the living room. “Yes, may I help you?”
“Mrs. Stokes, Mrs. Gerald Stokes?” The officer stood in the foyer.
“Your neighbor told me that you were here. I’m afraid I have some bad news, Ma’am.” He removed his hat.
“It’s about your husband. Someone shot up your home tonight. Your husband was there. He’s dead, Ma’am.”
Dr. Sharon Schuetz has served as a copastor of the Sebastopol Community Church since February 2018. She and her late husband, Michael, have served as pastors in seven churches since 1988, most of them in the Pentecostal Church of God, Joplin, MO.
The Schuetz family has ministered to couples through counseling, ministry, women, and marriage retreats. She served as the District Youth President over the state of New Mexico, where she traveled two weeks each month preaching youth rallies. She organized youth camps, retreats, etc., during her tenure.
Dr. Schuetz graduated from Cornerstone University, Lake Charles, LA. After completing her Ph.D. in Clinical Christian Counseling in 1998, Cornerstone hired Dr. Schuetz as the university's Administrative Director. In 1998, the Schuetzs moved to Lake Charles, where they lived on campus, taught classes, traveled to satellite campuses to hold graduation ceremonies, etc.
They were married for 45 ½ years, with three children and ten grandchildren. Dr. Schuetz stepped into the pulpit as Senior Pastor when Michael went home to the Lord in December 2021. In over 35 years in ministry, they hoped to reveal God's love to all. Dr. Schuetz loves to break God's Word into understandable principles and teach people how to apply those principles to their own lives.