Winter hummed to herself as she finished her delicious food, and was so glad that the electricity had given them an extra hour to cook this morning. Though of course now it was gone, but they were kind of used to this now.
Well, she was anyway, she knew it still got on Summer’s nerves and it forced Autumn to wake up way earlier than she wanted to. Today was a Wednesday though, so Autumn had a lesson early in the morning. So that meant today was the day she had to get up early like the rest of them.
There was a time that Summer didn’t have to get early before, but she did it anyway to help them get ready for school.
In fact, she used to work nights, and mornings were her rest time until she lost her job two months back. Well, her client anyway. Its was a really sad day when that happened. She had lost the job she used to care for her sisters because she had been taking care of her sisters’ petty needs.
Yeah, they were petty, though she would never say that out loud to anyone. Autumn liked to pretend it wasn’t her fault, and Camellia was too young to understand what she had done, but it was their fault.
Packing away her lunchbox, she turned to her best friend, Selena, who was finishing up some of the food that Winter had shared with her. Summer was a great cook, and whenever Winter got to carry something that Summer made for lunch, she always made sure to share it with her friend.
“Yum, you are an awesome baker, Winter, but your sister is the bomb when it comes to cooking, I miss the days when I could invite myself over to your house on weekends, just to have a bite,” Selena said packing away her food.
Selena was the only friend that Winter had, they had been friends for a long time now. They had met in primary schools when her parents had still been alive, and when her mom’s job paid for all their school fees.
Most people wondered how they could afford to go to fancy private schools when their parents were gone but no one understood the sacrifice that Summer had made to make it possible. Sacrifices she still made even now. Even Autumn and Camellia barely acknowledged it and now with Summer’s most paying job gone, Winter was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to keep going to the school she was used to.
And ever since two months ago when Summer lost her job, Selena had stopped visiting their house at Winter’s request. She did not want to add more pressure on her sister who already had too much on her plate. She knew of all the days that Summer had stayed awake worrying over their finances instead of resting.
While both Winter and Autumn were making money online, it was not quite enough to cover much and Summer preferred that they use most of the money on themselves anyway. For Summer to have asked for some money from her, things had to be really bad.
“You are so quiet today, not that you ever talk much, but today it’s more than usual. In fact, you were quiet yesterday too. What’s up?” Selena asked.
“Summer asked for some money again last night. I gave it to her obviously and would have given her my card too, but she refused. I am really worried about her,” she responded.
“Did she ask Autumn too.”
Winter looked at Selena quietly asking if she had lost her mind before she shook her head.
“Hey, just checking, miracles happen you know, maybe Autumn is now acting a little less like Autumn,” Selena shrugged. “Plus with you guys reading Proverbs, I thought she might have learned the error of her ways.”
“It’s only the third day today but I can tell she not taking it seriously,” Winter responded, rolling her eyes.
“Summer is actually, just like I knew she would be. I am glad I blackmailed Camellia into making us all do it as a family. Summer is responding. I know things aren’t going to change overnight, but she responding to the Bible reading so that’s good.”
“But?” Selena asked.
She knew Winter better than anyone, except maybe Summer, so she definitely knew there was more.
Winter sighed as she thought about the verses that Summer had picked before she responded.
“I was right that Summer is struggling with raising us and is doubting herself. I think she is feeling guilty for not taking better care of us. And today she picked the verse about first fruits and the one about not withholding something when you have it.
“When I think about the verse she picked today, I know for the tithes she hasn’t been giving them, mostly because she hasn’t been going to church, but also because money is never actually enough in our house. And as for the withholding things verse? That probably has to do with Camellia or something,” Winter responded.
“She viewing them negatively?” Selena asked. “The verses I mean.”
“Yeah, she is, I don’t know what to do about it. Maybe I will give it a few days before I speak to her?” Winter asked.
“I mean sure, plus you can give her the book then, when you speak to her,” Selena suggested. “It could help with the guilt and all that.”
Winter had bought a pack of books and some audio stuff online by a Pastor that Selena and her family had introduced her to. That was how she had actually initially got the idea of Proverbs before the church she attends suggested it for the youth.
She knew that on their Bible reading cards, Proverbs was there, but it had never been emphasized to her in the way it was with by that Pastor. And now she did it regularly, every day actually because whenever she got to school, if she hadn’t done it, Selena would force her to do it.
Winter was grateful for this because she was really bad at reading her Bible. She used to love doing it before, but when her parents died, it was one of those things that had just fallen and died away when she was grieving. She had been so confused by the events, she hadn’t really cared to read her Bible.
Her faith in God had suffered a bit until Selena and her mom had introduced her to listening to audio sermons. Though she loved reading fiction and was always reading one book or another, the Bible was just something she found hard to read. She felt really bad for that, but at least she got to hear the word from the sermons she listened to.
She was still young, but watching her sister’s journey with God just made her want to stick close to God. She saw what it did to a person to lose focus from God and she also saw what it did to those who never lost their focus through Selena and her mom. Sure sometimes things happened in life that she didn’t understand, but knew sticking to God was safer than the alternative.
“Yeah, maybe, will see how it goes,” Winter said, still thinking about everything.
“What verse did you pick?” Selena asked.
“Eh, the protection one, do not be afraid of sudden fear. I keep thinking that since Summer lost her job, things are going to turn really bad and I am going to have to leave this school…”
“I know, I know, He is our provider, and it’s a miracle in itself that I have been in this school for so long. I know it wasn’t about the job itself, but about the favor of God upon our lives, it’s just hard sometimes you know? Ever since my parents died, it’s just become harder to keep believing that good is coming,” Winter said.
She thought about it for a second and realized that she was also really sad to think that all the sacrifices Summer had made were for nothing.
“Plus I think I was just used to my sister hustling a lot, and putting in a lot of work to provide for us, & now I am kind of feeding into her panic. I can almost feel her helplessness and I not handling it any better than she is,” she added. “Pray for me?” she asked her best friend.
“Sure, can I tell mom?” Selena asked. “Can I ask her to pray with me?”
Winter nodded and smiled at her, she was okay with that.
There were a few more minutes before lunch ended and Winter decided they should spend time talking about Selena instead. Speaking about herself and all her drama always got so tiring.
She was sure tomorrow she would be back with more things to tell her friend but for now, she was done.
And she felt much better already anyway.
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