which had visibly annoyed him. Though he considered twelve wives to be too many for most patriarchs (most seemed to be settling with two, some with three, and very rarely one would find one with four or five), he and we knew that this was within his capacity. There was an unwritten "understanding" in the Order that twelve wives probably should be the ceiling for those in apostolic callings but there was nothing fixed about this. But Stan took it seriously and was mentally preparing himself to "close the doors" to more women.
I, and one or two others like Elisa and Andreea, had other feelings, though. Nothing very tangible, just a "woman's intuition" that more would come. We didn't mention it to Stan at first because we knew the thought probably wouldn't go down well. None in the family were opposed to more sister-wives though some had begun to "wonder" if maybe the Lord had not filled our cup to the brim now.
"Hey, you don't know your scriptures," Sarah-Jane had once jokingly said when this matter had been raised. "Don't you know that David says, 'My cup runs over"! (Ps.23:5, NKJV). We'll just have to get a bigger cup!"
Anna ticked her off. "Don't be flippant with Scripture, Sarah-Jane," she said, annoyed.
Sarah-Jane scowled and mumbled something under her breath about the Lord setting her table in the presence of her 'enemies', hinting at Anna. Sensing a brewing conflict between Sarah-Jane and Anna, Stan stepped in and told them to apologise to each other and make up. They did so reluctanly.
"That was a feeble hug!" said Stan. "Do it again".
Both scowled at him but didn't realise he was using a well-worn tactic to turn their animosity off each other and on to Stan so that he could deal with it in his own way as the one "aggrieved". They hugged again, but still Stan wasn't satisfied.
"Again!" he said, "and put a bit of passion into it!"
The others we starting to giggle but neither Sarah-Jane nor Anna were amused. When they hugged this time, Stan took them both in his arms and squeezed them together until they were almost breathless.
"Stop! Stop!" cried Sarah-Jane starting to laugh. Soon Anna was laughing too and the whole room was in a minor uproar as the three of them collapsed onto the floor in stitches. Stan's methods were sometimes unorthodox but they usually worked, though he would vary the methods depending on the personalities. What was reassuring to all of us was that he knew us all so well and how to handle us in different situations. Sometimes he would fail and then he would get angry with himself for not solving the problem. He did expect some effort on the part of the aggrieved parties. Such incidents were, mercifully, very, very rare.
Three months after Jenny turned her back on the family, two more American women suddenly and unexpectedly came into our lives. Inspite of Stan sending out subtle signals that he wasn't really wife-hunting anymore, they still persisted in wanting to know about us. And the less subtle he became, the more determined they became.
"Aren't they getting the message?" said an exasperated Stan to me one day.
"Maybe you're not getting the message, dear" I replied.
"What do you mean?" he asked quizzically.
"I mean, isn't this the Lord's business? I know you and we've got free agency, but since we've agreed to submit ourselves completely to Yahweh and do His will, then surely you have to be open to the women if they're sincere and honestly seeking a family?"
"Besides, don't you know why they're so interested in you?" I asked.
"Tell me," he said.
"Well, they've been chased and hounded by men in the polyagmy community and have been sickened by their worldliness and flesh-centredness. You are the only one who's keeping them at bay! And they're asking themselves why."
"And?" said Stan.
"Well, you are the only one who has never asked to see their pictures or for a description of their features. All you have ever done is asked them about their relationship to God and to other people. They're attracted to you because you're not looking at them like pieces of meat in a butcher's shop - you're interested in their souls and not their bodies. And that's what all decent women are looking for. There are plenty advertising themselves as meat and they'll find husbands who frequent the butchers' shops. Don't you see? You belong together"
"David was right - you can't run away from your responsibilities16." He looked at me and smiled. "All right, sweetheart, invite them both over here for a visit." But whilst I had persuaded his mind, his heart was still held at bay.
Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:6; 5:6
Like the muliplication of a cell - with each division it doubles, e.g. 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.
Revelation 1;4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6; Proverbs 9:1
Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 21:7
2 Kings 5
1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chronicles 9:1
Song of Solomon 8:6
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