Anointed book title

Anointed
Oct. 2, 2012

-Kicks off Mitchell family drama series

Synopsis

Chapter Excerpts

Reading Guide

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Chapter Excerpts

Prologue Chapter One Chapter Two


Prologue

Dave wasn't blinded by the moment. The spring breeze danced across the river, brushing across his face as he sat on the park bench. "I can't marry you," he told Madeline.

"Why not? This isn't fair to me. We've been together for over a year. I finally ask you to get serious about our relationship and suddenly you clam up?"

"I have my priorities. I've committed my life to serving the Lord, and I'm not asking you to take my journey with me," he said.

"But you can't decide for me. I know who you are and what you stand for, Mr. Dave Mitchell. Don't you understand that I love you unconditionally?"

Dave wasn't sure she fully grasped what was at stake. "You have to understand, there will be sacrifices."

"So what, I get it."

"I'm not sure you do. There will be times when I have to put my calling front and center, both personally and professionally." Dave leaned forward on the bench and peered into her eyes. "It sounds like no big deal as we sit here and talk, but what happens ten years from now when we have kids? You'll want me home with you and the kids, and many times I won't be able to respond the way you want. Trust me; you won't be as calm as you are right now."

"Try me. I know what it will take, and I'm not afraid to go after what I want."

"And I don't want to rush into a decision." Dave's heart wanted to say "yes, let's get married today." But wisdom wasn't jumping up and down. He'd have to reconcile his head and heart. Prayer and fasting would be the key.

"Dave, you're talking to someone who juggled three part-time jobs when I was getting my bachelor's and master's degrees in business. You don't have to explain to me about how to bring a vision to fruition. I've lived it. Besides, you shouldn't worry too much. I'm not the needy type, clinging to your every word or trudging so close behind you that I can see the hairs on the back of your neck. That's not me. I plan to have my space, and you can have yours to do what you must."

Her argument was compelling. Even though she was in her early twenties, it was clear Madeline knew exactly what she wanted and didn't mind stating her case. Her strength shoved him toward a proposal, but not completely. Dave wasn't an impulsive man. He lived by the leading of the Lord. Peace and wisdom guided him like guardrails on an open road, nudging him in the way he should go when making decisions. "Marriage is a sacred union, a lifetime partnership, not to be taken lightly."

"I know that, and it doesn't change my position."

"You're tough, Madeline," he said, softening as the gentle breeze continued stroking his face and his resolve.

"Have to be."

There was no doubt that she sparked his creative flame. She was smart, funny, and carried a persona that stood up and made him take notice. But was she the one for him down the road? A wrong move in marriage could derail his mission of taking financial management and leadership training to as many churches in the world as he could reach. Pouring wisdom into those on the frontlines and restoring credibility in the religious sector was his number one goal.

He waited to get a warm feeling or voice of confirmation about marrying Madeline. No lightning bolts shot from heaven. The earth didn't shake. The head of God didn't pop through the clouds and speak. Dave had long since passed the thunderbolt revelations. He'd learned to hear God in the stillness of the moment and the quiet whispers of His voice. Madeline felt right. She was challenging but he could manage that. Besides, he was also wired to handle adversity.

They proceeded with a wedding service four months later, followed by the ribbon cutting ceremony at Dave Mitchell International (DMI). The push forward gave Dave an immediate chance to prove just how much his thirty-one years of life experience could handle.

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Chapter 1

"Amen," Dave echoed, closing out his prayer as he opened the office door and asked the gentlemen sitting in the hallway to come in. "Mr. Jefferson, please have a seat," he said, gesturing for him to take a seat at his conference table. "I know you've been working with Madeline, but she's not able to join us today."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm sure I'll be in good hands with you."

"That's for sure. Can I get you anything?" Dave asked, allowing his client to get comfortable before swooping in like a hawk to close the deal. Jefferson had no clue as to how close he was to being caught in the DMI net.

"Nothing for me," Mr. Jefferson said.

"Then let's get down to business," Dave said, straightening the cuff of his sleeve [C1] <> and glancing up at the photos of Presidents Carter and Reagan. He'd met both of them during the last election. "Your church is drowning in bills and money problems. You need help and I'm the one to give it to you."

"Maybe, but at what price?"

"Well, how much is a credible reputation worth to you?" Dave grabbed a pad of paper from his desk and a pen. He jotted down several numbers. "Let's see here. You have forty churches and at least half your staff needs to be trained," Dave said, getting his calculator. "By the time we lay on a few administrative costs, we're looking at three twenty-five thousand."

"Come on, where are we going to get that kind of money?"

"What were you expecting?" Dave asked, laying his pen down and locking his fingers. He'd seen guys like Jefferson countless times. They wanted something for nothing and he wasn't the one to give it to them.

"I was expecting something more like ten thousand dollars to get nine or ten people trained."

"Well thanks for stopping in. Sorry we can't help you," Dave said, extending his hand to Mr. Jefferson.

"What, that's it, no negotiation?" Mr. Jefferson asked, appearing surprised.

"Nope, that's not how this works," Dave said.

"Okayyy," he responded. "You got me, I'm listening."

"I'm not here to sell you a boatload of services. I'm not here to twist your arm, but it seems to me that you're the one with the financial problem and need my help. If that's true, fine, let's work a deal," Dave said, leaning his elbow on the table. "However, I'm not going to waste your time, and I'm certainly not going to let you waste mine. Ten thousand isn't even close to what I'm looking at for the kind of mentoring and training that you need. If you can't come up to six figures, this conversation is over. No harm, no foul," Dave said, dropping back in his chair, sporting a grin.

"That's fair. I can come up to one hundred and fifty thousand," Mr. Jefferson said, as Dave anticipated.

"Great, now we're getting somewhere."

"Are you saying that's a number you're willing to accept?"

"No way," Dave said, laughing loudly, then cutting it off instantly. "But at least it lets me know that you're serious and not here to waste my time, because that, my friend, would end up costing you."

"You're a tough cookie."

"I have to be if I'm going to help clients like you," Dave said, relaxing in his chair, silently thanking God that there would be one more band of churches getting their acts together and averting bankruptcy. Another one down, many to go before he could rest.

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Chapter 2

September was bold. The autumn light splashed itself into the foyer, refusing to be hidden by the floor-to-ceiling blinds. Madeline sat at the bottom of the winding staircase dressed like she was going for a jog, but looks were deceiving. Her tired bones could barely walk up and down the stairs let alone contemplate running. Her days and nights were beginning to feel the same -- exhausted when she lay down and the same when she got up in the morning. She didn't anticipate today being any different. The days of relaxing and being in control of her time had long since passed. Juggling priorities had become her gift from the moment their first child arrived seven years ago, followed by two more.

"Where can I find the third quarter cost projections?" Dave asked as Madeline pressed the phone tighter into her ear. The children running in and out of the foyer made it difficult to hear him, but she was doing the best she could.

"Look under the file labeled third quarter costs," she said with her eyelids widening, and enunciating each word sharply.

"That was the first place I looked. It's not there, and I could really use the plan before my meeting kicks off in an hour."

"Wait, what's today's date?" she asked, perking up.

"The fifteenth," he said.

"Our anniversary, oh my goodness, I've forgotten about our twelfth anniversary."

"I didn't," he told her. "I've already made an eight o'clock reservation tonight for us at our place."

"Mommy, Mommy, come quick. Don got his blanket stuck in the toaster and I can't get it out," her daughter said, darting toward her and tugging at Madeline's leg.

"Is the toaster turned on?" Madeline blurted out.

"No, it's not, but he's going to keep crying if you don't help him."

"Just one minute, dear, and I'll be there."

"No, no, you have to come now, right now, Mommy, right now," she said, pulling at her mother's pants leg.

"Dave, I'll have to take a rain check on dinner tonight. How about we settle for coffee and donuts down the street when you get in? After twelve years, you don't have to impress me."

"Mommy, come now, please, please."

"Come on, Madeline, we can't keep pushing off personal time together."

"Tell that to your children."

"I'm sure we can take two hours out for dinner without the kids. We owe it to our marriage."

"We'll see, but I have to go. I'll call you later," she said, eager to avoid an argument on their anniversary. One day could hopefully be stress-free.

"Wait, Madeline, I really need that plan. Is there any way you can come into the office within the hour and find it? I could really use your help on this one."

"Mommy, please help," her daughter continued.

Madeline exhaled. "I have to go. The children are into something." She exhaled again. Madeline rose slowly; clearly not fast enough for her daughter, who continued pulling. "Now you see why I can't make any promises about going out tonight."

"We can always get another nanny to help out if it's too much," Dave told her.

"You mean I can get another nanny," she fired back at him. "We know you're not going to have time to find one," she let fly out of her mouth without trimming the edge on her attitude.

"Sounds like you're upset."

Madeline reined in her tone, attempting to balance between the call with Dave and her daughter's tugging, a position she found herself in more frequently these days.

"Tamara, dear, go tell Don that Mommy is on the way."

"But, I want you to come too," Tamara responded.

"Alright. Go on now so he doesn't get scared." That seemed to satisfy her daughter because she left without any more demands. One catastrophe was close to being solved. If Madeline could fix Dave's problem as easily, then maybe, just maybe, there would be a shred of solitude in her day. Since it was only eight-twenty, there was hope that the next twelve or thirteen hours would settle down. They hadn't yesterday or the day before, but she wasn't giving up, not yet. "Let me check on the children and then I'll go through my briefcase to see if I still have an older version. Will that help you?" she asked, wanting to get to the kitchen.

"Anything you can give me will help. Madeline, I sincerely appreciate what you're doing for our family. I know you have the children, and I'm so sorry to put this extra pressure on you. But I really need those numbers."

Madeline could have accepted Dave's comment as flattery and walked away feeling valued, appreciated, and needed. The words sounded nice, but something must have gotten lost in the translation because it didn't make her feel great about the situation. She was torn. The strong pull toward the office and the one coming from Mayweather Lane were stretching her beyond recognition. Something had to change. "Dave, I have to go. I'll call you in a few minutes."

"Thank you, and, Madeline, you're the best at getting the job done. I don't know how you do it."

"I don't do it well" was what she wanted to say, but didn't bother. There was no time for idle chitchat in her schedule. Sitting in his office with one job to do, Madeline knew he had no idea of the burden she was juggling.

There was a brief pause on the line and then Dave said, "Madeline, that new account I was telling you about is on the other line. I have to take his call. Get back to me as soon as you can."

At the same time, Madeline heard a crash coming from the kitchen followed by a loud scream. "Mommy!"

 

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