Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 1919 undated
12B F Lines
My dear Mr Payne,
Very many thanks for your letter. If only I had known you had been ill I should not have troubled you with my affairs – I do hope you will quite recover. I expect it very nearly broke your heart to leave Christ Church & all the people you knew & loved there. It was the most beloved church of my life, & wherever I go I shall never never forget that church. I’m glad I knew no other vicar there but you. You have been the means of saving me from myself through your most kind letters & encouragement. I’m sure again & again I should have yielded to temptation if it had not been for your letters & when I’m tempted I read them & then pray to God to “Lead me not into Temptation, but to deliver me from evil”, but Mr. Payne, I’m by no means good as yet. But Oh I simply will not go back to the old bitter-sweet life of sin. I simply dare not. “Remember Lot’s wife.” I do pray earnestly to Jesus to make me a good woman but as yet I cannot hear him answer me and sometimes – in fact most times – it seems perfectly hopeless to keep on praying because it seems that He did not hear what I said to Him. I suppose it is that I haven’t the absolute faith in him that you & Minnie Green have. But I do try & make myself believe. If only I could hear Him speak to me I could easily say as Thomas did “Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief”. Minnie is a real help to me. She is the only lady friend I can call friend.
“Thou shalt have none other God me” I keep saying that over & over again for I’m very much tempted to disobey that commandment. He is an earthly god to me with the face of an Apollo & I just worship him but as you said in your letter “it must be absolutely put away.” And that Mr. Payne is my hardest fight.
Oh if only you knew what agony of mind I’m in perhaps you could understand. It seems to me so very very hard to love the unknown, invisible more than the well known & visible, but oh I must fight it, I must! If only God would send me some power with which to do it with? Please keep praying for me dear friend, God will hear you.
Minnie lent me a copy of the “Memorials of Francis Ridlay Havegal”. She was a very good woman, & learnt to love her Saviour better than anyone else, but I do not think she ever really loved man, she did not have “another god before Him”. I am praying most earnestly for faith. It’s absolute faith in Him that I want & must have. I know that now. Whereas beforehand I didn’t know what it was I wanted so in some very vague way God is working in my heart, but I’m seeing as it were through a dense foggy mist everything before is vastly blurred. It is exceedingly hard to tell you what I feel in writing, I should dearly love to have a serious talk with you, but as yet that’s perfectly out of the question.
Mother has been ill again. To day she had a fit, & I only just caught her before she smashed six dinner plates with her face. She fell forward on the table with the pile of plates in her hand. My children are bonnie. Little Joan is with my father’s people my Aunt’s at Bognor. She is staying with them until Roy comes for me, because it’s to much for me to do with both of them & mother to look after. She is perfectly happy with Thora my sister who is also at Bognor. She was quite a baby at Finchley but now she is 9 years old, & every one thinks that Joan is her sister. Besides there is no room in these beastly army huts here & no place for such a dainty little maid as Joan is. But oh how I long for her dear lamb.
John is always with me, he doesn’t notice yet being under 2 & he is a terror a perfect “boy”. Well I must close now, good night dear friend & thank you
I have just had a letter from Miss Payne. Such a sweet encouraging letter. She asks me whether I should like to confide everything to her, but oh Mr. Payne I’m afraid of what she will think of me. Will you please tell her I simply cannot. It was a hard struggle to confess to you.