I wish I could be with you now and could change ·the way I am talking to you [or my tone of voice; L my voice], because I ·do not know what to think about [or don’t know how to help; or am perplexed/at wit’s end about] you.
Oh, I know how keen these men are to win you over, but can’t you see that it is for their own ends? They would like to see you and me separated altogether, and have you all to themselves. Don’t think I’m jealous—it is a grand thing that men should be keen to win you, whether I’m there or not, provided it is for the truth. Oh, my dear children, I feel the pangs of childbirth all over again till Christ be formed within you, and how I long to be with you now! Perhaps I could then alter my tone to suit your mood. As it is, I honestly don’t know how to deal with you.
It is a good thing to be ardent in doing good, but not just when I am in your presence. Can’t you continue the same concern for both my person and my message when I am away from you that you had when I was with you? Do you know how I feel right now, and will feel until Christ’s life becomes visible in your lives? Like a mother in the pain of childbirth. Oh, I keep wishing that I was with you. Then I wouldn’t be reduced to this blunt, letter-writing language out of sheer frustration.
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