Just sent out this update to people interested in our retreats...
It was a little surreal visiting the doctor this time. The same office, same examining room, and same doctor as a year ago. Same ultrasound equipment. But this time a baby quickly came into view, and Heather and I breathed a prayer of relief and gratitude. I don't think the doctor remembered breaking the sad news to us last year that a miscarriage was coming; she was just happy for us that everything looked good this time. As we watched, and the doctor tried to take accurate measurements, the tiny baby wiggled, turning away from our view. Shy, I guess, like me.
So it's been a very different springtime for us this year. The warmth has come slowly, and many of the trees show the impact of last summer's drought, but there is green everywhere again now. New life greets the sun each morning.
We also took the opportunity this spring, before farm and bakery work get more demanding, to visit friends at several ministries in the Chicago area. While visiting Good News Partners, we walked around their neighborhood with a women's bible study group, praying for and with the people there. One moment I remember well. We were with two friends, who had both been on retreats with us, and they were praying for a woman we just met there on the street. Praying that God would help her sons get out of the drug life. As we prayed with them, I thought of the many mothers praying the same anguished prayers on many other chilly streets. Clinging relentlessly to God's love.
We were also impressed by work being done with men in that neighborhood. Helping them as followers of Jesus to find ways to avoid violence in a culture where they face it on a daily basis. Theirs is not a problem of ethics. It's the challenge of protecting their friends and families and homes from people with very real weapons, and grudges, and reckless ambitions, and little tolerance for weakness. We pray that these men also can cling relentlessly to God's powerful love.
We're looking forward to seeing some of these friends on retreat this year. And we pray for them and you as life returns to the land, bringing new hopes with it. Please pray for us, our growing child, and our guests.