Lorna Davis woke up early Saturday morning. She had brewed a pot of coffee for herself and her husband, and then settled in for her personal devotions. It was a beautiful spring Michigan morning. She had been tempted to take her Bible and her coffee onto the patio. She always felt closer to her Creator when surrounded by nature. But though the calendar said late March, the temperatures still felt like mid-January. To keep from getting too cold Lorna settled for sitting near the sliding glass patio doors in the dining room. She could enjoy the sun and still enjoy the comforts of being inside her own home.
After finishing her Bible reading, she rethought her plans for the morning Bible study session with her church friends. Normally when she hosted the weekly study, the women would meet in her living room and have refreshments in the dining room later. But here by the glass doors seemed such a perfect place to enjoy God’s word with friends. Lorna smiled at her decision. Yes, they would meet here today.
She carried her coffee cup to the kitchen, humming a well-loved church hymn as she walked. Her husband, Wade, leaning against the counter and clutching his coffee mug in his hands, greeted her with a smile.
“Someone is in a good mood this morning,” he said.
Lorna smiled back at him. “It is so hard to not be in a good mood when doing God’s work,” she told him.
Wade laughed. “Spend a day as the lead pastor,” he told her. “Sometimes God’s work isn’t all that pleasant.”
“But it is better than fighting Him every step of the way.” Lorna returned to humming as she filled the tea kettle with water and placed it on the stove. She opened the cupboard beside the stove and reached for her china tea pot.
“What is the occasion?” Wade asked, reaching around his wife to help take the china pieces out of the cupboard.
“It is spring,” Lorna said simply. “I thought this would brighten up the table, maybe put us all in a better mood.”
“Expecting a foul mood?”
“Not foul, exactly,” Lorna told him. She took the serving plate Wade handed her and began arranging a selection of Danishes on it. “But last week, the conversation turned to the problems in the church. I’m hoping a cheerful table will translate to cheerful hearts.”
Wade gently kissed his wife’s cheek. “You ladies don’t need to worry about the church problems,” he said. “God will help us through it.”
“I know that,” she said. “And I think all of us women know that. It is just that it is not easy for a group of ladies who are used to taking care of our families see our husbands struggling.”
Wade looked over his Lorna’s shoulder and out the kitchen window. “Looks like there are some women who are not letting the church problems affect them,” he said.
Lorna followed his gaze. She saw two young women sharing a laugh as they walked toward the parsonage. A frown replaced the smile on her face. There was no denying who the women were—Emily Hartly, the youth pastor’s wife, and that new girl. Lorna wasn’t sure of her name—Angie or Annie or something like that. If not for the woman’s obvious pregnancy, Lorna would likely not even know who she was.
“I can’t believe she had the nerve to come,” Lorna said.
“Who?” her 18-year-old son Todd asked, walking into the room. He looked out the window and saw the two young women. “Oh, that’s Abby, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Lorna said, still scowling at the two figures crossing the church yard to her back door. “She shouldn’t be here.”
“Why not?” Todd wanted to know. “I thought your little study was open to anyone.”
“Anyone who wants to learn more about serving God,” Lorna snapped. “That girl is obviously not living right.”
“What right do you have to judge?”
Lorna glared at her son. “Noticing her pregnancy is not judging,” she said shortly.
“Neither is noticing the lack of wedding band on her left hand,” Wade added.
“Mrs. Lawson said that Abby’s husband died,” Todd said.
“Over a year ago,” Wade said. “The pregnancy obviously happened after he died.”
Todd shrugged. “At least she didn’t abort it.”
His parents turned away from the window to focus on their son. “That does not mean,” Wade said slowly, “that it is OK for an unmarried woman to be pregnant. It only means she didn’t add to her sin.”
“That child shouldn’t exist at all,” Lorna said.
“How would you feel if someone said that about Claudia’s baby?” Todd asked. His question was answered with a silent glare from both of his parents. “Good thing God’s plan is different from yours,” he said. “I can’t imagine God ever disowning you the way you are disowning your own grandchild.”