From Malaga, Spain to Rome, Italy

“We finished up our retreat in Malaga on Sunday afternoon with a bit of sharing. If you’d like to see some pictures from our time with a smaller group under a fig tree, you can see it here. This discussion began with a small group of women under a fig tree who wanted to ask more pointed questions about how to help people who have suffered great abuse or pain connect with the reality of a Father’s love they had never known. I reminded them that this is God’s job not ours. We can encourage, we can help share the Truth, but it is God’s to reveal his love, even through periods of great pain. And he does it so well. I encouraged them to ask the people they are helping in turn to ask the Lord to show them his love. This is God’s work, not ours to prove by logical arguments.

As we talked the discussion grew as more people joined in. Eventually we started debriefing from the weekend. They wanted to hear Sara’s story and how God brought her into a new place of freedom. It was wonderful and connected with so many. Then we talked about how each of us can relax more into God’s freedom every day.

As is the case with so many stops I make, it is difficult to leave those God knits our hearts to even over a weekend. On Monday our hosts took us to Gibraltar and some time on the mountain with a group of monkeys. On Tuesday we flew to Rome to meet up with our friends from Switzerland to spend some days in fellowship as we explore the city of Rome. Yesterday we saw the Spanish Steps and the area around Trevi Fountain. This morning we wandered around the Coloseum together and explored the Roman Forum and archeological digs on Palatine.

Tomorrow we are headed to the Vatican. I’m looking forward to it, even though it will bring a number of conflicting emotions to bear. Breathtaking art, amazing architecture from long ago, and all of that provided for by an often-oppressive religious institution that accomplished these things with so-called offerings to God. Tomorrow ought to rock!

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