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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19: THE FAMILY WAY

      Jeannette Marshall was on duty at the front desk when Todd reached the church. She gestured for him to go into Pastor Glenn's office as soon as he walked through the door. He grinned at her and hurried down the hall, his steps light. He hadn't felt this good in weeks. In just a little while, he knew, everything would be all right.      "Dad?" Todd stopped short when he saw the man sitting in one of the three chairs facing Pastor Glenn's desk. "What are you doing here?"      "Your father wants me to, as he puts it, talk some sense into Lisa," Pastor Glenn said. "I explained that I have been talking to Lisa for weeks now, and you're the one who won't talk. It's a little hard to help with marital problems unless both spouses are willing to talk."      "I'm willing," Todd began.      "See? I told you. Todd has never been the problem," Mr. Montgomery rumbled in that rich, satisfied tone of voice his son suddenly hated. "It's that Lisa. How anyone can be an artist and claim to be a Christian is beyond me."      "Todd might be willing," Pastor Glenn said with that forced smile that always made Todd feel guilty. "However, he never follows through when we make appointments for counseling. In fact, I asked Lisa why you two missed the last appointment we made, and she said you never told her about it."      "That's true, unfortunately," Todd said quickly, to halt the angry denial he saw in his father's eyes. "I keep forgetting."      "It makes me wonder if you really do want to save your marriage."      "Of course Todd wants to save it," his father snapped. "But as I keep telling you, it's Lisa. She abandoned her own husband, the father of her child. If it really is his child."      "Dad!" Todd's face burned. He could hear echoes of that confrontation with Lisa, the night he got home from that awful business trip. "Of course it's mine. Lisa would never cheat on me."      "That's not what Lisa says you believe about her," Pastor Glenn said.      "A genetic test will solve the whole problem," Mr. Montgomery said. He stretched his legs out as he settled back in his chair. "We should arrange a psychiatric evaluation while we're at it. It'll save time later."      "What do you mean?" Todd didn't like that satisfied little smile on his father's face.       "Your father wants to file court action to take custody of Lisa's baby as soon as it's born," Pastor Glenn explained.      "No! No way." Todd threw himself down into the chair next to his father. "That would⎯that would kill Lisa. It's bad enough I said what I did, but to force her to go through that⎯I can't. I won't."      "It would certainly calm our doubts, Toddy," his father rumbled.      "I don't have any doubts. I'm the one who really matters, right?"      "Why haven't you told Lisa this?" Pastor Glenn asked.      "We haven't talked about much of anything lately," he admitted grudgingly.

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