Saturday, January 29, 2005

Soup Kitchen Friends

John 14
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Our church family served the meal today at the soup kitchen in our church building again. It's amazing how it builds community to serve together. I heard so much laughter and everyone was having so much fun. The mix of people who come to eat are as varied as our city...most are homeless, some just the working poor, some are English speakers, some Spanish, men and women, old and young, high and straight, drunk and sober. The gift of hospitality is one that blesses the hosts as well as the guests. It's such a privilege to share food and clothes with those who have share a laugh or chat about life with someone who is usually overlooked.

Scott was there today...apparently he just got out of prison this week. I'm not sure why we was sent away for four months, but he greeted me like I was one of his oldest friends. In truth I knew him and the mother of his baby for a few months before they vanished from church, as the homeless do when life throws them a curveball. Tara was there, too, and she still has the glazed look that comes from using crack. Her whole face looks numb, almost like she just came from the dentist or just got woken in the middle of the night. Scott was bragging about how he's been sober for over a year, and I wonder about Tara and if she will ever be able to shake her crack addiction. Their baby is in state custody right now, and I pray that he is safely cared for by someone who treats him as her own. Tara was so devastated when they took him from her, but I'm sure it's better for the little one. How heartbreaking, however, for a mother to be separated from her baby. Tara has at least two other children from another man who are living apart from her. What does that do to a mother's heart to be unable to care for her own babies and to raise them herself? They are not staying at the homeless shelter right now; they are in someone's basement. Apparently it's quite cold and they have only one blanket to keep warm. Tara talked about how she would love an electric blanket, and Scott said he would buy her a space heater. Tara thought that was a horrible idea because she is afraid they will run up their friend's electric bill and cause trouble. We made sure they had two new blankets when they left and I pray that they keep them warm.

No one was going to preach today, so my husband persuaded me that I should get up and share a message. I hadn't planned to speak, but when I opened up the New Testament I was drawn to John 14:1-4. I shared a simple thought about God's goodness and the fact that as His follower, even if you don't have a place to call your own in this life, He has a room that He is preparing for you in His kingdom. It is such a privilege to speak about the things of God in front of a group.

We also did the simple call and response that is so common in black churches--

Leader: God is good!
Church: All the time!
Leader: All the time!
Church: God is good!

I have been doing that with my kids lately, to encourage them, but most of all to encourage myself! I know that God is good all the time and I pray that I will become more like Him each day.

Many blessings,
Micah Girl

Friday, January 28, 2005

Litany of Light

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

And we are the children of the Light

God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

And we are the children of the Light

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

And we are the children of the Light

On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

And we are the children of the Light

In Christ was life, and that life was the light of men.

And we are the children of the Light

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

And we are the children of the Light

Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God

And we are the children of the Light

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

And we are the children of the Light

Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become children of light.


Thursday, January 27, 2005


The original lie of the serpent in the Garden of Eden was if you disobey God, you will be like him. This is the same lie we hear over and over and over again in our heads and in our culture: take matters into your own hands because that is true strength.

Wanting to be like God is not a bad thing in and of itself...we were created in His image after all. However, it is how we get there that leads us astray...

Saint Augustine said, "Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet." Saint Paul exhorted, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24. It is by overthrowing our selfishness, by submitting to God's work in us, that we become like Him. It is a lifetime transformation which is culminated in heaven.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Way of the Righteous

Proverbs 4

   18The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. 19But the way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over.

Keep me in the light, Lord, looking for You, following You. Let me not get caught up in my own goals and become inflexible. Let me listen to Your voice directing and redirecting me so that I stay on the highway of holiness. Following You--may it be my pursuit and primary goal--and trusting You that all else will fall into place where it should.

Micah Girl

My Garden

We have a couple feet of snow from the blizzard that just blasted through...I enjoy it, but have my dream life, too.

Here is my garden, my fantasy garden, of what could be in the spring when this snow...which is beautiful...melts and gives way to new life and color. Right now anything is possible when imagining what might be later...

Micah Girl

Friday, January 21, 2005

Why I want to be a missional Christian

I forget where I found this quote, but I love it!

How different is this missional approach to the "rhetoric of exclusion" that worked so well in modernity: "There are blessings to being on the inside. You're on the outside and so can't enjoy them. Want to be a blessed insider like us?"

In contrast, missional Christianity says, "God is expressing his love to all outsiders through our acts of kindness and service. You're invited to leave your life of accumulation and competition and self-centeredness to join us in this mission of love, blessing, and peace. Want to join in the mission?"
Brian McLaren

Homeland Security, 24 & Security Moms

Okay, after just posting about how I can't figure out anything technical, I just posted Kiefer Sutherland's face in my blog. I am very happy!

My husband and I don't watch a whole lot of tv--at least compared to most Americans. We videotape our favorite programs and watch them later. The problem is that our life is busy and when they all start competing for our attention, we get behind because we have busy lives apart from our pop culture addictions which include 24, American Idol, Amazing Race, and the Apprentice. It's hard to watch the episodes before they accidentally get taped over by the news, which we also watch after it airs, after the kids go to sleep and only if we haven't passed out already.

24 is my favorite show. I have watched each season since the beginning with great anxiety, heartfelt prayers for imaginary characters, and fretting over whether terrorists get ideas from great tv drama for how to attack their enemies. The funny thing is that I wish that Jack Bauer were in charge of Homeland Security so that this security mom could sleep at night without worrying about whether the bad guys were going to do something devastating.


Beginning Blogger's Blues

I love blogging, reading blogs, blog-surfing... I enjoy being invited into people's brains and hearing their memories, their rants, their passions and their pet peeves. Posting to my own blog is a somewhat hit and miss proposition. I seek to develop the daily habit of posting so that I am writing all the time. I have such a burning desire to write (like everyone else in the blogiverse) but, even more, I desire to be read. I would like for people to wander onto my site and say "YES, that's exactly what I think, but I never could have articulated it so well!" or "Wow--that's why people think that way." or "Has she been reading my mind?" And this desire to be profound, to touch a nerve, to speak truth sometimes prevents me from writing at all.

I'm also frustrated because some of the simple technical things I would like to do--like posting pictures, adding blogrolls, dressing up the format--all seem so time consuming to learn. Meanwhile, I have children to feed, laundry to put away, meals to cook, a ministry to lead, kids to educate at home, grocery shopping to do, a husband I long to engage in adult conversation, missionaries to supervise, bible studies to prepare, networking to do, and I am always forgetting something that I should have done, and I never call my mother enough, and sometimes important things fall through the cracks while mundane things take over. I don't intend to sound whiny--I truly love my life! I just want to be sure I am wisely spending my time and growing spiritually and creatively at the same time. Teach me to number my days aright, Lord, that I might gain a heart of wisdom...

I am reading Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird which is a great primer on writing. It's written in her own raw style and it's very inspiring. She encourages writers to write about childhood memories, which is what I've been going over in my own mind quite often. My son is always asking me, "Tell me the story about when you were little..." and I rack my brain for something to entertain my little one. It doesn't matter what the story is, however, he always loves it. Then he tells me the same story imaginatively as if it had happened to him and he changes it to suit his whims. I wish I were as easily amused.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

God Tasks

I have just begun my quest to read through the bible in a year, and I think I could get addicted to the One Year Bible Blog. The blogger posts a link to the daily readings, his comments, and people make comments on their reading. I hope it will keep me on task.

Right now we're reading through the story of Joseph, among other passages, and what really hit me this morning was that Joseph was faithful in whatever task was put in front of him by being faithful to God first. The really amazing thing is that his daily tasks were usually pretty mundane, administrative tasks or supervising the palace guard, ho hum, here we go again. However, by maintaining integrity in everything he did, when a big "God task" like withstanding unbelievable temptation and pressure or interpreting the dreams of the Pharaoh came up, he was ready. And beyond that his daily faithfulness was part of something that was so much BIGGER than he could ever know...saving a nation and his own family from famine and reconciling with his brothers. I pray that my own daily tasks...which right now are very busy because it's the beginning of the semester and my ministry is taking some new directions...will be faithfully done.

Micah Girl

Friday, January 14, 2005

Working Class Intellectuals Conquer the World

When my sister and I were girls in elementary school, my parents bought a family membership to the Boston Museum of Science which was about an hour from our house. The four of us would pile into the bright orange Vega that my grandfather gave my mom brand new in 1977 as an early inheritance so that he could watch her enjoy his money while he was still alive. We stuffed the hatchback with Italian sandwiches and drinks for our picnic. When we arrived we would eat in the car in the parking garage and then enter the hallowed halls of the Boston Museum of Science.

The inner sanctum of this space was wide open and there was the sound of grinding gears, clanging bells and metal balls going down chutes and sliding around mazes. There was a pendulum that swung back and forth eternally drifting lines of sand on a center circle. There was the human reproduction area that started with a naked sculpture of a voluptuous mother holding her naked child and then photographs and dry text discussing ovum and spermatazoa and fetal growth. I remember always having a blush come over my cheeks as we entered that exhibit while my progressive but sensible parents shamelessly walked through. I remember wondering, am I supposed to see this? It was almost as intriguing and frightening as finding a Playboy under the mattress and I was drawn to stare while feeling the same urgency to look away.

My parents were and are hard-working people, proud to have made their own way in the world, frugal and honest, always seeking to provide opportunity for their own chidren. Education was a primary value for us. My sister and I were the "surprise" miracles of my mother's second marriage to her soulmate and our father, a bachelor to the age of 35 who feared he would never find love or a family of his own. They taught my sister and me that we could make our way in the world, that we should be proud of the brains we were blessed with and think unusual thoughts, devour all the books at our disposal, and that we could become whatever we wanted to become. We honestly grew up thinking we might be able to conquer the world.

Micah Girl

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Train Up A Child in the Way She Should Go

Real Live Preacher has the most beautiful story about his daughter Shelby. Here's a hyperlink, thanks to Darlene, I now think I know how to do them: Real Live Preacher Anyway, RLP's daughter is a quirky individualist and instead of pushing her to conform to other people's standards, he encourages her to be who she was created to be.

It reminds me of that proverb about training up a child in the way she SHOULD go and when she is grown she will not depart from it. So often people read that to mean force your child into your ideas of who they should be. Instead (as some biblical scholars read it) it really means to find the way your child SHOULD go--her uniqueness, her special purpose and guide her that way--and as she grows she will not have to depart from will be a good fit. Bless RLP and his wife for seeing the uniqueness in their beautiful girl and embracing it instead of trying to stuff her into a mold.

Micah Girl

Monday, January 10, 2005

Free and Holy?

I want to live in freedom and in holiness. This is a high calling, and I am not sure quite how to accomplish it.

Freedom can lead to selfishness, and holiness can lead to self-righteousnes. But if freedom leads me to think only of myself, then I am no longer free--I am a slave to my own desires. If holiness leads me to think more of myself than I should then it is no longer holy--it is pride. To live in freedom and holiness without pride and selfish concern, that is the trick! Help me, Lord, to pursue the path of life, the joy of living in your presence and the celebration of pleasures that last forever.

Psalm 16: 11
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.


Saturday, January 08, 2005


Just found out that our plans for a cool space to have a big event weekly next semester has been axed. I'm a bit frustrated. Reminded that nothing is guaranteed. We have another back-up spot, but it's definitely second best. I'm bummed.

James 4: 13-14 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Advice to a young man: Proverbs 31

Context is everything in scripture, and Proverbs 31 is one which is almost always presented out of context. People also love to read their own cultural ideal of womanhood into the text...whether it is the always submissive, homemaking, helpmeet, or the feminist, multitasking achiever. I must confess to reading both of these things into the text myself at different times.

Reading it again this morning and trying to put it into my own words has given me a different perspective again. It seems to me it is actually royal, motherly advice to a prince to guide him in all the choices he makes. This wise woman reminds her son of the responsibilities and advantages he has as a ruler and urges him to work for justice in the world. The temptations to carousing, drunkeness, and cheap women are not simply a rite of passage...they are a dangerous detour away from his calling as a wise and noble ruler. Instead he is to live a life of character and to seek a woman who is his equal.

Here is my paraphrase...which is definitely colored by my perceptions of womanhood and some of my own personal dreams of what I would like my life to look like.

Proverbs 31--the teaching of a queen to her son the prince to guide him in his life

Don't chase women
and spend your energy on tawdry affairs which ruin your reputation.

Don't spend your time in the bottom of a beer keg or emptying wine bottles.
If you get drunk you might forget what's right
and take advantage of your position to deprive others of what is coming to them.

Leave the drinking to those without a future hope,
those with suffering, those with crushing poverty that is unbearable.

Speak up for those who are silenced and without a penny or a friend.

Speak up and do the right thing with the advantages you have.

Defend those who are can't pay you back and protect their rights.

Who can find a woman who will be equal to your character if you live this way?

She would be worth more than any kind of worldy treasure.

The man who marries her has nothing to fear and has everything he needs.

She brings good things, things to build up her man and not to harm him, all her days.

She is hard working. She can work with her hands, she can trade and do business.

She does what it takes to provide for her family and the people who work for her.

She's a wise investor and entrepreneur.
This woman is strong and diligent.

She makes sure that she makes a profit and works late into the night.

She knows how to make things happen.

But she also is hospitable and generous in practical ways to those who have less.

When times are tough, she doesn't worry because she has already provided for her family and those under her care.

She cares for herself as well and carries herself with pride.

Her husband earns the envy and respect of other men because of his wife's fine work.

She makes money creatively and is a productive business person.

She is strong and proud and faces the future with joy.

She is a wise, good teacher and oversees all of her personal and business affairs without laziness.

Her children appreciate her as does her husband who can't stop singing her praises.

"There are lots of great women in the world, who do important and worthy things, but you are by far the best."
Charmers can lie to you,
and a beautiful face and body don't last for long,
but a woman who fears God is one worthy to be praised.

Give her what she has earned and let everyone know so that she can get the accolades for what she has done so faithfully and consistently over the years.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Amor Mio

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary! The past eight years have been wonderful, action-packed, loving and so...right. We have had three beautiful children together, grown together as friends, as parents, in ministry and in life. We met nine years ago, and since that first weekend you have had my heart. There is no one else in the world but you for me.

Te adoro, amor mio

La "P"

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