Finding Grace in Personal Memoirs

Found

Perhaps this is what drew me to read blogs in the first place, being able to sneak a look into some other life than my own. To see how other people sew this, or knit that. To see how other people raise their children, juggle their jobs.

Lately I have been reading a lot of personal memoirs, testimonies, biographies, call them what you will. Modern tellings, modern women. Mostly from my age and time of life, mothers with young children struggling to make sense of their faith this side of motherhood.

Just today I finished reading Found by Micha Boyett. Reading Micha’s words are like taking a deep breathe of fresh air and slowly exhaling. Like standing on a high place and watching the sunset. There is great moment in her simple words, great moment in her simple life, and it is here in her simplicity, her search for prayer, that I find out a little more about this thing we call Grace.

Called to a life working with orphans in Africa, called to international missions, Micha found herself not living out some high calling in a foreign land but studying poetry and falling in love in Syracuse. She did not seek out the motherless of Africa, but instead built a small home, and started having small babies. Once the babies came along, her full time ministry became mothering and not the college students she had once mentored. Once she and her family moved across country to an unknown San Francisco, she felt like more and more of her identity was being chipped away. She struggled to grasp hold of the faith and prayer of her pre-mothering days, only to find out, gradually that faith and prayer are both more than she ever imagined, and unlike anything she ever imagined.

Her story is familiar to me. I found myself 3000 miles from home in 2003, building a home in America with a new husband. Not 3000 miles from home working with orphans in Bulgaria. Post motherhood, I struggled to find my faith, to find time for my faith, to find words, amidst the whirling chaos that having little boys in the house brought. And like Micha I found grace in realizing that my small story, is part of a grand narrative. That nothing God does is small.

Her story resonated with me. “There’s never a moment when you learn how to be whole, just like there’s never a moment when you learn how to be a mom, or how to see the holy around you. There’s only practice. There’s only noticing. There’s only the constant prayer that your heart would become what God is making you to be.”

Her story affirmed my time of life, and God’s work in it. “I need to know how to love God when all I have to offer is my daily chaos. Mostly, I long to know a quietness in my soul, true contentment, despite my spiritual unimpressiveness.”

Micha’s words gave me the gift of a glimpse into the life and prayers of the Benedictine monks, a way to connect with the Psalms on a daily basis.  Her words gave me another clue to understanding, and relating to, and breathing in, this God-man Jesus, who “will never transform us until we see him as something beautiful and not merely useful.” Beauty over function.

To live your life as a breathing prayer, as an offering when all words fall short. That simply giving my son a bath, brushing the hair from my husband’s face, sitting over coffee with a friend, can all be my life’s prayer to God. These are all things I’ve been feeling for some time now, and to know I am not alone is a blessing beyond words.

Beauty over function.

Life over words.

His story over my story.

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