It’s been a rough year for me, both spiritually and professionally. I’ve spent much time in this season of transition reading various spiritual memoirs that have been recommended to me in some form or fashion. Found: A Story of Questions, Grace & Everyday Prayer by Micha Boyett was one of those memoirs recommended to me by a dear friend, Cara, with whom I’ve shared the deep and hidden chapters of my faith story. Within 48 hours of meeting Cara, she had mentioned this book as a must-read for me because I was sure to resonate with Micha’s story. I wasn’t familiar with Micha’s writings, but I trusted Cara and eventually purchased the book. It sat on my shelf for months before I picked it up and cracked it open.
It’s funny how timing works with me and books and God. I don’t read quickly enough to keep up with my compulsive book-buying, so it’s likely that a book will chill out on my book shelf for months (sometimes years) before I actually find the time and interest to commit to it. I’ve found that God has a way of guiding my hand and my heart as I earnestly seek out the next title to read, because each book selection seems to always be read at the right time, in the right season of my life. This was true for Found.
Cara was right; I did relate to Micha’s religious “good Southern Baptist girl” upbringing and the getting tangled up in religious performance, the quest to win Christianity. A former youth minister who has just moved across the country for her husband’s job, Micha writes in transition trying to adjust to the ordinary life of full-time motherhood. Spiritually, she yearns to relearn prayer, to discover how her daily movements of motherhood can draw her to prayer. In the opening chapter she writes “…I long to know a quietness in my soul, true contentment, despite my spiritual unimpressiveness. I need to believe that my simple life really is a gift and really can be holy” (p. 8).
Micha also writes of her struggle with giving up a meaningful career in full-time ministry, succumbing to the seemingly ordinary and plain life of a stay-at-home parent. She wonders if she missed a greater calling, or if this was it–if this was all God had for her. She is reminded that God isn’t done with her yet.
Although I’m not a mother and have never experienced motherhood, I really resonated with the struggle of stepping out of a meaningful career and wondering “Is God done with me? Is this it? Is there more?” Earlier this year I risked leaving a great job to pursue a career I’ve felt called to for years. I was offered a fantastic opportunity to do exactly what my heart desired at Texas A&M, but the timing and location wasn’t right. My husband was offered a promotion here in Fort Worth around the same time of my job offer in College Station. Because Sean’s job paid better and offered a more realistic lifestyle, I sacrificed my dream job for a sense of stability. And for my husband. For such an ambitious person, it was–so far–the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s still hard. (That’s a post for another day.)
“I love you more than my idea of being remarkable.” Micha says to her husband as she works through coming to terms with the life she gave up to move for his job (p. 38).
I know this feeling, this choice, all too well. Choosing this love, despite myself and my own ambitions, is not always the easy decision, but the brave one. “Stability demands forgiveness, discomfort and, often, sacrifice of the more interesting, more exciting possibility. Stability is brave.” (p. 68)
There is so much to be praised about the words written in these pages. Micha wrestles with God while facing her fear of the ordinary, and eventually turning her heart to a disposition ready to receive a peace and contentment. Her perfectionistic need to perform, to win Christianity, is stripped down and replaced with a practical perspective on grace and learning how to receive it. This book is for those who feel burdened by all of the expectations of the religious, for those who are always striving, for those who don’t feel like they are doing enough to please God.
I’m always encouraged by those who tell their honest and brave and vulnerable stories, despite their feelings of ordinariness.
Since reading Found, I was thrilled to learn that Micha is a fellow Hardin-Simmons alumna! She recently brought an incredible message to HSU Chapel that can be viewed at this link. Yes, friends, I am over two years removed from HSU life and I’m watching chapel videos. It’s that good.