As a former youth pastor, Micha Boyett has a special place in my heart. I've followed her blog for years and was eager to get my hands on her book, Found – A story of questions, grace, and everyday prayer.
Though I feared Micha's book would be difficult for me – someone who is not yet a parent – to relate to, I need not have worried about this. I found myself in Micha's story again and again. More than a story for tired moms, Micha's story is for tired Christians, for people who struggle to encounter God amidst the ordinary.
When the answers of her “evangelical past – read more Scripture, pray longer, try harder, serve more people” become “heavy burdens”, Micha begins searching for other ways to practice her faith and to try to understand her “usefulness in God's kingdom”. Eventually, her search leads her to the Benedictine monks and to fixed hour prayer. Micha's story is, in many ways, one that is centered on prayer. In fact, each part of her book is anchored by a fixed hour prayer, each part of her story woven into the rhythm of the liturgical church calendar.
Just as she weaves together her story with the liturgical church calendar, Micha also weaves her story of faith with her personal story, with her story of falling in love with her husband as well as her sons. I love the glimpses she offers her readers of her relationship with her husband, Chris. At one point, she says, “Chris and I spent those first few months of our dating lives doing the thing we'd keep doing long into our marriage: reminding each other why we believe in Jesus.” I see so much of my own relationship with my husband reflected in that sentiment.
As she chronicles her transition from full-time ministry to full-time motherhood, Micha shares a longing that I believe is universal, regardless of one's stage of life: “I've been wondering if, underneath that fear of time, I was longing for someone to tell me that the ordinary is good, that making dinner and picking up the house and reading ABC books takes courage. Can I believe that God loves the ordinary? That God loves the ordinary in me?”
In many ways, it's this question that I believe will make Micha's book broadly appealing. So, too, will the discoveries she makes as she searches for answers to those questions. Among other things, she discovers that her life “has value because God has touched every mundane moment with the glory of holiness” and that “prayer is the very thing that makes us whole.”
In the end, though, Micha's reflections on prayer are what I will continue wrestling with for days and weeks to come. In her words, “What if all along I've been playing at prayer, performing for a God who didn't want a performance at all? What if all along, all God has wanted was my recognition that I'm needy, that God is necessary? If prayer is mysterious and God doesn't need my 'performance', then maybe prayer is less about my words and more about the turning of my heart. Maybe humility doesn't begin until we give up the performance.”
May we, like Micha, have the courage to do just that.