5.25.2009

Closure, and Continuing on. . . .

Memorial Day weekend. As I sit on my couch at quarter to ten, I realize this whirlwind of a weekend is over. . . .back to life. . . back to reality. Here is a run down of the weekend . . .

FRIDAY -
Aliyma's show. She entered into a talent contest, and as a group - nudged by Doreen, we all attended. I have never been more shocked in my life. I have heard her sing little ditties here and there . . . .but this? What she sang on Friday night simply rocked me!

Throughout the night there was laughter, hysterical laughter actually, at the scene we had found ourselves in. I had been DRAGGED up on stage, little yelling 'no no no!' to enter an old school/new school dance contest. I definitely LOST, but still ended with SOME pride - an NBA self-identified legend was there, Gene "Tinkerbell" Banks, and he told me he like my dance moves- rewards enough!

Anyway, when Aliyma took the stage I lost breathe a little for a minute. She sang "Listen" by Beyonce and - at the risk of using a cliche - shivers ran down my arms as she sang. Unbelievable. I had to stop and ask Doreen, 'Is it because we love her, or is she really THAT good?' D's response? I don't remember exact words, but it was decided that she IS THAT GOOD. Man. Get out of this neighborhood good. Wow. Another snapshot for the memory bank of why God has me here.

SATURDAY -
I putzed around with Rose. She was visiting from Pittsburgh. Walking through the city. Rejuvenating each other. Now this is a girl who gets it. . . and gets me and why I'm in it. Great time at lunch at Pura Vida, talking about IT. The moving into the bad neighborhoods despite human logic and fear, because God's got it. He's GOT IT. Me, the ministry, my safety, my life . . . HE'S GOT IT!

Someone around me often says, Nehemiah often trusted God, but he also built the wall. So I live inside the gate. I don't walk in the neighborhood at night. But, I live here. The kids know where I live. The moms know where I live. The drug dealers? They don't know where I live, but they know my car- and they knew my red coat when it was cooler outside. A lot of this knowing was brought on by the fact that without my car for two months I HAD to walk through the neighborhood to get home from work. God knew I would have to do that, and HE'S GOT IT. Those two months of walking home from the El opened so many conversations up and broke down so many walls. Amazing. Satan meant it for evil, God meant it for good.

Later in the evening, I drove out to my parents' to see Allison. AHHH my Allie-babes. Well, the enemy seems to know right where to hit me. As I walked in the door, one of the first things said was - "Look Allie, there's your Aunt Megan. The one we told you not to learn anything from. Math, yes? Life choices, no." Direct hit to the gut. They mean it in sarcasm, but, like I said, the enemy knows where it hurts. Hours after being refreshed and encouraged by someone who gets it, I was met with people I deeply love, who just don't get it. And that's ok. They don't have to get it. He is freshly teaching me obedience to Him, despite man's opinion. Teaching me this hard.

So after I spend some time with Allie and the fam, I head back to the city. Rose and I had planned this weekend for this specific purpose. Tattoos. I know, I know - - - tacky perhaps, but its been a long time coming. We decided to get the words 'ebony's hope' for many reasons. Not only because we miss Eb, but thats such a small part of it. This hope she represented in her last days goes beyond her story.

She experienced something no one should ever have to experience. Her trials were beyond human logic. She makes it, out of all her friends that showed up with their babies at her viewing, she makes it. . . then freshman year of college, a diagnosis, a year later, going home. We, Rose and I, were given this rare glimpse at faith deeper then any we have ever experienced. She spoke throughout the experience of God's goodness, His greatness, His love. Immense physical pain, doctors' visits, a snowballing of the trial known as cancer. And at the end, didn't bat an eye because she knew, in a deeper way then anyone else, where she was going. She held on just long enough to know when we were ready, and when we couldn't take it anymore. Then God took her home. And now? Those courts that we sing about? The ones that it is better to spend a day in, then thousands elsewhere? SHE IS THERE. She knew she was going there, and she is dancing free.

So we got the tattoos in reflection of this hope. This hope that surpasses human logic and identifies with out a doubt - GOD IS IN CONTROL and HE'S GOT THIS - His Word is true and we can TRUST despite how hard it gets and however many missteps we take.

http://twitpic.com/5v0tf


I hope Steve Santos doesn't mind - but he wrote a song about this hope, about Ebony and her hope. Slickly titled, "Ebony's Hope"



SUNDAY-
Another thing that satan meant for evil, but God meant for good was my stolen car battery. My car was parked in broad daylight, for less then three hours, facing the school office windows of Spruance Elementary - where I teach - on Thursday afternoon. When I went to leave at the end of the day it wouldn't start. When my coworker and I tried to jump start it, we discovered someone had gotten under my hood and just stole the battery. In plain daylight. Gone.

After all the car drama I have had lately, I just filed my police report, went to Pepboys up the road, bought new one, had the school police officer put it in and kept going with my day. A misstep like this didn't even make me late for a dinner date with a friend. This stuff doesn't shock me anymore. Not when you put spiritual eyes on situations. Not when God gives you the grace to put spiritual eyes on things. I discovered this weekend what the 'good' intended this for was. With a new battery, it made something malfunction with my radio - I'll fix it later. Long car rides to my parents' or to Providence (my church in West Chester) are the perfect time to pray, especially when they are forced to be silent.

God and I had great talks this weekend while driving. About how tightly I have been holdng onto this ministry. Almost to the point of making it an idol. Woah. So I need to hold it with open hands, knowing that He gives, AND He takes away. For now He is gracious and is giving, but I need to be ok with Him taking.

When I first moved home from Scranton, I told Kelly D'Augostine this one lesson I learned from having to leave the ministry there - "Contentment is not being ok with where you are. It's being ok with God controlling where you are at all times." I should listen to myself sometimes.

MONDAY-
Last day with Rose. Simple. We had stayed at my parents' house after church so we ate breakfast there, drove back to the city, ate lunch and she headed on her lovely way back to Pittsburgh. Real life is back.

The perfect illustration of this real life is the fact that within an hour of her leaving, I saw Rachel on her way to the airport to go to Uganda, and then four of the mission girls stopped by. A quick bite to eat at the most luxurious restaurant in town - McDonalds (yuck!) then a movie. A stupid parody-movie, but it meant time with the girls. Talking about life - ok, I'll be honest - talking about boys. . . . and laughing hysterically as one of them . . . well never mind - that's between us girls :)


A really great weekend. I know Memorial Day is supposed to be spent reflecting on those who served in military battle. But for me, it was a little more personal about some private memorials I have. Ebony. Things in my mind that remind me of Who it is I serve, and how BIG He really is and how much BIGGER He is going to reveal to me that He is. Hold on tight.

5.24.2009

Happy Day!

A cookout at the parents' allowed me some quality time with my favorite nugget!


video

Just a director's note on this . . . . she was trying to see me from around the camera, and once she did. . . THE BIG SMILE!!!!

5.21.2009

A Heart for the City

I am currently reading this book entitled, "A Heart for the City" . . . its a compilation of work from ministers across the world and time periods whom have dedicated their lives to urban ministry. Like the ultimate goldmine of thinking minds on this subject. This book is definitely going on my top 5 of all time by the time I am finished, I am sure. . . ok maybe top 10 . . . Piper, Lewis and Edwards have a tight hold on my heart. . . .

Anyway- LOVED THIS QUOTE - it sums up about a million conversations I have had lately about what is my biggest drive an passion as I am down here living this thing out with my people. . .

Many of us get very passionate and involved in one area of need and think if we solve this particular problem that all the other things will work out. As Christians, of course, this area is personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Evangelism and discipleship are the most vital element to Christian community development. - Wayne L Gordon

This is just it! Perfectly phrased. Talking tonight with my good friend Heidi about kids we minister to in our jobs (she is a genuine counselor and I am a middle school teacher that pretends to have a counseling degree) and the walls we hit when we realize the lack of options we have. So, hypothetically there is a girl being abused at home - but its not bad enough for child services, but even if it is? What is our current system? Family counseling that is rooted in human intellect? A foster system that has a foundation of people looking for an extra paycheck that happen to have an extra bedroom? Where this already jilted soul is shifted from home to home without the stability that many of us took for granted well into adulthood. . . I don't know the answer. . . but I do know one thing more and more solidly as I live my life this way.

Nothing, nothing, NOTHING will impact these souls and HEAL, CHANGE and bring HOPE other then the Holy Spirit.

So this deepens the call of the urban minister. To PREACH THE GOSPEL at all times and use words when necessary (St. Francis) We have no other option. No other tool or curriculum then the one laid out for us in the Scriptures.

Romans 1:16-17 "And I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed . . ."

So this is IT. This is the thing that will change lives. This is the element that drives all urban ministry. The small moments when you are talking alone with a child and you ask those questions, you tell that story. When you look at these kids through 'God eyes' . . . trying to see them for a tenth of what God sees them, your mouth can't help but open, the words can't help but come out. This is what He keeps us here for.

To GO and make DISCIPLES.

I was walking in Whole Foods one day and I happened to have my laptop in my bookbag. As I was walking and praying through the aisles, God gave me these amazing thoughts on evangelism and discipleship. So before I walked out the door, I sat down at a table and spewed these thoughts all over a Word document. I am still working on tying up some loose ends of it, and editing through my ramblings, but it felt necessary - like when a prayer intercessor talks about when they feel called to pray for someone - its like you have to pee really really bad and that feeling isnt relieved until you eventually pray. Sometimes God gives me thoughts like that. . . that I can't get out of my head until I write them down. This was one of those documents - I will post it up here soon.

Christ was the ultimate discipler. He was also the ultimate carrier of all spiritual gifts. As we are His body on earth, no one of us contains all of the gifts that He did, but together we create a present day physical Him on earth. This 'Body' is called to this discipleship - a concentrated group effort where gifts are highlighted and strenghts are highlighted. Through the working together of the Body, genuine discipleship can occur. These seeds of evangelism will not be scorched by the sun, blown away in the breeze or trampled on if the structure of this thing - however it looks for whatever ministry - is set in place to catch them and root them.

but we must must must work together.

5.17.2009

Woah

Just finished reading Jonathan Edwards testimony account. . . . woah. beautiful - - - - please please please at least skim it! Click HERE

I prayed as I read to something like this to come out of one of these kids someday . . . .

5.07.2009

how beautiful are the feet that bring good news

I recently wrote this email to the girls that work along side of me in the kitchen. I was going to rewrite the story, but I think I may just copy and paste what I wrote to them, changed some names though . . . .


Ok . . . so I gushed a little bit about this tonight during sharing time, but when I got home from the mission my friend Kelly called me and immediately I went into the story with her about Valery and tonight's lesson. She was so glad that I shared with her and urged me to share with you. . . .

Fill in for those of you not at the meeting last night. . . . I would explain what we talked about - but Paul does it much better in Romans 10 . . . .

For "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

this is why i love the book of Romans so so so so so much. blatant calls to present the Gospel and it works! soooo we also talked about Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes"

so all that to say, with the combo of the Holy Spirit's leading in our discussion of that and prayers that have gone up over this - I was not surprised but overwhelmingly blessed and excited to not only talk to Valery pretty in depth, but also to overhear Trisha sharing too. really good stuff. . . this is what its all about.

to respect Valery's privacy I will only say that the conversation started with "are you a Christian" - no . . . and ended with "Miss Megan can you pray?" I started taking her through the 'romans road' only because it is my fall back but then her REALLY good questions led us elsewhere and the HS was abundantly faithful in putting scripture in my mind that I dont even remember remembering. it was phenomenal - dare i use the term supernatural. only interrupted for a moment by the birthday song (note to blog-readers, it was my birthday this night and the other girls came over into our convo yell/singing happy birthday). mid-scripture quotation. This stuff is not the norm in North Philly. This is God-lead stuff. This is what-its-all-about stuff. so i prayed with her and looking at her face, eyes tightly closed while i prayed for her is hands down going to be one of those burned-in-my-mind moments at the mission.

so my goal in this is just to encourage, spur each other on. Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." what better deed is there then leading one of these lovelies to see God for who He is?

so its good and i want to hear your story Trisha. . . or a more in depth update. because this is stuff that encourages our faith. Like the stone monuments that were created throughout the old testament - i think of Gilgal mostly because of Beth Moore in Believing God (doreeeeeeeen) but just like those stone monuments reminded them of God's faithfulness as they looked at them and remembered what He did at those places - keeping His promises, being faithful - we can look at these things that He does with the girls as mini Gilgals for us.

Martesha calling Edwina, Paige wanting Leonia to come, Aliyma- well Aliyma all the time. Remember these things, share these things with one another to remember the faithfulness of God and His use of us in these girls lives - to be the 'called ones' that romans 10 talks about. to those who WILL believe - our girls (faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see!!!)

preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.

i love this. lets do the greatest act of love and introduce them to the ultimate lover of our souls. i know you girls know this - but i just love moments of clarity like this when it all makes sense and is definitely worth it.