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 . . .
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.