Cultivate: Choosing Love & Humility Over Rightness, or When Resurrection is Our Story

I could say that my silence here has been because I’ve been “busy.” And that would be true, at least partially. Busy covers a multitude of realities, doesn’t it?

But if I want to be honest about the past few weeks of my life, I have to tell you that I am in the midst of a tumultuous season, a time that has felt emotionally raw, frightening.

My church is in a moment of uncertainty, when questions over doctrine feel bigger than anything else, when people who love each other deeply fall passionately on opposite sides of the issue at hand, and learning to talk about it out loud feels painful and impossible at times. There have been a lot of tears at my kitchen table this week, a lot of conversations about the gospel and how to read scripture. In short, we’re living in a moment in our church that has been lived in many times before in other communities, both now and throughout the past 2,000 years. What we must decide is how we will choose to wrestle through these questions, whether we will choose to engage with one another or leave one another.

Stability matters. And, just as I reflected in , it is always the harder choice.

And, in the midst of loving my church community, , for such a time as this. I believe that. I have to. All I can do is pray for mercy and make decisions with humility. All I can do is beg God to take my offering and bring forth something beautiful.

I’m also an elder who is eight months pregnant, carrying a pregnancy that has been anything but certain. Since December I have held tightly to a challenging prenatal diagnosis, one that may or may not be accurate. I have settled into the pattern of weekly non-stress tests, to see if this is the week my baby may be in distress, if this is the week we are rushed to the hospital to deliver a baby my body is not yet ready to deliver.

And each week, I have been sent home to my little boys with the instructions to rest. I drink water and try to help with homework from my spot on the couch. 

These two tender things must be walked through before I can really write to you about them. They are two living organisms: my church and my baby. Both must be tended, cultivated, allowed to grow into the sunshine, even if I don’t know what will come of them.

And what else can I write about? This is the season of my life right now. Uncertainty, yes. But also responsibility. And deep belief in God’s goodness. And hope, that whatever this season of growth and tenderness and prayer brings, Jesus resurrected will be my courage, my compassion, my wisdom.

In the past two weeks I have had some of the hardest conversations of my life with people in my church community, people I love.

And you know what else? In the past two weeks I have had meals delivered to my home. My kids have been picked up and taken to the park because I needed to rest. My church community has fed them ice cream and read them stories. My church community has mopped my floor while I napped or fed my kids chicken nuggets while I talked through difficult issues on the phone in another room.

I sat on the pew this past Sunday and cried as a dear friend and pastor shared his process in this uncertain time, and asked us to enter into a conversation that is not easy. “Healthy families have to learn to have hard conversations,” he said.

And I know that’s true. You know what else I know?

Our doctrine doesn’t make us a church. What makes us a church is how we love the pregnant lady who needs to stay on the couch. What makes us a church is how we mop each other’s floors and take each other’s kids to the park. What makes us a church is how we learn to see one another as God’s beloveds, and speak kindness to one another even when our passion is loud and fiery. What makes us a church is how we choose love and humility over rightness.

Yes, I wouldn’t have chosen either of these uncertainties. But cultivating something beautiful always demands pain. Isn’t that the way this world has always been? The seed is planted whole into the earth, but it must split open before the sprout can push its way from the darkness and into the bright sun. Everyone around you will be talking about summer jobs, and they will all sound great to you

  • mothering spirit

    This is beautiful. At our best, we are church at home and home at church. You captured both of these here. And invite all of us to step back and ask how we are caring for what is most important, what God asks us to tend with love. Prayers for peace for you and your waiting.

  • Many prayers for you, Micha. And much gratitude for these beautiful words.

  • Beautiful post. Praying today for your church and your family, Micha.

  • So sorry to hear that you are carrying heavy burdens these days. I’m also so grateful that your church, though in a moment of crisis, is taking really good care of you. You are blessed. Praying for grace.

  • I’m so grateful for the good work that you do and the way you weave stories with your words. Praying for you and your family.

  • Thank you for your vulnerability. I’m praying for you.

  • Danny Gluch

    This is beautiful, thank you.

  • Dena D Hobbs

    Beautiful post. You are carrying two hard things. As one who has been on pregnancy bed rest and through church stress, many prayers for you and your family. You sound like you are handling them both with grace.

  • Emily Toews

    Ok, so I’m not pregnant, nor do I have children, but I have been beaten by life lately, as my father just passed away and I’m longing to be home lying on the couch dealing with my new case of strep throat. However, here I am, sitting at my computer, looking for ANY kind of hope for my congregation which is struggling with, what sounds like the very same issues (are you sure you’re not in my congregation) and I read what you have written. I am weeping. Thank-you. Thank-you for the reminder that we’re birthing something beautiful here and it seems more painful than we can bear…but what is to come? A bit of Christ, green and tender shooting up from the thawing earth.

  • Jerusalem Greer

    I am hugging you so tight. You are doing a good work. Love you.

  • Jory Micah

    Beautiful Post! 🙂

  • Prayers for the strength of vulnerability for both mother and elder… and baby and church.

  • Jane Halton

    I hear this and respond with an Amen! Whenever I get down or frustrated with church I think of all the people I could call to take my kids to the park in an emergency (and those who offer to do it for fun).

  • This is so, so good, Micha. Keeping you and yours close to my heart.

  • pastordt

    Oh, Micha. This is so beautiful. And so is the statement recently released by your dear congregation. That letter is exactly where I hope and pray our denomination lands eventually – agreeing to disagree, but staying in fellowship. We shall see . . . So many blessings to you, dear one.

  • This is achingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your hope that there are healthy ways to groan and grow together, even if all the soil is watered by tears. Praying for your community and your littles tonight.

  • Jennifer Walden Trbovich

    The stress you are enduring and yet you still find the words to express it so eloquently and beautifully. You are doing wonderful things my dear. So glad that your church is blessing you in the midst of you blessing them. Prayers for you , your church, you loves and your little peapod in there!

  • sarahfarish

    What makes a “church”…thank you for this beautiful reminder – so good.

  • Oh Micha – I have been wondering how you were – and this post makes sense. I love your courage in all things – that’s what stands out for me here. Love your writing, lady.

  • karen

    THIS was ….beautiful. May your genetic family and your church family continue to care for each other with grace and humility! Colossians 3:1-18

  • Kim Watson

    Thanks for this beautiful perspective. We are aching for our “home” church and look forward to being with you all this summer. We will pray for your new baby and the wonderful new direction in which you are moving.

  • Ann Ehlert

    Praying. That’s a lot on your plate. I’ve been in both positions as an elder and an uncertain pregnancy and denied its hardness just to get through. I’m thanking God for your perspective on it and grateful you are allowing those tears to flow. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate every post.

  • Smack_41

    I apologize up front for this long post – maybe it’s even a bit inappropriate for this venue, but then I’ve never been accused of having oodles of tact. Reading your post I was struck (again) by how incredibly dysfunctional our churches are – and how much they could learn from recovering alcoholics (I’m not joking, keep reading). I’ve posted something similar on different blogs – but here goes some suggestions from our AA friends: The 12 Traditions of AA (adapted as a message to the church):

    1. Our common welfare comes first; salvation depends on church unity. (It does – doesn’t it? or is the “church” made up of “every man for himself” – “it’s between me and my god”?)

    2. For our church purpose there is but One Ultimate Authority – a Loving God as He has expressed Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. Our “leaders” are but trusted servants; they do not govern. (Servant leaders – leaders who are among the regular joes – lending strength, not afraid of owning their weakness and fragility in a public way – leading by showing that they are ordinary folks who only have become extraordinary through a relationship with the One who Loves – the One who knows them and has given them a new heart to live from…no more pulpit – pew divide, that’s malarky – Jesus didn’t separate himself from the crowd unless it was to be with His Father – I’m not sure why our pastors have special meetings where others are excluded – why pastors and deacons are perpetually in fear that church members will discover that they are ______________ (fill in the box – choose any weakness we all may have)).

    3. The only requirement for church membership is a desire to follow Christ.(That’s right – throw the doctrine out the window – you’re here because you want to know Jesus, let Christian’s lives “preach often without using words”…For example, if we disagree about abortion, gay marriage, I should believe that my life, because of Christ’s Life, will convince you that you are are wrong – not my words. There’s “no fear in Love”. I’m not afraid of what I may consider to be your Untruth because I know that Light always crowds out darkness. Always. It just might take some time and suffering on my part – and hey, I might even discover that I am the one carrying around the untruth. By the way – if you’ve ever seen this happen, or you’ve been changed in your thinking via a relationship with one who loves – it’s powerful – yikes – not to be messed with.)

    4. Each church should be autonomous except in matters affecting other churches and The Body of Christ as a whole. (An example: Before we build another big McChurch, does our community need it? How are the _________ (fill in the blank for denominations) doing down the street? Could we share space? Also consider, are we, by our actions, “causing the name of Christ to be blasphemed” among those who don’t have the Good News?)

    5. Each church has but one primary purpose – to carry the Good News to the person who still suffers without it and to disciple them, one at a time. (If you have 12 disciples in your whole life count yourself as doing exceedingly well. Christians don’t change the world through policy, government or prayer in public schools, – we change the world by becoming more like Christ and His Father – um, that would be Love)…

    6. A church ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the Body of Christ’s name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. (Wow – what would happen to politics in the US if Christians collectively declared that they had enough of being used by both political parties? – Withdraw consent from being a Christian “tool” for the _______________ (fill in the blank for political party)) A girl can dream, can’t she?

    7. Every church ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions. (Our concern as the church is with collecting funds, not for building campaigns or to pay off our mortgage, we collect money so we are *100%* certain that no person in our church is in need of *anything*. A prerequisite is that people who hang with us aren’t afraid to be weak – because they know we’ve got them covered. We collect money for taking care of the single mom sitting next to us who just lost a job – and her friend’s kids who don’t have winter coats, for the guy who has been unemployed for 2 years and needs job re-training, for the widow who has Parkinsons and needs someone to sit with her during the day but can’t afford it.)

    8. The Body of Christ should remain forever nonprofessional, but out churches may employ special workers. (Lord Jesus – deliver us from people who make money by being professional church leaders. We will gladly support those who are part of the Body of Christ, but everyone needs a job – a job that takes them out of the four walls of the sanctuary and encourages them to get real and get their hands dirty – Jesus was a carpenter wasn’t he? Paul a tent maker? Lydia a cloth dealer etcetc)

    9. The Body of Christ and its member churches ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. (See #8 – we may need a secretary, so – there is a part time position open for you while you look for a job.)

    10. The Body of Christ has no opinion on outside issues; hence the Body of Christ’s name ought never be drawn into public controversy.(Imagine – we don’t have to judge what the world says about abortion, homosexual marriage, pot legalization, perpetual war – we could just simply focus on Jesus and become more like Him *see the 12 Steps* 🙂 When did that stop being enough?)

    11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films. (“They will know us by our love” – it’s really simple – and the hardest thing we could possibly do – maybe that’s why we don’t do it?).

    12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. (No more super star Christians – celebrity Christianity reduces other members to appendages, not the vital organs that they are – it may not be intentional but it is patterned after the star-idolatry of the world and it needs to stop. We would value and honor the weakest among us as having a higher position than the “strong”…imagine, no more concerns that Mr/Miss ______________ said something wacky again and the press is all over it characterizing all Christians as nut jobs – the press would lose a lot of fuel in the fire against Christians)…just sayin’

    So – that’s a prescription for radical change in the church – coming from recovering _______ (fill in the blank) – and aren’t we all recovering from the effects of sin in some way anyway?

  • Kash

    quite whining
    you wanted leadership etc, deal with the responsibility…
    no excuses even if your in the ninth month…
    those who seek leadership and then get it mut be responsible.

  • Kash


  • Kash

    when women reach a leadership position they whine about how hard it is…
    always complaining
    feminism can never be satisfied…

  • L.W. Dicker

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins. May I asketh, who among you is the deranged lunatic that came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!??

    Blood sacrifice!!?? Are you out of your goddamned minds with that disgusting Stone Age fuckery!!??

    Listen Brethren, as I tell you something of great importance;

    I would sooner lick the dingleberries off of Judas’ hairy ass crack than be a part of your dying for sins horse shit!!!!!!

    Blood sacrifice for sins!!!!!! Holy fucking Mother of God!!! What kind of idiotic caveman shit is that!!??

    Now Brethren, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Mary Magdalene’s for a little punetang and crumpets.”

    Jesus Christ, if Jesus had actually existed and had actually written something.

  • L.W. Dicker

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, I’ve heard it said among you that I am the Son of God and was sent to die for your sins. May I asketh, who among you is the deranged lunatic that came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!??

    Blood sacrifice!!?? Are you out of your goddamned minds with that disgusting Stone Age fuckery!!??

    Listen Brethren, as I tell you something of great importance;

    I would sooner lick the dingleberries off of Judas’ hairy ass crack than be a part of your dying for sins horse shit!!!!!!

    Blood sacrifice for sins!!!!!! Holy fucking Mother of God!!! What kind of idiotic caveman shit is that!!??

    Now Brethren, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Mary Magdalene’s for a little tea and punetang.”

    Jesus Christ, if Jesus had actually existed and had actually written something.