When Nathan and I made the decision to commit ourselves fully to the love of God we looked at all of our opportunities for service and work. Because of our privilege there were many. There were desires for moving oversees, public ministry or creating a close knit community with like minded people whom we love. We took prayer, reading the words of wisdom teachers like Jesus and opening up our lives to others for counsel very seriously.
We were called to do things that felt less like desire and more like dying to self. ✨”If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it say, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”✨ We took those words seriously and made a commitment to sharing our opportunity with others and measuring our success by real people gaining access to real food, no matter how few people that might be.
Our friend has kindly sent us this from time to time,
✨”I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.”✨Marge Piercy
There were two things we expected, miracles and suffering, and we’ve seen both. One thing we’ve learned along the way is not that we must leave our families, brothers and sisters, but that we are to stay the path no matter the cost. We must begin to question what we’ve always known to be true and move into a better way of knowing and doing. With grace, the family has been the place where we’ve been able to live this out best.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist