Unexpected Life

Linking up today with friends from #livefreeThursday where we are all pondering the topic:  “no strings attached.”  Well, fine, say I, the Bible-teaching evangelical.  My confessional theology is all about the sovereignty of God.  I love and serve Him, and He gets to call the shots.  But when He really DOES call the shots, and I don’t like what He has chosen, can I find grace to let go of my plans?   Undone, a memoir by Michele Cushatt (who, incidentally, spells her name correctly), chronicles her process of living a “no strings attached life” in the midst of the unexpected.

When my plans go awry and the unexpected happens, all the cracks in my theology show up.  I like to believe that if I do “A,” then “B” will happen, and I might just have some teensy control issues, so Michele Cushatt’s memoir, Undone:  A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life held me in its grip from start to finish.  Michele’s cancer diagnosis could not have come at a worse time.  Her three teenage sons required energy and attention and, on top of that, her career in public speaking was taking off — all good things!  But how could she manage this in the aftermath of a surgical procedure on her tongue that would leave her speechless and in unrelenting pain?

Through a vulnerable narrative of her circumstances, Michele reveals that “the day cancer showed up in my life, God showed up bigger.”  In words, raw and relevant, she traces the lessons in “one day at a time living” that came with a second marriage and blended family. She addresses the futility of worrying, her frustration with the imperfection that accompanies mothering, and the miracle of providence — all the times that God showed up to prove His faithfulness and to demonstrate His love.

“Just because something is hard doesn’t mean we’re not called to it; and just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good,” became a watch word for Michele as she lived the hard gift of mothering through cancer.    Then, just as the Empty Nest (“The Promised Land!”) seemed to be within her grasp, the Cushatts added three special-needs preschoolers to their family.  In spite of her best efforts, she could not make perfection happen in the midst of the upheaval of their PTSD and attachment disorders, and once again, her readers have a front row seat to witness the miracle of God’s grace at work in the circumstances of her life.

Undone marches through the heaviness of some very intense days, but Michele brings her humor and creativity of expression into the telling so that grace gets the last word.  The reader who battles perfectionism will find food for the soul in reading about Michele’s relinquishment of the day-to-day struggle to keep all the plates spinning in unison and about her acceptance of the “the holiness of a rough-draft life. . . Of trying and stumbling, but finding the grace to get up and try again.”

This book was provided by Zondervan through Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

6 thoughts on “Unexpected Life”

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