Solid Earth in Shaky Territory

Apr 16, 2012

When my husband and I received the phone call that would bring us three more children, we had no idea what to expect.

We’d already raised three boys, meaning we knew what parenting involved. Busy days, sleepless nights, and the complicated dance between affection and correction, holding close and letting go. Been there, done that. And not always well, I might add.

But these children were coming to us with extra needs, and we weren’t entirely sure we’d be equipped to meet them. Even without those special needs, our boys ranged in age from 14 to 19. It’d been a long time since we were in the preschool years. Our home had “grown up” with our children. We no longer covered the outlets or hid the scissors. All our toys had found another home at Goodwill, as did the sippy cups and plastic forks and plates. The bathroom has been remodeled, with countertops sitting at adult height, far too tall for a child to reach the sink. And our bulging shelf of movies and games lacked anything of interest for children under 5.

It’s been 4 months now—4 months today. And since that first day we’ve discovered our lack of toys and movies was the least of our worries. Our lives have completely changed—bedrooms, routines, closets, schedules, mealtime, movie night. Not a single part of my prior life remains. It’s as if the family we had before has been buried, and in its place is this new family still trying to find familiar ground.

I’m not overstating it when I say this has been a monumental transition. Most of the time, I’m dizzy from it all, like I’m standing in an earthquake trying to find a safe corner to crouch in, solid earth in shaky territory. Each day we live in uncertainty. Each day we wake up and wonder how we will do it. We have no idea what tomorrow will look like, let alone a month or year from now. But we are learning to become comfortable with chaos, familiar with the unknown.

It isn’t easy. And it’s definitely not glamorous. But it’s good.

In spite of the changes and challenges, I believe this might be the best thing that’s happened to our family, the best thing because we’re learning …

  • Generous grace is like oxygen to a family stretched thin.
  • Security planted in the certainty of our faith is the only real kind.
  • Obedience to God’s call is seldom fun or flashy, but it’s always right.
  • One-day-at-a-time living is wisdom.
  • God provides enough manna for today. Never less, but rarely more.
  • The height and depth, and length and breadth of the love of Christ is the only kind that can meet needs like mine.

Long before our phone rang, I was an orphan desperate for a place of grace. The depth of my need terrified me. And those around me. No love was ever enough, no food satisfied the ache.

But then a Father looked at my scrawny, mess-of-a-self, and said …

I choose her. That one. The one with all the insecurities, impossibilities and special needs. I’m making her my own, even though I know how hard it’s going to be and she’ll never fully appreciate the sacrifice I’ve made. I’m doing it anyway.

That’s the solid earth I stand on. One day at a time. Like I said, this might be the best thing that’s every happened to our family. And me.

What challenge is your family facing, and what are you learning in the middle of it?




  1. suzy sammons

    Dear Michele,
    Such beauty you share.
    I know this solid-shakiness. From the time my earthly father was crushed on the freeway and my heavenly Father said “now bring your mess to me” … to daily proof that we are best when we seek obedience with all our might. Nothing more than obedience. It’s marvelous and it’s thrilling and I can’t imagine living any differently. I get chills hearing you write about this season because it is s o m u c h to walk through. I want to give you a big hair-pulling ARRRRGGGHHHHHHH
    I pray this minute for your continued peace and confidence in only today’s manna. Be embraced. Forcefully carve time for you and your hubby alone. you know.
    Thank you.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I know you know exactly what I’m speaking about. You have quite a story to share! Thanks for inspiring the rest of us, Suzy.

  2. Dominik

    Just found you blog. I like it. Will show it to my wife Barbara also


  3. Stacy Voss

    I love that: “generous grace.” What an inspiring reminder. Thanks, Michele.

    • Michele Cushatt

      Thanks, Stacy. By the way, I’ve been thinking about you this week, and considering how the word “enough” applies to my life and these circumstances …

  4. Nichole

    I am not a parent but being happy for raising me well with my parents makes me excited to be one too!


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