Stories connect us to one another. In Undone: A Story of Making Peace with an Unexpected Life, Michele Cushatt, a master story teller, welcomes us in to her home and in to her heart to hear her story. Hers was meant to be a neat and tidy life of blessings reaped from service sown to her Lord and Savior. However, divorce, cancer, and unexpected children led to a life unraveled and laying Undone before her very eyes.
Stories connect us to one another. Stories highlight the commonality of human emotion. Joy and disappointment, heartache and hope, pride and embarrassment are feelings we are all too well acquainted with and Undone is a story that contains them all. Michele reveals her story with profound vulnerability and authenticity, which invites her readers to examine their own stories with new levels of the same. Vulnerability isn’t always pretty, but it almost always leads to compassion and intimacy with one another and with God. As Michele puts it, “Sometimes messy is the necessary beginning to the makings of extraordinary (p. 137).” In fact, at the heart of Undone is a call for all towards greater authenticity, to remove the masks that hide our true selves. Undone calls its readers to reveal their heart to a loving God regardless of how broken and battered it is. After all, “Our God is a refuge for the broken, not a shelf for the display of the shiny. No more pride for those who have it all together, or shame for those who don’t (p. 214).”
Stories connect us to one another. Stories connect us through the life lessons learned. Michele seamlessly weaves her stories into the truths taught in Scripture by the Author of each of our stories. Michele shares sacred and holy moments of revelation and redemption between her and her Heavenly Father. Undone challenges us all to examine the life lessons God is tenderly teaching us in our own stories. In the midst of trying to keep an “undone” life pieced together, Michele states, “Peace isn’t a byproduct of control, the payout of a happy conclusion. Peace is the infiltrating, life-giving presence of a very real God. One who loves nothing more than to step into the middle of locked and darkened rooms and impossible circumstances, close enough to touch (p. 57).”
Stories connect is to one another. Michele’s story is both unique and ordinary. It is ordinary in that we have all been touched by the fear of a cancer diagnosis whether a dear friend, family member, or from the lips of our own doctor. It is ordinary in that divorce, even among Christian communities, is sadly more common than not. It is ordinary in that many choose to step up and raise children with no where else to turn. It is ordinary in that everyone who has breath has come to grips with life’s cruelty and unfair ways. The ordinary in the story makes it relateable, for we all know what it’s like to watch our perfectly laid plans fall apart, to feel Undone.
The relateability of the story is precisely what makes it so unique. It is unique in Michele’s willingness to share life’s twists and turns, frailties and failures, disappointments and unrealized dreams. Michele’s story is unique in that in the midst of the pain, Michele finds hope. In the midst of chaos, she finds peace. And in the face of fear, Michele chooses faith. Ultimately, Michele concludes, “Faith is choosing the anchor of your focus. It’s about turning your eyes away from the questions that lead to fear, and instead locking eyes with the one who knows the answers (p. 202).”
So, do not delay. I rarely review or endorse a book, but this is a must read. Because frankly, we are all Undone.