I AM – Book Review

I AM – Book Review

I Am Book Review

I recently read — no, scratch that — I devoured Michele Cushatt’s first book, Undone. While I have never had a cancer diagnosis, I found myself strangely relating to her memoir. My “undone” was both different (recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility) and the same (loving and raising kids from hard places).

So even though I knew her story, I trusted her heart, and I delighted in her voice, I still came to her newest book, I Am, a little concerned that it might not be for me.

I AM: A gift of faith when easy answers aren’t enough

“I’m no theologian,” she claims. There are no degrees hanging from her walls from seminary. So who is she, she wonders, to be able to wrestle with the deeper truths of God’s Word and pair it with the brokenness of this world? To not only find God in this brokenness, but to discover her true self along the way? And help us find our own true selves through her experiences and God’s Word?

“It wasn’t a clean faith, a faith without questions. But it was a real faith …”
Michele Cushatt, I Am

From someone who has a Bible and theology degree hanging from my own proverbial walls, I have to say she is exactly the right person. I know a degree can be bought and paid for without it changing one’s heart. But to have suffered and to still have deep faith — that is a qualification no one pursues and yet it is priceless in value.

As someone who has also faced significant heartache, the last thing I desire to read is someone force-feeding me faith by way of easy answers. What I really need is someone who knows what it is to starve, has been to God’s lavish feast, and is able to invite me to the table to eat.

And Michele does exactly that.

No easy answers

She does not provide easy answers because every single conclusion to her faith is hard-won. And in the places she cannot give answers, she gives the next best gift: the gift of her wrestling.

“This wasn’t the disappointment of plans falling through. This was the crashing down of everything I’d once prayed for and dreamed of. Those who have endured a similar wrecking understand something of my deep confusion. I’d been faithful, followed Jesus my whole life. How could God allow me to end up broken and alone?”
Michele Cushatt, I Am

Is there any greater gift an author could offer her readers? To come forward and say, “Listen, I’m deep in this too. I have faced my greatest fears, I have questioned his goodness, I have walked away from my faith and then walked back. My perspective has shifted, my values remain, and in due course, my questions have not all been answered to my liking. And like you … I am wrestling. But we’re in this together. Not just you and me. We’re in this with God.”

And yet, she goes one step further beyond the questioning. She offers us the gift of faith. As a friend wise friend once told me, there can be no faith without doubt.

“Life without God was equally as painful as life with God. But life without God was absent of relief.”
Michele Cushatt, I Am

Acknowledging Doubts

Acknowledging our doubts is not the antithesis of faith, but rather the doorway to it. Michele has walked through that door and is beckoning us to come:

  • To believe that we are more than our sufferings. More than our failures. More than our aging bodies and fluctuating bank accounts.
  • To believe that these struggles we face can be more than a maddening repercussion of sin, and can be a miraculous undertaking of God’s redemption if we let them.
  • To believe that we have value, purpose, and security.
  • To believe that while we may not be saved from every trial, we will be saved in it.

When I began Michele’s I Am, I believed I would be in for a good story to keep me reading, a few insights to boost my self-esteem, and a few words that would answer the questions about God I sometimes ache deep inside with. And I feared a book that might seek to placate my questions of faith in this hard life with platitudes and easy answers.

Instead, I found a fellow wanderer. A friend on this really demanding and sometimes outright painful journey called life. A friend who acknowledged the hurt, but also the hope, the joy, the safety of God. A friend who is ready to walk me back to God’s truth. A friend who knows what it’s like to starve, who has eaten from the feast of God’s table, and who has invited to come sit and satisfy my soul’s hunger.

And today I want to extend that invitation:

Come, sit. And eat to your fill.

Book Giveaway

Welcome to the Clutter Free Book Club, where I share the books I’ve been reading (and hopefully loving.) Each week I review a book I’ve read, and because I am living a Clutter Free life, I pass that book on to one of you. (This is a guest post)

To be entered into the drawing, just comment on this post within 7 days and you’ll be entered to win. But there is one catch: if you win the book, you have to promise to pass it on to someone else when you’re done (keeping this book club Clutter Free.)

When you comment below, share either:

1. A book you’ve read that you think I should put on my list
2. The name of the person you will pass this book onto when you’re done reading it!

Book giveaway open only to U.S. readers.

Rachel Lewis

Rachel Lewis is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. After a 5-year battle with secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, she now has three children in her arms and a foster son in her heart. She is passionate about helping women feel heard and understood when building their family gets a little bit complicated. When she’s not chauffeuring her kids around, you can find her shopping at Trader Joes, drinking coffee, or writing about her journey as a mom at The Lewis Note. She is a regular contributor to Still Standing Magazine, Pregnancy After Loss Support, and The Mighty. You can get her free resource,  “Your BFF Guide to Miscarriage: 5 Ways to Comfort a Friend Through Pregnancy Loss” here. Connect with Rachel on Facebook, or join her private Facebook group Brave Mamas — a support group for anyone who had to struggle to build their family.


How to Make God-time Fun and Easy for your Kids

How to Make God-time Fun and Easy for your Kids

Sometimes it can be hard to spend intentional time with our kids each day. Okay, make that all the time.

And when you do sit down for official family + God-time together, perhaps you get disheartened by the grunts and groans from your older kids? *Sigh*

Welcome to the world of parenting and trying to make God-time fun and easy for your kids.

Although I’m not sure what it’s like yet to have older children, I was already experiencing the difficulty of raising kids to know and love Jesus (without it being boring or feeling like a lecture) while getting my own much-needed soul care as well.

I subconsciously thought, how can I achieve both a time for me to de-stress and get still from the hustle and bustle of parenting life while nurturing the hearts of my children with God’s Word at the same time?

It was a pretty normal day. I sat coloring in a Disney character with my daughter when I noticed the therapeutic benefits of coloring that everyone was raving about. I was skeptical about it, until this moment when I noticed my heart slow to a normal rhythm as I sat across from my daughter soaking in this mommy time.

As much as I was enjoying the calming moment, it was missing something…

I flipped open my phone to a devotional app and began reading. Yes, I thought. This is what my soul is aching for. But with my eyes off the coloring at hand, not to mention my daughter as well, I knew this wasn’t going to work. Plus, I thought, how is this really helping her grow spiritually? It wasn’t.

I kept coloring, and slowly I began to hear a whisper in my head and heart. Is that you God? That’s when this idea began to form.

Big and Little DevoA year-and-a-half later, Big and Little Coloring Devotional was born! Let me tell you why it’s so good:

  • There are devotionals for the “big” with de-stressing designs, and verses for the “little” to color-in, making it the perfect mix to nurture not only your heart but your child’s heart too.
  • It can also be used for bigger siblings to read through with their little brother or sister.
  • Even daddy’s, grandparents and caretakers are raving about this book!
  • The images are neither too fanciful nor too masculine, thereby girls AND boys love it in equal measures.
  • You experience face-to-face interaction which encourages conversation since the pages face opposite, also creating more room to color without elbow bumping.

There’s finally a way to achieve what we’ve been longing for: de-stressing and nurturing for our own hearts while making God-time fun and easy for your kids, no matter their age or stage.

It’s amazing how God can use my own desire for such a book in ways that now reaches the hearts of many.

It truly has become “so much more than a coloring book.”

Rachel SwansonRachel C. Swanson is an author, speaker, and accredited life coach. Her best-selling book Big and Little Coloring Devotional was birthed by her own struggle as a busy mom to three children she lovingly calls “Twin 1”, “Twin 2” and “wannabe Twin 3.” Married to her husband for eleven years, they rear their tribe in an aspiring country town just outside Los Angeles, CA. Visit RachelCSwanson.com for more info! You can also find out about her Big and Little Coloring Book here.

Connect with Rachel on Facebook or Instagram.