So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Written By:  Michelle DeRusha @ Graceful

“What’s your absolute favorite place, Mommy?” he asks, as we sit at the kitchen counter with our toasted bagels and sliced strawberries. When I tell my seven-year-old son that I don’t think I have one absolute favorite place, he’s nothing short of horrified.

“What? Not even the cabin? The cabin’s my absolute favorite place,” says Rowan, referring to our family cabin on the North Shore of Lake Superior. “You need to find your favorite place.”

According to the writer Edward Abbey, Rowan may be on to something:

“Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.” (Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire).

Abbey’s “right place,” his “one true home,” was Moab, Utah, a spot where he spent many years as a ranger.

My husband, Brad, shares his favorite place with Rowan: the icy lake, whispering aspen and thundering Temperance River of Minnesota’s North Shore.

My dad’s place is the Connecticut River, with the osprey nests swaying atop buoy markers, pines and evergreens jutting from the bank, a hint of salt in the air from Long Island Sound two miles downstream.

But my place? My one true home? I’m not sure I know.

A few times a year the kids and I rumble over the gravel roads to Spring Creek Prairie, an Audubon nature preserve about 10 miles outside of Lincoln. As we walk the grassy hills, goldfinches swooping, grasshoppers humming, I sometimes wonder if Nebraska, with its sea of blue stem and low-hanging cumulous clouds, isn’t my one true place after all.

I think about this possibility when I read these verses from Acts:

“…He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live, and move and have our being.”  (Acts 17: 26-28)

As an unbeliever for more than two decades, I doubt I would have sought God if I’d remained in my home state of Massachusetts. I was too comfortable there, surrounded by my extended family and friends, secure in the job I loved, settled into the familiar routines and rituals of the life I’d carved out for myself. I believe God himself determined Nebraska as the place where, stripped of all my comforts and securities, I would seek him and reach out for him in my loneliness, fear and despair. I believe God chose Nebraska as the place where I would find him.

Nebraska may not be a typical favorite place. There are no sandy beaches here or crashing surf, no sparkling, pristine lakes or roaring glacial rivers. But in Nebraska I discovered my one, true home. Because here on the Great Plains, I found God. 

Have you ever wondered about why you live where you do? Do you ever think God has placed you there for a specific purpose?

photo credit

Michelle Derusha

A Massachusetts native, Michelle DeRusha moved to Nebraska a decade ago, where she discovered the Great Plains, grasshoppers the size of chickens …and God. She writes about finding and keeping faith in the everyday at her blog, Graceful, as well as a monthly religion and spirituality column for the Lincoln Journal Star and for a variety of online publications, including The High Calling. She’s mom to two rambunctious, bug-loving boys, Noah and Rowan, and wife to Brad, an English professor. You can also connect with Michelle on Twitter and Facebook.

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

In This Stage of Marriage, it Feels Like We’re Roommates Who Share the Same Kids

In: Faith, Marriage
Distant couple on phones in bed

How do you get it back? How do you get back the love you once had? Everyone told me marriage was hard and having kids was hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I thought everyone was lying because our relationship was solid before marriage. We were best friends. Some days I feel like we’re roommates who share the same kids. It disgusts me even to say that, but it’s the truth. Marriage is hard and has ugly sides to it that everyone seems afraid to talk about. RELATED: Keep Showing Up Even When Marriage is...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

I Am a Good Enough Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother kissing toddler

I came to motherhood knowing nothing about the job. My mother’s example wasn’t an example at all, more of something to forget, and maybe even get therapy for. My own son was the first newborn I’d ever held. When I became a mom, I was 23 and clueless.  Because of my personality, I wanted to do everything right and parenthood was no exception. I read all the books on parenting I could. I talked to older moms and soaked up all the advice they gave me. Having no idea what I was doing made me look to outside sources to inform...

Keep Reading

God’s Plan For Me Wasn’t What I Expected

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman walking with children silhouette

I grew up in a family where we knew who God was. We went to church, and we were involved in church. However, when we weren’t at church, time spent in the Word fell to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people, but we didn’t make that a priority in my house.  Going into adulthood, I realized I had deceived myself into believing I had a relationship with God. I knew God loved me, but I questioned whether I loved Him. I wasn’t living life in a way that was glorifying to Him. I’m not only...

Keep Reading

But God is Still Good

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking out window

“I can’t afford a new one,” I thought to myself as I shampooed another stain. This can’t keep happening. Maybe I made a mistake. I have to make this last. And the couch. And the clothes. And all the things. We are done having babies. The price of food has doubled. It’s astronomical to fill the cars with gas. Things are closing in on me. How can I best serve my family? Survival mode engaged. When I read the news, when I follow the headlines, when I listen to the conversations around me . . .  I hear fear. Loss....

Keep Reading

Jesus Helps Me Smile Through the Weary Moments of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding toddler girl, color photo

“Mom, why aren’t you smiling?” My 4-year-old took one look at my face, and like an open book, she could read me. Sometimes I wish I could hide it better, tucked behind an infinite smile or a pasted-on happy face. Sometimes I wish my beautiful children—so young, free, and fun—wouldn’t see my face on a day like today. RELATED: Motherhood is Hard, But Loving You is the Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Done You see, it’s just so hard—all of it. And I am just so tired. Between working a job, trying to keep up with being a supportive wife and...

Keep Reading

The Guilt of an Angry Mother Meets Grace

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and son hug at home

“No one’s perfect,” I think. I’m mopping up my overspilled anger like the remnants of an erupted chocolate volcano that hit the kitchen floor.  It was the last bucking whine of “I don’t want chocolate in my milk” that did it. The culmination of about one million “I want chocolate in my milk”s ended with a sticky muddy river of it from highchair to floor.  After reasoning with my toddler, which never works well, I gave in to his adamant refusal of white milk for a chocolatey exchange. He responded to my surrender like a 2-year-old. He revolted. Little feet...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.