By Libbo Crosswhite
Freedom means finding joy in the chaos
“Do y’all do anything normal?”
Clay and I just looked at each other and laughed when we were asked this question recently at a dinner party with friends. The answer was an emphatic and joyful “No!” from us as we recounted how we ended up with four kittens and a puppy (plus our two kids) in a span of six months.
After much debate and begging, I convinced Clay that Mary Thomas needed a kitten for her 5th birthday. My budget-friendly husband convinced Mary that the cats at the shelter were much cuter (and also happened to be $50 cheaper). We brought Kiki home to much jubilation. She ran away for the first 24 hours that she was ours, but I blame that on the creepy box they send cats home in — how terrifying! Fortunately, she was found hiding under our deck and quickly made herself comfortable as the Crosswhite pet.
Three short months later, we were surprised with a puppy for Christmas from Clay’s parents. Yep, you read that correctly — surprised. And yes, we do still speak to them and actually really like them, too! The cutest puppy on the planet also happens to love to eat chairs and couch cushions and has a knack for eating only my favorite pairs of pants.
After a few months of putting Kiki lower and lower on our “to do” list, I told Clay it was time to get our life together and get her spayed. When we went to get Kiki spayed, we were yet again surprised with the news that she was expecting three kittens. We chose life and brought our pregnant cat home to deliver her babies.
Imagine our surprise when we found out the cat ultrasound (that Clay was super pumped to pay for) was wrong — Kiki delivered four, not three fur babies. At midnight. On a Sunday. All under our deck that Kiki had made her safe haven the first night in our home, which also happens to be completely enclosed. As all good husbands do, Clay drove to Walmart at midnight to buy a saw so we could cut open the deck to rescue Kiki and the Kittens. (What a great band name!)
For six weeks, at undoubtedly the craziest time for anyone who works in education — the month of May — we kept the four kittens alive, the mama cat sane and our puppy, Roo, contained (barely) in our home. Russell met someone at a baseball game and was telling them all about each of our animals. When the lady asked if we lived on a farm, Clay couldn’t help but laugh and say, “Not exactly.”
And yes, we found loving homes for all four babies, one being our own home Turns out Mary finally did get the kitten she always wanted. Two kids, two cats and a puppy sounds less chaotic, right?
Chaos is quite honestly the only way to describe our family most of the time. There have been a lot of laughs, some tears, a whole bunch of cat litter and mostly an overwhelming sense of joy that the Lord has entrusted me with this gaggle of kids/animals and a husband to lead us through it all. It’s quite honestly, beautiful.
Of all of the things the Lord has graciously given me, I cherish my freedom to live a life of joy made complete in my salvation. A life of freedom from high expectations that I can so easily put on myself. Freedom to laugh at the chaos and cry at it sometimes, too. It is a reminder that earthly perfection is not only nonexistent but also will never fill the void in my soul that can only be filled by Jesus’ perfect love for me.
As believers, we are gifted with the ability to see the symphony in our chaos — that all of our unexpected, oftentimes overwhelming circumstances are working in sync and in line with our Creator’s ultimate plan. As much chaos as I seem to bring upon myself and our family, I am forever thankful that as a believer, I know the truth that there is joy in surprises and hope in our chaos — both the good kitten chaos and the scary, serious chaos, too.
The pursuit of perfection died on the cross with our sins and the need for control was washed away by our Savior’s sacrifice. May we remember that truth as we celebrate our freedom!
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at email@example.com.