Lately, I have found myself squirming a lot. I seem to be landing in situations that step just right on those sensitive spots. You know the ones. The ones that rumble in your gut, later erupting out of your mouth at a decibel 10 notches too high. Or the question posed by a loved one that sends your running to burry your head in your pillow. That situation that seems to never ever ever get fully resolved wearing you thin through the night.
No matter how much I try to polish and secure, my brokenness creeps back out.
I like things neat and tidy. I work hard for pretty. I guess I don’t want my Facebook status, neighbor status, even best friend status to weaken on account of my mess. But lately, I just can’t seem to keep that broken messed up monster stuffed in the closet.
A friend of mine recently shared a thought that made me and my monster freeze in our tracks… she said “Jesus wasn’t afraid to show His scars.”
And she’s right, Jesus wasn’t afraid to show His wounded, messed up scars. In fact, He invited his disciples to touch them, feel them, really look at them. Every inch of them. (see Luke 24:38-39, and John 20:19-28)
That’s when I picked up Ann Voskamp’s new book, “The Broken Way”.
If you’ve read any of Ann’s books you know you are in for a deep dive into stunning waters right from the beginning. She takes all of your unspoken thoughts and feelings and paints them with brilliant color right there between letters. This latest array is no different. Two sentences in to the first chapter and I was sinking.
“How do we live with our one broken heart?” she asks, and I nod from a pile of shattered pieces. How do I take this broken heart that sparks in the fires of everyday living and keep it from going up in smoke? How do I take my brokenness and keep it from breaking those around me? How do I go on from here?
A chapter or two in and I begin staring into the pierced hands of my Savior. In wonder, my friend’s words echo through my mind. Jesus really didn’t hide his scars. He took his wounds and showed them to His disciples. And they are not repulsed. Their faith doesn’t turn away or dwindle. In fact, right there in those mangled scars and torn apart parts, those disciples are humbled by the glory of God and it draws them to Him.
“What if the abundance of communion is only found there in the brokenness of suffering, because suffering is where God lives?”
“What if I made a habit of everyday pressing my wounds into the wounds of Christ — could my brokenness be made into a healing abundance for the brokenness of the world?” (pg 34)
“In shattered places, with broken people, we are most near the broken heart of Christ.” (pg 43)
I expected a longer focus on the pain and heaviness of brokenness. I kept waiting for the chapter on finding full healing from it all; identifying the formula for perfection. Instead, Ann took me straight into the hearts of those around me. Giving from our place of brokenness to find the path into abundance. Backwards maybe, but breathtakingly beautiful. And altogether, Holy.
“Our most meaningful purpose can be found exactly in our most painful brokenness.”
You don’t have to be whole to give. Right there I breathe in deep. Exhaling in peace from atop my messy pile. Jesus never works for our glamorous perfection, at least not here in this broken world. No. Jesus just wants to press his wounded hands into our broken places because that is the very place for communion with true Love. What if instead of squirming our way around our pain, we let go and let His glory rest there in those cracks and scars? What if instead of hiding our pain and brokenness, using it as a barrier between us and them, we let the world around us touch and feel — what if we were willing to touch and feel their brokenness? Would God’s all magnificent wholeness blossom? Would we see the change we long for?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This book will step right in and challenge you to stop hiding from your own brokenness and to stop avoiding it in the world around you.
“Maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life.” (pg. 136)
Will you join me in this embracing?
“This is all I know about living: Every moment is a gift with each other – and every moment we get to be a gift with each other. This is all there is.” (pg. 267)
IF you want to win a copy of this book- join me HERE for a week long challenge. The winner will get a FREE copy of The Broken Way!
And stay tuned! Ann has a group study with this book, set to be released in December- which you could WIN right here on this very blog!!
Love you guys!!