I’m so, so excited to be able to giveaway an early Christmas gift just for you – A copy of Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way AND the DVD and Study Guide.
You can enter by commenting “Who doesn’t have five-minutes to be the gift” on this post, or post it in a comment on my Facebook Page – Blogger Loves The King or both. You have until December 12th to enter, and a winner will be drawn on December 13th.
I am being honest here. When I first opened this book it seemed like it was going to be a hard read the first few pages. I found before I left the first chapter that it was going to tug at my heart, and it will yours too. The significance of the title makes more and more sense as you read through each word. With many tears I have to admit it has been one of my most favorite books ever. It’s one I will treasure and know I will pick up again and again because there is so much inside it to savor and take to heart.
Your brokenness. What do you do with it? What do you do with one broken heart? Ann is so bold in this book sharing her brokenness, and as I read I was shocked as she shared with her readers the pain of being a cutter. She shares all she has done to leave it behind. She asks, “What in God’s holy name do you do when it feels like you’re broken and cut up, and love has failed, and you’ve failed, and you feel like Somebody’s love has failed you?”
How do you live with one broken heart? Ann’s answer is “you give it away.”
As I read through that first chapter about her brokenness, I thought back to my own brokenness. We all have some point in our lives where we are broken, and she reminds us we are all guaranteed suffering. She asks:
“How do we live with our broken hearts?”
“How do we live knowing our Lord died with a broken heart?”
“How do we live knowing what He went through for us?”
“Was His heart broken when He asked the Father why He had forsaken Him? Surely it was.”
Ann shares all this in just the first chapter of the book – but there’s more – so much MORE, and each chapter is woven with so much truth.
I love the personal real-life stories in this book and some will bring you to tears, or they did me:
- The Wheat Story – Her husband shared with her this beautiful story of how the wheat breaks from the seed, the soil breaks to give crops, the sky breaks to give rain, the wheat breaks to give bread, and the bread a feast. Isn’t that like us? He reminds her to not be afraid of broken things.
- Christ in communion – This is the one and only command Christ gave to do continually over and over again. This is the practice He gave for us to practice our faith, to practice again and again. In remembrance of Him. Continuously do this at the sink, at the stove, at the street corner, at the setting of the sun and at it’s rising again, and never stop continuously doing this.
“This is how you live with one broken heart: you give it away. This is how you enter into the wholeness of koinnonia – communion.”
“Your broken heart is only healed by a oneness with Him.”
After reading Ann’s communion story, you’ll never take communion again in the way. Such a story of pure worship.
- God-Alzheimer’s. – Ann shares about rolling over and burying her head and how she could forget the face of God and even that her name was Beloved and how she could get God-Alzheimer’s. What a beautiful way to talk about being depressed and anxiety!
- Pen and Ink Cross on Wrist – She reaches for a pen each day in the same way she reached for a pen to write about and count a thousand ways that He loves her. She draws a cross on her scarred wrist every single day to remind her to live “cruciform”, and so that she remembers to love others daily. Her wrist that was once a place on her body etched with cutting pain is now each day a wrist etched with a cross. It is a daily reminder for her to continuously remember Him and to make Him present as she remembers herself and the world.
Cruciform as described by Ann is to “Become cruciform. Like a cross. Transform.” To become cruciform, to let your life become shaped like a cross, is to become more fully human – and most fully like Christ – then this is the work most urgent, most needed.”
“Your one broken heart always splits God’s heart in two. You never cry alone.”
- Breaking Time In Two – “you have only one decision every day: how will you use your time?” Ann shares about standing and just listening to a clock, about the size of our buckets of time, and how many days do we actually get? How many days do you and I get to live? I loved her analogy of time being a vapor and though we can reach our hands out it will run through just like water and fall like dew and be gone soon. What a metaphor of time!
- Blue Mason Jar Full of Kernels– When the calendar changed to a new year, Ann’s daughter asked her how many days we get to live. Ann takes a blue jar in her hands and describes to her daughter about our lives – our time on Earth. She measures four cups of wheat kernels and pours them and shares with her daughter that is 25,550 days. 25,550 days would equal seventy years if that’s what we get. I found myself calculating my days and what is gone, what is left, and what am I doing with my remaining days.
“Live everyday like your terminal. Because you are. Live every day like your soul’s eternal. Because it is .”
I think most of us know Ann from her book One Thousand Gifts, but what I didn’t know was that book was written five years ago during a time she didn’t know how to love or feel. Through her actions described in that book she says she has changed “into a woman who’s embraced a love so large its broken her heart in a 1,000 aching places.”
One thing I have learned from Ann is about giving. I celebrated my birthday this year in gift-blitzing my community and several nearby ones – 66 gifts in fact (actually hundreds), and I continued after my birthday taking cookies to our police department. She reminds us again in this book about giving and this:
“For God so loved that He gave…..”
“Christ gives the gifts to us, and then – He within us, indwelling us – He gives the gifts through us to a beautiful and aching world.”
“Every small gift of grace creates a love quake that has no logical end. It will go to the ends of the earth and change the world and then it will break through time and run on into eternity.”
“Who doesn’t have five-minutes to become a GIFT?”
“Is there any word more powerful than giving? Thanksgiving. Forgiving. Care-giving. Life-giving. Everything that matters in living comes down to giving.”
I love to-do lists or for me recently it’s been goals for the month which keep it simpler. As Ann was scrubbing the scum from the tub left by her husband’s dirt from working in the fields, she reminds us that “to-do lists can become “to-love lists”, and then “time to serve, time to touch, time to give”, and “continuously make the ever-present Christ present.”
Page after page of love, encouragement, truth, and the simple joys and things of life. She talks about marriage, children, friends, death, children leaving for college, if-onlys, suffering, being brave in a bigger way than the hard thing, pouring out your bucket, to-do lists, feelings, and oh so, so much more.
Ann reminds us that those wounds we carry can be openings for the beauty that is within us, and our weaknesses can be a container for God’s glory.
“Pouring myself out in abundance of Him to be filled back up by Him.”
You can find the image below here. Empty your bucket. #BeTheGift
“Experiencing the whole world will not fill your bucket like experiencing giving yourself, and find the meaning that will fill your soul.”
“Who needs a bucket-list? Empty, poured out buckets are actually the fullest buckets.”
I hope you will consider buying Ann’s book. It would make a beautiful Christmas gift for you and others.
Find out more at http://annvoskamp.com/thebrokenway/.
Read the first chapter free here.
All quotation marks indicate beautiful quotes which touched my heart in this book. Honestly, every single page touched my heart.