Today for “Natasha’s Study” I am reviewing the book, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp.
Why I picked up this book:
2016 was a pretty traumatizing year for many people of color in America, and at the time of this book’s release, I thought it would be exactly what I needed to nurse myself back to a place of healing.
Who Should Read The Broken Way:
Readers who enjoyed “One Thousand Gifts,” will also appreciate this contribution from Ann. While reading, I was reminded over and over again that we are all broken. We are just broken in different ways. If it is your desire to journey through your brokenness, then this would be a good resource for you.
What’s in Store for You:
Reading this book felt more like a devotional, which I appreciated. There are a lot of short, yet profound words of wisdom and reflections that causes the reader to pause and think about God, self, leadership, and what the Apostle Paul refers to as “living a poured-out life.”
Ann is fully present and with the reader on this journey of brokenness. From the very beginning she is vulnerable sharing her own brokenness. If readers come to this book feeling all alone in their brokenness, then they quickly transition to the question, “You too?” Ann is with us on the journey. Jesus is with us on the journey. We are not alone.
As the theme of thanksgiving and the sacrament of the Eucharist shapes “One Thousand Gifts,” the koinonia (communion or fellowship of the body of Christ, full participation in Christ’s brokenness and givenness) shapes the pages of this book.
This book reminds us of the simple biblical truth that suffering is an inevitable part of life, and the Christian journey.
My personal take-aways?
These are just some of the places where I took a pause, where I stopped to rest and really listen to the words of Sister Ann, and the hope that she offers those who are beloved of God:
Peace isn’t a place—it’s a Person. Peace isn’t a place to arrive at, but a Person to abide in. ‘I myself am your peace,’ says Jesus (Eph. 1:14).
Jesus still walks on water. Jesus didn’t just calm one storm—He can calm all our storms. Jesus sings grace in the wind, He pours mercy out like rain, He grows abundance up through the broken cracks, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. And He comes as a sign to us, a sign of the cross, a sign God’s reaching for us, believing in us in love in redemption, in making all things new, in making us enough because He is.
This Jesus doesn’t just call us to live for ourselves. He calls us to live for the other. This is love. “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:10-11).” “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).” Poured out. Sacrificial love. That’s who Christ is. That’s what Christ has done. He came. He died. He left, empty. This is what is means for us to bear his image. Come. Die to our ourselves, and leave empty.
Again she reminds me:
What matters most is not if our love makes other people change, but that in loving, we change. What matters is that in the sacrificing to love someone, we become more like Someone.
We must also be willing to let ourselves be loved. For so many doers, so many givers, and so many women, this willingness is where we will experience God’s grace. We must be willing to let God care for us through other people. Ann challenges us: “Letting yourself be loved gives you over to someone’s mercy and leaves you trusting that they will keep loving you, that they will love you the way you want to be loved, that they won’t break your given heart.”
In my book, Mentor for Life, I have a section about how choosing to trust others with our heart is an act of love. There, I quote from Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend who remind us that learning to ask for love is important. They write:
- When we ask, we develop humility.
- When we ask, we are owning our needs.
- When we ask, we are taking initiative.
- When we ask, we are developing a grateful character.
- Asking increases the odds that we’ll get something.
Because we are the ones that God loves, and because we are living our lives blessed and given, we can invite others to live in this way as well. We can invite others to love us well.
I am thankful that reading this book has been an act of spiritual disciple of being present with God. Not that God is ever absent from us, but rather that we are often distracted from being attentive to his presence. This book has been yet another invitation to remember that I am the beloved of God, to remember his faithfulness towards me, and to find my rest, peace, and hope in him alone.
“This is the deal we all get: guaranteed suffering. We all get it. It is coming, unstoppable, like time. There are graves coming, there is dark coming, there is heartbreak coming. We are not in control, and we never were. One moment you’re picking up balls of crusty dirty socks strewn across the bedroom floor, and the next moment you’re picking up the pieces of your one shattered life.” – Ann Voskamp
“There is no growth without change, no change without surrender, no surrender without wound—no abundance without breaking.” – Ann Voskamp
“The art of giving is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made enough live to give.” – Ann Voskamp
“When the church isn’t for the suffering and broken, then the church isn’t for Christ.” @AnnVoskamp
“God does great things through the greatly wounded.” @AnnVoskamp #TheBrokenWay
“Live everyday like you’re terminal. Because you are. Live every day like your soul’s eternal. Because it is.” @AnnVoskamp
“The only way to the abundant life is to love the right things in the right ways.” @AnnVoskamp
Next Up on this Topic:
“Strengthening your Soul for Leadership” by Ruth Haley Barton
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2017