What do you do with your one broken heart?
This is the question Ann Voskamp asks that weighs heavy on my thoughts as I turn every page in this powerful, thought-provoking book, The Broken Way.
From my tear-stained pages of the first chapter, it is not until the last, where the beginning comes full circle, that I understand just why I was so captivated by her soulful prose. I realize that this book, the sharing of her brokenness, is in fact, the answer to the question for us all.
When you read this book, you can’t help but contemplate what your broken way looks like and what it has done to you. You can’t help but mull over it in order to try and find the redemption and the light that breaks through the broken places of your own heart.
You can’t help but wonder how you can use your brokenness to love others.
Not one thing in your life is more important than figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain.
And that’s why each time I finished reading a chapter in this book, the artistically painted phrases sat upon my mind. Her words followed me as I picked up the kids from school, watched soccer games and even went with me into the aisles of Walmart.
How can I live the shape of the cross? How can I live in koinonia, or communion, with others? What does that look like for me?
Isn’t it true that what we really want to do is run away from brokenness? We don’t want to walk the broken path. We don’t like the broken way. We can’t bear to look at all the broken pieces of our life.
And yet the broken way is often the road to discovering the remarkable.
Maybe our hearts are made to be broken. Broken open. Broken free.
Wounds can be openings to the beauty in us. And our weaknesses can be a container for God’s glory.
Voskamp draws a cross on her wrist everyday to help her with what she refers to as her “chronic soul amnesia” so she remembers to live cruciform. So she remembers to love others as Christ loved her.
She dares herself to let her living be shaped like a cross, to allow bad brokenness to be broken by good brokenness and to live in koinonia (communion, soul sharing) with others by entering into their suffering.
We are now Christ’s only earthly body—and if we aren’t the ones broken and given, we are the ones who dis-member Christ’s body. Unless we are the ones broken and given, we incapacitate Christ’s body on earth.
It seems I’m left with a deep questioning within my soul as I think upon her profoundly scripted words begging me to write them down and read them over and over until I dig into the depth of their rich meaning.
And I’m left with over two pages of quote-filled truths that still need to sink in completely.
As I absorbed how communion is a cross, a mutual intersection of one person’s life with the journey of another, and just what the word koinonia looks like lived out, I experienced this divine appointment—this intersection of lives in the aisles of Walmart.
As my children searched the aisles, I saw him there, the employee working in the toy department. His head was severely misshapen and part of his skull caved in. His eyes, uneven and one protruding. I wondered about his broken path. I wondered if people saw past his scars and into his soul.
As my son looked at the dinosaur figures, the employee said a friendly hello and struck up a conversation about the Therizinosaurus having foot-long claws and he even told a few jokes to make him laugh.
And then he shared his broken path. Just right there in the middle of Walmart. To us—strangers—my four kids and I.
“Want to know something? If you ever know someone who’s in a coma make sure you talk to them. They can hear you. I was in a coma for 45 days and my momma talked to me every day and sang to me and I heard her. And also, never ride down a driveway on a skateboard without a helmet. That’s why my head looks like this. A big truck didn’t see me and ran over my skull and crushed it.”
The kids listened and I asked him how he got through it, hoping to find an opportunity to share the light of Jesus in his brokenness.
And then he told us that it was Jesus Christ that got him through. He said he actually died and went to heaven and saw Jesus. Jesus told him that it wasn’t his time yet and that he needed to go back and tell others about Him and warn children to be careful riding skateboards and to wear helmets.
And here he was doing that very thing, sharing his brokenness. Just like Ann Voskamp shared the accident she witnessed when her own sister’s head was run over by a truck as my tears poured over that broken first chapter of her story.
My children and I left Walmart on an ordinary day and I knew I had just witnessed a divine koinonia moment of bad brokenness being broken into good brokenness—a thread, weaving Walmart moments and book chapters into spiritual recognition.
This man still lived his life with joy. A smile on his face. Helping others. In Walmart.
And I’m left to ponder the broken areas of my own life. The fear I’m unleashing and the healing that comes from turning fears into faith and wanting to help others through their own fears.
And all the ways I’ve failed to be cruciform to my own family, my longing to draw a cross on my wrist so I too can remember that the pouring out of my life will truly be the only way my soul fills up.
This is not a book that you can read and leave on the table without taking its words with you in your heart.
This was the first book I’ve read by Ann Voskamp but it will not be my last. I loved her poetic style of writing and the depth of her words reminded me of Oswald Chambers. I find myself wanting to read more from her and I’m happy to have found an author who tops the list as my favorite.
I received this book for free from the publishers of Ann Voskamp’s book launch team.
The Broken Way has just been released today! I’m certain this book will be a blessing to you!
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