Do you have a favorite author? One that influences your life, that may lead you to a place you never dreamed of, that may actually encourage you to accept a dare to LIVE more fully? It's happened to me! And she has opened my eyes to the beauty found in my brokenness, your brokenness, and Christ's brokenness, leading me along the broken road to a LIFE of Hope.
Over the past 2 years, I have truly fallen in love with the poetic writings of Ann Voskamp. It's from a shared story, that at this time in my life, she is just what God knew I would need. Our physical paths may not have crossed yet, but our storylines are completely intermingled.
Right after my baby boy gained his wings, a friend recommended I pick up Ann's first book, "One Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are." The written words within the first chapter spoke directly to my broken Heart from a place She and I both knew to0 well. A place that was so broken and hurting, yet filled with such indescribable peace. A place where she dared herself to experience constant Thanksgiving, a dare I would begin to take, that would restore to me Joy from the ashes.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
It was on this broken road, this journey, that the dare to be thankful would also cause me to completely lose myself and yet gain something even greater....Hope!
"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul." Mark 8:34-37
Early this week I was meeting with my Bible Study group, a group of young lady's that for some reason or another God has brought into my life for such a time as this. I was describing to them how the brokenness in us makes us stronger, how it reveals Christ's light, and when put back together makes something even more beautiful than before.
Much like a Mosaic, I said.
Taking something whole, something all in one piece, then crushing it, breaking the wholeness into many different pieces. All broken up, not looking like much of anything, probably even something you'd want to throw away. But then place it back together, not in the exact same spot. Somehow different, laid to rest in the perfect place, but different space. Then you pour in the grout, to seal up the seams, what a beautiful Masterpiece it will be.
Our broken road is like the mosaic. It starts out all together, paved so nicely, easy to drive down, but as the years pass and life takes over, pot holes and cracks leave us in one large heap of mess. But God...but God sent His Son. His Son that places us back together and then pours in His love through the Holy Spirit. Where there once was cracks, holes, missing pieces, there is now a beautiful Masterpiece, a mosaic, a broken road that leads to Hope.
You see, Jesus had to be broken to be given and we are all broken for Him to Give into Us.
Ann Voskamp describes the brokenness of Christ and the brokenness of us, as communion, as sharing and giving, in her newest book, "The Broken Way".
"That's the whole mess of us: the broken body comes to the thanksgiving to be fed the blessing of His broken and given body. The miracle happens in the breaking - a breaking into the enoughness of communion. The basket with the loaf moves to the end of my row, this movement of communion. They're passing it from hand to hand, closer. The piano is playing it like a stirring - "When I survey the Wondrous Cross." The miracle of intimate union, of communion, comes through brokenness-through broken places and broken people and the brokenness of Christ and being broken and given. All throughout the sanctuary, there is the tearing of bread, the swallowing down. This is how you live with your one broken heart: you give it away. This is how you enter into the wholeness of koinonia - communion." -The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
And this is it, broken, we are all broken. We all have sin and tragedy that wreck havoc on our journey, our road. Our paved road, that led to every castle imaginable in fantasy land. Then quickly enough, the pavement cracked, we became broken and the castle zoomed out of sight....or did it?!
It is in our brokenness, your brokenness, my brokenness, where we can experience and receive the brokenness of Christ, the love, joy, and peace of Christ poured into us. Healing our brokenness by His brokenness and producing Hope. Hope of Heaven...Our Heavenly Home, a mansion of gold and jewels, more perfect than any castle we can imagine.
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that our suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
But on this broken road, as Jesus is pouring into us, giving of Himself for us, and we reach Hope, we can't just bask in His Hope, we must allow His Hope to produce a givenness in us, to give into others.
When the Broken Road leads straight to Hope, we find an opportunity to Give.
Since Christ filled my brokenness, my greatest Joy has been experienced in the Giving of myself. The giving back, the giving forward, the giving of everything I have. There is more Joy found when giving to others than when receiving from others. When I am doing for others, even when it looks as though I'm busier than I should be...if it is God's work I'm doing, I'm filled to overflowing with joy. I'm at my best. But when I'm busy, just for the sake of being busy, there is no hope, no givenness, just brokenness. We can only give of what He has given to us.
Who would have thought that out of my brokenness I'd be led to the work of Giving, giving of myself, my time, my finances, my life, all for Him. All because of Jesus. He gave out of His brokenness into my brokenness an outpouring of love, joy, peace, and Hope. And now out of my brokenness I give into your brokenness love, joy, peace, and Hope. A brokenness formed back together to make a beautiful masterpiece, a mosaic, on a broken road leading to Hope.
We are all broken, been broken, on the road to broken, but when we receive Christ, He gives His broken for our broken, making us no longer fully broken but fully Hopeful and ready to be given too!