“Maybe wholeness is not reaching for perfection in your life; maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life . . . You are the most loved not when you’re pretending to have it all together; you are actually the most loved when you feel broken and falling apart.”
The Broken Way, Ann VosKamp
In The Broken Way, Ann VosKamp sets the standard for authenticity, laying bare her soul along side wounds no less raw from the passage of time. Treating her reader like a trusted confidant, she shares the traumas of her childhood and the resulting brokenness she spends much of her life battling to overcome and on lessor days simply survives. Her vulnerability draws you in and stirs the consciousness of your own unspoken broken. She knows that there isn’t a one of us without a degree of broken and in the spirit of friendship and community, shares a life changing revelation about the life-giving power found in that brokenness. And then, not wanting to leave us where she found us, she nudges us forward to embrace our own brokenness and the power within.
Like the author, and I assume like many of you, I’ve spent most of my life trying to prove to myself that I too am more than the sum of my experiences – that I am more than my own brokenness. In The Broken Way, Ann VosKamp leads us down the path to the abundant life, away from the shame and lies our accuser has embedded deep in our minds. She reminds us that while we may be a broken people, we need not live as a prosecuted people.
Intellectually, we people of the cross calculate our value in blood, encouraging each other to live as though we know that we’re loved. And so we tuck away our brokenness, like a dark secret; afraid to expose it and in turn our imperfections. We are struggling to figure out how we will ever be enough for all the Father has placed before us and the accuser creeps in telling us that we’re alone in our struggles. The accuser tells us that to bring along another to help carry the load is really an invitation to judgment and condemnation. The accuser tells us that there is no good to be borne from our scars and that they are better left hidden.
In The Broken Way, Ann VosKamp gently points out what we already know. To attempt to hide our brokenness is a fool’s mission – it will always seep (unbidden) into the fabric of our daily lives. Our brokenness is present in the taught words of an overwhelmed momma, and in the heart of a spouse afraid to allow herself to be loved. Ann VosKamp guides her reader to a truth that belies all reason suggesting that our brokenness is the very reason, the very thing that equips us for what lies ahead.
She points the way to our Jesus. What about His beaten and broken body? Do we not hold up His brokenness as a source of life and love poured out for us? Do we not remember and celebrate in communion His brokenness? Why is it then that we cling to the notion of the perfect self rather than the brokenness that overcomes our imperfections? And perhaps, the example that we are to draw from is not the image of a perfect Christ but rather a broken one. Perhaps the image of a Christ pierced and poured out for our transgressions should be our source of truth.
In The Broken Way, Ann VosKamp proposes that our best self, the most loveable and capable of loving self is the one that makes way a path for the brokenness. And, that just as a body of believers finds communion in the broken bread, that we too might find communion with each other by sharing our own broken selves. The brokenness we’re so desperate to hide is really the best offering we have.
The Broken Way is a guide for the hurting, for the desperate and for those “not enough” souls. The Broken Way is a picture of vulnerability spread wide. The Broken Way is the story of finding our path to the abundant life, the poured out life, a life made whole only be embracing our unspoken broken. When we allow ourselves to be honest about the hurt, the mess, and the lies, we open the floodgates for extending grace, compassion, the tenderest of mercies, and more importantly love, not only to ourselves but also those around us.
If you are looking for a way past your unspoken broken and would like a copy of The Broken Way comment below. I will select at random one person to receive a copy next Monday. Readers have until 6:00 pm EDT on Monday, October 31st to comment below for a chance to win.
The Broken Way releases on October 25, 2016. I received an advanced reader copy.