Friday, October 28, 2016

The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp

This week, we pulled up at a bookstore not too far from us to meet a very special lady. A woman who has known brokenness, and has vulnerably and beautifully poured out her brokenness for the world to be healed by. We found seats--very early, and they were already getting full--and listened to Ann Voskamp talk about her new book, her little daughter, and visiting Iraq. Then we lined up with lots of other women who had shared eucharisteo and koinonia grace with Ann, and waited in line to have her sign our books. (I bought her newest one hot off the press so I could have a print copy.)

She listens intently to each person, and freely gives love to those she talks to. You can tell she's a deep thinker.

When I came home, I set my books beside me and opened them up to her signature now and then. It was a surreal kind of moment.

And today, I'm here to review The Broken Way.


The Book 
Ann Voskamp, a farmer's wife from Canada, has learned how to see the world through a special set of eyes.

Not only has she learned herself, but she's also shared this gift of seeing with others. Her first book, One Thousand Gifts, deeply stirred my own heart as she chronicled her journey from desperation and depression to giving thanks--seeing God's graces in a thousand ways. A dare to see how much he loved her. Her second book takes the premise of a grateful heart and brings it one step further--to a given heart.

It is only by be present in each other's brokenness--both by carrying the brokenness of others with them, and sharing our own brokenness--that we can reach the full impact of the koinonia fellowship of Jesus Christ. He gave thanks and then he broke, and then he gave--and that's the only cycle by which we can live an abundant life.


My Thoughts
Throughout the whole book, I enjoyed Ann's lyrical style of writing. Each chapter had a rhythm--a situation, sometimes just an action like hanging laundry or dishing up dinner or waiting in a doctor's office--that begins the chapter and weaves through her thoughts like a refrain until the end of the chapter. She lingers over textures, feelings, and actions in a way that creates a vivid portrait of family life along with the spiritual life she talks about. The writing style gently rocks you back and forth, like a rocking chair itself, as you think, and ponder, and revel in the grace of each succeeding thought.

The Broken Way reads like a deep weaving together of everything she has seen, heard from friends, read, and pondered on this topic of broken and given fellowship among believers. Her content draws from a deep well of everyday reflection. This isn't truth she's just writing easily and quickly, but truth that she has tasted and lived in a myriad of ways as she puts pen to paper. I love reading an author who has taken the time to experience for themselves what they are promoting. It's the thought I heard once from Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, that says a writer must be willing to carry their message like a mother carries her child in the womb. The Broken Way has been lovingly, painfully nurtured and given birth to before it was sent out into the world, and now its ready to bless thousands of people.



Chapter 3 made some of the biggest impact in my life out of the entire book. In it, Ann talked about brokenness in the context of taking communion. Jesus was broken and given for a broken and given people. When we pass the bread and cup of communion, we are commemorating his brokenness and givenness. In essence, when we eat the Lord's Supper in remembrance, we remember that his brokenness came to heal our brokenness--and we exchange our brokenness for his. That gave me a fresh perspective--and I'll admit a reassuring one for a perfectionist--on communion. Now it's a joy to celebrate brokenness and givenness with him.

And I won't spoil it, because it really has a superb effect, but the last chapter ties together the entire premise of the book in a way that completely took my breath away. You'll want to read it for yourself. It hit me in a way that I need to grow in, and reminded me that being a safe place myself requires accepting safe places from others.

Part description of life, part reflections from things she has read and heard and experienced, all offered in love, The Broken Way is a call to look outside ourselves--to heal our own brokenness by reaching out and healing other people's. If you feel broken, or you know someone else who is, gift yourself with the grace of The Broken Way.

I'm so honored to be on the team reviewing Ann Voskamp's newest book, The Broken Way. I received a free book from the publisher, but I loved it enough to go out and buy a copy for myself. All opinions expressed are my own.

4 comments:

  1. What a blessing to share this experience in person with you. I'm ruminating over the quotes...."Shame is a bully, but Grace is a shield." Not only was it really special to see, hear, and meet Ann herself, but the whole event had a spirit of generosity and kindness. The event and bookstore staff were all part of that giving. It was one of those experiences that become more vivid and true and impacting more so after it takes place than during. May the Lord use the message mightily that He's given Ann to share.

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    1. That was a really good quote. I wrote it down in my little purse notepad. It was a very well done event--kind to Ann, and welcoming to the attendees. I'm so blessed by her book, and I've really enjoyed reading One Thousand Gifts the last few days. :)

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  2. Sweet review. Planning to read this book one day! So glad you got to meet Ann. :)

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    1. You should! It's a great one! :) Thank-you so much--I wish we could have kept the tickets as keepsakes, but I didn't ask for them--that's OK, though! I bought her new book brand new so I could have a print copy to get signed! :)

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