Friday, October 28, 2016
The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp
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.
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.
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.