My November Book Recommendation is Ann Voskamp’s new book, “The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life.” I have read a lot of books this year and I have to say that this book is by far the best book that I have read all year! Every chapter was literally speaking to my soul. It is a very deep and powerful book and in my opinion, a must read!! She writes in such a creative way and shares such profound truth!
In her book, Ann becomes very vulnerable and shares her life story. I have read a couple of her other books and I never knew how hard her childhood was. She shares in this book that at a young age, she witnessed her sister being run over and killed. Sadly, because of this, her mother ended up in and out of mental hospitals so she felt abandoned a lot of her childhood. She shares that she use to cut herself to try to ease her pain. She had a very broken childhood- extremely heartbreaking. So in her book, when she talks about a place of brokenness or pain, she is sharing everything first hand. As she is trying to make sense of this brokenness, she shares this, “maybe you can live a full and beautiful life in spite of the great and terrible moments that happen right inside of you. Actually- maybe you get to become more abundant because of those moments….Maybe the deepest wounds birth the deepest wisdom.” Such great truth!
In her first book, “One thousand gifts”, Ann dares herself to find a thousand things to be thankful for. In this new book, there is a new dare. She says, “A dare to let all my brokenness be made into abundance. Break and give away. The broken way.”
Her book goes into lots of detail about how to live the broken way and I promise you it is life changing!!! Today, I want to focus on one of the main themes of her book: Giving! She says, “ This is how you live with your one broken heart: you give it away.” In one chapter, she talks about time and how the average person lives to be 70 years old which equals 25,550 days. She says, “You have only one decision every day: how will you use your time?” Will your time be used for only you and your family or will you use your time to bless others or help others in need? She continues to say, “Time isn’t something to grab, it’s something to give.” I love that fresh perspective on time.
In another chapter, she continues this theme of giving and says, “learning the art of living is learning the art of giving.” She takes the word GIFT and makes an acronym: Give It Forward Today. She says, “maybe the only abundant way forward is always to give forward.” She shares in the book about her 40th birthday and how Ann and her family went around town all day and GIFTed people. I loved this- during the day, they walked into a diner and paid for someone’s dinner, they went to the tennis courts and left a whole bunch of tennis balls, they went to the dollar store and left dollar bills in the aisles, they went to the local coffee shop and paid for the line of coffees behind them, they went to the library and left some of their favorite books, they put quarters in the bubble gum machines at the nearby Walmart, they bought groceries and dropped them off a food bank, they tucked parking fees in envelopes and left them on cars parked at the hospital….. the list keeps going on! What a great way to model giving to her kids! It totally inspired me! If we could just do one of these ideas, we could help our kids see the joy in giving love and kindness to others! Honestly, this book is phenomenal and will change your life.
Another chapter talks about a bucket list and how she was waiting at a doctor’s office and read an article about people and their bucket lists, things they want to do before they die. She said this, “What if instead of waiting for good enough things to happen to us, we could be the good thing to happen to someone else who’s waiting.” Again, it is all about giving! One more great quote from Ann, “The world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love- and this will in turn fill you.” Such amazing truth!
As I was thinking about this, I think sometimes we are okay with giving our time and our money but it is much harder for us to give our whole self, our brokenness, our struggles. It is easy to be real and share the good things in our life but much harder to share our insecurities, our failures, our broken places. But what I think to be true is that when we are vulnerable and share our brokenness that is where real community and connection begins. Ann says in her book, “It’s always the vulnerable heart that breaks broken hearts free.” I totally agree!
I challenge you to read this amazing book and let God grow you in ways you never knew! Ann says in her book, “Not one thing in your life is more important than figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain.” Sadly, we will experience some pain in our life; it could be the death of a loved one, the loss of a friendship or the pain in our childhood….. I know that pain is not easy but I do think there is a purpose in our pain. One last quote from Ann, “There is no growth without change, no change without surrender, no surrender without wounds- no abundance without breaking. Wounds are what break open the soul to plant the seeds of a deeper growth.”
Just like Ann, do you dare to take the broken way to abundance?
Here is my prayer for you:
God, I pray right now that you can use all of our pain to help us grow deeper and fully dependent on you. I pray you can use our brokenness to help others who are hurting. I pray you can use our whole self, the joy and the sorrows of our life and we can give it forward today. God, thank you for being close to the brokenhearted. We love you. In Jesus name, Amen.