I wasn’t planning to use Ann Voskamp’s latest book as the basis for an Author Note (the closest thing to a book review that you’ll find on this blog). But when I finished reading and started looking at the bits and pieces that struck deep chords with me, I realized I wanted to share these meaningful parts with Ann—and with you. My prayer is that the lines from The Broken Way that are speaking to me also will encourage you today.
I first heard about The Broken Way several months before it was released. Having read One Thousand Gifts years earlier, I was curious to observe the natural progression that often occurs in an author’s writing between her first and second books. I was interested to learn more about someone who seems to guard her privacy very carefully. I was intrigued to see how you would approach a topic that resonates so strongly with me—how God redeems our brokenness.
But despite all the glowing endorsements from well-known Christian leaders, I didn’t expect to be so personally affected by the book myself. I don’t know why, exactly. Maybe it’s because I had never stopped to consider that what my heart has been experiencing lately might, in fact, be brokenness.
Here’s the thing, though. Based on what I read on your blog, you’ve gotten a great deal of wonderful feedback about The Broken Way—and deservedly so.
But whether you’re a New York Times bestselling author, a blogger with a handful of followers or a mom who pens an occasional letter to her college kids, I don’t think you ever tire of hearing how your words—your very specific words—are touching the hearts and minds of the people who read them.
That’s why I decided to write to you today.
If we were sitting across the table from one another, I might explain the situation that is making The Broken Way so timely for me. Here, however, I think it’s enough to say that, though I have a role in the script, I’m not a main character.
My job right now is to live the story, not tell it. And your words are providing a way forward into the murky unknown that is a pressing part of my life.
Thank you, Ann—for exposing your heart, for sharing the most broken parts your story, and for writing these very specific lines:
• “The life that yields the most—yields the most.”
• “Live every day like you’re terminal. Because you are. Live every day like your soul’s eternal. Because it is.”
• “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?”
• “The best way to say you love is always time. The best time to love is always now.”
• “The best way to de-stress is to bless.”
• “Even though I don’t know how today’s story will end, I remember: faith thanks God in the middle of the story.”
• “What seems to be undoing you can ultimately remake you.”
• “In the raw experience of ‘I cannot do this,’ you experience how He remakes you into someone who can.”
• “It definitely gets harder before it gets easier. But it will definitely get better—if you don’t give up when it’s hardest.”
• “Why is it that only once you face life without the loveliness of those you love, you can finally see how much you love? Why is the clearest way to love your life only to imagine losing parts of it?”
• “This is what dying to live means: You love as much as you are willing to be inconvenienced.”
• “We can be brokers of healing exactly where we have known the most brokenness.”
• “Sometimes it helps in the moment to think: people aren’t being difficult—they are having difficulty.”
• “Life isn’t overwhelming when you simply understand how to serve in this minute.”
• “Compassion is a crawling in under the skin of someone else and connecting to their heart like it’s yours.”
• “Paying attention is one of the purest forms of compassion.”
• “You can make your plans—but it’s God’s plans that happen. Maybe grieving over plans changed is part of the plan to change us.”
• “It’s always the vulnerable heart that breaks broken hearts free. Am I brave enough … to live not afraid of broken things?”
• “When you know you’re never alone in the fear, you lose the fear of the fear.”
Note: All quotes are from The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp (Zondervan, October 2016).