Soaking up The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp has stretched my thinking about how and why our hearts break. It has changed the way I pray for people and myself. My actions and responses toward others have taken on a fresh perspective by viewing brokenness in our lives as a necessity to becoming Christ-like. The difference in the brokenness of a Believer and that of a non-believer our response to it.
Ann, without the fanciful 'e', (how she describes her name) gets me and I love getting to know her. Maybe because my middle name is Ann, also without the fanciful 'e', or because I've been in the depths of depression and despair. I've also learned how healing comes through the sacred art of giving and receiving forgiveness and grace. The brokenness Ann wrestles with gives all of us courage to stand tall and to not be afraid of the broken places in our lives.
There really is comfort and peace knowing Christ is redeeming ALL things broken.
Much has crashed around me (and in me) in recent months. As I'm walking the devastating path with a friend through the ravenous pain and heartache of divorce, my heart breaks as well. In listening to countless others pour out their pain through floods of tears, my heart aches for them - my sisters in Christ. So many hurting. So many hearts broken. And still others with unspoken broken. (Ann's words)
A reoccurring theme throughout The Broken Way is this: We cannot really love one another without really suffering with one another.
In my experience, the Church has long avoided real suffering with Her real people. Many people put up barriers to keep people out of their stuff while some avoid other people's stuff so as not to have to have to get involved. I know I'm guilty of both. How about you?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35 NKJV).
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).
I've learned through my own broken places that it's in the exposing of the dark spaces where the light of Christ shines brightest to root out, redeem and restore as His Light of compassion is absorbed. But if we aren't willing to also bring the Light of our suffering into the suffering of others, how can we claim to really love one another?
When the Holy Spirit is released to search deep into the dark places of our hearts, He exposes the sin roots entangling our hearts, stifling our joy and influence for Christ. When roots of sin are exposed, opportunity is given for faith to be tested and strengthened. Exposure reveals Who we truly believe Jesus Christ to be and how we see ourselves. It can be sobering and soothing all at the same time.
No one understands brokenness like Jesus. Anything we've gone through, He has gone through it on levels we will never comprehend. For example, grief. Nothing shatters a heart like grief. Whether it's grieving a loved one who's passed, a marriage that's ended, a miscarriage, a prodigal son or daughter, a relationship of any kind. A loss of anything sacred, stings. Grief is deep and grief is real.
He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3 NKJV).
Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; (Isaiah 53:4 NKJV).
Have we carried the griefs and sorrows of the entire human race? It's impossible and a brokenness beyond our comprehension. It's all I can do to carry mine and those in my inner circle. But, by not bleeding our brokenness into the brokenness of each other, we are not functioning as the Body of Christ. He also knows we cannot bear the heavy heartaches alone, so He calls us to release our suffering into His suffering so He can carry it for us. What compassion! What amazing love!
From grief to relief. That's the Jesus I know, love and serve.
Our hearts reflect real Christ-like compassion when we co-suffer with others. Don't ever be afraid of your brokenness or the brokenness of another because Christ is redeeming all broken things.
How are you walking The Broken Way today? Are you co-suffering with another believer? I'd love to hear from you.
Oh, and I highly recommend The Broken Way to read and definitely to live.