About two months ago, I saw that Ann Voskamp was taking applications for a launch team for her new book, The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life.
The beauty of being on a launch team is that you’re able to read a pre-release copy of the book and there is typically a Facebook group where you’re able to interact with the author and to see and cheer on the work of releasing the book.
I knew right away I wanted to read this book and cheer for it. I knew I wanted to read Ann’s words on brokenness, on how to really live when your heart has broken into a million pieces. I wanted to hear what she would say about really living when the pain is patched over and tender.
“You know – everything all across this farm says the same thing, you know that, right?” He waits till I let him look me in the eye, let him look into me and all this fracturing. “The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. There was once even an alabaster jar that broke to give Him all the glory.” Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way
And with that, Ann ushers us into her story.
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I have read Ann Voskamp for many years and, like many of us who read her, I thought I knew the place of her brokenness. That was what drove her need to give thanks and record it and what birthed 1000 Gifts.
But in The Broken Way, Ann takes us all the way in. She writes so vulnerably about her pain and how it radiated through her growing-up years, through her family, her mothering.
“How many woods, how many wildernesses, had I found myself in? Had I known: God takes you into wildernesses not to abandon us – but to be alone with us? Wildernesses are not where God takes us to hurt us – but where He speaks to our hearts. Wildernesses can be safe because we are always safe when we are always with Him.”
She does not just pour out her pain – if we stopped there this book would only stir up sympathy, not hope. But Ann works through the pain, asks the hard questions of what to do with the pain and how it can be used.
“Never be afraid of being a broken thing . . . Why have we swallowed the lie that we can only help if we’re perfect? The cosmic truth sealed in the wounds of the broken God is that the greatest brokers of abundance know an unspoken broken . . . Stay weak and dependent. This is how you stay strong in God.”
In her trademark lyrical prose, Ann unveils with “a heart like glass.” The book was a slow read for me – like I’d brought home a stack of rich essays unrolling wave after wave of truths. Even now, having savored and underlined and processed each chapter, this is a book that needs a second read to really gather it all in.
“It’s the broken and the limping, the wounded and the scarred, the stragglers and the strugglers, who may know best where to run with wounds. It’s only the broken who know where the cracks are and how our broken wound can be the very thin places that reveal God. . . and allow us to feel His safe holding hand.”
This book was everything I hoped when I signed up to launch two months ago. In her brokenness, Ann gives such a rare gift – the gift of vulnerable strength; tender beauty; broken hope.
One of my top reads – and likely re-reads – for 2016. Thank you, Ann, for sharing your one broken heart and showing how such abundant life in God comes not just despite pain, but through the pain.