by Heather Bock
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I get the huge privilege to review (and give away) the newest book by one of my favorite living authors, Ann Voskamp. I read (and loved) her first book, One Thousand Gifts, not long after it was published. I wrote about it on my blog five times (here’s one), long before I started posting book reviews regularly. Along with a handful of other game-changing non-fictions I’ve read in the past ten years or so: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan, Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie (review here), Parenting by Paul David Tripp (review here), and especially Anything by Jennie Allen (post about it here), it didn’t suffer the fate of the books delegated to my garage stack. It sits on my shelf waiting to be reread, so I can keep what I learned fresh, so I can be reminded of its message every time I see it there. The Broken Way will be by its side.
We are all broken, whether we let others see or not. Ann Voskamp asks, “How do you live with your one broken heart?” (pg. 21). She wonders if maybe our hearts are made to be broken, that “maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart’s broke open” (pg. 24). She thinks about the fact that soil has to be broken to give the crop, a wheat seed has to be broken apart before it can grow, and the bread even has to be broken for us to eat it. Brokenness precedes giving.
We only have a short number of days on this earth. Voskamp learns she needs to use those days to give to others, pour herself out, give of her brokenness. In so doing, she finds some of her brokenness begins to be healed. She finds God giving back joy in abundance. We can’t spend our days checking off a bucket list, but instead, we need to empty our bucket for others to find fulfillment. She discovers “Empty, poured-out buckets are actually the fullest buckets” (pg. 90).
An old family friend of Voskamp’s points out the change he sees in her from what she learned about thanksgiving and the ways God is wooing her, chronicled in One Thousand Gifts. He challenges her to learn how to woo God. She learns the way to woo God (show your love for God) is to love people. God needs nothing from us, but His beloved people are broken and need His love poured out on them. We can love Him by loving and giving to them (Jn. 21:17 and I Jn. 4:7).
It’s not easy. Voskamp has many moments when she doesn’t want to show love to one of her rebelling children. However, she says, “the moment you’re most repelled by someone’s heart is when you need to draw closer to that heart” (pg. 138). She asks God for help, then shows how to press in and choose love and compassion over anger. Love is also often painful, causing more brokenness. People you love can reject you, suffer, or die. Still, she shows that the choice to love is the best anyway.
This book challenged me, helped me see life in a new way, and encouraged me. Of course, I love and give to my children as a mother normally does, but what about when they are fighting me? Voskamp demonstrates a grace in this situation I don’t often give.
I do apologize to my kids after I’ve spoken too harshly, but is it a constant habit for me? My kids will never be quick to apologize if they don’t see it regularly modeled. Voskamp challenges me to own my part in the wrongdoing even when my child is in the wrong.
I help when I see someone obviously in need of it, but am I watching for it, keeping my eyes out for anyone in need of something I can give: my presence, my words, my ears, or my money? Voskamp learns to be aware of the people around her and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so she can be a blessing to those I might have missed in her place.
On top of all this, Voskamp perhaps unintentionally teaches me a way to solve a problem with which I (and many other parents) have struggled. How do we teach our kids to share and be generous with a willing heart? If I follow the model Voskamp gives in this book, my kids will see it, and might eventually follow in those footsteps.
This book is beautifully written, poetic and full of vivid metaphors, but more than that, the words are full of healing and life, an answer to the brokenness inside us all.
I am excited I get to give away one free copy of The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp! Later, I will do another drawing for a study guide with DVD! To enter for the book, subscribe to my blog:
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Giveaways are open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada only.
I will announce the winner next Saturday, so look for it! Thank you!
DISCLOSURE (IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FTC’S 16 CFR, PART 255: “GUIDES CONCERNING THE USE OF ENDORSEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS IN ADVERTISING”): MANY THANKS TO THE BLOGABOUT NETWORK FOR GIVING ME TWO COPIES OF THE BROKEN WAY IN EXCHANGE FOR MY HONEST OPINION.
The Broken Way Study Guide with DVD will be available in November.