how taking the broken way leads you to real wholeness
A few dozen friends gathered at Laity Lodge in Texas one fall. It was a cool Sunday morning, along the jade-colored Frio River, and the morning light shone in just right on the communion table, with autumn showing off outside the windows. The pastor was a friend, Gordon. I don’t remember the story he told, but I do recall the main idea of his message: our brokenness.
He talked about the powerlessness we’ve all felt when everything falls apart, when our own fragile lives look they’ve crashed into a million little clay pieces — utterly unfixable.
He knelt down in front of us, cupped his hands (as if to hold the broken pieces of our lives) and then lifted his hands and his eyes upward, like he could see through the ceiling to God. And I’ll never forget Gordon’s next words:
“I can’t fix this,” he said, cupping his hands toward God. “But can You? Can You do something with all these broken pieces?”
I was moved deep within me at the soft answer from the Spirit, at the sure answer from Scripture, at the certain answer from a holy and good God, and at the secured answer, in Jesus:
“Yes,” God answers us always… “Yes, I can. I already did.”
This, I think is one of the most wonderful parts about belonging to Jesus. Apart from Him, my brokenness stays broken — a million little pieces, utterly unfixable. A jar of clay, shattered.
But in Jesus, there is always, always hope. He is putting all things to rights, making a way where there is no way.
I have felt so much brokenness lately — like the world is cracking into a million little pieces. Marriages I thought would never fail are shattering. Children who seemed sure-footed just months ago have lost their way as they enter into adulthood. Addictions seize. Demons dwell. It’s all too much. It’s all too broken.
Even in my own self, I feel how the brokenness of my past cuts into my present, demanding to be noticed. I too often do the masking work of hiding it all. This is what we do — we camouflage our pain.
But there is a better way, maybe the ONLY way: The Broken Way.
The Broken Way
Maybe today, you are tending to broken places, too. Maybe you aren’t sure how you can step into this day, because the things that are shattered at your feet, might just cut you. Maybe you’d rather hide the brokenness, than expose it to light.
Maybe today, you could risk it.
Maybe you might be like Gordon. You could lift the million little pieces to Jesus.
Your brokenness is not a flaw; it’s an invitation for the healing hand of Jesus.
This week, I read words by a brand new book from Ann Voskamp, which will almost certainly be a bestseller by week’s end. The Broken Way releases today, to wide acclaim.
It was at Laity Lodge where Ann and I first met — we were two farmers wives who shared a love for words and for Jesus.
One Friday night, she reached across a table into my own brokenness and made me feel loved and seen. That was long before The Broken Way, or One Thousand Gifts. It was years before I penned The Happiness Dare. We were simply two women wading our way through our own brokenness, finding how it had led us both to Jesus. And, I guess we still are wading our way through.
We were both just crazy enough to take our brokenness public.
Ann’s new book? It makes me less scared of all the broken things. Her book reminds me that being broken … is being like Jesus. Because the central symbol of our faith is the cross, where Jesus suffered for us all.
“All of us in a heartbreaking world, we are the fellowship of the broken. … Over all of us is the image of the wounded God, the God who breaks open and bleeds with us,” Ann writes. “How do you live with your one broken heart? All I can think is — only the wounds of God can heal our wounds. This is the truth, and I feel the rising of it: suffering is healed by suffering, wounds are healed by wounds. It jars me, shatters my fears into the softness of Him; bad brokenness is healed by His good brokenness. Bad brokenness is broken by good brokenness.”
I know this:
All brokenness is but a chance to be healed by Jesus — to lift our broken pieces up to a God who sees us and whispers, “I can do something with this. I already have.”
The Broken Way — A Book Giveaway
UPDATE: REBECCA is the winner of the giveaway and has been notified by email.I have an extra copy of this beautiful book, and I’d love for you to have it. To enter, let me know in the comments that you’d like the book. To be entered multiple times, share this post on social media. Let me know where you shared. Each share counts as an extra entry. Email subscribers: click here to leave a comment.
I will randomly draw a winner on Friday. (Only continental U.S. mailing addresses eligible.)
About the book:
This one’s for the lovers and the sufferers.
This one’s for those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts.
This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with good brokenness. You could be one of the Beloved who is broken—and still lets yourself be loved.
You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain — but actually within it.
Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!
Our featured writer this week is Becky Hastings. She invites us to be faith-full, to plant a seed and believe there is a purpose in waiting. Find Becky here.
To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer
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A beautiful story and a beautiful book. Love you, J.
Love this and love the book.
I would love a chance to get this book.
I remember that day on the Frio. Love you, JDL. (I have the book, of course. Don’t enter me.)
Thank you for the great post today…we are all broken in some way…..some hide it better than others…sometimes it is written all over our faces without a single word spoken…the look in someones eyes, the tone in their voice…we all need to lean on Jesus more and realize he “broke” for us.
Oh, I so want to read this book! I have a lot of broken pieces!
I would love to win this book, I can’t wait to read it. Thank you for this post this morning <3 , it will be shared on the Lightbearers FB page.
I would love this book. Can’t wait to read it and learn from Anne and her insights. Sharing on facebook and instagram.
I would love to win this book. Thank you for the offer!
I would love to win this book by Ann. Lately I have been feeling broken. This post had me in tears. Thank you always for your encouraging words.
I would love to read this book…want to read and believe my brokenness has meaning and purpose in His brokenness…Thank you Jennifer, for encouraging me to live in His love and joy. May God bless you today with His peace and wisdom.
A lot of broken pieces in my life right now. I would love this book to help me with mending them!
This post was so “ON TIME”! Your words are ministering to me in my season of brokenness as if Jesus sent you to look into my life and then write. The Holy Spirit is working. Thank you for allowing God to use your brokenness. May we all lift our pieces to The Lord!
“Apart from Him, my brokenness stays broken — a million little pieces, utterly unfixable.”
“being broken … is being like Jesus.”
(of course I am sharing on my Twitter page!)
This post is so great! Thank you for sharing with all of us about your brokenness. Ann Voskamp is such an amazing writer. I’d love this book! Sharing on Twitter.
sharing my testimony of brokenness at our Ladies Bible study this week and this post was just what I needed.
Yes! I would love this book!
Had a weekend away last weekend. My friend and I talked and cried a lot about brokenness. I would love this book also! Thank you!
I would love this book right now! Shared on fb and Instagram too!
I would love a copy of this book. Loved 1000 Gifts.
This book sounds so wonderful as we are all broken and need restoration. Let us all have the courage to expose our brokenness to the light.
Jennifer, I love the image you painted of lifting our brokenness to Jesus. So thankful He exchanges our brokenness with healing and wholeness in Him.
Jennifer, as is so often the case you describe perfectly stuff many of us are dealing with. This sounds like a book I need to read. I have been pretending what is broken isn’t really there, but then I become stuck, because if I move the broken pieces might cut me.
Sounds like a perfect book for this season of my life…..
I love reading your posts and Anns! You both bless me!
I know all about trying to hide the brokenness. It’s time to expose it to the light 🙂 I would love to read this book!
Desperately trying to keep my eyes on what is good and whole (Jesus) while struggling through that which is so sadly broken. This morning I opened the One Thousand Gifts devotional to get a starting to point, to sort through what I am carrying. Thank you for the email.
Brokenness is part of life on this earth…a reminder that this is not our home. I’m so grateful that we have a Savior that knows what brokenness is, and carries us through to the other side. Can’t wait to read this book. Jennifer, I love your posts and get your newsletters and follow on Facebook and Instagram. Shared on Facebook.
I came over to linkup early but the time difference and all! The Broken Way is dog-eared on my reading table right now. I think it’s Ann at her best! I’ve been writing frantically all month #write31days in the gospel of John, a profile of Jesus each day. I just finished day 28, John 17, Jesus, Intercessor – you know “the real Lord’s prayer” He prays for the broken – Himself about to be broken, His broken disciples, and finally His broken church (us). His declaration of “IT IS FINISHED” was His way of telling us that our broken is re-membered by His atoning blood on Calvary. Perhaps we all should take our black ballpoints and make that cross on our wrists to remind ourselves it is in the Broken Bread we find our wholeness. xo I’ll be back to link up!
So true, good brokenness heals bad brokenness. I know that I know that this is TRUE! Thank you Jesus for putting me back together. I love your heart, Jennifer Lee. I am thankful that God intersected your and Ann’s lives on the Frio and that I can rejoice with how He is using you both for his glory!
One Thousand Gifts was a big blessing in my life. Looking forward to reading Broken Way!
This sounds like a beautiful book, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing about it. I would love a copy (and I shared on Twitter). There’s something about sharing our broken pieces with each other that makes it easier to get them to God (someone to help carry the pieces).
Ann’s book sounds wonderful…as writers we continually risk being vulnerable in our brokenness…what better encouragement to keep on keeping on than to sift through the pages of her new book. Yes, I’d love a copy…
Sounds like a good and very needed read in this world and in mine, I pray God can use my brokenness and turn it into beauty. Thank you for sharing. Blessings
My copy of Ann’s beautiful book landed in my Kindle today. So excited to begin reading. Time to put the tea kettle on and settle in . . .
I would love to win this book! Faced with 2 chronically ill sons, broken bodies and broken dreams, I (we) need some help and healing! Thank you!
THIS: ““All of us in a heartbreaking world, we are the fellowship of the broken. … Over all of us is the image of the wounded God, the God who breaks open and bleeds with us” I so need to read Ann’s new book.
This is on my too buy list! Dealing with a lot of stuff in my life right now. Thanks for the chance. 🙂
What a beautiful review, Jennifer. This book has been on my wish list ever since I first heard of it. I’d love to win it. 🙂 I also shared on Twitter.
Oh how brokenness resonates today! One verse that has manifested itself over and over in my current health struggle is 2 Corinthians 4:7 “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” Therefore I rejoice in my brokenness!
The most striking thing for me is the concept of empathy–that we can help heal others’ brokenness with our own brokenness. Surely we wouldn’t choose suffering for ourselves, yet empathy cannot come independent from suffering. Our God is amazing.
I would love to read Ann’s book, and my husband has enacted a temporary ban on book-buying, so this is a totally legitimate entry. I also shared on Facebook and Twitter 🙂
IF I win this book I want you to send it to my friend in prison who obviously was very broken to end up there. She does love Jesus very much and is sharing the gospel with all who will listen while she is there. She considers it the mission field. I know she would read this book and pass onto many others and eventually leave in the library of the prison.
I would love to read this book.
So many things said here today speak to me. I am putting this one on my reading list. Thank you for the grounded reminder we are all in this together and need Jesus!!
I would love to win this book. One Thousand Gifts changed my life and so many other words from Ann have touched my heart as well. Thank you for sharing with us!
Shared on Twitter and Facebook
I would love to win this book for my wife.
I do my imperfect best to lead as her husband and books like Ann’s can help me do that with an incredible resource as a simple gift.
Thank you for your generosity in this giveaway!
I find myself on the broken way – maybe this book can help me make sense of it.
I’ve heard that bones are stronger where they are broken, and it stands to reason that hearts will be too when we allow Jesus to mend them. I’m sure we all feel the pain of brokenness, and yet it’s broken people whom Jesus comforts. How precious, Jennifer, that you and Ann have chosen to share your broken places to help comfort those w/ Christ’s comfort you’ve received. It would be a blessing to read her book. God bless you for your vulnerability. I’m pleased to share on FB & Twitter and group emails.
I am reading this, Jennifer, as I, too, am on the book launch team. Ann’s words are dropping me to my knees in humbleness and brokenness. I am feeling God’s refreshment with each page, even though it is hard and beautiful all in one.
Oh, how I would have loved to be on the launch team. What an honor! I watched the live Facebook event last night and again today. So raw and real, broken and beautiful. Ann is a gift. And her book is a gift. It’s at the top of my wishlist.
Oh yes I would love to read this book; have it on my wish list now. Thank you for sharing a beautiful review today!
I would love to read this book! Going to add it to my “to read” list!
I have had the privilege of getting a head start reading this on the launch team. It is so powerful, that it is one I want to give to friends. I have already ordered one, but want to give more. Thanks Jennifer for sharing about this book on your blog!
Yes, I want this book.
I would love to read this book. Sharing on both twitter & FB. Thank you for sharing about this book and meeting Ann on your blog!
Thank you for the feature this week Jennifer! God brings encouragement and blessing at the perfect moments…thank you for being part of that!
Also, I would love to read this book! Happily shared your post on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest!
Rebecca! You are the winner of The Broken Way. Email me your address at jdukeslee @ gmail.com. Yay you!
My daughter was recently in a head-on crash, causing coma, multiple surgeries, burn wounds, puncture wounds. Her body is healing, her brain is still in trauma. There is much suffering. Family and friends are suffering too. “The Broken Way” book could be beneficial to all, to help in this long period of God restoring my daughter’s health.
I would love to read this book!! I have found myself feeling so broken lately and would love to see how God is going to shine through the broken places in my life. I know God has more intended for me but I don’t know how to get there.
I shared on twitter and Pinterest!
Yes I would love this book!!
Shared on Pinterest
Shared on Twitter also! 🙂
Shared on google!
I would love to have this book.
I would love this book.
This sounds like the book for me! I am at a season where I need Help through things that will set me free😀
i would love to receive this book😀
This looks like an amazing book. I am sure that like her other book it will be life changing. Unfortunately I seem to fail at sharing my brokenness often opting to cover it with my masks. When I try to share I just feel really vulnerable and if people don’t know how to respond then I feel worse for having tried than I do for pretending that nothing bothers me.
I would love and appreciate receiving this Broken Way book. Thanks!
Would love a copy of the book
That moment you describe with Gordon–was it from that first year, when Ann was there? All I know is I had my Gordon moment the following year, also when he led Communion. One of those thin places moments, which Laity is known for.
I would love to have this book!
Thank you for how you point to Jesus. I would love a copy of the book because I wrote out of my brokenness in 7 Days of Soul Care to point to how God has mended and continues to mend me, so Ann’s message resonates with me. Either way, thank you!
Thank you for your inspiration! I would love to have this book! I am metioning it on instagram next! God blees you!!
I would love this book!
I tweeted this post!
Sounds like a beautiful book – I would love to have it!
These words resonate as I just learned that a friend’s husband was just taken from her in a car accident. Brokenness abounds. But thankfully, so does He. I’d love to read the book.
Yes, I’d love to read the book. We are all broken. We are all in need of a Savior. And He stands with arms outstretched, ready to take our mess and make us whole. I am so thankful I belong to Him.
Beautiful post, Jennifer ♥ How neat that you and Ann met years before the book writing and had that special time to minister to one another. A precious memory, I’m sure! I have heard so many good things about this book. I would love to get a copy!
Blessings and smiles,
Loved this. I love Ann’s writing and would be so blessed by her new book!
Shared on Facebook and Pinterest!
This is beautiful, I’m in the midst of the most brokeness I’ve felt. & what an encouragement these words were to my heart. I would love a copy of the book.
I enjoyed reading your blog and appreciate your transparency. Ann Voskamp’s book, 1000 gifts, changed my life. I started a gratitude journal and now, after 5000 entries, I’m still going strong; looking at the ways my Lord blesses me every day through his amazing grace. I bought a case of books to give away to several women and shared the eye opening perspective of Eucharisteo, of giving thanks in the mist of our brokenness. I would be so grateful to be graced with Ann’s new book and again would share it with many others. Thank you for doing this; gifting others with her precious insightful words.
I would love to receive this copy of Ann Voskamp new book,