Maybe — maybe there’s a Comforter who holds us gently in our brokenness . . . which is very different from a comfort zone that’s a deathtrap to break us. And the art of really living may just involve figuring out that difference.
There is a time to be comforted . . . and a time to come and die into a greater kind of comfort. And like that song of given- ness running under and through the atoms of the universe, the Farmer says the verses quietly: “If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed . . .”
And I turn in the shade of the old maples lining the hospital parking lot and join him: “. . . then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”
The light feels warm. Dappled on faces. The Farmer only nods to me. There’s not much to say when you feel a holy change beginning: our broken night could become like the noonday. Light could rise in all this darkness — in us, in the ache of unspoken broken, in all this busted world. We will begin here and trust that this will lead us: spending yourself is how you pay attention to joy; spending yourself is how you multiply joy.
I was made for this. The universe was made for giving. Givenness.
“Every Christian,” wrote Lewis, “is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else . . . It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.”
We exist to be Little Christs. Not Little Ladder Climbers. Not Little Control Freaks. Not Little Convenience Dwellers. Simply little giving Christs. Not ever in a way that’s divine, but simply, always, and in every way, disciples.
The term Christian means exactly that — “little Christ” . . . and that ending in the original Greek — ianos — it means to be patterned after something. The cross on my wrist — I am beginning to feel the pattern, the form, of everything. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words reverberate: “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” And Lewis leans in: “Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want you. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it.’”
Come die. In a thousand ways. “Give Me all. I want you. I want you all.” Give not only all my best, but even all my brokenness?
Standing there with the Farmer under the canopy of maples, I remembered Lewis’s words echoing Christ: “I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down . . . Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” It’s like an echo of communion, of that intimate exchange of the givenness in my brokenness and the givenness of His acceptance. “All His is mine and all mine is His.” My own will shall become yours . . .
Hand over your whole self. Your whole broken self. Given- ness. Because this is far easier than pretending to be whole and not broken.
Within the pages of The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life, Ann Voskamp asks the questions not one of us can afford to ignore, including this question: What do you do with your unspoken broken? Ann invites you on a journey — a way that beckons you into more time, more meaning, more authentic relationships. A way, especially when things aren’t shaping up quite like you imagined, that makes life take the shape of more — more abundance, more intimacy, more God — The Broken Way, a daring path into the abundant life.
Ann Voskamp is a farmer’s wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60-week bestseller, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, and The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the church today, she’s a writer for DaySpring, and, with her family, partners with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children. Ann has been featured on the TODAY Show, in WORLD Magazine, and Focus on the Family magazine, and her blog, A Holy Experience, is a global well for the weary and soul-thirsty seeking the quiet grace of the Giver.