Thank you everyone for participating in this giveaway! It was so very fun to chat about how you study the word!! I pray your Holidays are filled with tender moments with the One sent to dwell with you.
Watch below to see who won!!
The room was dark as I tip toed out. I didn’t want to wake anyone, more so, I didn’t want to be seen. If only they could hear the raging debate inside my head. In my socks, I slipped down the hall to the stairwell and descended down the steps. It was eerily cold but I was determined — food could no longer fix this. Busyness didn’t silence the raging confusion. Not even my friends could settle it and there wasn’t a single preacher on the planet I trusted with these questions.
So I pressed on in the dim security light to study room 6.
The plain industrial carpet and single square laminate table accompanied by one black plastic chair spoke something about the 80’s. I stood there for a moment surveying the room, the stale silence amplified my fears but in a way, I liked the solitude. The battle I faced could only be settled in a one on one.
Just me and the Word.
I had heard enough. My childhood had been filled with Bible stories and I’d memorized John 3:16. I knew how to pray and when to raise my hands in worship. I could speak all the lingo and had played all the games.
But for what? A wounded soul? A broken family? I didn’t know who to listen to anymore, or what to believe.
Things had been said, values shifted, leaving my doctrine wadded into scraps and my theology in a tailspin. I was frantic for truth.
Whirling in the wake of mere mens words, I turned to the only place I knew. Despite my doubt and confusion, beyond my pain, I knew one thing – if the lies I’d been listening to had any truth to them they would be found here in His word. One of two things would happen here – the lie would be confirmed or the truth found out. Either way, I was going to know before my first class.
Flustered and angry I sat down at that laminate table and turned to the concordance in the back.
It was a rather simple question really, What does the Bible really say about ____? But what happened next blew my heart wide open. As I read scripture after scripture on that particular topic I not only found the surface answer, but I found a place to ground my soul.
I had been stuck in a wasteland, a desert of doubt, left to starve and shrivel up. The passages of scripture I read that day radiated off the page, shining light into the depths of my struggle. It was a divine experience, as if someone had taken my parched soul and planted it right next to a mountain spring of crisp water. I didn’t just find answers, I found manna.
Jesus experienced something very similar while drying up in the desert himself. In the midst of the trial He quoted Moses. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Jesus was starving, it had been forty days of nothing but water. I don’t know anyone who can go forty days without anything, not even juice, but the Son of God survived.
That word He quoted in that moment was something Moses had said a thousand years before. Moses had taken an entire nation into the wilderness. They left behind crops that grew fruit and grains, fields that fed livestock. Now they were out in the middle of no-mans land with nothing but goats milk and wild turkey. These people were starving.
But God showed up. Every single morning. Fresh manna (bread) miraculously appeared near their wilderness camp every day. Basket after Basket filled to the brim. It held them together, it gave them energy and no doubt reminded them that they were covered by the Lord God Almighty. It was more than bread, it was God’s presence. Moses witnessed every saving act, he shared every rhema word. The man knew what he was talking about. God spoke and Israel lived. (see Deut. 8:2-5)
God provided manna for the Israelites in the wilderness, He sustained them by His word. And later, that very God-inspired word of Moses provided hope and assurance for Jesus when He needed it most, in the wilderness.
His word provides for you too. The Word is alive and active for us today. Everything you need to live fully and freely in Him is found in that leather bound book. Yes, YOU, go ahead, test Him in this. His Word will fill up those desperate places you can’t even describe, it will answer your hardest questions, more so it will ground you in the midst of those doubt storms. And it will light the steps in front of you as you wonder where to go from here.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1,14
(psst: come back tomorrow where we’ll talk about HOW to study the Word- and maybe you’ll win a Journaling Bible!!)
Happy Saturday Everyone! I know this week is the start of the Holidays. The hustle and bustle of Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, gift shopping and wrapping frenzies are upon us. BUT I want to share something with you. A source of peace, a place of calm, a voice of assurance that came to you in the flesh and still lives among us today. I have two posts coming for you- watch for them on Monday and Tuesday!!
Lately, I have found myself squirming a lot. I seem to be landing in situations that step just right on those sensitive spots. You know the ones. The ones that rumble in your gut, later erupting out of your mouth at a decibel 10 notches too high. Or the question posed by a loved one that sends your running to burry your head in your pillow. That situation that seems to never ever ever get fully resolved wearing you thin through the night.
No matter how much I try to polish and secure, my brokenness creeps back out.
I like things neat and tidy. I work hard for pretty. I guess I don’t want my Facebook status, neighbor status, even best friend status to weaken on account of my mess. But lately, I just can’t seem to keep that broken messed up monster stuffed in the closet.
A friend of mine recently shared a thought that made me and my monster freeze in our tracks… she said “Jesus wasn’t afraid to show His scars.”
And she’s right, Jesus wasn’t afraid to show His wounded, messed up scars. In fact, He invited his disciples to touch them, feel them, really look at them. Every inch of them. (see Luke 24:38-39, and John 20:19-28)
That’s when I picked up Ann Voskamp’s new book, “The Broken Way”.
If you’ve read any of Ann’s books you know you are in for a deep dive into stunning waters right from the beginning. She takes all of your unspoken thoughts and feelings and paints them with brilliant color right there between letters. This latest array is no different. Two sentences in to the first chapter and I was sinking.
“How do we live with our one broken heart?” she asks, and I nod from a pile of shattered pieces. How do I take this broken heart that sparks in the fires of everyday living and keep it from going up in smoke? How do I take my brokenness and keep it from breaking those around me? How do I go on from here?
A chapter or two in and I begin staring into the pierced hands of my Savior. In wonder, my friend’s words echo through my mind. Jesus really didn’t hide his scars. He took his wounds and showed them to His disciples. And they are not repulsed. Their faith doesn’t turn away or dwindle. In fact, right there in those mangled scars and torn apart parts, those disciples are humbled by the glory of God and it draws them to Him.
“What if the abundance of communion is only found there in the brokenness of suffering, because suffering is where God lives?”
“What if I made a habit of everyday pressing my wounds into the wounds of Christ — could my brokenness be made into a healing abundance for the brokenness of the world?” (pg 34)
“In shattered places, with broken people, we are most near the broken heart of Christ.” (pg 43)
I expected a longer focus on the pain and heaviness of brokenness. I kept waiting for the chapter on finding full healing from it all; identifying the formula for perfection. Instead, Ann took me straight into the hearts of those around me. Giving from our place of brokenness to find the path into abundance. Backwards maybe, but breathtakingly beautiful. And altogether, Holy.
“Our most meaningful purpose can be found exactly in our most painful brokenness.”
You don’t have to be whole to give. Right there I breathe in deep. Exhaling in peace from atop my messy pile. Jesus never works for our glamorous perfection, at least not here in this broken world. No. Jesus just wants to press his wounded hands into our broken places because that is the very place for communion with true Love. What if instead of squirming our way around our pain, we let go and let His glory rest there in those cracks and scars? What if instead of hiding our pain and brokenness, using it as a barrier between us and them, we let the world around us touch and feel — what if we were willing to touch and feel their brokenness? Would God’s all magnificent wholeness blossom? Would we see the change we long for?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This book will step right in and challenge you to stop hiding from your own brokenness and to stop avoiding it in the world around you.
“Maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life.” (pg. 136)
Will you join me in this embracing?
“This is all I know about living: Every moment is a gift with each other – and every moment we get to be a gift with each other. This is all there is.” (pg. 267)
IF you want to win a copy of this book- join me HERE for a week long challenge. The winner will get a FREE copy of The Broken Way!
And stay tuned! Ann has a group study with this book, set to be released in December- which you could WIN right here on this very blog!!
Love you guys!!