What Do You Do with Your Brokenness? Use It Abundantly

We’re all broken. Just in different ways.

And that’s okay.

When we accept our brokenness as an offering to the world, by the grace of God, we not only become genuine givers, but we also become healers.

And we ourselves become healed in the journey.

For reminders of this—and for encouragement to live it out—Ann Voskamp gives us 60 small (but large) stories from her life in The Way of Abundance.

If you know Ann’s writings, you know you can’t speed through them, so these short devotionals are wonderful bite-size vignettes of a life well-lived in pursuit of Jesus.

You can pick up these chapters one at a time, as needed, or read straight through. I happily recommend The Way of Abundance for its spiritual wisdom and gentle encouragement.

Quotes from The Way of Abundance

Here are a few of my favorite lines by Ann Voskamp from this book.

“Abundance isn’t about having as much as you want—abundance is about having as much of God as you want.”

~ * ~

“Yes, never stop working hard—but don’t grow tough. Because at the end of the day? Jesus wants our worship more than our work.”

~ * ~

“Maybe we believe in Jesus; we just don’t always believe in Him working in us.”

~ * ~

Who knew that sometimes if you don’t risk anything—you’re actually risking everything?”

~ * ~

“Every to-do list can be a to-love list.”

~ * ~

“Maybe right now, instead of giving someone a piece of your mind, it’s far better to give them pieces of your heart.”

~ * ~

“The grace that’s in this moment is your manna. Wish for the past and you drink poison. Worry about the future and you eat fire. Stay in this moment and you eat the manna needed for now.”

~ * ~

It isn’t having that makes us rich; it’s giving. Give sacrificially, live richly.”

* * *

Have you read Ann Voskamp’s books or blog? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Debbie, Crystal,
Patricia, Kristin, Holley

My thanks to BookLook Bloogers
for the review copy

 

 


Dedicated Devices, and Why I Still Love My Garmin GPS

If I’m the passenger in a car, don’t expect me to know the directions next time.

If I’m not driving, I’m paying no attention to individuals turns. I’m either reading or listening or talking or closing my eyes.

Staying focused doesn’t come naturally. My mind flits from this to that. I’m thinking of so many things that I want to do or want to remember to do later.

But sometimes my mind just needs to rest. To zone in on only one thing at a time.

Maybe that’s why I still like my old Garmin GPS. It’s a dedicated device for just one thing.

I know it’s outdated. It’s not current like my Maps app or Waze. It’s not interactive. It doesn’t show me there’s a wreck up ahead or road construction stalling traffic.

But it does one thing well: it focuses on this specific journey.

Once I set my destination, it zeroes in on that intention alone. Miles remaining. Next turn ahead. Estimated time of arrival.

It doesn’t tempt me to check my email or update Instagram or play a podcast.

God is like my Garmin. He zeroes in on his intention. And today, he is focusing on me. On my specific journey. On each step I’m taking. (And okay, the same for you. . . )

He’s not distracted by lesser things. He gives me his perfect attention, his total assistance.

He’s dedicated to my good. It’s for both his good as well as mine.

I can trust him to get me where he needs me to go. He will guide each step. He will arrange my arrival to be right on time.

There’s a satisfaction that comes with single-mindedness. With completing a goal. With ending up in the right place because you kept heading in the right direction.

So even though I do use my phone for directions, as long as my old GPS keeps working, I’ll still occasionally pull it out, too. And turn the other devices off.

A dedicated device has a way of getting me where I want to go with no enticements to look away.

I want to give full attention to this journey I’m on. With my dedicated companion.

* * *

My husband Jeff, on the other hand, still prefers a real map when possible (if he uses directions at all). You? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Kelly, CharTerri, Anita


Can I Have Yours, Please?

She was born this January.

As expected, our new granddaughter was beautiful and sweet and the best thing ever.

But the problem was location.

I dreamed of the same proximity for us that my kids had with their grandparents.

But that’s not our reality.

It reminds me of this story from the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel (read the whole thing in 1 Samuel 4-6; it’s a crazy story!).

When I want what you have but God didn’t intend it for me, it will fall flat. Like Dagon.

Read it all here.

Can I Have Yours?

* * *

We’re connecting our own stories with Old Testament stories this month at Do Not Depart.

Will you join me there for the rest of this story?

sharing with Dawn, Deb, Susan, Dawn,
Lori, Crystal, Debbie


Stop Believing the Lies – Girl, Wash Your Face {Book Review}

We all believe a few lies from time to time.

  • Something else will make me happy.
  • There’s only one right way to be.
  • I am defined by my weight.

Rachel Hollis has gathered 20 lies in one place. And debunks them one by one.

By using her own life experiences, her wit, and her faith in God, this founder of the lifestyle website TheChicSite.com makes us feel normal again in her new book, Girl, Wash Your Face.

Each chapter in the book confronts a different lie. Here are a few examples.

The Lie: I will never get past this

The Truth:

“But what is the alternative? We live through something crappy, and that’s it? We’re done for?

You cannot ignore your pain. You cannot ever leave it behind completely. The only thing you can do is find a way to embrace the good that came out of it—even if it takes you years to discover what that is.”

The Lie: I’m not a good mom

The Truth:

“Remember that we’re raising our children into the adults they will become. Our valiant endeavor will take us a lifetime of effort. A single day, or even a handful of days, when you aren’t mom of the century won’t make or break your kids.”

The Lie: I should be further along by now

“[Believe] that your life will unfold as it was meant to, even when it unfolds into something painful and difficult to navigate. Do I believe he has a plan? Absolutely.

. . . [Set] goals, not time limits. . . . Big dreams shouldn’t have expiration dates. As long as you’re working toward the things you hope to accomplish, it shouldn’t matter if it takes you a month or a decade.”

Live Awake

While this book may not teach you things you don’t already know, it does a great job of reminding you to stay conscious. Wake up to what you think about yourself and about your circumstances. Don’t let little lies or big lies dampen your enthusiasm for the life you’ve been given.

“I constantly fight the desire to slip back into the role I’ve played for so long. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, and two years ago I did just that. I learned that I am a recovering workaholic, but through this process, I also learned that I am a child of God—and that trumps everything else.”

* * *

My thanks to Net Galley
for the review copy of this book

sharing with Kristin, Bethany, JaimeHolley,
KellyCharGaylAnita


Don’t Be Afraid to Be Afraid

Afraid of Fear

He knows it’s a dangerous task. Only his daughter can do it. She’s scared. And he can’t do it for her.

Don’t be afraid to be afraid. We will try to have courage for you.”

The daughter is Meg Murry from the novel, A Wrinkle in Time. Speaking is her dad, Mr. Murray. Only Meg can return to the planet Camazotz and through love, bring back her brother Charles Wallace.

Don’t we want to avoid fear? Maybe we can embrace fun fear (roller coaster rides or mystery movies). But not real fear.

Security or Fear?

Given the choice between security or fear, I’ll naturally choose security.

But God doesn’t always give us the choice between security or fear. Nor is security always the choice he wants us to take anyway.

Sometimes we have to do scary things.

In the Afterword of A Wrinkle in Time, 50thAnniversary Edition, author Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, comments on the book and her grandmother:

“But a planet can also become dark because of ‘too strong a desire for security…the greatest evil there is.’”

I don’t know that it’s the greatest evil, but an unhealthy desire for security is often our idol, a toxic poison that stunts our growth.

The granddaughter follows with this:

“Meg resists her father’s analysis. What’s wrong with wanting to be safe? Mr. Murry insists that ‘lust for security’ forces false choices and a panicked search for safety and conformity.

“This reminded me that my grandmother would get very annoyed when anyone would talk about ‘the power of love.’ Love, she insisted, is not power, which she considered always coercive. To love is to be vulnerable; and it is only in vulnerability and risk—not safety and security—that we overcome darkness.

Do It Afraid

If you’ve read A Wrinkle in Time, you know that Meg does return to Camazotz. Even with fear. But armed with love.

God knows we have dangerous tasks, too. Some of which only his daughters can do. Even if we’re scared. And he can’t do them for us.

God doesn’t want us to live in fear. He sends us this message over and again, “Do not be afraid.”

But until we outgrow our fear, I also think God tells us the same words that Mr. Murry told Meg:

Don’t be afraid to be afraid. We will have courage for you.”

God holds courage for us, when we don’t feel big enough to contain it ourselves. It’s a mystery we can’t explain. It comes from his love.

  • To love is to walk into the unknown.
  • To love is to defy daring.
  • To love is to not be afraid to be afraid.

Perhaps the courage to love is the greatest mystery—and miracle—of all.

* * *

I’ve been re-reading A Wrinkle in Time before I see the (relatively) new movie. Have you read the book? Seen the movie? Please share in the comments.

Mystery is my One Word for 2018. Read more mysterious things here.


What Does Your Prince Charming Do?

Lessons from princes

To be fair to the princes of Disney, there’s more to them than this picture depicts.

But they do invite dreams of little girls imagining splashy weddings and perfect babies and their own Prince Charming.

According to Disney, Prince Charming will be be rich, charming, famous, and good-looking.

But ah, reality says otherwise.

A real life Prince Charming has something much more significant to offer. And every grown woman should value it: a heart to serve.

When Jeff washed dishes last night at 9:30, I liked it. And before that, when he lifted a heavy box out of my car for me, I was impressed. And before that, when he put in a full day’s work on the job to put money in the bank, I admired him for that, too.

It works both ways, of course. If I’m a truly loving wife, I serve, too. Marriage creates multiple opportunities for both of us to practice serving.

And practice it.

And practice it.

In sickness and in health.
For richer or for poorer.
Regardless of fame or charm, practice serving.

God sent the model Prince Charming ready to serve (Mark 10:45). He overwhelmed us with his practice. Back then. Today. Tomorrow.

Disney may not have designed this character yet, and we may not even fully appreciate it, but true greatness lies in true serving (Matthew 20:26-27).

The sweetest love excels at extravagant serving.

Maybe one day Disney will catch on.

* * *

Who has served you today? What did they do for you? Please share in the comments.

revised from the archives