You’re broken, but beloved

From Ann Voskamp’s, The Broken Way:

“He looks like Jesus kneeling down in front of a woman caught in adultery, and it comes like a slow grace, how Jesus handled her critics: He deeply unsettled the comfortable and deeply comforted the unsettled.  The woman grabbed by the Pharisees was given what I myself desperately need.  Before all the pointing fingers, Jesus looked up at the wounded and rewrote her fate: ‘You’re guilty, but not condemned.  You’re busted up, but believed in. You’re broken, but beloved.’

Whatever you’re caught in, I make you free.  Whatever you’re accused of, I hand you pardon.  Whatever you’re judged of, I give you release.  Whatever binds you, I have broken.  All sin and shame and guilt and lack I have made into beauty and abundance.

Who get over a love like this?  In the midst of trials, Jesus guarantees the best trial outcome: you’re guilty, but you get no condemnation.  No condemnation for failing everyone, no condemnation for not doing everything, no condemnation for messing up every day.  Who gets over a release like this?

You are Mine and I am yours, and all I have is yours and all you have is Mine.  I marry you to the mystery of whole perfection, and I carry all your brokenness to divorce you from all despair.”

How to be equipped for life?

From the wise Ann Voskamp:

You aren’t equipped for life until you realize you aren’t equipped for life.  You aren’t equipped for life until you’re in need of grace.

In the moment of realizing your limitations, your shortcomings, your inescapable sins, all that you aren’t–in that moment of surrendered lack, you’re given the gift you’d receive no other way: the gracious hand of an unlimited God.  Repentance, turning around, is the only way to be ushered into grace. . . .

‘We all want progress,’ writes C.S. Lewis.  But ‘if you ar eon the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.’

She who turns back soonest is the most progressive.  She who repents most makes the most progress–you always go farther when traveling light.  She who repents of seemingly little sins knows that all sins are great–and knows a greater God.  Repentance is as much air to a Christ-follower as faith.

Hoping for the impossible

Another wonderful gem from Ann Voskamp: How You Can Keep On Hoping for What Seems Impossible

Never got over this…
So if you turned right after Clappison’s Corner and drove real slow around the potholes, you might see it?

Sneeze or blink, and yeah, you might not.

But it’s there on the top of a mossy stake, pointing the way you gotta take, either way: Hope.

You don’t want to know where all thother roads lead.

Just down the road from Centerton, thats’s where my Dad grew up on a dairy farm.

Right around the corner from the Dykstra’s* dairy farm. Hank Dykstra had seven kids and a heart attack. Fell over dead to this world and alive to the next when their oldest boy, Richard, was only 14.Sometimes people are so quiet and brave, we forget that they are suffering.

Sometimes people are so quiet and brave, we forget that they are suffering.

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My Dad and Richard Dysktra were both farm boys about to start high school when Richard took over the farm and helped his mom raise the six other kids and milk 40 Holstein cows morning and night, 365 days of the year.

Dad said the high school bus would wait at the end of the lane for Richard and Dad would watch the door of the barn to see if Richard was coming from his cows to class. That only happened less than a handful times a month.

Because sometimes the road you’re on is more important than the bus waiting out on the road that someone else says you have to take.

My Dad grew up milking cows and growing corn, got married at 24, and bought a farm 3 hours west of Centerton.

Richard Dyskstra grew up milking cows, raised up his 4 brothers and 2 sisters, got married at 37, and bought a farm 3 hours east of Centerton.

6 long hours of unwinding road now stretched between the two neighbour farm boys and their farms.

You can read the rest here.

Is success the point of Lent?

Some surprising thoughts from a gal who is not Catholic, but observing Lent this year:  Ann Voskamp on “Why Failing at Lent–May be Succeeding at Lent?”

I can’t seem to follow through in giving up for Lent.

Which makes me want to just give up Lent.

Which makes me question Who I am following.

Which may precisely be the point of Lent.

You can read the rest here.  (She has some pretty nice freebies on her site as well.)

“The room with the asylum just a doctor’s note away.”

How do I give thanks even in suffering?

I shifted my weight and paper crackled under me. My chest constricted, my eyes sagged and my mind tangled like an old cobweb.

The doctor looked up, “There’s hope for guys your age, this isn’t unusual.” I doubted that and continued rocking back and forth.

I come back to that room in my mind a lot. The room with the asylum just a doctor’s note away.

My father sat across from me, a steadying presence. My wife held my hand, scared. I rocked with chronic anxiety and depression. My fears had distended into sleepless nights, sweaty sheets and a sick and hopeless heart.

The walls of my life closed in when I was just 23, newly married and a grad student – and I wanted out. In the basement of my parents’ house I cursed God.

With tears carelessly wiped and flung, my fists pounded the bed. I yelled my pain into pillows. I screamed at God, scared he’d leave me.

He didn’t leave. He never intended to.

Fourteen years later, I still struggle with anxiety, but the doctor was right. There is hope. It’s the practice of giving thanks.

There’s a book I always go back to, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. A friend dared her to write 1,000 things she was thankful for in a year. A mother of six and farmer’s wife, Voskamp finds epiphanies around every corner.

The smallest thing, like the way sunlight hits grated cheese, fills her with happiness.

As a guy, I picked up the book skeptically. The cover shows a pair of hands holding a nest with robin eggs and a background just a touch lighter than “Lady Finger Beige”. Yes, I had to research that color, as well as how to spell “beige”.

But this line slashed through my skepticism: “I enter the world like every person enters the world: with clenched fists.”

You can read the rest here.