A couple of months ago I was rifling through the shelves of a bookstore when I saw it. The newest book from one of my favorite authors. I'd been thinking about ordering it for weeks. But it felt heavy. Like it was meant for another time or season. My life felt light. Happy. I'd had my heavy times already. My moments of brokenness. My loss. My grief. My rending of the heavens and wrenching of my soul. I wanted to read happy things. Shallow things. Words that felt easy and echoed my joy. This wasn't the book for my season.

In the checkout line, I couldn't stop thinking about it. "The Broken Way". Brokenness. Oh, I knew brokenness well. I'd walked many valleys and felt my spirit crushed before. But surely now wasn't the time for that. I had overcome. Loss was in my past. Images flashed in my mind: Leaving the mission field feeling like failures at the one thing we always thought we were made to do. Our son lying in that hospital, dependent on a machine to keep him alive. Me sobbing in the hospital room alone. My body ready to care for a baby that wasn't in my arms. Then one year later, losing our fourth child. Alone in my apartment with birth pangs for a baby I'd never know. The grief I had felt then and the grief that was still so near when I close my eyes.

➰Surely, the strength I'd gained from the things I've weathered was enough to carry me forever.

But life isn't balanced. The path to abundant life isn't paved with convenience. The stuff of grace is painful and messy and confusing. It's beating your chest and asking why and fighting until you surrender. But it's also being rebuilt. Piece by piece a mosaic masterpiece. And every tile tells a story only you fully understand.

I handed the book to the clerk. Secretly hoping I'd never again know a season where I felt the need to read about brokenness & suffering. It sat on my bookshelf, closed.

Until that day in the middle of June when my husband came through the door with tear stained eyes. He stood in our living room where our laughter and our dreams and our plans ring out and he said "They think it's cancer." And I held him and I cried and I wondered why would brokenness come again to our home after we've finally become so familiar with joy.

And I opened the book. Because there is a path to abundant life, and while it's not a pretty one, I know the end is worth the journey.

No comments: