One of my sons recently went through a quick and painful divorce, breaking his heart and ours. The stress took a toll on him both emotionally and then physically, with a trip to the ER and days where he was housebound and needed help just to walk. We sat with him, cried with him, and listened. There are no words when brokenness and suffering are excruciatingly painful.
Putting one foot in front of the other, literally, and figuratively, he has slowly begun to move into life again. Just this last week, he decided to venture to a coed life group he discovered through church. Although he would attend a group where he had not met anyone before, he had checked the group out on Facebook, and asked if he could join. Even then, he said he sat in his car out front of the house for a while, asking himself and God, “What on earth am I doing here?”
Through the course of the evening, he listened, and in listening heard another man slowly reveal his own story of recent unwanted separation from his wife of 16 years. By the end of the evening, he saw the truth of the scripture: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. My son discovered he could “be the gift” to this hurting man.
Ann Voskamp’s latest book, Be the Gift: Let your Brokenness be Turned into Abundance, helps us all to discover how our brokenness – and even pain and suffering – can be a blessing, a “gift” to others. This book is filled with short, easy to read and thought-provoking sections, along with beautiful photography. Ann includes bits from her blogs and her recent book, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life. In Be the Gift, Ann more fully answers the question she poses in The Broken Way – “What if instead of waiting for good enough things to happen to us, we could be the good thing to happen to someone else who is waiting?” With inspiring encouragement, she suggests 60 simple gifts that can be given, even when you feel you have nothing left to give. Starting with “Want an empty bucket list? Pour out your life. Set out a jar, bowl, or container as a life visual” she continues with some easy ways to give to others including, “Write just three lines of encouragement to someone feeling broken,” and ends the 60 gifts list with “Text someone – just to say good morning or good night.”
Sometimes we make being the hands, feet and voice of Jesus way too hard. We think we need to do it perfectly – when in reality, Jesus wants to use us just as we are – even in our brokenness and pain! Be the gift! – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist