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Session 2: Living Cruciform

Session 2 Video (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)

Blog Response (written by: Jennifer Mahar)

How have I have lived with this brokenness inside of me?

In 2007, the sweetest, blue-eyed-rosy-cheeked-boy came into my life.  For the first time I thought, “This is it.  We will be together forever.”  Waking up next to that smile, that dimple, his big heart, those eyes, his loving hands; it far outweighed the wall shaking snoring at night.  The future played out in my mind: a wedding, babies, and happily ever after.

After eight months, he pushed me away, his friends saw it too.  One of those friends was there for me when things got rocky. He was there for me one night when we had too much to drink.
My boyfriend could feel me pulling away and started to clean up his act.  We stayed together, yet I continued to carry on with the other man.

How could I do this to my sweet blue-eyed-rosy-cheeked-boy?  It was like I was watching myself on some television drama, far removed from the reality of all the hurt that I was causing.

One winter night, my boyfriend found intimate messages sent between his girlfriend and his childhood friend.

Reality.  I had broken my sweet blue-eyed-rosy-cheeked-boy’s heart.  He still loved me and wanted to be together.

In the fall, I found out I was pregnant.  But I did not want to be the mother of his child and he was not ready to be a father.  Perhaps, really, he did not want a child with the woman who broke his heart.  My reason disgusts me: I didn’t want my baby because of the other man.  It makes me sick to confess.

We went to the clinic on a Friday, the memory of walking across the parking lot is so vivid, the single protester standing there.  I sat in the waiting room, thinking, “How is this is happening?  How is this my reality?”  Alone in the ultrasound room, the technician asked if I wanted a picture.  “Say no,” I thought, “ You don’t want that picture.  You can’t carry that with you.”  My mouth opened to mutter a soft , “Yes.”

All these years later, the room is a grey space and the nurse’s face is a blur surrounded by blonde hair.  But her words I remember, “We can’t find a heartbeat.  It appears you miscarried.  Did you know it was twins?”.

He couldn’t understand how I felt.  I couldn’t understand how he didn’t.   We broke up that spring.  I don’t think he will ever fully forgive me for all that I have done, I had not forgiven myself.

Until now.  Now, I know there has never been a moment that I was not loved by Jesus.

“By the wedding ring of faith, He shares in the sins, death, and pains of hell which are His bride’s,” Martin Luther wrote as his very first image to explain the good news of the gospel.  “As a matter of fact, [Christ] makes [our sins] His own,” he wrote, his pen on fire: “Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all His goodness.  Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by Him. Who Has ever loved you to death like this?” (Page 45, The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp)

I thought I knew Him, until a few months ago, I was forced outside my comfort zone.  In a classroom, five strangers listened to me confess my disgusting sin that I had carried with me for eight years.  They did not judge or leave me.  They loved me.  Their love helped me understand how Jesus loves me.

My dear friend was driving with me about a month ago, when I said, “I always thought I would be a young mom.”  She turned to me with the sweetest most loving look and said, “But you were.”  Just as plain as day and true as ever.

I am a mom, my babies are waiting for me in Heaven.  They are walking with Jesus.

How do we live Cruciform?

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  – Matthew 5:16 NIV

How do we live our one life here on earth as a sacrifice for the eternal life that waits for us in Heaven? We reach out, serve, step into the mess, love like Jesus loved, live like Jesus lived.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30 NIV)

How do I show Christ’s love?

My confession set me free.  It allowed me to truly accept Jesus as my savior.  At the beginning of 2017, I prayed for more ways to serve.  On January 6, the opportunity to be involved in with the women’s ministry “Beautifully Broken” came.  I resisted His plan at first, then said yes.  Because I know Christ’s love, He gave me strength to accept the group facilitator role, where I could encourage others amidst their own brokenness.  Because I know His love, I want to serve and love others in His name, for His glory.  God has much more in store for me, for this ministry, and for each of us when we choose to use our brokenness to do our Father’s work on earth until we join Him in eternity.

For more encouragement from Jennifer Mahar, please visit her blog here!


Weekly Challenge

Meet the need of someone else through your brokenness, letting God use you for His eternal kingdom.

Discussion Questions (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)

Feel free to answer and discuss these in the comments section below if you feel comfortable.

  1. What opportunities do you have to meet the needs of the suffering around you and “be a gift” to your world?
  2. Do you have an abundance mentality and, if so, how are you practicing it? How does it, or the lack of it, affect what you do?
  3. How are you feeling now about how you want to spend your 25,550 days?

Prayer Requests

If any of you need prayer we are here for you. You are NOT alone! Please send an email to support@beautifullybroken.blog and someone from the writing team will get back to you as soon as possible.

What’s Next?

Thank you so much for joining our study! If you are following along with us in the book, feel free to go through “Between Sessions: Session 2” in Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”. This will solidify what we’ve just learned and prepare you for the next topic. The next blog will be available Tuesday, February 7th. We hope to see you there!

Missed a Week?

No problem! Check out Session 1: How Do We Live This One Broken Life to catch up!

4 thoughts on “Session 2: Living Cruciform

  1. What a great message! Growing up and until recently, I always thought that God showed up for other people, but never me. It really resonated with me when she connected anxiety to an identity crisis. There have been so many times in my life when I was under the impression that I had it all together, but–coincidentally–those happen to be the most anxious, depressing times I can remember. What freedom there is when you wake up and realize God has ALWAYS been there, when you surrender ALL OF YOU, and know that you are LOVED. It is exactly how she describes. “Light comes to darkness when you reach out….Brokenness is blessed and then given away.” He is SO good.

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  2. I love her last line – “Those who live cruciform are most fully alive.” This leaves me thinking of my own life. The times I have felt most alive are truly the times when I have been giving of myself to a cause greater than I. That cause might be a simple as paying for the coffee behind me. Or it could be as difficult as walking a friend through tragic brokenness in her own life. All in all, as Ann says, blessed brokenness is givenness. It has been my experience that putting others before self – or getting out of “self” as I’ve heard it said – is truly a blessing. I am grateful for this reminder today. I think I shall look for someone to bless! ❤

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  3. I am experiencing such a blessing from the 1st 2 days. Give thanks, break and give away! Today is all we have, give blessed brokenness; real living is really giving, die to self all the time. Live life like its terminal because …it’s true. I am excited to be on this journey and grateful for those who are going through it with me, may I find a way to bless you and love you well.

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