Session 5 Video (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)
Blog Response (written by: Stephanie Petska)
“Undo it, take it back, make every day the previous one until I am returned to the day before the one that made you gone. Or set me on an airplane traveling west, crossing the date line, again and again, losing this day, then that, until the day of loss still lies ahead, and you are here instead of sorrow.” Nessa Rapoport
I have re-read this quote many times over the past eight years, and it still puts a lump in my throat; one more day, one more hour, one more moment is all I have ever wanted. This is just one of the realities of grief, the most painful part of life that I have journeyed through.
The evening when I heard the words, “There’s nothing more that we can do,” I can picture my heart at that moment falling in slow motion, like a fragile piece of glass, shattering into a thousand little pieces. Oh, my heart, how can or will I ever survive this?
On the late evening of March 16th, Braden Gregory Petska, age 2.5, suddenly and unexpectedly left this earth. There are no words to describe the depth of pain and heartache that child loss brings. It leaves a void that creates hollowness where laughter and joy once lived. The unanswerable question of “why” echoed in my mind, day in and day out. Hopelessness crept in, and I found myself longing for the presence of heaven over finishing this life on earth. Grief is exhausting, confusing, ever-changing, and has a physical presence like something I had never felt before.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
This scripture came into my life when I was stumbling, picking up the pieces of my shattered heart, learning to love and live again. When my trust in Him was fading, this scripture gave me eyes to see that God heard my cries, and He felt my pain without needing to utter a word. He answered these pleas by sending beautiful people into my life, lifting me up, and carrying me through these uncharted waters.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Love is the willingness to be interrupted. Numerous people unexpectedly reached out, came over to visit, invited me to lunch, visited Braden’s gravesite, and extended their arms, embracing all of my grief and heartache. How did they know I needed exactly what I received at that moment? There was undoubtedly inconvenience and sacrifice as they came to our aide, but that is the work of the Holy Spirit, the one who intercedes and acts on our behalf through divine intervention.
John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Grief is the consequence of loving, yet I would have rather loved and lost than never loved at all. As others poured their love into the crevices of my brokenness, I found it spilling over into the cracks of those navigating through their own journey of grief.
As Ann Voskamp states, “Long before we are healed of our own brokenness, God invites us to see our own pain mirrored in the pain-struck faces of others.” At a time when I didn’t know if my shattered heart could love again, I found myself seeing and showing love very differently, more tenderly, compassionately, and empathetically to those around me. The edges of my heart, that were once hardened by the wake of devastation, were softening as I started to love and live again. Real living meant and still means giving, especially our love to those with cracks to fill.
Allow someone to interrupt you and love them like Christ would. Help a stranger you wouldn’t normally reach out to.
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.
- How can you more easily choose to be the gift and help others even when it’s inconvenient?
- How would your life be different if you thought of every seeming interruption as a manifestation of Christ, a big or small opportunity to enter into participation in His sufferings?
- What is a step – even a small one – that you could take to show hospitality toward those in need?
If any of you need prayer we are here for you. You are NOT alone! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the writing team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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 5” 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 28th. We hope to see you there!
Missed a Week?
No problem! Check out Session 4: Real Koinonia (Communion) to catch up!