The Broken Way Bible Study

Session 6: Who We Serve

Session 6 Video (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)

Blog Response (written by: Shani Ratliff)

“If I don’t fully share my own brokenness…there’s never full communion? Maybe – communion can only happen when not only our strong parts are broken and given, but when our broken parts are also given. Maybe communion happens not only when we’re broken and given – but when we give each other our brokenness.” (The Broken Way, pgs 250-251)

I am on a journey.

I am learning that holding onto my weaknesses has hindered me from experiencing a deeper relationship with both God and those around me. I am learning that God is fully aware of mistakes I’ve made and doubts I’ve had. I am learning that he sees me, knows me, and loves me just as I am – a simple lesson that often gets clouded and lost when you’re trying to be what others want you to be.

I am on a journey.

This journey has taken me from a desert of loneliness, where I felt my brokenness had to be hidden, to a wide-open space – a green pasture that restores my soul. God led me to this place where I can voice my needs and, in turn, meet other’s needs, finding new hope through community.

In the weeks leading up to writing this, I felt challenged trying to understand my brokenness knowing it does not stem from one particular incident, but a string of buried situations that have entangled me.

The situations are not uncommon – rejection, family dysfunction, parental divorce, and broken relationships – but they had left me feeling emotionally wrecked and unable share what I was going through.

How do you tell someone you’re sad and hurting? Who has time for that? What will people think?

“The focus of God’s people is not to create explanations for the suffering, but to create communities around suffering, co-suffering communities to absorb suffering and see it transform into cruciform grace. This will cost us. This will remake us into the image of Christ.” (The Broken Way, page 238)

This study and the Beautifully Broken community pull at my heart because I want to be known, as I really am, and I want to know others, just as they are. I desire real relationships where I don’t have to hide that I don’t have it all together. By not hiding it, the Holy Spirit has led me to others that I have connected with, encouraged, and served. Even in my broken and incomplete state, God is using me to show others the grace and compassion He has shown me. He is doing a new work in me that I never saw coming.

“There is more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3-5 MSG)

Be encouraged! When you bring your brokenness to the Father you are never left feeling shortchanged. He is faithful to heal, restore, and redeem. As Ann Voskamp mentions in The Broken Way, “maybe the only way to care for your wounds is to woo God. And you woo God by pressing your broken wounds into His, and finding that in Him, Him in you, you’re touching the broken wounds of all the other wounded and entering the joy of Him – intimate communion, koinonia, with Him” (page 219).

Me in Him, and Him in me. That’s what I want. No pretending, no hiding. Fully known and seen by the One who calls me his own and loves beyond measure.

For more encouragement from Shani Ratliff and the Beautifully Broken community visit our Facebook!

Weekly Challenge

Join a community or start your own!

If you live in the northern Illinois suburbs, we would love for you to join our community! We will be gathering together this Sunday, March 5th at the Broken and Free Tour (more info here) and again on Saturday, March 25th at The Chapel in Grayslake, IL for our Who Am I gathering (more info here).

If you are not in our area, we encourage you to continue being a part of our online community, here on our blog. We also encourage you to link up with some woman in your area – neighbors, coworkers, church friends, and others – and build your own community.

We aren’t meant to live through this life alone. We don’t have to carry our burdens without help. Pray and ask God to bring women into your life. Earnestly seek His guidance. We will be praying for you all as well!

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 is is like for you to hear others share their brokenness? Are you afraid to be seen as weak but see others who share weakness as brave?
  2. Have you experienced troubles producing passionate patience, virtue (character), and alert expectancy (hope) in you?
  3. What would a good co-suffering community being shaped by “living broken and given” look like?

Prayer Requests

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

What’s Next?

Thank you so much for joining us through out this study! If you are following along with us in the book, feel free to go through “Between Sessions: Session 6” in Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”. This will solidify what we’ve just learned and finalize the study.

This is the last week of our “The Broken Way” study series. Next week, Tuesday, March 7th, we begin our brand new blog series “Connecting With God“.

Each week we will go through a different way we like to connect and communicate with God. We hope that this will introduce you to new ways and rekindle old ways! See you then!

Missed a Week?

No problem! Check out Session 5: Embracing Inconvenience to catch up!

One thought on “Session 6: Who We Serve

  1. Thank you for sharing Shani! I, for one, look forward to getting to know you more as we continue to partner with God and what he is doing through this community! I agree with you, it can be so difficult to navigate our way through the broken spaces. I also agree with you that we are never shortchanged by God. Thank you for that reminder today!


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