Perhaps I knew back when creating our book club reading list, that somewhere deep down, nestled in the winding rivers of my soul, that I would truly need this book come October. Perhaps you knew too? So many of you put it in your top three choices, and that must mean something. And now that we are two days into this new autumnal month, my favorite of the twelve, it feels like the perfect book and guide to accompany the introspection and self-editing this time of slowness and visible change offer you and I. Autumn is a time for looking inward, for journeying into one’s self, and as an introvert and someone who genuinely enjoys ruminating on life’s big questions and mysteries, I look forward to it every year. I also look forward to pulling out cozy sweaters, having tea in our blue velvet chairs after supper, looking up at orange trees on the path by our house, naturally.
I’ve always loved autumn more than any other season, but with this love, also comes an an acute awareness of time, most specifically, the passage of it. Ever since I was little, and as far back as I can remember, the change of seasons has both jolted and enlivened my spirit. I love the lingering transformations made in nature as she changes her lovely leaves and limbs ever so slowly, ultimately letting the growth fall away like a whisper into barren landscape of stillness that becomes winter. But feeling time as it drips and drips and drips, admittedly can make me uneasy. Sometime my tiny little mind can’t take the bigness and swiftness of it all. Sometimes it’s just as simple as that. So instead, I spend my days loving my family hard and making things more beautiful than they have to be. I suppose it helps me heal and get closer to God in a way that feels most comfortable – a familiar conversation that gives me joy.
But also, I think deep down I have a fear of death, or perhaps more accurately, of things ending. Nothing makes me more anxious then bring rushed for whatever reason. I just don’t function well in it. I also have a fear of deep water, my babies getting hurt, abandonment, narrow bridges, and being “enough” for those whom I love, each not equally measured with one another, but my fears nevertheless. And when I look at my fears, I see brokenness. I see cracks. If I am broken, how can I be fixed? Is that even a good goal to have, to seek fixing? These are some of the things I think about when I am pushing my baby boy on the swing in our front yard or folding laundry. Like, will I always be this way? What if I don’t want to fear this or that, or be anxious about things? What if I want to change? As someone who finds peace and contentment in caring for my home and family, I have other motivations in life, like devoting time and energy to learn about and try to mend the cracks in my foundation. Andrew and I like to say to one another, “We are all just becoming.” And isn’t that the damn truth. Each and every one of us, you, me, your best friend, your mother-in-law, that girl on Instagram, your babies, your dentist, our president, yes, him too, always changing, recalibrating, and reinventing new ways of doing life seasons come and seasons go. We are all offered new mercies each morning, and praise God for that. I find this truth to be beautiful and courageous, but mostly just really hopeful.
What does any of this have to do with autumn and the passage of time and fears and nature and anything at all? Why does any of this matter? It matters to me because I am broken, but not broken beyond redemption. Nor are you. Or anyone, anywhere else in the world. We are all uniquely beautiful, and all uniquely flawed. Not one, or the other, but both. It’s just the way things are, and it’s the real good news. I chose this book not because I seek perfection, nor because I aim to become someone entirely different, but because I am aware with every fibre in my being that life is delicate and precious and meant to be lived outside of the toil of questioning one’s worth or value. I am eager to begin, not because I hope to eradicate my brokenness and replace it with abundance, but rather, to journey through it while knowing and believing that no matter what, I’ll always be enough and have always been in the eyes of God. Perhaps this all sounds strange to you. Perhaps it feels like a hug. Either way, I invite you to join me into this month’s journey as we read and reflect on The Broken Way: A Darling Path Into the Abundant Life by Ann Voskamp.
Also, this…a quote I read this weekend:
“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’ve made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.” – Brene Brown Braving the Wilderness
- Get the book.
- Grab a comfortable pen and your journal.
- Say a prayer for courage, truth, and vulnerability.
Also, with regard to Simplicity Parenting, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on that here as well. The Broken Way Bible Study is not word heavy, nor will it take you tons of time to get through, so if you feel inclined, and if you’re a parent, you’re welcome to read Payne’s book with us too! x Amanda