Saturday, July 23, 2011

That I Would Be Broken Every Day

This day has been full of every kind of goodness. Every bit, every kind.

All day long I've smiled true, from the heart. I've laughed. I may have even winked a time or two.

But tonight, right now, I can't stop crying. And so it seems that what started good has ended even better.

It wasn't always that I'd have seen it this way. There were the headache years, where I pushed back at the tears until they bottle-necked into a headache. I never wanted to be that girl, so I wasn't.

Instead, I was the girl who seethed and griped on the inside, the girl who wanted everyone to think I was so strong. I wasn't all Goth or anything. I still wore pink with abandon. I've never owned a black eyeliner. I wasn't the mean kind of tough, just the scared kind, I guess. (Though I would have never called it that.)

Tonight I had the pleasure of hearing Ann Voskamp speak. For reasons I can't explain, I didn't know she would be here until two days ago, when I arrived. Her words tonight were just as lovely as you would expect. Probably lovelier.

"Open your hand so you can open your heart", she said. "Every moment is a gift." "The Bible is not a book of what we must do but a book of what He has already done." I nodded slow, the nod of the understood. This is what has changed my life, over the past few years. This slow, thick understanding that this - right here, this - is a gift. My pinched-up toes, my flattened hair, the too-loud laughs shared over chicken tenders with pitch-perfect ketchup. All gifts. Oh, if I would only remember.

So, she said, write down three things you're thankful for. Right now.

Here's my list:
Cory Brandon Martin - who has been a picture of grace, to me.
Brown eyes - Calvin, Ruby, Silas, Robert
Blue eyes - Haven Marie

And I lost it then, because the gift of them is so much bigger than what will fit inside. My dreams for them span to Heaven. Know Jesus. Know his love for you. Love him back.

Waiting in line for her to sign my book, I kept tipping my head back a little, so the tears could somehow fall back in. I walked past the little books on the Compassion table - child after child after child, just waiting to be chosen. I thought of our Compassion kids and how much I want to look straight into their brown eyes, how my dreams for them span to Heaven, how I need to tell them that again. There's no time to waste.

I stood at her side and my wit and smiles, they eluded me, so I cried the kind of tears that make a girl drippy in the worst possible way. I could not stop them.

It is grace that points a crowd of adoring "fans" toward a Sam's club table covered in children who need some hope.

It is grace that strips away.

It is grace that opens up to fill.

It is grace that breaks my heart in order to heal it.


  1. Love that you were able to meet Ann and a little jealous, too. Read her book in January--just in time for a new year and can say that her words have affected me deeply for the better. Thankful for the reminder tonight after a LONG day of high temperatures and truly joy-filled moments that I want to be consumed by those moments and less consumed by the heat (and me!). It's a choice.

  2. I am going to go and find out about this girl this instant. I love what you are thankful for.
    I love that God gives us these beautiful gifts.
    Life is beautiful.

  3. This was beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing and for being so open and honest.

    I understand completely.

    I've never been much of a crier either- or at least a public crier.

    Yet somehow as I age, I find that I cry more easily and I get over it faster.

    I also cry a lot of happy tears.

    This post made me happy as you mentioned Compassion. I just wrote to my Edgar a few days ago and sent my first photos, etc.

    I'm so excited about the possibilities.

    And..I always find that when I listen and start writing down what I'm thankful for, the list gets very long, very fast.

    My three for tonight (call me inspired, thanks kid!):

    1.My sweet, sweet hubby.
    The fact that as a girl, I was born in the USA. 2.One of the luckiest girls on the planet.
    3. The fact that I'm still able to learn and I'm cognizant of the fact that I AM still learning.
    4. See? It goes on..YOU. You continually re-remind me about what's important through your daily blogging.

    Peace Out, Sister.



    PS: For the love of all things just- get a few dumplins!

  4. And I am grateful for you...

    Thank you friend.

  5. I am smack dab in the middle of her book. And man, do I have to take it in small doses because she hits me square in the spot I thought I had hid so well. Thank you for your honesty. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time..... And not being a fugitive ;) from God's grace.

  6. What a gift that you got to hear and see Ann Voskamp! I've bought "1000 Gifts" twice, but I've only finished half of it, because I keep running into hungry, hurting hearts that I just know need to hear her words. I need to grab it again and finish the second half before I have to give that copy away, too.

    P.S. I love your list of thankfuls. God bless them all.

  7. P.P.S. What I've gotten most so far from "1000 Gifts" is this:

    All is grace.

  8. This is my favorite post you've ever written.

    Reading her book now too, and as someone else mentioned, it hits me straight in the heart.

    So happy that you got to see her and get your book signed, that is a wonderful blessing!!

  9. amen. i needed a good cry just now. reflecting on today's grace as i read this post was the perfect thing to get me there.

    so thankful for your heart and your beautiful words.
    praise jesus!

  10. I needed this today. You have no idea how much I needed to read this.

  11. crying as i read this b/c I get it. I cry every day, every single day. I have been so blessed and He is so good. I cry b/c I am so unworthy, yet He loves me so. xoxo
    P.S. brown eyes get me, blue eyes too and those brown babies I have across the ocean I want to hug in person.

  12. was as if I was SPEAKING MY HEART OUT...

  13. Really lovely post. Even though I am Jewish, not Christian, I am really intrigued by the Ann Voskamp book. I've heard good things about it and read an opening chapter. It was beautifully written and despite our different traditions, I could relate to a lot she wrote.

    Grace and gratitude are such important emotions - not only because the discipline of thankfulness builds our moral fortitude but also because gratitude makes us happy. It really does.

    I am hosting an 'Attitude of Gratitude' link up on my blog today:

    Feel free to check it out! (Sorry for the 'shameless plug' here but I thought it really fits the theme of your post :))

    This Good Life

  14. This brought tears to my eyes, and a yearning to find this book. I've been hearing bloggers talk about it.

    Thank you once again for such a lovely, from your heart post.


  15. So beauty full. Thank you.

  16. This post made me cry! I love reading Ann's blog. It so often hits in just the perfect spot. I am glad you have had such a meaningful experience this weekend!

  17. oh you made me cry. I know these lessons, but then I get busy with everyday life, and I forget so quickly. I need the constant reminder, till it becomes my norm. I have a compassion daughter named Pamela and I sob everytime I write her a letter. I love her so much and I hope to go see her someday.

  18. Oh- such sweet, true words. Beautifully written...

  19. I can't stop crying!
    So beautiful
    So happy for you.
    I so agree with you.
    God bless you and your journey.
    Thanks for such powerful and faithful words on this Sunday morning.

  20. Loved this post. I read Ann's book a couple months ago and must read again. For a little book it is very BIG ! I've become quite a fan of your blog, thanks for sharing in the special way that you do.

  21. Even though your miles away - the Lord is sharing the very same thing at home.....seems brokenness found it's way into both the youth and adult conferences this year. Check out the song "Give Me Faith"......there's some huge power in those words. Tis where I find my tears right now. I'll have to check out the sister that you had the opportunity to meet. I love a powerful/toe stomping read! See ya soon ;)

  22. i'm so glad you had the opportunity to go. i know god has special plans for you.

  23. what a beautiful, inspiring, heart-felt post.

  24. Beautiful.

    I'm a little jealous that you got to hear Ann speak. Just being honest. ;-)

    Very glad this was a good trip for you. I think we all need those times of tears.

  25. Beautiful. You are writing and living with such radiance--a messenger of grace.

    I thought I wouldn't like Ann's book. I was wrong. I devoured it and I don't think I'll ever be quite the same. It exposed parts of my heart I was hoping to keep buried. Seems before I can move forward...I've got to go back. And I'm scared. Too many soul holes.

    "It's grace that breaks my heart in order to heal it." Can we just skip the breaking and go right to the healing please???

  26. Well said, friend, well said. And I'm thrilled I got to hear it said with you smack dab next to me!

    Loved our chats, too. You are a hundred kinds of adorable. Safe travels for you today...xoxo

  27. Thanks so much for sharing this -- you have such a wonderful way of expressing yourself. Beautiful post.

  28. such a lovely, heartfelt post. i've said it before and i'll say it again...i love how real you are. :) thanks for sharing! hugs!

  29. Isn't it All amazing? Just layer and layer and layer of beauty!

  30. now you have me tipping my head back for the tears to fall back in! geesh girl that was beautiful. i would have loved to have heard her speak. hard to believe someone can write that poetically, but then there's you i can believe it:)

  31. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I need to save this somewhere to remind me that it's all worth it--the pain and emptiness of not having a child, the wait for our child. It's. All. Worth. It.

  32. I think gratitude is valuing something the way God does. And He's taught me to cry, and it's one of the most joyous things for me - I meet Him there in my tears, and I feel like I've just stood with my Papa and enjoyed something He enjoys. He loves that. And I love feeling His warm smile sink into my heart.

    You let God's light pour out of you and onto so many, by writing and pointing out His being a part of our tiniest moments of grace.

    thanks. :)

  33. Love that you were able to meet Ann and a little jealous, too. And i wish no one can bear this pain.
    send gifts pakistan

  34. Another suggestion: Use Instant Messaging to determine if someone is at their computer (presence) and then send the most common IM sent by millions of people... "You there?" If they answer, pick up the phone and call them. You'll hear the smile in their voice.