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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in brokenness (6)



Tears pooled around her deep brown eyes and slid over down her cheeks. She told the seminar leader how thyroid disease had wrecked her life. One day she felt great, she said, the next she was exhausted. Brittle hair. Dry skin. Thickened middle. The room grew quiet. We looked to the doctor leading the seminar. With gentleness he proposed a risky thought. Perhaps, he began and his eyes held her gaze, this is a different path but a better one. 

Sometimes God picks you up from one path and places you on a different one, a better one.

I thought of the things she had lost. Her health. Her energy. Her youthfulness. Her sense of control. What had she gained? Better eating habits benefiting her family and her. Powerlessness. Unanswered questions. No promises of a cure. Gratitude for things she once took for granted.

Often God radically changes our paths. Sometimes the world changes just by a few words. 

Has your life ever changed as a result of a sentence?

When this happens, the path we find ourselves traveling seems anything but safe or friendly or good. As I listen to my story and to others’ stories, I see a pattern of God re-creating circumstances. At first glance, this seems cruel. But seen through the grid of God’s goodness, they become opportunities for healing. 

I met a woman whose three year old son recently went through chemo for leukemia. She lost her mother to cancer when she was 8 years old. She is courageously living this traumatic season with an eye for what God may do to bring her healing in her inmost being - not just as a mother desperate for her son’s healing but also as a girl who lost a beautiful mother. 

God baffles us by these stories. What do we do with a God like that? What do we do with the wildness, the unpredictability of God?

Redemption’s work is making up for loss. I cannot author my own redemption. When I attempt to orchestrate my own circumstances to build a scene for redemption, I am in a dangerous spot. Redemption rarely, pretty much never, looks like what I think it will look. Most of the time we look around and say “chaos” or “disaster” not redemption. 

My experience and hope tell me that at those times, God is nearest. He is often poised in the wings to blow your socks off with how He brings His presence to the broken. It happens in the heart. What changes is your spirit. You are able to say with the saints of old: He is enough.

In Him we have redemption through His blood... Ephesians 1:7

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