It’s week three of The Broken Way OBS! We’ve loved hearing your responses to week two, Living Cruciform, and how you have been meeting others’ brokenness and pouring out for one another.
In our private Facebook group, we’re reading that people are praying for one another, sharing Scripture with others, leaving magazines in the ER for kids who are waiting, visiting neighbors, making meals for those in need, sending gift baskets, and one of our participants is knitting a prayer shawl to give away. Others did lovely things like a big grocery trip in a blizzard for a homeschooling mom of five and leaving coins in a laundromat. And right in the middle of our Thursday group chats one participant said, “Gotta go… I see my neighbor shoveling another neighbor’s driveway and I’m going to help her!” How awesome is this?
How have you been challenged to get out of your circumstances, your struggles, and even your own head to look around to others who could use a gift of love, a smile, a hand to hold? There are so many great ways to bless those around us that don’t cost much, or even anything! Let’s get out in our communities and love the world around us!
Koinonia is always the miracle. — Ann
This week we’re in The Broken Way session three, “Learning to Receive”.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved… — Colossians 3:12
Scripture Readings This Week
- John 8:2-11
- Colossians 3:12
- Ephesians 1:4
- Galatians 4:7
- Psalm 40:1-2
This week for the study you will:
1 Watch the video for Session 3 – either on DVD or right here on FaithGateway and take notes in The Broken Way Study Guide (pages 49-54).
2. If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the “Talk About It” section (pages 54-58). These are also the questions we’ll discuss in our Thursday online chats.
3. For your personal study, try to set aside some time every day to go through the Between Sessions study questions in The Broken Way Study Guide (pages 59-66). This week we’re going to write a prayer to God. Dig deep, friends, and be honest with the Lord. This is going to be such a good week!
4. Recommended (but optional) reading for this week: In preparation for session 4, read chapters 9-12 in The Broken Way – the hardcover book, not study guide.
5. Join us on Thursday, February 9th (optional) at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST for a live chat to discuss this week’s Session 3 “Talk About It” questions: http://www.faithgateway.com/broken-way-study/?live
Receiving Love Is Sometimes Harder Than You’d Think It’d Be
Letting yourself be loved is an act of terrifying vulnerability and surrender. Letting yourself be loved is its own kind of givenness. Letting yourself be loved gives you over to someone’s mercy and leaves you trusting that they will keep loving you, that they will love you the way you want to be loved, that they won’t break your given heart. ~ Ann
One of my children spent the first six months of her life in an orphanage. Don’t get me wrong, she was held, fed, changed, and loved on. I will be forever grateful that her caretakers cared. They poured into her with hope and love and gave her sweet little nicknames and tickled her tiny, baby toes.
But, being abandoned by her birth father, left by her birth mother, and surrendered by her birth grandmother who couldn’t care for her left a deep gouge across her soul.
That slice only widened and deepened when her adoptive father bailed. When he quit protecting, quit providing, quit listening, quit caring, and left her wondering what on earth she’d done to be rejected once again. Left her wondering if it was some inherent flaw inside her beautiful brown skin that made her so rejectable.
A couple of weeks ago, a little boy, a thoughtless boy asked her why she had been in an orphanage. As tears stung her eyes and she stumbled to think of a reply, he offered his own conclusion: “It must be because you’re worthless.”
My sweet baby came home with worthless etched on her heart.
How do you receive love when you’ve been kicked in the teeth and left abandoned by those who were supposed to love you? How can you possibly trust that God, invisible, seemingly far-away, is-He-really-there God loves you when the ones you so needed tragically don’t?
That’s the wrestling place. That’s where the faith rubber meets the road. That’s where Jesus lives. Right there in the place called worthless.
How is a mama to combat that monster label on my girl? We’re soaking up Scripture and doing a lot of snuggling. We’re shouting down enemy lies and renaming her: Precious daughter, Smart girl, Beautiful one, Kind heart, Brave warrior, Prayer champ, the Delight of Holy God. We’re remembering that Jesus was rejected by His family, by His people, by His best friends, and He even endured the rejection of His Father, too, on the cross. So, He knows that pain, and is coming alongside to heal. To teach my girl how to respond, how to receive the brutality, face it head on, and yet not let it stick, not let it bloom into bitterness.
To have grace and honor for the birth parents and birth grandmother and always be thankful for the gift of life that they gave her. To forgive the careless words of a bully 5th grader. To forgive the deadbeat dad.
To believe the love of Jesus. To receive it and take on her true identity.
As a child of God. As the beloved one.
And to be brave enough to relax into the arms of those around her who love her. Especially Jesus, her One True Love.
** My girl did reply to that boy that day. The hurt remained, but I couldn’t help but crack up at her retort. She said, “My mama doesn’t think I’m worthless. And she’s going to kick your heinie!” I laughed and told my baby that although I’d love to wipe the floor with him and that sometimes I, too, feel like giving a roundhouse kick to the throat to those who have injured us, that’s not how Jesus calls us to live. We need to remember to lay down our arms and take solace in the fact that God will fight for us. We need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14). He will wipe every tear, and someday, He will make all things right again. Until then, we can rest in our belovedness.
We’re free to love and be loved in return. (John 13:34-35)
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, thank You for loving us. Thank You that no matter what is going on in our lives, no matter what has happened in our history, no matter what others say about us, no matter how much rejection has ripped us apart, no matter how unloved we feel (or are) in this world, our identities are rock solid in You. No one can take that away. No mess in our past can eradicate it. No fear of the future can squash it. Nothing can separate us from Your great love (Romans 8:38-39). Thank You, God. We love You, Jesus! Amen.
Where are you finding your identity? Is it in Jesus, your One True Love? Come share with us on our blog.
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