Chemotherapy drug bag

The chemo had just begun.  She was holding that little wooden cross she was given, and took with her to every chemo.  I was sitting beside her, praying there would be no side effects this time.  It was in these moments that the deep conversations began.  Mom was on a mission.  I remember this conversation so vividly.  She looked over at me with that serious, yet so loving “Mom” look on her face and that little crooked finger pointing to make sure I got the point, then completely out of the blue said….”Lisa, it’s about giving….it’s about purpose….it’s about knowing you are never too broken for God to use your story.  In fact many times God uses that brokenness to reach others.  Everyone has broken places in their lives.  Everyone.”  I listened intently and knew these words came straight from her heart.  There was a reason for every conversation.  She knew.

I remember when Mom looked at me during the worst part of her cancer (the diagnosis) and said “Giving = Joy, Joy = Hope, Hope = Healing.  She knew it was in the giving that ultimately led to purpose and healing.  She preached giving from day one of her cancer journey, and talked about gifts.  We all have gifts and talents, in fact we are gifts that God wants to use to bless others, and we are never too broken to be used.  As my favorite author Ann Voskamp says “Be the gift!” 

Brokenness.  We have all felt it, we have all walked through a broken place in our lives.  It’s raw, it’s real, it knocks the wind out of you, it’s vulnerable. Mom knew what she was doing when we would talk for hours during this journey. Many times feeling that place of brokenness ourselves.

We all carry an “unspoken broken.” He takes those broken pieces and makes a beautiful mosaic and master piece out of them.…if we let Him.  But are we willing to take the first step and give?  Giving, thanksgiving, gratefulness….all part of this amazing journey.  

As we walked the journey of autoimmune disease and cancer, brokenness was something battled often.  And as I reflected on all of those words and conversations my Mom poured into me, they were recently put to the test through a very broken, hurt place.  Those words I so vividly remembered were like healing salve to my soul.  That place of complete and utter surrender when the only prayer that my mouth could even utter was “Jesus Help!” Sometimes all we have can’t even be formed into words, but cries from our heart, from deep in our soul.   That vulnerable place of utter surrender, the place where miracles wait.  He hears every cry.  “God sees the broken as the best and he sees the best in the broken. He causes the wounded to be the world changers.” Ann Voskamp

Many times that abundant life we crave so deeply is found in those broken pieces laying there that seem to make no sense.  Really the beginning of the miracle is in that brokenness.  As I look back on my life, it was in those places of brokenness that the greatest miracles were birthed.  Joy in the Cause was birthed out of broken place (cancer and autoimmune disease).  

I thought back on other times, and sure enough….God showed up in miraculous ways.  And most recently, sure enough…..there He was. Truth revealed, His protection shown, and open doors I had been waiting for. God always showed up in that vulnerable place to take that battle for me.  It was not mine to carry anyway.  

Oh the power of a grateful and giving heart during these times.  It all goes together.  “One of my favorite quotes from Ann Voskamp is: “The best way to de-stress is to bless”

It works.  It just does. 

The way to live with your one broken heart is to give it away.

I love the analogy Ann Voskamp uses about The Bucket List. Instead of having a bucket we want to have full of things in life we want to accomplish or receive.  What if we poured out from the bucket, everyday, a way to bless another, to be with them during their own brokenness?  “withness breaks brokenness.”  Wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to die with an empty bucket?  Knowing you gave everyday to help another?  

That is the way we live fulfilled.  Ann goes on to say that it is really about giving it forward, not paying it forward.  I agree.  “Be the gift”. GIFT, Give It Forward Today.  

My Mom made her journey to heaven with an empty bucket.  She gave until her very last breath.  She knew what she was trying to instill in me, and she knew what journey I had ahead.  It gives me strength.  And really is more powerful to me today, than ever.  There is no reason to be afraid of broken things…..It is where the beginning of the miracle waits.  God is the redeemer.  And a masterpiece is waiting.  

Be the gift today…….<3