why you need a reading plan & good books for a new year: how you can’t be wrecked by what you’re ready for [#WRT]

http://annvoskamp.com/2017/01/why-you-need-a-reading-plan-and-good-books/

he kid curled up next to me, laid his head down on my shoulder, and he felt not one iota of shame in letting the dam break.

It’s been a whole year now, Mom,” Kai chokes it out.

“And everybody else can forget and move on. But I’ve got to remember every time I open my mouth to eat — or I’m going to end up dead.”

The kid’s always got a stash of needling insulin in some beat-up bag within arm’s length and a bunch of fingertips sore and numb from pricking himself for a few drops of willing blood to test what’s running begging through his veins.

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It was a shatteringly hard year, Kai daily wrestling down a relentlessly hounding diagnosis of Type 1 insulin-needling diabetes, Baby Girl having her rib cage sawed open so surgeons could hold her half-heart in hand and try to patch it into the daily beat of defiant hope, and we had to keep believing, battling ahead, no matter how the heart wearied.

Who knows what the year stretching out before us right now holds? 

The Farmer drove both Kai and the Baby Girl into town today, both of them needing their blood drawn, both of them pulling up their sleeves and offering their thin, tired veins.

And I pull our hurting boy in closer. Because it can come as unexpected as an unexpectedJanuary thaw: you may be battered and bruised by your battles, but God sends you brothers.

When your battle is hardest, God always sends you arms — arms to hold you, arms to hold up your hope, to hold up your hurt and let it transform into more heart. To whisper you are Beloved and you are Brave and on the days when you feel unBrave, you are not undone, but undoubtedly are carried forward by the determination of grace.

“With you, Kai — not moving on. Not leaving you in this. With you.” Murmur the words into his hair. He’s taller than his old mama, but he feels small with me, close to me, feels just right with me. With-ness breaks brokenness.  Kai keeps holding on to me.

And I am not letting go of him and I am and I’m not and I have to and I never will.

I stroke back his hair, his temple beating gently, like a song of courage.

It’s a bold soundtrack to live your life by:

You aren’t startled by what you’ve started preparing for. 

You aren’t taken aback by what you’ve taken time to prepare for. 

Let the next 12 months throw diagnosis and disappointment at us, let a new year come at us because nothing will overcome us, let the arrows fly and the battle rage and let anything step out from behind any corner — because it’s as true as one boy holding his old mama close: what you’re prepared for, you can’t be overpowered by. 

You can’t be ruined by what you’re ready for. 

Pages can be preparation, the smell of old books can be comfort, and a way to prepare for anything is to read the best things, the way to live a good story, is to read the wisest stories, the way to prepare for what’s up ahead, is to read the hearts of those who have gone ahead.

” ‘We read to know we are not alone,’” says C.S. Lewis’ Shadowlands. Every crisis we’ve ever battled through, I can remember exactly what book stayed by my side, the scent of ink on paper like the scent of home, like a welcoming.

I hadn’t known: When we abandon ourselves to stories — we know we aren’t abandoned in our own stories.   

I have long felt that tall stacks of books on end tables are ebenezers, guideposts, trail markers to reach for, a kind of hands to hold on to, and gird us with a brave strength for the hard roads, the steep inclines, the days when we feel forgotten and left behind.

I have held pages and felt held. “Literary experience heals the wound….” C.S. Lewis reaches out with steadying words.

A book can be your feelings pulsing through the veins of another. 

A book can be courage for the obstacle course that is your life.

A book can be a saw that breaks you out of the box — that breaks you free. 

Reading words can rewrite your life. Hope can come as gentle as turning pages.

We could read toge(s)ther. One year. 12 Books. For such a time as now.

Kai’s hair feels like willingness through my fingers…

“Not alone, Kai.”

Prepare for whatever’s coming and grab hope off the end table, off the shelf, off the nightstand, and do more than wield good books like a sword.

Eat good books and The Best Book.

Hunger every day for strengthening words, have a voracious appetite for them, digest them, swallow them, get them in your veins and let them become you and you become them, let them become your spine, your beating heart, your mind, let them become what you breathe and speak and think and the air you move in, because you aren’t taken aback by what you’ve taken time to prepare for, and books can prepare you for the test that is your every day, your new year.

Kai looks me in the eye.

“Yeah, Mom — we’ll get through another year —together,” he nods.

Yeah — yeah, we will.

Never alone. 

The wind moves through the last leaves in the orchard like pages turning and things can turn around when the wind picks up.

When books are picked up.

 

So we dreamed up — a BOOK CLUB! Join us this year for #WRT: We Read Toge(s)ther: 1 year. 12 books. For such a time as now.

One book a month? Community around life-giving, life-transforming books? First book up?

Well, our community’s little book got chosen as the first pick of the year to read over at FaithGateway (sister site of Biblegateway) — so maybe let’s begin there?

This is our year to BREAK FREE — and no matter what is coming at us this year? You aren’t taken aback by what you’ve taken time to prepare for. 

We can do this toge(s)ther — 1 year — 12 books. We are where we are for a reason and a purpose and now, now, is our time to make a difference, change our world, and join Him in changing the world. 

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Our year to BREAK FREE. Let’s do this…. want to do this with you:

The Broken Way Online Bible Study! 

Get access to all 6 FREE study videos + FREE downloads to get started

The Broken Way is a new FREE six-week online Bible study, where you will discover that…

  • wholeness and brokenness are not opposites
  • the abundant life you crave is found in the broken pieces of your life, and
  • you don’t have to be afraid of broken things, because Christ is redeeming everything.

Sign up for the study now and we’ll get started the week of January 22! I’ll kick things off with a FREE online event on the 23rd with all of our online Bible study participants. And we’re making the companion study videos available to you for FREE.  All 6 beautiful, raw, vulnerable sessions!

Register now and get the schedule, free downloads, and all the great bonuses you need to get started right away — Please be in with us? You’re needed and wanted and belong.

(And if you need a copy of The Broken Way — just for you: 50% off right now at B&N

Please click right here for all of the information you’ll need to sign up. 

This is our year — our year — to BREAK FREE!


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