I am twenty-two, just graduated college. I am not a parent, I’ve never been pregnant, and I don’t have any kids. How could I possibly relate to a story written by Elisa Morgan, mother and former CEO of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International? While I cannot relate to specifics, I can relate to brokenness. In fact, I think we all can.
In her book, The Beauty of Broken: My Story, and Likely Yours Too, Elisa Morgan shares hope for those who have believed the “myth of the perfect family.”
What I Didn’t Like:
Actually, there was not a lot in this book I didn’t like. However, within the introduction and beginning chapters she repeats the phrase “there’s no such thing as a perfect family” frequently. I agree with that statement, and I am well aware that is one of the key points she is making with this book. Still, I feel she repeated the phrase so much that it lost its meaning.
Perhaps the only other thing I didn’t like was how I felt she was sharing a lot about her daughter. I know what children go through also becomes part of the parent’s life story—and I’m sure she received her daughter’s permission before sharing—but it feels very personal. If I were her daughter, I think I would feel like I’d rather share my own story than have my mother share about my story. Though, I think I’m probably being a bit of a hypocrite here because when I share stories, often they include how other people have impacted me (including my family and situations related to my family). So, maybe I would have appreciated getting to hear some more from her children’s perspective. I guess if they ever write a book, I’d be interested to read it.
What I Liked:
I appreciated her honesty. Elisa Morgan is one of Christianity Today’s top fifty women influencing the church and culture. As a leader, it would be easy to try to hide brokenness. It would be more appealing to try to appear “put together,” but I think it’s a lot healthier to be honest. She does not shy away from some of the most difficult experiences she’s gone through with her family.
I once audited a class (because hi, it included traveling to Europe) about how God allows suffering in the world. While I do not have all the answers, and I’ve not even found a way to reconcile how I feel about all the suffering that exists in the world, I know brokenness is a reality in this world. We are broken and have a bent toward sin.
“Our Creator God pants to bring his children into being, and then his heart tears in pain as we run, hide, and reject his love. Our Father God christens us sons and daughters and then releases us to our own stubborn ways but stands in the road, watching and waiting for us to return to him. Our hereafter God dreams of redemption, when we are restored to his original purposes and put in pleasant places in relationship to him and to each other.”
Through Elisa’s own story of brokenness, we learn that God does not intend for us to stay stuck in our brokenness. Even within her family, not everything has been resolved. The book ends with things on a happy note, but she notes her children’s stories are not over. Her story is not over. Our stories are not over.
“As we embrace our own need for mercy, we can extend grace to others. While vibrant and full of life, the healthy family of today is also gritty and real, a place where assembly and even reassembly is required. When we are broken, we are right where we need to be before God.”
When I preach, I preach a lot of sermons connected with a theme of brokenness. I know it’s not always easy to hear or think about it, but it’s real. I firmly believe it is important to share our stories—no matter how much brokenness they contain. It won’t be easy to be honest. It’s not easy to share the parts of ourselves we often want to keep hidden. But people need to hear it. People need to know other people struggle. It will allow for us to connect on a deeper level with others. Elisa Morgan shares on a deep level, and I hope that by reading this book, you find opportunities to open up and connect with others.
“I’m broken. God loves broken me. And he is re-forming (redeeming) me, making me over into another version of me through brokenness.”
God uses our brokenness.
Now, this book is clearly directed toward mothers. So, honestly, I think I would have gotten more out of this if I was a mother. I’d recommend this more for mothers than non-mothers. However, I think we can all learn something from her story.
She uses a lot of scripture and quotes from others. In the back of the book there is even an “Appendix of Hope,” where she includes poems, prayers, and quotes about hope. Overall, I think this book is helpful for understanding we are not alone, but we also do not need to pretend like we have no brokenness. There is hope, and there is healing. God has never left us, no matter what we have done or what others have done to us or have done that has affected us.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.