Saturday, 05 November 2011
By Bonnie at Faith Barista
“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.” ~ Brennan Manning
I had never felt a need for a father.
That’s because since the age of five, I’ve grown up without one.
It’s what some people say about being born without an arm or a leg. How can you miss something that you’ve never had?
Now that I’m older, I can confess. I have carried a father wound.
I just never had the chanceto grieve it, until my story went off script. Until a deeper grace found me.
There are the moments in life we all come to, when we say to ourselves, “There’s got to be more.”
When Life Goes Most Dark
At age seventy-seven, Brennan Manning (author also of Ragamuffin Gospel) has written his final book, his memoir All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.
All is Grace just released this month. It is a beautifully haunting memoir which brings us to walk into the soul of the author, where Brennan cries out, “There’s got to be more.”
It’s a phrase Brennan repeats throughout the book, as he opens doors into the most personal rooms of his story. Brennan’s earlier works that chronicle his encounter with God as Father have changed thousands of lives. He writes in a way that doesn’t hide anything because he really believes God’s grace speaks through.
But his memoir travels deeper beyond pearls of encouragement found in his previous books.
Brennan is a rebel for grace.
While most people write memoirs to spotlight their triumphs over trials, Brennan chose to focus his lens on the moments grace shone brightest: when his life went most dark.
Operating Room of Grace
By the time I finished the first chapter, I knew Brenna was leading me to the operating room of grace. He was inviting me to step up into my Abba Father’s lap and undergo emotional soul surgery.
“[My mother] would often come home in the afternoons between jobs and I would run and throw my arms around her, only to be pushed away. ‘You’re such a nuisance! Go sit in the corner and shut up!’
As I think back on my childhood, the word shame serves as an umbrella. It is the sense of being completely insufficient as a person, the nagging feeling that for some reason you’re defective and unworthy.
That’s how I felt all the time.”
Brennan made a vow to protect himself from life’s cruelties.
It was a vow I understood.
“I made a vow with myself… I would become a good boy… I had placed a muzzle on my emotional self. I had no feeling, no nothing.
It cost me my voice, my sense of wonder, and my self-worth for most of my adult life.”
The vow to be a “good boy” robbed him of his voice.
In A New Way
I couldn’t help but reflect on my own journey through childhood and it’s affect on me today.
How have held my voice back with God – and others?
Brennan turned to alcohol to numb the reality of his feelings, but we all turn to our own addictions, don’t we?
How did God speak into Brennan’s story? I won’t giveaway the ending or even the middle.
I can tell you this. There is no path that the love of Abba Father God cannot make beautiful.
Brennan’s memoir inspired me to look at grace in a new way.
Living out God’s grace means a lot more than using it to live a “good” life.
Each time we give ourselves permission to speak out of our brokenness, we say to each other: God’s grace is bigger than me.
Never Too Late
Not everyone who has lived Brennan’s life would dare tell it. But, Brennan tells it heart-breakingly well in his memoir, All is Grace.
It’s never too late to be loved by our real Father. It’s never too late to find your voice.
Our Abba Father has always heard your unspoken voice. He’s kept your whispers and cries close to his ears and He lovingly cherishes what others have not.
Those years we might have written off as wasted, God shows us He never did. He values us deeply.
Is there more to the broken pieces in our lives?
Yes. All is grace.
Do you carry a father wound?
How has your relationship with God as Abba Father given you back your voice?