Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”
Esther 4:15-16

I sat next to a friend the other night, behind the booth of Fresh Hope materials, telling her how I wish my ministry–this table–were about something else. Anything else.

“You know I can teach, right?” She nodded.

“And I went to Divinity school?” She nodded.

I told her through embarassed, glossy eyes that this was never something I would have chosen for myself.

Because, my pride is always whispering to me, what if people actually thought I was proud of this?

This sitting in this booth, this Hope for Mental Illness booth, is a coming out, you know?

Because most people would never know it to look at me. That’s what the docs say: I present well.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t.

The outing still stings, as I realize mamas and teachers I work with, whose babies I love after school until they get off work, learn my secret. And knowing what happens when people learn the truth, how they step back a step, look me over twice. How they look me over ten times. How my human flaw, justified anger, or frustration gets written off “crazy” by those who don’t want to take responsibility. How everything, in every relationship, can pivot on my dichotomy.

Friend looks at me, “I know.”

I gulp, and breathe, and eat handfuls of gluten-free, red licorice in the shape of Scottie dogs that I’ve stowed in my bag for a desperate moment.

Jack sits in the booth with me watching me gulp air and Scotties. We own these scars together in this place.

This place has become a home to our family: our church, our school, my part-time after-care job.

Most importantly? In the midst of all of this life and bustle, this place we spend 6 days a week?

This place is home to our ministry. Ours: our family’s, our marriage’s.

This place houses our broken way, lived out.

Because we weren’t called to sit inside a palace and have everyone applaud our gifts. We were called to leave the palace, get down our knees, and share.

Share to breaking, until my pride rises up in my throat.

Share broken, the meat of my life with the hungry.

And the meat of my life is this:

There is no broken place God cannot find you in.
There is no trap, no diagnosis, no sin he can’t rescue you from.
And there is no valley you can walk where He has not already been.
So come, meet with us, and we’ll find Jesus in this mess of family and mental illness and brokenness together.

This is my life, purpose-deep and tear-pricking.

I know now, gut-deep, that here broken is pure calling. All the rest is fluff.

Broken.

His.

And gluten-free red licorice Scottie dogs when it gets to be a little too much.

Read with me today in Christianity Today an excerpt from Ann Voskamp broken way‘s new book.