Make This Summer About Redemption by Jen Lawrence 

This blog series has focused on the fun elements of summer, but I know that many of you are going through a season of pain. In this – my final post of the series – I hope to offer some words of comfort to those of you for whom this summer is not about food, family, and fun. 

We spent the month of July in Nova Scotia, in a fishing village just outside of Lunenburg. Waking up every morning to the sound of sea birds and the smell of salt water is heavenly. It really is God’s country. But a house on the ocean has a learning curve that is steep. Semi off-grid living is not for the faint of heart.

We spent two days without water.

This ocean-side experience was meant to be restorative after a lengthy time of trial.  I was to spend my summer focusing on meeting kindred spirits and having a closer walk with God. I was to be saved by salt water – a nod to words in Mark and John.

Instead, salt water ran through our taps, leaving us parched.  

After everything my family has faced over the past couple of years, it seemed so very unfair. 

I turned to Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way for comfort and landed on this beautiful passage:

“I just know that – old scars can break open like fresh wounds and your unspoken broken can start to rip you wide open.”


Suffering is the periwinkle shell so abundant on the beaches here. Any break in the hard outside reveals the layers of hurt spiralling inward.

Voskamp’s entire book is about the act of breaking and the surprise gift it can be. A Farmer’s wife, she writes in metaphor:

“The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast.”

Sweet redemption.

Voskamp continues,

“For a seed to come fully into its own, it must become wholly undone. The shell must break open, its insides must come out, and everything must change. If you didn’t understand what life looks like, you might mistake it for complete destruction.”

You might mistake it for complete destruction.

What looks like the end is really a beginning.

Christ upon the cross.

Christ resurrected.

As Voskamp writes,

“The life that yields the most—yields the most.”

Perhaps our thirst was a gift. We are now more grateful for simple things: seeing our neighbour drive up with a tank full of clean water; being able to wash the dishes by hand.

Maybe the path to healing lies not in doing nothing or doing something fun, but in doing something quite different. Maybe it lies with the realization that His ways are higher than our ways, and part of the plan is to crack us out of our cozy shells.

If this summer has been a season of hurt for you, take comfort that God is with you.

Know that Jesus understands your pain.

And know that the breaking is preparation for something so much better.
Even if it’s not your most fun summer, it can be your most redemptive one.