“The Broken Way” at the Christian Worldview Film Festival


CWVFF_Pic“I’m not going down there, Christina.  I’m telling Phillip that I can’t come and speak. Why am I even a speaker? I made one feature film and it didn’t do well because we didn’t make our money back, which means no money to make another film.  I can’t look at these people and tell them that for the second year in a row Disciples in the Moonlight is not being filmed this year. What am I doing?  I’m a failure.  Everything I touch dies. I get a lead on project after project and they are taken away or pushed.  Maybe this is not my calling.”

Tears are streaming down my face as Brett stands vulnerable before me. I put the weights down and sit on the ottoman because clearly my workout can wait.  This man before me, the one who is strong for me, fights to protect me, prays over me and takes on spiritual oppression when I’m under attack by Satan’s lies and fears, is baring his naked soul to me.  Through the blurriness of my tears, I look him in the eyes. Those same eyes that I have looked into a million times since 16 years old. It is one of the features that I love most about him because even as we age, his eyes and that look of unconditional love he gives me will never change. I can see his soul, and in this moment, there is fear. Insecurity. Worry. Failure. Lies. Bitterness. Betrayal. Hopelessness.   This is not the man I know. Because that man I know is who Christ says he is, not these lies from Satan.

This was only one of a few broken moments that Brett had in the past several months.  I asked the Spirit to tell me what to say or do.  I have told Brett over and over in past occurrences that those are lies. I’ve spoken truth into his ears. Laid my hands on him and prayed warrior prayers over him when I have found him paralyzed on the floor of our bedroom unable to get up because the fears and lies had overtaken him.   But now, I use my exercise shirt to wipe away my tears and honestly don’t know what to do anymore to help him.  I wanted to yell, “Shut up!”  Yet instead, my own fears and worries rose up.  How can I be a helpmate to my husband when I myself am battling my own insecurities, shame of sin, fears of the future?  I didn’t say anything. We were both broken. I just let the tears come. I nodded my head to say I understand.  We went our separate ways.  I don’t even remember if I finished my weight lifting.

Now, I’m on a plane flying back home to Indianapolis from San Antonio. We went “down there,” way down south in Texas.  The place that only a few weeks ago Brett was dreading to go.  And now tears are ready to burst from the overwhelming joy of what took place this past week at the Christian Worldview Film Festival (CWVFF).   Last night after a wonderful time at the festival’s ceremony and after-party with so many friends, I looked into Brett’s eyes.  And this time I see joy. Hope. Encouragement. Peace. Security. Surrender.  That didn’t come from news that his film projects are funded and off and running. Or that he got a role as lead actor for a feature film. Or that he took home a prestigious award…because all those things didn’t happen.  This is how it happened…

Brokenness. Vulnerability. Surrender. Community.

The past few years, God has been breaking Brett and me. We asked for revival a couple of years ago, and God has been answering. But that revival could only start in our hearts. A quote I read on the plane down to San Antonio spoke loudly where we are at: “Before God can use you greatly, He will wound you deeply.  Are you ready to be pruned by the Master?”*  We have been wounded in different ways, separate from each other and together. Oh and how the pruning hurts.  But it is necessary.   A week before our trip to the CWVFF, I devoured the book The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp.  This book is one that I will buy and put on my shelf, and that says a lot for an avid book reader who doesn’t buy books unless they impact my life, and I will read over and over for the years to come.  The Spirit spoke through Ann right to my heart and where I am at on this broken journey myself.

In my previous post, My Friend, You Are Not Alone, I wrote about loneliness and how relationships and discipleship is crucial in this life.  In The Broken Way, Ann expanded on this concept, specifically how brokenness and suffering in community are the way to heal our broken hearts. I have experienced “the broken way” this past year with my three discipling relationships and even other relationships I did not mention.  Through my suffering I fought to isolate myself but instead became vulnerable. I poured out my heart, confessed my sin, and opened my hands to give to others.    And because of it I have known this to be true:  “The way through brokenness is, and always has been, to break the sufferer free from the aloneness of the suffering by choosing to participate in the suffering with them – [community] – choosing to stand with the suffering, stay with the suffering, and let it all be shaped into meaning that transcends the suffering.”  (I give you permission to read that again and let it sink in! It’s pretty deep!)

Brett and I went down to the CWVFF not knowing what to expect. We prayed and asked the Lord to use us. Use our brokenness. Vulnerability. No answers for our future. Open hands ready to give. Humbled hearts surrendered.  I walked into that place and it honestly felt like I was given oxygen to breathe.  The veil of loneliness and fear disappeared from surrounding Brett as the week went on. When someone asked how we were doing, we didn’t say “great” and a bunch of fake comments to appease the person. We were honest. “It’s been a really hard year, but this is what God is doing…”  On Friday night, the Spirit spoke through Brett as he gave a powerful message on how a wrong identity leads us to fear and worry, distracts us from the mission, and makes us question God.    He shared his journey through the past couple of years of having a wrong identity. He was completely vulnerable and even the end wasn’t tied up with a pretty bow, since we still don’t have answers for our future. (Click here to listen and watch a short video clip from his speech.)

We found “the broken way” right there at the CWVFF.  As our walls came down, others’ walls came down too. My heart wanted to burst with gratitude for every person that came up to him and told their own story of fear and loneliness.  Others suffering alongside Brett in the filmmaking world. We are not alone. There is no judgment. This is community: Those who prayed with him. Hugged him. Cried with him. Gave written and audible words of encouragement.  And all those who engaged with me in conversations that touched me deeply, whether sitting at a table, the couch in the hallway, on the floor, mealtimes, crammed in our rental car, and even the bathroom. Talking to other filmmaker wives who really do understand me. Laughing with friends like we’ve known each other for years. You will never know how desperately I needed to hear your words: “Thank you for all you do for your husband. You probably are behind the scenes but your role as his wife is most important.” “Thank you for your vulnerability. You are a warrior princess. We need to be mentoring more warrior princesses.”  “Listening to how you have supported Brett has inspired me to find a wife like you.” (Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one! I had to fight to shut up Satan from reminding me of all the ways I have failed Brett through this journey.)

Many filmmakers went “down there” to the CWVFF hoping to bring back an award. Yes, some did, yet most all of us went home Spirit-filled, encouraged, and rejuvenated to continue the mission God has called us to in filmmaking.  If you want to find Jesus in filmmaking…come to the Christian Worldview Film Festival and Filmmaker’s Guild next year.  That is where revival is. That is where suffering happens together in community to bring about a purpose far greater than we expected.

As I was leaving the after-party to get to bed since we had an early flight home, I said goodbye to the founder’s wife. She told me what spoke to her the most this week was experiencing blessing through others’ suffering, which doesn’t seem right! I hugged her and said, “Oh I know. I really do know. It’s the broken way.” And Ann says it better than I can: “The fellowship of the broken believe that suffering is a gift He entrusts to us and He can be trusted to make this suffering into a gift.”

Flashback to a few weeks ago, I sat on that ottoman and at one point couldn’t look Brett in the eyes anymore because it was too painful. I stared at my weights feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders questioning, what was God doing?  We’ve been waiting for answers for a couple of years now. What more does He want with our brokenness?   Now, I know. I really do know. God has turned our suffering into a gift.  If God allowed us to suffer all this time so that Brett would share his vulnerable heart to all who heard him this past week so that lives could be impacted…then it was worth it all.  And now we come home still unsure if God will or will not allow answers for our future to come soon. Regardless, we will remain….

Broken. Vulnerable. Surrendered. Suffering with Community. A Gift.

Follow CWVFF on Facebook and check out more pics and videos from last week’s guild and festival: https://www.facebook.com/cwvff/

*From the book, The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance

17 thoughts on ““The Broken Way” at the Christian Worldview Film Festival

  1. Faith Metz

    Hi Christina,
    It was a blessing to meet you and Brett at the CWFF17. Your testimony that Brett shared was an encouragement to me and my brother. I was good to read this blog post as it was the story fom your point of view. Keep up the good fight!

  2. Linda

    Christina, you are so amazing to me. You have such depth of understanding. You have a heart the size of Texas and a love for Christ that is inspiring to me. I’ve watched the two of you struggle, pray, almost holding your breath and praying again…to be and stay in God’s will not knowing what lies ahead. I know God will continue to provide all you need because He is in control in your life. Love you both.

  3. Joe Henline

    you have no idea how much this blessed my heart! thank you so much for articulating this & for being vulnerable. God is using this greatly. we love you two & are praying for you guys!

    • Praise the Lord that He used the post to speak to you Joe. I always ask the Spirit to be the one writing. Thank you for your prayers. We love you guys too! Come see us sometime!

  4. deathtopessimism

    As a young man who feels called to make Christian Films, I found this to be very encouraging. I have felt anxiety in the past, and it is good to hear that I am not the only one. I have made a few short films (https://www.youtube.com/user/Jimpsonjbird/videos) but I know they are ameturish at best. However, what keeps me going is knowing that God’s calling for me has not changed. He does not take back his promises. Wherever he calls me, he will make a way for me.May God continue to work through you and your family! -Kyle Morgan

    • Thank you for sharing Kyle! Praise Jesus that you are encouraged by our testimony. You are not alone in this journey. Keep seeking God first and He will lead you!

  5. Thank you Christina (and Brett) for sharing this powerful story! You guys were used so tangibly that week!

    I was also humbled and encouraged at CWVFF this year in a way that honestly blew me away!
    I will admit: I did not arrive at CWVFF expecting to learn much from it… I thought I was going there to teach a few workshops and encourage “beginning” filmmakers. I had cleared time in my busy schedule to do this, and frankly approached this as another thing to check off the list. (Notice the pride).

    You know, it’s funny how the Spirit tends to show up when we least expect it! Something in me broke that week, or more aptly, fell into place. The pride and selfishness that had built up cracked into a thousand little pieces, and I left that week with an uncovered heart beaming with life, not because I had “achieved my dreams” but simply because I realized again that I didn’t have to, or even really want to anymore. The freedom of surrender at the cross is so sweet!

    As I drove home from the airport in Chicago, almost to my surprise, I found tears in my eyes. I was sad it was over… but I was mostly overwhelmed by God’s goodness, his ever-present self, and the way he had shown up in the midst of my crowded and prideful heart. Somehow, when God decides to show up, he just makes room for it. 🙂

    Humbling. Reviving. Restoring. That’s how I would sum up the week’s experience for me.

    I’m so amazed to hear about all the ways God was working in so many other people’s hearts as well! Thanks again for sharing your story; it is truly a blessing!

    • Luke, Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing how God used you as well! This was an encouragement to Brett and me to hear how God worked in your own heart. We are so blessed to be in community with others that are also broken before Him willing to be used in any way He desires. God is good and knew exactly what each of us needed that week. Looking forward to next year! 🙂

  6. filmmaker

    Hello, I read this post around two years ago when I wasn’t able to make it to the cwvff. I remember how much I related to the raw openness about when things don’t go the way you think and understand they should be going, when dreams fall through or don’t happen on our timetable. I was checking out new Christian movies coming out and saw the trailer for Play the Flute. It looks powerful. Then I scrolled down and read the comments on that site. Wow. Simply wow. Look at how God is already beginning to use that film. Look at the impact it’s starting to make. I immediately thought of this post. I wanted to come back and comment on it for you to be encouraged. Look at what God is doing through Brett and you. You couldn’t see this back when these struggles were going on, and I know this is probably just a small part of what God is doing, but I just wanted to encourage you because when God says, “Trust Me,” He is faithful. God bless you both.

    • Hi! Thank you so much for sharing this. This is such a reminder and encouragement to us, that you remembered this post and pointed out how God is continuing to work within us and through us. Praise God that He is gracious to not leave us where we are at, but continues to pursue after us with his faithful love! Blessings to you as well!

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