Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed about God's Abundance, By Caryn Rivadeneira


What Financial Desperation Revealed about God's Abundance

by Caryn Rivadeneira

  • Length: 173 pages
  • Published: March 05, 2014
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4311
  • ISBN: 9780830843114

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"Broke was not in the cards for me. . . . Girls—then women—like us stay strong through it all. A little (or big) financial setback doesn't break us. Or our connection to God."

And yet, God let Caryn Rivadeneira and her family go dead broke.

In the midst of this financial and spiritual desert, Caryn questioned God's goodness, wondering how he could feel so far away. Doesn't God promise blessing to those who serve him? Doesn't he hear his faithful followers' cries for provision and help? Join in Caryn's journey as she pursues God even when bruised, battered and broken by life. You'll laugh and cry with her as she experiences spiritual blessing and discovers God's goodness in ways she never expected.

"We survived. I kept breathing. I kept stepping. And somewhere in the cracks, along the ragged edges of my marriage, in the desperate gasps of sudden poverty and all the questions that came with it, there was God. Big and glittering, soft and warm, smiling and beckoning. Somehow in the shimmers of all that, I began to taste and see, and feel and know, and hear and smell that God is good, and he was there in the broke bits."

"In this time of longing to know what God was up to and to experience his goodness and presence, God worked me over by showing me where and how I could find him. Which is all over the place. In every last thing. He satisfied my wonderlust—my unquenchable desire to feel his presence and to experience his glory. And I found him. And I found him good."

"With a wonderful mix of humor and depth, Caryn offers a needed perspective on the ways God blesses us with his riches. This is a wonderful book for anyone going through any kind of crisis--or who needs to know that God's goodness abounds even in what's broke."

Anita Lustrea, speaker, author and host of Midday Connection, Moody Radio

"I loved this book! A great read for those of us who need reminding that God doesn't ever leave us out to dry. God is present in all of life, and Caryn brings that peace to light in this great read."

Rev. Tracey Bianchi, pastor, Christ Church of Oak Brook

"If you like your Jesus sugary sweet, don't read Broke. If you don't think irreverent humor is next to godliness, don't read Broke. If you hope that being broken by God involves superficial tinkering not soul-deep wrenching, don't read Broke. If you don't want a faith strong enough to wrestle with agonizing questions and hard stories, don't read Broke. But if you like gritty and funny, honest and faithful, go for Broke."

Karen Swallow Prior, author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me

"Only Caryn Rivadeneira could weave a tale of financial desperation into a page-turner. I didn't want to put it down at night. You will discover life and light in these beautifully written pages."

Margot Starbuck, author of Small Things with Great Love

"Broke is a supremely engaging, honest and funny glimpse into the mystical ways God is present in our lives. If Rivadeneira can see God's presence in the beautiful oak doors that open into her son's fifth-grade classroom, hear God in the crunching of snow under her feet or taste the divine presence in a piece of bread offered to her by a stranger at a fundraising banquet, maybe--just maybe--you and I can also become more aware of God's goodness all around us, even when we feel broken and burned out."

Jennifer Grant, author of MOMumental, Love You More, Disquiet Time and 12

"Caryn Rivadeneira may be broke, but she's also brave. For some reason, it takes guts to admit you're in real financial trouble, and she shares her story boldly and without shame. So many others will relate to her. But the real beauty is that this is not essentially a story of losing money. It's about gaining a new sense for God's redemptive presence in her disappointment, hardship, fear and frustration. Her story may help you recognize him in your places of pain too."

Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds and editor of Christianity Today's

"Reading Rivadeneira's Broke brings the beatitudes to life. With in-your-face honesty riddled with mirthful profundity, she takes her reader around blind corners smack into the glory and goodness of God. Rivadeneira reminds us that the abundant life is quite a ride, and that our ticket has been paid in full. All we have to pay is our attention."

Carolyn Weber, author of Holy Is the Day and Surprised by Oxford

"In an open, chatty style, [Rivadeneira] shares her spiritual journey and her family's simultaneous financial free fall. Her conclusion is that God's abundance flourishes even when bank-account balances dwindle. A timely addition to any church library."

Church Libraries, Summer 2014

"[M]y hat's off to Caryn Rivadeneira for gamely giving this genre a shot. . . . Because the spiritual lessons found in Broke, while often simple, are still profound—particularly when they challenge us to shift our perception of what counts as 'abundance.' As a devotional or small-group reading, to be chewed over in bits and pieces, Broke can challenge us to re-center our perspective. It's a reminder that no matter how small our struggles, God's abundance is great."

Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today, April 2014

"Though money is merely the backdrop for this book's bigger-picture theme of God's abundance, this profoundly insightful, refreshingly honest title would be an excellent addition to your 'personal finances' section."

Christy Pitney, CBA Retailers + Resources, April 2014

"In the vein of Ann Voskamp and Sarah Young, Rivadeneira offers a devotional perspective on financial desperation in the suburbs. Balancing between mystical mirth and spiritualized snark, she reflects on her skepticism about God's trustworthiness and interweaves life stories of misfortune and small miracles to help readers find God and also 'find him good.' A sterling storyteller, Rivadeneira spins a narrative of finding benediction and a benevolent God amidst economic trial that will speak to fellow suburbanites. . . . She addresses what she understands to be a 'First-World' dilemma with depth and heart, and her message is a timely and virtuous one, fortified with Scripture and apt analogies that speak to many a weary soul."

Publishers Weekly, February 10, 2014

"Broke is [Rivadeneira's] story of how God used loss as a way of drawing her into deeper relationship with him. At times both hilarious and heartbreaking, it is an important book for anyone who ever mistook making a good living for God's abundant life."

Relevant Magazine, March/April 2014


Preface: Going for Broke

1. Heard
2. Bread
3. Mysteries
4. Big Fish
5. Crosses
6. The Goods
7. Shocked
8. Serendipity
9. Imaginary
10. Dazzled
11. Safaris

Appendix: Ways to Practice Finding God?s Abundance
About the Author


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Caryn Rivadeneira

Caryn Rivadeneira is a writer, speaker, and regular contributor at the Her.menutics blog. She spent years as an editor at Christianity Today's magazines and at Moody Radio on air and as a producer for Midday Connection. She currently serves on the worship staff at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church. She is the author of Broke, Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (with MOPS International), and the novel Shades of Mercy.

Caryn has over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry and is a member of Ink Creative Collective, a community of Christian women writers and speakers, committed to the craft of writing and speaking unity on a diverse range of topics, theologies, and personal convictions. She and her family live in Elmhurst, Illinois.