One Thousand Gifts

"always give thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:20

{From the back cover}
One Thousand Gifts beckons you to leave the parched ground of pride, fear, and white-knuckle control and abandon yourself to the God who overflows your cup. As Ann Voskamp invites you into her own moments of grace, she gently teaches you how to biblically lament loss, turning pain into poetry, intentionally embrace a lifestyle of radical gratitude; and slow down and catch God in the moment.
Not a book merely to read, One Thousand Gifts begs to be embraced as a dynamic, interactive primer inviting you to engage with truths that will serve up the depths of God's joy and transform your life forever.

I have been reading this book since I got it for my birthday (in April!).  I'm only half way through it but that's only because I keep re-reading each few pages over and over as I go.  I usually can't wait to get to the end of a book but this is one I want to read as slowly as possible.  Soak it in.  This is one of those books that you have to read with a pen in hand.  Here are a few passages that are underlined in my copy...maybe you can tell why I read and re-read. Her words are full of such rich wisdom and a yearning for Christ that pushes me on to know Christ more. To give more of myself to Him. ("One Thousand Gifts" refers to her challenge to write down 1,000 gifts in a gratitude journal)

"I have always known that change takes real intentionality...change requires more than merely thinking the warm and fuzzy thoughts about a door and a way through..." pg. 43-44

"Daily discipline is the door to full freedom, and the discipline to count to one thousand [gifts] gave way to the freedom of wonder and I can't imagine not staying awake to God in the moment, the joy in the now. But awakening to joy awakens to pain. Life is loss...Eventually, I am guaranteed to lose every earthly thing I have ever possessed...What is the heart of God? Do I believe in a God who rouses Himself just now and then to spill a bit of benevolence on hemorrhaging humanity? A God who breaks through the carapace of this orb only now and then, surprises us with a spared hand, a reprieve from sickness, a good job and a nice house in the burbs - and then finds Himself again too impotent to deal with all I see as suffering and evil? A God of sporadic, random, splattering goodness - that now and then splatters across a gratitude journal?" pg. 85-86

"To read His message in moments, I'll need to read His passion on the page; wear the lens of the Word, to read His writing in the world. Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world, because the Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, "I know. I know." The passion on the page is a Person, and the lens I wear of the Word is not abstract idea but the eyes of the God-Man who came and knows the pain. How does the Word read the world?" pg. 87

"When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift?" pg. 94

[In regards to becoming angry over a small thing] "Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love? That Satan's way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus' way? Why else get angry? Isn't it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want? When I choose - and it is a choice - to crush the joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness? Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective - more expedient - than giving thanks?" pg. 126

Whew! That last one really got me. 

A friend just showed me Ann's blog, A Holy Experience.  Click over there and read even more of her great wisdom.  Since I started reading the book I started keeping a gratitude journal, trying to write something every day.  On her blog you can download a gratitude calendar for each month to fill in one gift every day.  Here's October's if you want to grab it.

Here are a few gifts from my journal from the past week (can you tell I was on vacation & with my friends who have kids?):

21. Friends greeting you at the airport
22. When little kids reach up to hold your hand
23. Staying in my pjs until noon
24. The county fair
25. Watching kids run through a field laughing and playing
26. S'mores with chocolate dripping out the edges
27. When a baby falls asleep on your chest
28. Having a good cry with my girlfriends

1 comment:

Hi! It's me, Julie! said...

I love this book but I agree it is a slow read, lots of digesting required! One of my favorite passages is in italic on p. 161. Don't know if you are there yet, so tell me when you get there. Great great book.