Book of the Week: One Thousand Gifts by @AnnVoskamp

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

 One-Thousand-Gifts-book-coverWhy I picked up this book:

This book was given as a gift. I heard the author, Ann Voskamp, speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing Conference a few years ago, and have been longing to read One Thousand Gifts ever since.

Who Should Read One Thousand Gifts:

This book is a New York Times bestseller. It seems like almost everybody has already read it…many of them before me. As I completed my seminary studies, One Thousand Gifts patiently waited on my shelf along so many other classics. I finally picked it up to prepare my heart during the Season of Advent. It was an encouraging reminder to remain grateful, even in the small things. This is a reminder that you and I need now and always. Read this book and count all the ways you have to commune with God, experience His presence, and be grateful.

What’s in Store for You:

Surprise. Voskamp has a poetic writing style which can take some getting used to, but before you know it, she has captivated her readers and submerged them in her life on the farm. It is a beautiful life, a simple and complicated life, the life of a wife and mother, a life of wanting and disappointment—a life longing to see God.

Before you know it, she is counting—making a list—of one thousand blessings, one thousand gifts. “This dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves me.” There are gifts, blessings, thanks for small things like:

Leafy life scent of the florist shop and Jam piled high on the toast

There are gifts and offerings of thanks for big things.

She quotes scripture:

In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty of little. Phil 4:11-12

Could the gift of contentment be the spiritual discipline of learning gratitude? Is it possible that gratitude yields joy and contentment?

And she sets the table before us by teaching and proclaiming the good news that comes with the Eucharist, to remember our Holy Communion with God and give thanks.

My personal take-aways?

As I read through this book, I started making a list. I couldn’t help myself:

Breyer’s lactose-free ice cream

The scent of lavender

Free health care provided through the VA

And I scribbled little notes of gratitude in the margins:

“This book has been like water to my thirsty soul.” 12/2/2014

“I am not counting fast enough, but I can and will keep counting.” 12/7/2014

This note is right across the page from the note, “Slow Down. Pay attention to the fleeting moments.” Oh, the irony and mystery of being intentionally grateful and relying on God’s grace.

Because of my impatience and habit of hurry, in many ways, I am a spiritual amateur. Part of growing in spiritual maturity is becoming disciplined in being present with God and with others. Sometimes I remember, but often I forget. I need reminding again and again. I thank God for this reminder.

After a very trying month of physical ailments, today I am reminded to lift my head and give thanks. I am strengthened, encouraged, and hopeful because of this simple act. In remembering and giving thanks, I know that God is with me. He has not forsaken or forgotten about me. I can trust that He is good, even when it is hard to see the light.

Check out Ann Voskamp’s official website: www.aholyexperience.com

Twitter-worthy:

“Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude.” @AnnVoskamp

“I just want time to do my one life well.” @AnnVoskamp

“The discipline of thanks only comes with practice.” @AnnVoskamp

More In-depth Reflections:

“Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with weight of full attention. In this space of time and sphere, I am attentive, aware, accepting the whole of the moment, weighing it down with me all here.”

“Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One.”

“But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by.”

During this season of Lent, what makes you most grateful?

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2015

 

2 thoughts on “Book of the Week: One Thousand Gifts by @AnnVoskamp

  1. The discipline of giving thanks in everything opens doors to God’s light in the darkest places. Instead of turning inward in pain, the possibility of a creative response to the painful situation unfolds. I need to be reminded every day that God can only work with a heart opened to His “higher than my thoughts” possibilities. Thanks for being that reminder today, Natasha!

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