I started reading a new book recently along with the Bloom Book Club over at (in)courage. You must check them out...a neat group of women and so encouraging. Anyways the book is titled "One Thousand Gifts" and is written by Ann Voskamp.
This book is amazing...transforming and I just wanted to share a few of the things that so far have impacted me along with a few of the items from my "list". This isn't a "formal" book review but rather just me sharing my experience and what has inspired me recently!
Ann shares her journey of starting to see God in all things and making a list of all those things that she has to be grateful for...even in those times where life seems mundane or difficult or is filled with loss. I had seen good reviews of her book and so I ordered it. I thought that a study on the idea of gratitude could do my soul some good.
And once I started reading I knew that I also needed to start my own gratitude list. We do have so many things to be thankful for...even when times aren't easy or "ideal". It is just a matter of looking for them...seeing the small gifts that God gives us in everyday moments.
1) A husband who honored me at church
13) The sound of Elijah saying "Amen"
22) Early morning text messages of encouragement
26) Forgiveness from my kids - GRACE
Ann talks about the story of Satan in the Garden of Eden. "Satan, he wanted more. More power, more glory....Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave." page 15
And isn't that so true of myself? I live in a world that offers me so much. More than enough. You should see the things I throw out each week or the piles of bags of things that I have waiting for the YMCA pickup. When some have so little...I have so much and yet I want more and am often ungrateful for what I DO have.
30) The soft grunts of a newborn baby
40) Prayers with Gabriel on the way to school
46) Isaac doing just "one more" favor for me without complaining
This experience has challenged me to look and see if I can truly trust God in ALL things. So much right now is still unknown. When will we be all together as a family, where..will the job work out, will my job transfer, will we be able to sell our home and find another suitable?
All of these unknowns wear at me and I begin to fear the future, I begin to feel ungrateful and I begin to feel jealous. Jealous of how easy it seems for others and I wonder why it can't be that way for us....and I stop seeing anything to be grateful for. It is an ugly place to be and it isn't someplace that I can stay. I am missing out on the full life when I get stuck in a place like this. Ann talks about this...
"We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace." pg 39
53) Moments of clarity in the midst of sanity
So I set to seeing gifts in ALL things. And this practices changes your vision, changes your attitude, changes your life. If you aren't convinced yet...just try it for awhile. Get out a note pad and start looking at the world around you and see where you can give thanks.
71) Shoveling snow mounds to be helpful
88) The sound of a dryer tumbling
97) Feelings of jealousy that convict my soul
98) Seeing blessings when it all feels uncertain
107) Not getting angry when my son expects I will
111) No expectation, no regrets, just joy in this moment
114) Stepping out in faith - trusting in God that there IS a plan even if we can't see it
I am only a short way on my journey to 1000 and I hope it doesn't end there....are you ready to join me?! I know that God will meet you and open your eyes to a new way of "seeing" as He did with me!!