Our Favorite Books: One Thousand Gifts
I asked my husband to get me the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp because I wanted a change of pace. I was reading a lot of dense theological works, and this book seemed different. I had heard a bit about it, but I did not really have any expectations. I started reading it one night and was immediately drawn in by the beautiful, poetical style of writing and the authenticity with which she shared her life and her heart.
Within the first few pages, she asks questions that resonate with all of us,
“Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?”
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
She goes on to suggest that the way we live fully, experiencing the joy of the presence of God in all of life, is by giving thanks to Him. The subtitle of the book is A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, and that is what this book is: a dare. It is a challenge to write down one thousand gifts. One thousand things for which you are grateful. As she says, “It really is a dare to name all the ways that God loves [you].”
This book is not only a dare, but it is also a testimony that experiencing joy, grace, and beauty is possible. We are able to fully live right where we are today. We do not have to wait to have a certain experience or to see a particular thing. Ann Voskamp shows through her own story and through the Story of the Bible that God really is here with us, even in the midst of the mundane and even in the midst of suffering.
“The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be – unbelievably – possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.”
-Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
As we seek to give thanks to God in every aspect of life, we start to look for and actually find God in every situation. It makes me think of what Paul says about Abraham in Romans 4:20 (emphasis mine):
He (Abraham) grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God.
As Abraham gave glory to God – as he honored Him and praised Him – Abraham grew strong in his faith. So, too, as we give thanks to God, our faith increases, and we begin to realize how much He has given us, how good He is, and how much He loves us.
Since reading this book, I have begun my own gratitude journal where I number and record the things for which I am thankful. It seems like it should be easy, but it truly is a discipline to stop and give thanks. However, once I start, I do realize how very many gifts I have been given that I so easily take for granted. I am confident that, like Ann Voskamp, I will find more than one thousand gifts for which to give thanks.
So now I dare you: count your blessings. Give thanks. And live fully right where you are today.
See y’all in the Round,
PS In addition to this book, you can check out more of Ann Voskamp’s writing at http://www.aholyexperience.com