West Shore website. Several people (men and women) mentioned to me how much the book meant to them, and their responses thrilled my soul. I wanted you to hear from at least one of them: Brenda V.…
“I recently finished One Thousand Gifts. Although it had been sitting in my Kindle account for several months, it was Kim’s commentary that prompted me to finally read it and I truly can't thank her enough! This book has had the most profound effect on me - more than any other book aside from the Bible. So many things have changed - how I see the world around me, how I react to events & circumstances in my life, how much more at peace I feel, how much more I feel the presence of my Lord & Savior in my life! My life is forever changed. So....thank you! "Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle!" -Brenda V.
Isn’t that exciting? Thanks so much Brenda for taking the time to share. Want to experience this book with others? You can join the One Thousand Gifts Journal Club during this month (November 2011)! The Journal Club is open to men and women alike – all you need to do is purchase a copy of the book and a blank journal, and start writing down your own list of at least one thousand ways God has blessed you, a few every day, just like Ann does in her book. Please email me (Kim Winters) to let me know you are joining the Journal Club! If there are enough interested, we may keep in touch through emailing and/or at least one get together for our local participants – doesn’t that sound grand? Hope you can join us! Love in Christ, Kim
Want to know more - here is the original article about the book - enjoy!
The following article was previously published on this blog, posted here to give you background information on the book in case you want to join the journal club!
Most of us struggle to believe we are loved by God. We can believe it for the person sitting next to us, we can even believe it for our enemies, but to believe it for ourselves? Next to impossible. Oh sure we can believe He loves us in a kind of far off and slightly detached kind of way - but to believe that He is personally, actively, intimately and unrelentingly pouring love into our lives on a moment by moment basis? That kind of thing is unheard of. Thankfully this book helps change all that.
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is based on a challenge the author received to write down one thousand blessings from God…
“She dares me, and I don’t even blink. Could I write a list of a thousand things I love? I read her line again…to name one thousand blessings – one thousand gifts – is that what she means? Sure, whatever….
1. Morning shadows across the old floors
2. Jam piled high on toast
3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce”
What begins as a half-hearted attempt to prove her own thankfulness becomes a way of life for Ann, a way of life we are enticed to share. As she observes and records the love of God being lavished upon her personally, we too are inspired to open our eyes and see the world in a new way…
“One lone stem of wheat bows its head before me…I reach out my hand, run my finger up its silk slender shank. This is how. I learn to say thank you from a laid-low head of wheat… I pay tribute to God by paying attention.”
After reaching her thousandth gift in chapter 5 she has a revelation…
“The pursuit! The bloom had trumpeted for weeks. Was it all over now? …Or was this now only the beginning of really becoming? …But awakening joy awakens to pain.”
When she began the challenge, Ann was sinking beneath a burden of unprocessed trauma and unsatisfied desire. The journey of being intentionally thankful was bringing to the surface the stifled pain of her past, and yet turning it and churning it into something unexpectedly beautiful. With each new blessing recorded we watch her move from “forgotten and forsaken” to “beloved and blood-bought” – a journey we are spurred on to take for ourselves, encouraged onward with each page of her insightful commentary...
"Giving thanks awakens me to a God giving Himself...God giving Himself to me – for me – a surrender of love... He chooses His children to fully live! Fully live the fullest life, the astonished gratitude, the awed joy, the flying and the free…In a thousand ways He woos. In a thousand ways I fall in love."
My favorite chapter in the book is called “Go Lower” where Ann shares the discovery that finding deep joy has to do with embracing humility in ways never before attempted…
"The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy…To receive God’s gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn’t a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra saints. Receiving God’s gifts is a gentle, simple movement of stooping lower.”
I struggle to know for sure why this book is so powerful. Is it the unique way that she writes? Although I came to love it, her poetic style was a barrier for me at first. Is it the way she is painfully transparent on every page? This too is a blessing, and yet can definitely make you cringe. Is it her deep insight into the ways motherhood and life in general draw us away from our intimacy with Christ? Is it her unswerving love for His Word or the awesome men and women she quotes? I think it is all of the above, and yet it is something more as well.
I believe the deep value of this book lies in the way it is so experiential. It's unlike any other book I’ve ever read - it's organic and tangible, inviting me into every page – inspiring me to walk alongside her and move, really move, to a different place in my love relationship with Christ. It is as if she is telling her story, but simultaneously asking me to tell mine – to live mine as she lives hers. This is what grabbed me from the very beginning and held me to the final page. An example is a time when Ann has had a personal failure and I can hear my own voice in her thoughts...
"I gnaw my lip. The body howls when joy is extinguished…The glass lies everywhere broken. But this isn’t about this glass but old glass, about glass to God, about glass to my life as a whole. I see right through to what I am. Only self can kill joy. I’m the one doing this to me."
With each new chapter we are given another chance to learn as she learns, receive what she is receiving and discover what she is discovering. This is not a book you read, it is a book you live!
And for those of you who are not yet sure you want to "experience" a book in this way - you are in luck! Ann has made chapter one available free of charge on her website: http://www.onethousandgifts.com/ I challenge you to go to that website, look around (get your kleenex first!) and read chapter one all the way through. If you are touched by the book the way I was, get your own copy, read it cover to cover, and then come back here to join me (and friends) this November (2011) to begin our own list of one thousand gifts! Check back in late October to find out more, or email me now to let me know you’d like to be added to the growing list of people taking the life transforming challenge of recording their own One Thousand Gifts. Blessings!