Saturday, January 29, 2011
Last week, One Thousand Gifts arrived in my mail box. I immediately laid aside the book I was reading to gulp down Ann Voskamp's words. This is Ann's story of finding joy, joy in the beautiful, the painful, the ordinary, the mundane, the breathtaking. Joy that I, too want to find.
As I read the story of Ann's life, of asking questions, of searching for answers, of struggling to trust God and accept grace, I, too was asking questions.
Last week my cousin was killed in a farming accident. A Godly man, a faithful father, a man giving of his time and resources to build a dairy for orphans in Bolivia. I was asking questions "Why him? Why one so young? Why one who was so useful to the Lord's work?"
To happen to read (does anything "just happen"?) One Thousand Gifts at that specific time could not have been better planned. On the way to the cemetery, I read the first chapter aloud to my husband. I echoed with Ann the wish to "write the story differently" but also the desire to turn the sad holes of our soul as open places to see through to God and His hand of grace in our lives.
If you've read Holy Experience, you know that Ann pens words that can sing. Her writing is simply beautiful and has no shallow platitudes. Ann shares from the depths of hard losses, the ordinary frustrations of mothering six children, and the endless laundry of a Canadian farm wife.
"Every breath's a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips so we can sip from the holy grail of joy."
Ann shares how a challenge to write down the every day blessings, one thousand gifts from God, transformed a life of resentment to abundant joy. She found the remembrance of God's every day graces affecting all of life, her trust in God, her outreach to others, her interaction with her family.
"Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on."
Giving thanks in all things is something the Lord has been teaching me since last year. I've read about gratitude and painted reminders in my kitchen but this book showed me how it works in real life. It made me love my Saviour more and challenged me to continue to practice naming the specific gifts from our God.
"Joy begins in the action of thanksgiving."
When I read a good book, I can't wait to share it with someone, anyone. Sometimes though I hesitate to write a review. Only God's Word is perfect and every book contains something that I could quibble about, even this one. I thoroughly enjoyed One Thousand Gifts and I'm now on my second trip through the book, taking my time to savor the words. But for those of you who have told me "I hardly have time to read my Bible," please don't put yourself on a guilt trip. Just read the inspired Word. But if you are looking for inspiration on your journey, I would recommend One Thousand Gifts.
You can read an excerpt from the first chapter here, view a trailer or join a book club discussion.
I received a free review copy of One Thousand Gifts from Zondervan Publishing. All opinions expressed here are my own.