If you went to BlogHer and passed the Zondervan booth without stopping and at least looking at this book, you my friend, missed out.
I was immediately captured by the beautiful cover (sorry guys, the reality is that books are judged by covers but, that’s another story for another day). Then, I was grabbed by the line “A dare to live fully right where you are.” I loved that. One of the ladies at the booth told me it was a great read and so, off the shelf it came. I now wish I’d grabbed 5 copies to hand out to my friends.
Ann Voskamp writes about her life, about the emptiness that we can feel at times due to loss, about the hunger that most of us have experienced. It’s a topic that a lot of books touch on. About our walk with God, the good and the bad. The thanking and the questioning.
But, I’ve never read a book that reads like prose in this genre. Ann captures you with the way she weaves the words from her experiences into the fabric of your own life. I firmly believe that if we are tuned in to books, we pick them up at the right time and I have to say that for me, this was the case with One Thousand Gifts.
The book focuses on Ann and her experiences, her faith and how that has changed from a simple challenge. To write one thousand things that you are grateful for. One thousand things that you come across in every day life and are thanking your creator for.
We are all familiar with the gratitude journal but for me this idea is much simpler. I do this in my head a lot but never thought of the importance of putting it down on paper and having that be my concrete offering of words to God for all of the blessings and grace that I have received. Just a word. Ya’ll know I like to write and a lot of times the reason I don’t journal is because I don’t want to write it all out. There are days when we just don’t feel like it, right?
But man, I’d love to have a list to look back to, especially on those hard days. Ann speaks of eucharisteo which is found in the bible and in the original language translates to “giving thanks”. But the root of the word is charis which means grace. The word also holds the derivative chara which means joy. You have to pick up the book to see how she weaves it all together. How giving thanks brings joy. Even in hard times. She calls that hard eucharisteo. During times of sadness or tragedy.
Ann tells of how her perspective changed on life once she started noticing the little things, those little miracles that we sometimes brush away. As I said, I try to do this in my mind but find the idea of the written word so much better. Every night when I pray, I first give thanks. If the frog princess is in my bed when I crawl into it, I lay hands on her and give God my deepest, simplest thanks for the soul He entrusted me with.
But I also remember on that very hard day when I held Mami’s hand as she took her last breath. How at 11:11 she was gone and all that would come out of my mouth was eucharisteo. My prayer of thanksgiving. My prayer of joy which sounds completely out of context with the situation. I wasn’t joyful that she was gone but I was joyful that I knew where she was going. That God had her in His arms and that she was no longer suffering.
During those times, it is not easy but, those times allow us to grow and expand in our faith.
And so what Ann found as she was writing these things down is that she was really writing down were the gifts of life. That she was opening herself up to receiving that grace by seeing those gifts.
When you’re looking at everything as if it were a gift, something inside of you changes. Something inside of you expands and opens up and with each gift you are thankful and it makes you want more. Not materially but, spiritually. All of this Ann tells us about in words as lyrical as a song. A song of thanksgiving.
If you want to know more and read more, feel free to enter my giveaway. The good people at Zondervan didn’t want you to feel left out just because I totally forgot to grab an extra copy and stuff it in to my bag for you (be sure to say thanks).