Blond, pinhead-sized ants stream through paint cracks and drizzle into my cupboards. The flow meanders in and out of visibility, winding up my honey jar and over my open Bible. I brush the trespassers to the chipped tile floor. One creature struggles up onto the Psalms alone. Defying my efforts to knock him down, he dances over the crumb-dusted page.
I read the ink underlining the ant’s frolic.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7).
While the indomitable ant praises God, I struggle to maintain an attitude of thankfulness. I bloom with outstretched gratitude in morning prayer, but wilt under the heat of noon’s discouragements. Why should I falter, when created in His image, as the tiniest life forms revel in continuous worship?
Ann Voskamp writes from her personal struggles to those who also wrestle with God. To all of us, I believe. In the moments and seasons when we find ourselves in joy-starved valleys between nourishing apexes of grace.
One Thousand Gifts begins with what we most commonly recognize–pain. Voskamp paints an excruciating portrait of her own shattered backstory. She brushes grey and rust over sepia dates. From her childhood memory, she illustrates a farmscape ravaged by death. Her family’s gaping wounds leave her reeling, questioning the grace for which she had been named.
Ann, not-so-full-of-grace, exists in the bounds of fear and joylessness for years. She lives in the death-like anticipation of nightmares. Until the dare wakens her. Could she write a thousand things she loves?
Her pursuit begins with a daily quest to acknowledge simple blessings. She doesn’t expect the intensity of her journey, yet One Thousand Gifts stretches her–and us–beyond our limited scope of living. Her growth compels her to discover thankfulness in all things.
“I can say it certain now: All is grace.
I see through the woods of the world: God is always good and I am always loved . . .
All is grace only because all can transfigure.”
Gratitude lifts and transforms her beyond all she had hoped. One Thousand Gifts reaches beyond a finite number of happy thoughts and offers healing for our bleak moments. The quest for full life leads to the essence of faith. Do we trust God fully?
“If I deep trusted God in all the facets of my life, wouldn’t that deep heal my anxiety, my self-condemnation, my soul-holes?’
With poetic eloquence, Voskamp dares readers to join this abundant means of abiding in joy. She invites us to live fully by accepting the embrace of a loving God and hugging Him back with gratitude.
Voskamp fills hungry souls with beautiful insights.
“A spiritual perspective of smallness . . .”
We gape for another bite of truth.
“Communion service is only complete in service.”
The warm, yeasty promises of gratitude melt in the mouth. Let me conclude, then, by inviting you share in this joy. Let’s dine together upon the eucharisto principles of One Thousand Gifts. What can you list as blessings? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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