I just finished reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp today. I’ve also committed to naming these one thousand gifts in my own life. Who knows, perhaps I can find this joy that Ann talks about? Perhaps this close communion with God that I so desire, that I once had?
Ann writes this book from her heart, real, transparent, honest – which is what attracted me to it. She talks about the tragedy, loss, brokenness, and pain that she has experienced in her life. And how she came to start naming these 1000 gifts or blessings. And how they changed her.
Ann starts by telling about how her sister, Aimee, was suddenly killed by a delivery truck. How the whole family shut their hands and their lives to the notion of a good God with the following refrain:
“No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing.”
How many times have I thought and lived this exact same thing? Too many to count.
Ann goes on to describe how, as a direct result of this tragedy, her Mom is committed to a mental hospital and how she (Ann) becomes a cutter. How fear and agoraphobia and anxiety grip her life. How she just wanted to die.
Sound familiar? I’ve been there too many times to count.
Then, she tells of how, in a dream, God shows her that instead of wanting to die, what she really wants is to live, fully – to fully live.
Her friend, Linda, dared her to count a thousand things she loves, one thousand blessings, one thousand gifts. And the journey began.
Ann shares of how she learned the Greek word eucharisteo, meaning thanksgiving, and charis, meaning grace, and chara, meaning joy. And how they are related.
And how, “Eucharisteo – thanksgiving – always precedes the miracle.”
The remainder of the book speaks of how eucharisteo unfolds in Ann’s life and how she comes to find joy and close communion with God as a direct result of naming these one thousand gifts.
This is one of the few books (the only one I can think of right now) that I have been able to finish reading lately.
I highly recommend it to anyone who, like me, has desperately wanted and striven for joy and closeness with God in their Christian walk, but for one reason or another has failed to achieve them, or failed to achieve them for any appreciable amount of time.
I would love to hear from you. Do you have the fruit of the Holy Spirit in your life? The love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc? How did come to know it, them? Did thanksgiving play a role in it?