Curiosity led me to Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. A moving podcast interview with her left me in tears. I just wanted to know more about this God seeker and immerse myself into the amazing descriptions of settings and moods which she paints upon the page. I wondered if I might be able to learn to be a bit like her, and in doing so, embrace the life God has given me with more passion and more fullness.
But how does one find this satisfaction in the repetitious drudgery of daily life—the wiping of snotty noses, the scrubbing of floors, the tackling of the never-ending piles of laundry? How do you find joy in always feeling behind or feeling overwhelmed by work that seems a meaningless game? How does one move past grief, disappointment, questions we may never get answered this side of heaven like why are some prayers answered yes while others are a shattering no with life and death?
Voskamp discovered the answer is eucharisteo, which means “he gave thanks,” but the Greek root, charis means grace and the derivative, chara, means joy. Through One Thousand Gifts, we experience her journey for a full life to discover an intimacy with Christ and to embrace a divine love we all seek. This is an amazing, well-written book that opens our eyes to fresh ideas. I have thought similar thoughts throughout my life, but have never expressed them so eloquently, and I had never realized the profound gifts we each have been given in our ordinary days.
She kept a journal listing daily things she was thankful for—even the tough stuff. It’s a challenge I want to accept to discover my own undiscovered gifts.
Some of the nuggets I copied from her book into my own journal include the following:
“This pen: this is nothing less than the driving of nails. Nails driving out my habits of discontent and driving in my habit of eucharisteo.”
Hurry makes hurt. Hurry leaks empty. Hurry empties soul.
“I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only have the full life when I live fully in the moment.”
Faith is seeking for God in everything.
“Worry is the façade of taking action when prayer really is.”
“Stress is a lack of trust. I can’t fill with joy until I learn to trust. . . What is saving belief if it isn’t the radical dare to wholly trust?”
“All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. . .”
You need to die to expectations and wants and plans—accept the moment—give thanks, exult God. He fills emptiness with fullness of Himself.
Grace is like water. Living water must keep moving.
“A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.”
“Doing our rote, mundane work for the Lord becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness.”
“Spend the whole of your one wild and beautiful life investing in many lives, and God simply will not be outdone. God extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him.”
“God is relationship and He woos us to relationship and there is nothing with God if there is no relationship.”
“Doesn’t eucharisteo rename all God’s children their truest name: ‘Loved one’?”
Doesn’t that sampling whet your appetite for more?
Voskamp and her husband farm in Ontario. In addition to writing for DaySpring (a division of Hallmark) and writing books, blogging, editing, and being an advocate for Compassion International, she homeschools her six children. I don’t know how she manages all that. God has just blessed her with these abilities, and her sharing her insights in turn blesses others.
Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, dares readers to live fully right where they are. Will you accept the dare?
One Thousand Gifts was published by Zondervan in 2010. To read her blog, visit www.aholyexperience.com.
I’ll start the list: 1. I’m thankful you joined me for this blog. 2. I’m thankful for books that challenge me to dig deeper and open up a new perspective for me.
Have a wonderful week! Let us begin a new way of counting our blessings—through the intimacy of eucharisteo.