Once again, my mother has blessed me with an introduction to a book both encouraging and challenging. I am currently reading Ann Voskamp’s book “One Thousand Gifts,” and as I do so, I am uplifted, my soul buoyed to the surface of sustaining truth. Yet, at the same time, I am cut to the quick, humbled at the (at times) harshness of the reality of what I am reading. And I am understanding that truth is not always comfortable….that truth can hurt…but that truth, it always heals.
In this book, through the author’s eyes and words…and her unabashedly honest recollection of a journey through the valleys of one life...with its deep, dark furrows and gullies characterized by one common denominator…ingratitude. I am trying to place my finger on why this book moves me so, and at such a season in my life as it came to cross my heart’s path. The best I can verbalize is that the author has recognized her ingratitude….yet she is not wallowing in a pool of guilt over it…she is naming it and calling it out. Unearthing it from the depths of her innermost being…and renaming what she first saw as fear, or simple lack of faith..into what was really the root…lack of gratitude. I am stopped in my tracks as I read her words….yet they have been my words too:
“Though I can hardly whisper it, I live as though He stole what I consider rightly mine: happiest children, marriage of unending bliss, long, content, death-defying days. I look in the mirror, and if I’m fearlessly blunt—what I have, who I am, where I am, how I am, what I’ve got—this simply isn’t enough. That forked tongue darts daily and I live the doubt, look at my reflection, and ask: Does God really love me?”
The premise of this book was a challenge given to the author (a farmer’s wife, and stay at home mother of 6) to simply make a list of 1,000 gifts in her life. As I read her words, I see the transformation…and I am healed in those tucked away corners of my hurting heart…when she lists “Jam piled high on toast” or “Little, lisped prayers”…my heart swells with it….the recognition of His goodness. The blessings in the mundane, that aren’t mundane at all. Showing me that in the simplest things, the sacred still can be found.
This book is literally a work that breathes life into one’s soul in the reading of it. It is not a hard concept to grasp: give thanks. And receive (and recognize) the abundance all around…swirling in sweet, sustaining winds…whispering the wonder of it all, this life, this time we have…I don’t want to waste in blindness anymore. For I see now:
“I have lived the runner, panting ahead in worry, pounding back in regrets, terrified to live in the present, because here-time asks me to do the hardest of all: just open wide and receive”~
As I read, I realize how simple it could be to read and even receive beautiful truths...these priceless pearls of light and resurrection life—only to shelve them, collect them…let them sit and stagnate, as I gaze up at them in admiration. I speak of them to others, and praise the virtue of their wisdom…yet I do not LIVE them.
So I go, today…now…and take my final cue from the author.
“I do what I always need to do. I preach it. I preach it to the person I need to preach to the most. I preach to me.”