“How,” Ann Voskamp wondered, “do we find joy
in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties?
What does a life of gratitude look like when your days
are gritty, long, and sometimes dark?
What is God providing here and now?”
While the turkey is baking in the oven, is it difficult to come up with a list of things that you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving? When you look around your home, your neighborhood, and our nation and world, do your eyebrows furrow in concern?
Regardless of the circumstances, you’ll find a ‘dare to live fully right where you are’ in Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. I was challenged and encouraged by her beautiful, poetic writing. I was moved to “pay tribute to God by paying attention”. Paying attention so that I could see God every day…not only in the good, but also in the hard, and in the seemingly mundane.
Here are 10 of my favorite lines from One Thousand Gifts.
- When I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.
- We need to learn to be content, to find joy in all things…and learning requires practice. Practice is the hardest part of learning.
- How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can’t I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy – and seeing shows the way in.
- It is impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear. This is the anti-anxiety medicine I try to lay in my wiped-open palm every day.
- God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy!
- Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don’t numb themselves to really living.
- Take what is given…say it is enough…and give thanks.
- I redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness when I swell with thanks and weigh down the moment.
- While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.
- Giving thanks is the way we practice the presence of God…We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see.
In One Thousand Gifts, we follow Voskamp as she learns to give “thanks for the life she already had” in order to find the life she’d always wanted. That is the challenge I walked away with as well. It is what I’m striving to do today, to give thanks for the way things are at this very moment. For “the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
In November of 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, “It has seemed to me fit and proper that the gracious gifts of the most High God be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged.” This Thanksgiving, let’s do what is ‘fit and proper’; let’s acknowledge ‘the gracious gifts of the most High God’. Let’s practice the presence of God by ‘giving thanks’, by accepting the gift of now as it is. Remember, “we don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see”.
This Thanksgiving, may you live FULLY… fully THANKFUL!
If you’ve enjoyed this little taste of Ann Voskamp’s writing,
she has a blog that is well worth checking out.
Her writing hits you at the gut level… where you feel it in a deep way.
She is sincere and passionate and easy to connect with.