I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and it has changed my life. It is a book about one woman's journey to being thankful to God for the little, everyday things in life.
I feel that God has been trying to get a hold of my heart in the area of praising Him for quite some time. It seems that I struggle with thanking God not only in the good times, but in the difficult times as well. Ann's book took me out of myself and my natural tendencies of worry and stress and shifted my focus to thanking God. Her writing in the book is beautiful and poetic; I wish my thoughts would translate into words that beautiful and profound! Many times I came across various thoughts so deep and thought provoking that caused me to stop and think for the rest of the day about them.
"We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks."
"Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience; thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life."
"…this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways that Godloves me."
"God gives us time. And who has time for God?"
"Hurry always empties a soul."
"Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps."
"The dark can give birth to life; suffering can deliver grace."
"Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love?"
The biggest challenge Ann's book brought to my life was to stop intending to be thankful and praise God for little and big things and start doing it. So, I did. I bought a cheap composition notebook from Target and began my list of 1000 gifts.
Honestly, it felt a little strange at first. I felt like I was LOOKING for things to be thankful for (I felt guilty shouldn't they just be flowing from my brain onto paper??). Then they started to come to me-the view from my window, my kids in their pj's , my quiet time to journal and write my thoughts, etc.
The book has inspired me to want to look for things I can be thankful for throughout my day. I now think, "OK, I need to write some things down that I'm thankful for in my journal. I need to keep it up." When I start writing, so many thoughts begin to fill my journal. As I write them down I find myself becoming more thankful. My heart softens and changes. I begin to see with new eyes. And the truth sets me free. I HAVE BEEN BLESSED IN SO MANY WAYS. There are countless little ways that I feel loved by God or others. Every little thing that I write down that I'm thankful for comes from God; HE loves me! For it says in James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift comes from above." All these little things I am thankful for came from God. Joy fills my heart, and I see now the goodness and blessing in my life, rather than the emptiness or areas that I haven't seen God do something that I want Him to. It has built my faith-if God can bless me with so many little things in my day and life, can't He still do it again and do abundantly more and in ways I don't expect?
Please read it for yourself and start writing your list of 1000 gifts today. It has definitely been a gift in my life. God has used it to change my life, my heart, my attitude, my joy, my faith, my love for God and others.