Well on my Way

It came in the mail just over a year ago. I was so excited for it was one of the first giveaways I had ever won and a book I was so anxious to read. I had been following the author’s personal blog for a while and was elated to finally hold her words in my hand.

When I read:

living with losses, I may choose to still say yes.
Choose to say yes to what He freely gives.
Could I live that — the choice to open the hands
to freely receive whatever God gives?
If I don’t — I am still making a choice…

on page 18, I knew I was in for some soul-searching. For losing my son was something I still held on to too tightly.

I was captivated. A complete sponge. It was challenging to put down, but even harder to read fast. I wanted to savor every page, make sure I didn’t miss anything.

About two weeks later, I was ready to begin the dare. The challenge of putting the book into action. And on March 30th, 2011, I did just that.

Count one thousand gifts,
bless the Holy One one hundred times a day,
commune with His presence filling…me.
This is what it means to fully live.pg 226

I am an optimist by nature and thought it would come easy. This writing down brief moments where I felt/saw God’s hand of love. My Savior gifting me with joy. Was I ever wrong. It required more focus, intention, than I ever anticipated.

In the beginning, my goal was to write 10 each day. I failed miserably. So I decided to strive for 3. That came easier while still requiring conscious effort. But soon, I was only listing on the weekdays. And some days, I would forget completely.

I went the entire month of August with my journal on a shelf. Only 255 gifts were listed.

Excuses, now they came easy. I was in a knee brace during this time, unable to put any weight on my right leg for too long. And when I look back on it now, I see why I needed to be that still. I see what God was preparing me for.

Am I living God’s best for this life
or am I bankrupting any legacy of faith?

Stress can be an addiction and worry can be
our lunge for control and we forget
the answer to this moment is always yes because of Christ.” pg 159

God spoke to me while my legs were elevated. He stirred my heart like never before. And He showed me what I needed to do. To live more intentionally. To keep my focus upward and not in the mirror. To be more accountable.

Gift 256 read: No knee brace.
Gift 257 read: Lessons learned in starting a blog.

God asked me to open up and share my heart. At first, just for me and Him. Simplystriving was set to private. Only my husband and I were able to read those first few posts.

Nov. 5, 2011 Gift 273: Sharing my heart with anyone who will listen. I opened the doors.

And on March 23, 2012 — nearly a year after I began, look what happened:

I’d like to say I made it, but that wouldn’t really be true. No, friends. I’ve finally figured it out. I’m well on my way to receiving His lavishing love.

And so I continue. Counting my thanks. Acknowledging gifts given to me from Him:

  • God will never go back on His word. (Isaiah 45:23)
  • Even Jeremiah felt ill-equipped.
  • A reader reaching out, blessing me with her words in my hands.
  • A cleansing spring drench.
  • Friends praying for me simply because they want to.
  • Warming up the house by baking.
  • I am set apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

How about you? What are you thankful for? How have you chosen joy lately? Have you read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp yet? How has it changed your perspective? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: I am not an affiliate of anything. There are links in this post that allow you to view the book I’m referring to and purchase if desired. They’re used for your convenience as there are fabulous reviews listed there as well.

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38 thoughts on “Well on my Way

  1. Nikki! So sorry about the loss! I just started this book with my mentor. While I had started the list already, I hadn’t gotten the concept behind it yet. The concept is beginning to form and I’m looking forward to the journey through her words. I hope to jump on board with the Monday sharing of lists here soon, and to do it consistently will be the goal. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. πŸ™‚

    • So fun to read this book WITH someone, Amy! That Monday group is a huge blessing to jump on board with. I only do sporadically. I really should strive to do it weekly, too! (and thanks for thinking of me and my son…He’s in the best of hands. and I’ve finally given him all to God. What joy!) We’ll catch up soon! thanks for stopping by! hugs to you!

  2. Hi Nikki,
    Really like your post today! I have not read the book yet, but I did start counting blessings and gifts this year. Like you said, it takes focus, and I think looking at things from a different perspective. I am finding now that even when I’m not having a good day, I can still see the gifts He’s giving me. I’m also learning to look for the gifts when I really don’t feel like it, and that helps change my perspective.
    Blessings,
    Laura

    • It DOES change ones perspective, doesn’t it! I was nodding along with your entire comment, Laura. You said it so well! πŸ™‚ What a blessing this journey has been for me and am grateful to know it has been rewarding for you as well. Thank you for sharing with me!
      All for Him,
      Nikki

  3. of your thank you’s, my favorite was “warming the house up by baking.” I’ve never been married (a long story I’ll probably blog about one day) – so anyway… my place has never been a spot for the smells of baking. I’m a microwave guy. But I know. I know EXACTLY what what you mean. I think it’s a precious thank you. And I’m like you, I’m a glass half-empty kind of person – the thank you’s have been kind of a revelation to me. I never thought I’d be able to do it – I’m nearing 900 now. Anyway, I really hearted reading you today – and I’m smiling – thank you for that. And God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours Nikki.

    • So grateful you stopped by today, Craig! I enjoy long stories spilled into blog posts {hint, hint}
      I am thrilled you’re on this journey of seeking thanks. I know we were on the same number for awhile there a few weeks back. (I had a weekend recently that filled me to the brim hence my fast forward)… looking forward to reading what the next hundred or so revelations of thanks will be for you!
      (and my goodness was I ever blessed by your post today!)
      All for Him,
      Nikki

  4. Counting with you, Nikki…praying that God would continue to comfort you…
    I am thankful today for His gracious love, for being able to pray with other moms for our kids and school, and I thankful for you and your friendship. I truly appreciate you and your encouraging ways. So glad that you decided to make your blog public πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much, Dolly. I’m thrilled to say God has comforted me. I finally had that moment of giving my son over to His capable hands. fully. Never knew how stubborn I truly was until I began this journey… πŸ˜‰
      I am so blessed to have met you and you are one of the reasons I now see why God asked me to do this. You are always a sun spot to my day, friend. Thank you!

  5. Congrats on this milestone in counting His grace! And to think, there are thousands more yet to be counted! Our God is such a generous giver. Thank you for sharing and I am glad you opened the door to this place:)

    • Oh, I love it when you stop by! Thank you so much. You’re absolutely right. Looking forward to my next thousand. And what’s even better? I’m expecting them. . . Hugs to you!

  6. Moving post Nikki. I just finished reading this book and it was so beautiful. I couldn’t put it down and I devoured it in 2 days. But I haven’t started a list yet, at least not on paper. I decided I need to go back through the book again, more slowly so I can really savor it all. I’m so glad for your gift #273. πŸ™‚

    • I did the same thing! I had to read it twice. first all the way through, next slower while taking notes before I began. So thrilled you’re beginning the journey!!! (I tweeted you since I don’t know if you’ll get this!) πŸ˜‰

  7. Nikki, my heart goes out to you for your loss. I didn’t know. I pray that the Lord has given you some comfort and peace. I will keep you in my prayers.

    I am so glad that you made your blog public. I never would have “met” you otherwise!

    These “Thankful Thursdays” have been so wonderful. Every week we look for the beauty of God’s gifts around us. It has been an awesome journey so far…

    I am going to look into that book!
    Many blessings, my friend!
    Lisa

    • Oh, thank you, Lisa. Yes, my second son was stillborn. But I’m blessed to be able to have held him before handing him over to Him. He’s in the best of hands…

      I’m thrilled to have met you, too! God clearly has blessed me by introducing me to some wonderful women and friends on this journey. No wonder He asked me to take that step!!!

      You should check the book out! I think you’d love it.

      All for Him,
      Nikki

  8. God has truly given you the gift of writing Nikki. πŸ™‚ Thank you for letting God use you to reach others in ways you aren’t even aware of. I am going to add this book to my growing list of “books to read”. I would love to hear other suggested books too! πŸ™‚

    • I’m so thrilled you stopped by, Tasha! Thank you! You touched my heart. . .
      Oh, yes, put this on your must reads! I’m reading a super good one right now, too, you could add: “You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth. So blessed by it. If you want to really add to your list, HERE are my top 10 books I read last year! πŸ™‚ Hugs to you, friend!

  9. I loved the book. It is a book that will stay with me…

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I love these link-ups and being able to see how God is at work in everyone’s lives or even just being given the chance to pray for someone when they need it.

  10. Popped in from Ann’s as your title caught my attention : ) I, too, am well on my way to 1000! It seems after reading your lovely post that we began around the same time. I began this journey back in February 2011. God’s perfect timing, of course, as my husband lost his job just the month before. Counting the gifts is how I managed to keep my anxious thoughts at bay as I watched God miraculously provide time and time again on our journey. Now it’s 2012, still no job but oh how HE has grown me over this last year. Thankfulness is a powerful practice that I hope to continue year after year after year . . . . to 1000 and beyond. Thanks for sharing about your journey : ) Blessings to you!

    • God does have perfect timing, doesn’t He, Pam. The trials of the year were so much easier for me while I focused on the practice of seeking His gifts. So thrilled to know you had the same experience.
      Thank you for sharing with me. I prayed for you and your husband. the stress that rides along the journey you are currently on. May it not overwhelm you. May God continue to sustain you. And may his next job be well worth the wait!
      All for Him,
      Nikki

  11. we are neighbors today…yeah 1000 congrats…I know this joy…gave tribute last week as well…blessing as we continue to hammer out these praises…one nail at a time.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing and persevering! It is good to know that the goal is attainable :). Learning to be thankful everyday is a great discipline. I started out well last year after reading the book in March, but then trickled off. So, I started fresh this year and am trying to get to 1000 before the end of the year. It is so good to look back on each day and see how God has blessed it. The days all seem similar and run together until I take the time to really see His gifts. Sometimes it is very hard to give thanks, but it is so worth the struggle and pain of those sacrificial praises.

    • So thrilled you stopped by, Lynn! You’re right…it seems time slows a bit when we take the time to pause and reflect on all the ways He pursued us that day! Glad you didn’t give up and started fresh this year! I’ve written about some of those moments you mentioned. Where it becomes hard to give thanks. But like Ann says, when we can look back and see God’s back, it brings joy!

  13. I read Ann’s book last August. It was on my list of things to read but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. One day a friend showed up at my door, handed it to me with a bow tied on it and said, “Read this so we can have a get together and talk about it!”

    I loved a thousand things about it.

    Literally.

    And I’m so thankful for the grace that it poured into my life.

    • Oh, what a lovely gift to receive, a gift of unfolding everyday gifts! What a blessed friend…

      So thankful you shared with me today, thank you! If you are counting gifts with Ann and are blogging about it, please let me know. I’d love to stop by.

      All for Him,
      Nikki

      • I actually counted my first thousand on facebook (gave me great status updates!) and started blogging afterwards. I did a series of posts over Thanksgiving that were my “extension” of the gifts.

        Now I write about a lot of things- dealing with infertility, following Him in the roughness of life, finding healing, and the lessons from Ann’s book come creeping in. I think they influence everything in my life- and it’s making it more beautiful. ❀

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