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.
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.