My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. 'How, ' Ann wondered, 'do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long---and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?' In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted ... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved --- by God. Let Ann's beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all.
At first I was a bit skeptical of this book, due to the style in which it was written which felt a bit "New Age" for my liking. This would be the main critcism I have: her writing is very different, almost more like poetry and so it can be hard to read and understand at times. However, I am so glad that I didn't put it down but perservered because as I grew used to Ann Voskamp's unique writing style, I realized I had found a really deep and powerful read. This book really is aimed at Christians who are going through a hard time and encouraging us to think more deeply about why God allows suffering. Rather than looking at the negative in life, she encourages us to have an attitude of thankfulness (which she refers to throughout the book in the use of the word "eucharisteo")and to be counting our blessings each and every day. Ann Voskamp shows us how even the mundane or terrible in life can be used as an act of worship to the God who made us. What a powerful read and one that I hope other Christians who may be going through difficult times will read.
Some of my favourite quotes from it were:
"...do I always want to see *more* beauty - *more* of the glory of God? Because that is what I am made for - to give Him more glory. More eucharisteo, more. And not only yesterday. But today..." ~ p.109 ~
"Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren't I advertising the unreliability of God? That I really don't believe? But if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again. I fearlessly cross the next bridge...It's only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God... When bridges seem to give way, we fall into Christ's safe arms, true bridge, and not into hoplessness...We can give thanks in everything because there's a good God leading, working all things into good...Each bridge I need to cross, form one moment to moment the next, is wholly safe, each leading me deeper into Him and closer to home...It is safe to trust!" ~ p.151, 155 ~
PS Upon further examination, it appears that there is a bit of controversy surrounding this book and how theologically sound it is. Please know that in recommending this book I am not saying I agree with everything the writer says or the particular ways she communicates certian ideas. Rather, I felt it did remind me to look to my Saviour during the hard times and to have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him, and by virtue of this, I do think it is worth a read.