Sunday, January 29, 2012

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where you Are

I've been dying to write this, yet simultaneously dreading it.  How can I possibly, in my limited words, do justice to this book and what it taught me?

But try I must, because I want everyone to know about it!

holy experience

"You have to read One Thousand Gifts," my friend Lindi urged me.  She told me a bit about it and about the blog that author Ann Voskamp writes.  Now, I've not known Lindi long, but the moment I met her, something clicked.  I knew right away that she was genuine and trustworthy, and, since then, time has revealed that we think very much alike and have similar goals in life.  If Lindi recommends a book, I will probably read it!  Well, eventually . . . it takes me awhile to read an entire book. ;)

I haven't even had a chance yet to talk with Lindi about how this book affected me, but I am so very thankful to her for telling me about it.  And now I must share it with you all, or burst!  I do wish I could buy a bunch of copies and send one to each of you.  Unfortunately, that won't be happening anytime soon.  If you'd like to read it for free, do what I did and check it out at the library.  I had to wait a few months on the waiting list, but it was well worth the wait.  Had I known how it would impact me, I might have gone ahead and bought it, or asked Lindi if I could borrow her copy when she was done with it.  In any case, if you live in my area, I will be returning it to the library by Wednesday. ;)

There is no book as inspiring as the Bible itself because it is inspired by God Himself!  So I hesitate to say things like "This book is life-changing" about books that aren't the Bible.  I won't say that about One Thousand Gifts (subtitle: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where you Are), but what I can say is that Ann Voskamp's experience with digging into Scripture and sharing what she learned with the readers of her book is deeply profound and moving.  She uses God's Word (and a host of other poetic words) to describe how God changed her life in her obedience to what she learned.  She brings a perspective I hadn't thought of in such a way before.

Do you want to experience true joy?  Do you want to truly understand the antidote to fear?  This book is for you!

The message of the book is enough to make it worthwhile.

But then your senses are treated to the author's amazing use of words!  I've never read anything like this!  It's like reading a poem, but it's not a poem.  You feel, hear, smell, see and taste what she is talking about.  You cry with her in her darkness and wonder if she'll ever come out of it, and delight with her as she discovers the answers.  You experience her childhood, eat dinner with her now husband and kids, live chaotic moments in her shoes as a homeschooling mom of six, and feel her emotions and reactions, raw and honest.

It is some of the crazy-best reading I've ever done!

I don't want to give anything away for those who want to read it, but I need to tell you this:  It's all about gratitude.  It's so weird that I can tell you the main point of the book without taking away from your experience in reading it.  You simply have to read it to see how it all fits together, but her main encouragement in the book is to be thankful.  For everything!

I'm telling you, it's gut-wrenching and true and right and difficult and obedient and . . . blessed.  To be grateful for the good and bad, beautiful and ugly, easy and difficult.  It's what I'm determined to do because someone took the time to explain to me, in this book, what she learned and how she learned it and how vital it is.  It's not something you'd likely ever see on Oprah.  It's true gratitude, which is not always pretty, but always freeing in the ways that matter.  In ways that make a difference.

I have begun my own list of 1,000 things I'm grateful for.  I keep a notebook on a kitchen counter to write things as they come to me, and then transfer them to my blog from time to time.  I wonder how long it will take me to reach 1,000.  Ann Voskamp has a challenge on her blog to think of 3 things each day for a year, and you'll have reached 1,000!  Breaking it down like that makes it seem very manageable.

Will you take the dare?  At least read the book and find out what it's all about! :)

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I love knowing what's on your heart and mind! Your thoughts, opinions, questions and ideas are welcome here anytime. Differences are respected as long as they are written respectfully! :)