“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.” (15)
It has always been God's plan to fill us with glory again. It is a choice, to choose to say yes to all He freely gives, even the painful gifts.
But how does one choose? This book is Ann's story of how she made that choice.
She was challenged to name a thousand blessings. “We only enter into full life if our faith gives thanks.” (39) “I want the very fullest life,” she writes (55) She took up eucharisteo, being thankful in all things. “And I can see it in the looking back, how this daily practice of the discipline of gratitude is the way to daily practice the delight of God...” (82)
“The practice of giving thanks...eucharisto...this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes. We don't have to change what we see. Only the way we see.” (135) And, “The discipline of thanks only comes with practice.” (135)
Not all of gratitude is easy. “Sometimes we need time to answer the hard eucharisteo.” (90)
Ann shares her own story, beginning with her sister's untimely and gruesome death as a child. The memory of seeing her sister bloodied and dying permeates her account of learning the discipline of eucharisteo. Married to a farmer, with half a dozen children, Ann's life is a lesson in thanksgiving. Even when it is a challenge, like when pork prices drop and bankruptcy is a looming possibility, or when her son stuck his hand in the barn fan and it could have been sheared off.
Ann has given us a new way of seeing, the art of deep seeing. It is not what we see but how we see – seeing the gift of God before us.
Ann is a word smith and this book is a pleasure to read. Her practice of eucharisteo is so encouraging. She didn't stop at a thousand gifts. She keeps looking, “Because that list of one thousand gifts has me always on the hunt for one more...and one more – to behold one more moment pregnant with wonder.” (68)
Read this book and be blessed.
Ann Voskamp is a writer with Dayspring, a contributing editor to Laity Lodge's The High Calling, a global advocate for the poor, traveling for Compassion International. Ann and her husband are farmers in the countryside of southwestern Ontario, raising half a dozen kids, and crops of corn. She writes about everyday wonder at www.aholyexperience.com. You can also join the community at www.onethousandgifts.com.
Zondervan, 240 pages.