I finally finished reading the book 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp and I’ll tell you, it’s been a long journey off and on to read this book. The language is poetic and sometimes hard to read. But I’ve read it purposefully and intentionally because the concept is powerfully life-changing.
The idea of giving thanks for everything in your life is encouraging, exciting and challenging. It’s looking at your daily life and thanking God for the blessings, big and small. I give thanks for the way Leland takes care of my needs; I give thanks for hot air balloons; I give thanks for the feeling of being appreciated; I give thanks forAdalyn’s joy of playing outside by herself; I give thanks for soft sheets and cozy blankets; I give thanks for a God who is with me…
I am making my own thankfulness journal and I’m on #685. It’s encouraging to read how many things are blessings and how our attitude changes towards life when we give thanks rather than being angry, disappointed, or frustrated.
And let me tell you, I have my days of anger, disappointment, and frustration. And it’s in those moments that I’m challenged to think of blessings in what I think is the “ugly.” I give thanks that Adalyn forgives me when I’m cranky and impatient with her; I give thanks for Leland suggesting I get a break because I’m worn out; I give thanks that someone can come fix my kitchen light when it has a short in it; I give thanks that God revealed a truth in me (even though it did not feel good); I give thanks for our health and that we recover from sickness.
Then there’s the hard stuff. How do I give thanks in divorce, cancer, death? How do I give thanks in fear, stress, anxiety? A quote that I like from the book: “Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn’t as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God, as fear and distrust that there is a good God… how do you count on life when the hopes don’t add up? The hopes don’t have to add up. The blessings do.” Blessings are all around us and they are God’s gifts to us – not necessarily wealth, health, etc. BUT the gift of life and all that entails. Each day we have the gift of waking up, and we have the opportunity to look at our life with eyes of thankfulness of God’s goodness in all things, even the hard stuff. But we have to believe in God’s goodness. And that’s where this book and keeping a thankfulness journal has challenged me. I like to think I trust in God’s goodness but fear creeps in. “Gratitude is a memory of God’s heart and to thank is to remember God. In memory, the shape of God’s yesterday-heart emerges and assures of God’s now-heart and reassures of His sure beat tomorrow.” Read Psalm 136:1-7. Remembering with thanks is what allows us to trust. When our own memories don’t bring thanks, when tragedy is in our life and it’s hard to see goodness, we can look back on God’s faithfulness – His goodness of sacrificing His son for us. “We can give thanks in everything because there’s a good God leading, working all things into good. It is safe to trust!”
Recount how you laughed today, how you cried today… Give thanks for the big things and the small things… He has blessed today!