When Zondervan offered me the chance to review One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, to say I was thrilled would be an understatement! I had wanted to get my hands on the book for several weeks!
Very few books have ever touched me in the way that One Thousand Gifts has. In a word the book is profound. Raw is another word that comes to mind. Poetic. It leaves your soul open to all that God has to give. The first chapter of the book is gripping as Ann shares deep wounds that have shaped her into the woman she is today.
In many ways Ann’s search for a full life well lived is very much like my own which is perhaps what spoke to me the most. My desire to live life to the fullest, to enjoy the moments I have with the people I love, not wasting time on the unimportant, is something that I have shared over and over again with you. I have spent much time over the last few years evaluating and re-evaluating my life and what I want to do with my life. Ann’s search for holy joy is pure and unadulterated the way I want my own search for the meaningful to be.
“I wake to the discontent of life in my skin. I wake to self-hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough?
…It’s the life in between, the days of walking lifeless, the years calloused and imply going through the hollow motions, the self-protecting by self-distracting, the body never waking, that’s lost all capacity to fully feel – this is the life in between that us the wild walking dead.” (p. 27)
Have you ever felt that way? I know I have! Reading this book has opened my eyes to the smallest details – God’s details – all those things He wants me to know are from Him that I so often take for granted. Ann writes:
“Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.” (p. 39)
Do I accept the life I have been given? Am I thankful? Later she goes on:
“I may have always know that change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will to grow up something good to strengthen the heart.” (p. 43)
Am I willing to work for change?
What I didn’t like about the book…
The last chapter left me feeling uncomfortable. I just couldn’t get into the whole sexual imagery of making love to God. There. You have been forewarned.
Ann’s writing style is unique, very poetic and full of word pictures. This writing style may not be for everyone. I personally enjoy the poetic prose.
All in all, this book has inspired me to live a life of thanksgiving daily. Don’t get me wrong. I believe I have lived with a thankful heart and an appreciation for the precious lives God has put in my care, but this book has inspired me to take it a step further, to really see my life as a gift, moment by moment.
Ann has also inspired me to begin my own list of 1000 gifts. Will you write one, too?
My One Thousand Gifts
1. Eggs borrowed for corn pudding
2. Baby sparrow rescued
3. Snow peas from the garden
4. A husband to love
5. Little girls who laugh
6. A house to clean
7. Dishes to wash
8. A new dress
9. Two loyal dogs
10. Quiet time to write
11. Ace Bandage for a sprained ankle
12. Friends who care enough to help
13. Teaching Primaries at Campmeeting
14. Hugs from little children
15. Air conditioning for the summer heat
16. Baby chickens
17. A soft bed to sleep in
18. A book to read
19. Sunshine on my face
20. A water balloon fight