My dear friend, Heidi, had spoken highly of Ann Voskamp’s site many years back. When Audible.com had a 3-for-2 sale last month, I checked out what books I could take with me for a trip I was going to make. One of my finds was fifty-seven week NY Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts, from Ann Voskamp.
Ann says her first memory consists of her seeing her eighteen-month old baby sister getting run over, crushed and killed by a delivery truck in their farmyard. Her mother got locked in a psychiatric ward. Her father turned away from faith. Her life had been shaped by those devastating traumas.
“You murmur the question soundlessly… ‘Where is God, really? How can he be good when babies die, marriages implode, and dreams blow away dust in the wind? Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away? Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?’ “
“No. No benevolent being, no grace, no meaning to it all…
No, God… No, God, we won’t take what you give. No, God, your plans are a gutted bleeding mess and I didn’t sign up for this. You really thought I’d go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t you get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks. And God?… Thanks for nothing.”
Such raw and authentic questions. Ann processes her pain and devastation and she then shares her journey towards full life, joy, and grace. She espouses a lifestyle of intentional thanksgiving for all that God already gives freely.
Eucharisteo: A Greek word meaning thanksgiving, to be thankful.
Envelopes the Greek root word charis meaning grace, and the derivative chara which is Greek for joy.
It changes one’s perspective radically about life circumstances.
I tried out her idea and started naming and thanking God for the gifts He gives each day. It’s liberating, inspiring, and life-changing. I find myself repeating the words “This is a gift, thank You, Lord.”
Thank you, Ann Voskamp!
Interview by Moira Brown
One Thousand Gifts Group Bible Study:
Some features about Ann and her book