I am blessed to be journeying with Ann Voskamp author of One Thousand Gifts as well as (in) courage Book club ladies, Angie Smith and Jessica Turner. We have begun Chapter 1 'an emptier, fuller life' with Ann, gleaning even more depth into her 'story' and of how Gratitude is key to a fuller life. It was emotional and full. You can find the video here.
If you have not read the book and don't want to learn too much don't read any further ;-)!
First, I have to say the first chapter is gut wrenching, difficult to read. I found myself, several times, stopping to just catch my breathe, to press on. I don't deal with pain and loss very well. To be honest, my default is sometimes Resentment towards God when I lose someone I love to tragedy or terminal illness or the such. My words and my emotions are opposing..."Didn't God hear my prayers?"
One of the challenges from the ladies was what, was the seed that was planted in me as I read this chapter?...
... was the seed that was planted as I read the story concerning the death of her two nephews [4 months old and 5 months old, respectively] some 18 months apart of the same horrible disease.
Ann's perspective versus her brother-in-law's perspective. Which one am I?
Ann's point of view was, in the face of tragedy, much of what I truly feel on the inside...
"Does God really love me? If He truly, deeply loves me, why does He withhold that which I believe will fully nourish me? Why do I live in this sense of rejection, of less than, of pain? Does He not want me to be happy?"
"One life-loss can infect a whole of a life."
"How do you keep breathing when the lungs under your fingers are slowly atrophying."
"If it were up to me...I'd write this story differently."
Her response was
"so, No, God."
Her Brother-in-law's, the father of these two babies, was simple faith in spite of pain... This is what I [do or want to] confess to the world, minister to my children.
'[As farmer's] you are faced with it every day. You control so little. Really. It's god who decides it all. Not us.'
'We're just blessed. Up until today Deitrich had no pain. We have good memories of a happy Christmas. That's more than we had with Austin...Tiffany's got lots and lots of pictures. And we had five months with him.'
And then he relates the story of King Hezekiah the his son Manasseh, who eventually became king. Manasseh was known for leading the Israelites in more evil than the heathen nations around them.
'Just that maybe...maybe you don't want to change the story, because you don't know what a different ending holds.'
The result of his faith is Thanksgiving to God for the Gift's He did give them.
So today I am beginning my One Thousand Gifts list. These are simply my celebrations of my Gifts from God. This first list is a biggie due to the fact that I am discovering such a freedom in seeing God's Gifts in all situations.
#1 - #24
- Rhino 1 working hard to earn his history & Kata stripes in karate
- When my children's comments make me laugh-out-loud
- Exercise that tires me, even presents to weaken me, but truly makes me stronger
- Realizing, I don't always have to be in 'defense mode', I can enjoy life
- Princess 3 and Daddy having a special date to eat, dance and sing together at the Father/Daughter Banquet
- Eagle 1 persevering, reading all of his Merit Badge information
- Rhino 1's initiative in practicing daily to become a better basketball player - making two baskets in his game, helping his team win
- Eagle 1 standing strong in the face of bullies and rude teenagers, standing up for what is right
- Nikon D-90 that seals our memories into forever
- My husband, who loves to kiss me and I love to kiss him
- Writing from my heart
- Aunt C's good report - "Go live a normal life"
- Aunt S's good report - "No lung cancer"
- My Friend's good report - "No breast cancer. No surgery."
- Feathered eyelashes of my sleeping children
- Persistence, stubbornness and courage
- Innocence, determination and strength
- Beauty, creativity and tender, sweet love
- My husband and daughter dancing
- Imperfect, interrupted Bible Study and prayer time
- When my Princess says 'dadda'
- Princess 1's imagination during communion
I am linked up with: