On a whim, I sign up for an on line study.
1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
A thankful journal.
This was a few weeks ago.
I have read the book and began counting my way to 1,000 – years ago.
I start the study.
It takes me most of the day to listen to the teaching.
Most of it I have heard, or read.
I find it refreshing.
Naming the gifts we are thankful for.
For 7 years I have recorded those gifts through the month of November, right here on this blog.
When did I begin this naming journey?
For a few moments I wonder.
I head to the shelf for my 1,000 Gifts book.
I find my moms book, inscribed with a message from a friend.
I breathe deep.
I choose to thank God for my mom.
I have my mom’s book because God called her to himself almost 8 years ago.
But, I know, this naming journey happened before that.
Could it be that long ago?
I find my book and set it on the table.
My thankful journal!
That will tell me what I want to know.
I can’t remember; did I make it to 1,000 gifts?
I gather my thankful journal and a pen and I sit at the table.
Slowly I open the journal.
It had begun as a journal to write down verses that I needed to remind me to stay the course.
To lean into the God of all grace as I raised these 6 children.
The last entry before the naming of 1,000 gifts was:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full Armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The next entry is October 25, 2010.
10 years ago!
This journey began before my world turned upside down.
It began when all my babies still lived and cancer was the “C” word that my mama had.
This is the entry that began the journey:
Here begins my journey to record the things I am thankful for.
May these pages begin a walk for me that contradicts the worlds pessimism
and embraces the teachings of the one who spoke breath into me.
I am grateful for: 1-52
Moments like this when we are all sitting quietly in your presence
chairs. . . .
The Holy Spirit
bells on the door announcing someone’s arrival
And the list continues.
Naming the gratitude.
I read the list. This is the first entry.
52 items named.
I read until I am caught off guard.
And need to stop as the tears flow.
As the gifts written 10 years ago bless my heart.
…the richness of God’s love
Cream of Wheat
A daughter who can now cut her own pancakes
the sound of the dryer
A clean bedroom
Opportunities to recognize thankfulness
I stop reading and weep.
Oh my boy.
His hands have always struck me.
I’ve written about those hands; so much like his daddy’s.
And I wept as I read it. And I weep as I write.
Oh how this world can be so hard.
We can be left undone in a moment.
When I started the thankful journal I didn’t know what was coming my way.
God, in his grace and wisdom, began to shape and prepare my heart for what was to come.
He took me and carefully taught my heart to Praise Him.
To look for the holy, small miracles he performs each day.
And as I named my way to 1000 gifts my soul prepared for the journey that was soon to be mine.
My dad wrestled with the Memory thief, and my mom peeled away the tentacles of cancer for a new home in heaven;
as I reeled from the shock of the news our son had met Jesus on a quiet, moonlit night,
I stepped into that praise that I had been practicing.
My first language.
This practice of naming thanks has deep purpose.
Our lives surrendered to God is contrary to this world.
So we must share the hope of living open to the pouring in.
My aching soul longs for the healing presence of our Lord.
He soothes the hurt and holds the tears.
You keep track of all my sorrows.[
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
Ann Voskamp says,
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.
I am yearning to live Eucharisteo.
I know this walk.
I walked it when I got up from the chair to start my day. . . without my son.
I thanked God for my feet that could walk
the floor of this home
for the shower
the running water
Naming. . . One praise after the other. . .thankfulness
Grace that held our family
Joy that comes as we surrender.