Thursday, September 06, 2012

My Journey to Thankfulness: Part One

Almost a year ago my sister, Megan, had recommended a book to me.  She had borrowed it from the library and had read a part of it and loved it.  It was called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I wrote it down on my wish list for Christmas and forgot all about it.

On Christmas I received this book as a gift.  My sister also sent me a gift of a beautiful journal with a picture of my family on it and the words, Things I love . . . , written on the front.  After reading the book she recommended, I started using it in a way that would help me refocus my thoughts and bring praise and glory to God.

But I am getting ahead of myself.  I have waited quite some time to share this with my bloggy friends out there.  I wanted to read the book cover to cover and allow its message to work on my heart.  Today I want to share with you things that have challenged me as well as encouraged me over the last eight months.

 One Thousand Gifts is a book describing the journey of one woman through her loss of a sister at the age of four years old to a place of peace and thanksgiving to God.  It is her insights to different things that God did in her life to change the way she thought about Him and related to Him.  I love the way she is able to put words on a page.  The way that she encouraged me to start looking for the gifts that God had given me.  This is about her journey to write down one thousand gifts that God had given her and how it changed her life.

As I read her book I wrote down things that I wanted to remember in my journal.   They are things that challenged me or opened up my eyes a bit more to what God has done for me.  I am going to share a few of those things with you.  So here goes. . .

All that is in italics are quotes from her book.  I do not wish to plagiarize, just share with you a bit of what she shared.

"It started with Satan, in the garden, wanting more power, more glory.  He is an ingrate.  Satan's sin became the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude.  Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.

Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren't satisfied in God and what He gave.  We hunger for something more, something other.  They saw God as He truly was: good.  But we are lured by the deception that there is something better.  After the fall we no longer see God for who He really is or perceive Him as wholly good.   We try to fill our emptiness.  But God has a purpose for each one of us.  ""His secret purpose framed from the beginning is to bring us to our full glory."" I Corinthians 2:7  He means to return us to our full Glory.

Grace: it means favor.  A free and ready favor.  We choose to take the grace offered at the cross.  Do we CHOOSE to live each day as one being filled with His grace?  It is a choice, each moment, each day.

As we go through life and face really hard trials where we have to seek God or turn away, what will be my choice?  Will I let Him nourish me and work through me to see His grace and love?

I wonder too . . . if the rent in the canvas of our life backdrop, the losses that puncture our world, or own emptiness, might actually become places to see.

To see through to God.

That that which tears open our souls, those holes that splatter our sight, may actually become the thin, open places to see through the mess of this place to the heart-aching beauty beyond.  To Him. . . To the God whom we endlessly crave.       Maybe so.

But how?  How do we fully live-to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal?  This is a dare to live an emptier, fuller life."

That was just a peak at the first chapter.  What she said made me start thinking about the choice that I make each and every day.  Am I making a choice to be ungrateful to God and ignore all that He has done for me?  Or I am making a conscience choice to be thankful for all He has give me, all He has done for me?

 When I think about it, I am over come with thanksgiving for His grace and His blessings on my life.  He saved me as a small child from a life that was in bondage to sin and to Satan.  I am now free to serve Him and love Him.  He has covered me with grace and love and mercy.  I don't deserve any of that.  But He has given all that to me and made me into the woman that He wants me to be.

But how often do I really think of all He has done for me.  How often do I praise Him for the big things He does?  Do I ever really thank Him for all the little things?  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that so often I was making the choice to complain and grumble about all that didn't go my way.  I wasn't really looking for the blessings that God gave to me daily.  I decided to make a choice to start doing that.  But how does one just start being thankful day in and day out?  The rest of the book helped me to change my daily habits into ones that turned more and more toward God and all He had done for me.

This is one of my greatest blessings!


Jen Bauer said...

Sounds like a great book, Sarah. I should check it out.

Megan @ SimplyThrifty said...

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the book and that it impacted you so much. I'll look forward to reading Part 2. I STILL have yet to read through the whole thing. I need to put that on my "to do" list. Thanks for a great reminder.