books

Share Your Story Sunday: One Thousand Gifts + a Giveaway!


Happy Sunday! Today Share Your Story Sunday will look a little different. I was contacted by Shelton Interactive to review the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I plan to do the review portion first, but I also want to share what the Lord taught me through this book. To top it all off, Shelton Interactive is offering to giveaway a copy of the book for you to read, too! So, let's dive right in!

Overall

I loved it! I was a bit nervous about reading the book because of some bad reviews. Yes, the main theme of the book is thanksgiving, but I don't believe that Ann believes it is the key to salvation. May I also say that I was discouraged by other believers that continually tear this woman down in reviews? Yikes!

I will also say that this may not be an "easy read" for some. While I adoreeeee Ann's poetic writing style, I had to re-read some things to kind of "get it." My writing heart loved her style, and I actually appreciated that I had to re-read some sentences-- it allowed her words to really sink in. And oh my, do they sink in, guys. 

As a whole, Ann talks about how she starts a journal and begins to list all of the gifts God has blessed her with. She gives thanks, eucharisteo, in the everyday.  Here are a few examples of her first ones:
1. Morning shadows across the old floors
2. Jam piled high on the toast
3. Cry of blue jay from high in the spruce (45)
Simple things that we often take for granted. Through the act of giving thanks, she challenges her readers to "live fully right where you are."

There are so many incredible topics that Ann touched base on, but here are 3 things that really pricked my soul (which, surprisingly, isn't completely focused on thanksgiving):

Perspective

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps" (91). Many times my perspective is clouded by my will and what Satan tells me.  

“All God makes is good. Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God? That which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining” (88). If I don't see the world through God's Word and His heart, my very world will warp. My life will become one big mess and it would be a Bonnie pity-party every day and all day.

“Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows fell over a life?” (90). Praise God for the shadows that have fallen over my life, for they have shaped me into who I am today and have strengthened my relationship with Christ. In the same way, when I'm faced with trials and temptations, may my perspective go to, "Lord, teach me something through this. You have a plan even in this." Therefore, I can give thanks in every circumstance (1Thessalonians 5:18) because I know He is in control and He has a plan to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11).

Seeking God

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else" (110). When I read this, I had to ask myself, "What do you bow down to?" Facebook/social media, TV, music, writing, and even... this blog. I have to shift my focus, and like a friend once said, "Who gets the glory?" If it's not Him, I shouldn't be doing it. I have to daily, intentionally, seek Him.

Another topic that Ann talked about is her anxiety and fear. This is another thing that I feel like I "bow down" to. Then, she hit me with this one: “If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief... atheism. Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism” (148). Do I believe you're an atheist if you're stressed? No, but choosing stress is an act of disbelief in God and who He is. Do I grasp this entirely? Not. at. all. I'm constantly "stressed" and full of anxiety about life, bills, the every day crap-o-la that gets in the way. But I want to trust Him. I want to trust Him so much that people think I'm weird.

"If I deep trusted God in all the facets of my life, wouldn't that deep heal my anxiety, my self-condemnation, my soul holes? The fear is suffocating, terrorizing, and I want the remedy, and it is trust. Trust is everything" (149). Fear suffocates me. It keeps me from doing what I'm called to do, what I want to do, and who I want to be. I have to work on this, or I'll forever be paralyzed.

Humility

One Thousand Gifts Quote Ann Voskamp

"To receive God's gifts, to live exalted and joy filled, isn't a function of straining higher, harder, doing more, carrying long the burdens of the super-Pharisees or ultra-saints. Receiving God's gifts is a gentle, simple movement of moving lower" (171). In traveling to other countries and serving in music ministry, I've already had to learn humility. "HE must become greater, I must become less" (John 3:30). Why is it so hard to grasp that? If I would become less, He could do His thing and it would be so.much.better than anything I have to offer or could even imagine.

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I hope I haven't overwhelmed you with my thoughts! I really enjoyed reading this book and reflecting on everything that God "nudged" me about to say, "Hey, that means you too." He has unbelievable patience with me. With us.

I am so encouraged by Ann to continue to focus on what I'm thankful for and the many gifts that the Lord gives me. She's even created the One Thousand Gifts app that you can download (for free!) to document and share your own list of gifts.

If you would like to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts, enter through the rafflecopter below!

*Giveaway has ended*


Disclosure: I was given a free copy of One Thousand Gifts in exchange for this review. However, all opinions are my own. This post also includes an affiliate link through Dayspring.