Sonderbooks Book Review of

One Thousand Gifts

Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

by Ann Voskamp

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One Thousand Gifts

Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

by Ann Voskamp

Review posted May 20, 2012.
Zondervan, 2010. 237 pages.

This is a book about gratitude, a book about counting your blessings. A lot of it I felt was affirmation of what I already knew. I read it slowly, pausing when others had it on hold, so I had to turn it back in to the library for awhile, and also pausing when I'd put it in my pile to post a quotation on my Sonderquotes blog.

Basically, the author writes about how her life was transformed by looking around her and counting one thousand gifts in her life. And then she continued on.

Now, I have a blog, Sonderblessings, devoted to counting my blessings. But in some ways lately, I'd gotten a little off that. My health has been bad since my stroke last summer, and I'm feeling a little lack of focus lately. But when I read the last chapter, something resonated.

I particularly liked the poem she quoted from Teresa of Avila, and what Ann Voskamp said after quoting it:

That's His song! I rejoice in you. Come rejoice in Me. The song that plays the world awake, the song that fuels joy: Enjoy Me. Enjoy Me!

Is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts?

This last chapter also references some themes that God had been speaking into my life lately. God loves us enough to sing over us. God talks of Himself as our Husband. (When I don't have a husband any more, all the more reason to turn to God.)

You need to read the book for the full context, but I was delighted to find this section here:

We fly into the light splitting back the dark. I press my cheek into the cold of the windowpane, wanting the whole of the erupting horizon. Happiness burns like a longing, and over the wing and the whir of the propellers, forty thousand feet over earth, I can hear Him, singing, waking the world. He's singing that song! The one I really didn't believe He sang! 'He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs' (Zephaniah 3:17).

He sings love! In the air, over the world, I can see the song, the ardency of the notes pulsing in colors. The curve of the world burns ruby, a jewel prying open the day. And I can see in: Love is the face at the center of our universe. A sacred Smile; Holiness ready to die for intimacy. . . .

I was afraid? I would have let fears that He wasn't close, wasn't passionately caring, wasn't tenderly tending, keep me from seeing this sunrise bleeding love up over all the world? Now that would have been crazy! Look at that love that orchestrates red over water, that arranges light to play ocean in shimmering lines, that composes sky to gradate, scale of luminosity. And all for us -- in this moment! He chose me -- us! To be his bride! True, that's the intellectual premise of the Christian life, but only as the gifts are attended, not as ends but as means to gaze into the heart of God, does the premise become personal, God's choosing so utterly passionate. So utterly fulfilling.

And the key to all of this? Counting the gifts God was giving to her. Noticing them. Listening, looking, and seeing God's love and God's generosity pouring down.

So Ann Voskamp has given me a focus for the year. Enjoy God. She's shown that a simple idea like that can transform your life.