I first found Ann Voskamp on her blog, A Holy Experience. That is where I found out about One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.
The story begins with Ann's birth and then immediately moves to a tragic scene in her childhood, which becomes the foundation for questioning God. She bookends the tragic scene in her life with a tragedy in her brother-in-law’s life to ask questions about God, grace and meaning. Then she goes on to point to scripture that tells the purpose of our life. The last days of Jesus’ life provide her with an example of what we should be doing in ours. What she finds is eucharisteo: thanksgiving. She begins to make a list of things for which to be thankful. Obviously, this is not a one-day project. As she begins her simple, but profound list over time, she and others begin to notice a change in herself. This book is about that process.
Ann Voskamp is a wife and mother of six children who home schools her children on a farm in Canada. She says that she steals time at night, after the children are in bed to write. She has written an award-winning book series for children, A Child’s Geography. She is a woman of great faith.
Voskamp writes about this journey of Eucharisteo within the framework of her daily life, amid whatever she is doing that day. She writes about reading and studying scripture and the writings of theologians and pastors, present and past. All of these things are stepping stones on her journey.
“All those years thinking I was saved and had said my yes to God, but was really living the no. Was it because I had never fully experienced the whole of my salvation? Had never lived out the fullest expression of my salvation in Christ? Because I wasn’t taking everything in my life and returning to Jesus, falling at His feet and thanking Him. I sit still, blinded. This is why I sat all those years in church but my soul holes had never fully healed.” P. 40
“I have just one word. A word to seize and haul up out of a terminal nightmare, a word for fearless dying, for saved, fully healed living, a word that works the miracle that heals the soul and raises the very dead to life. …Eucharisteo.” P. 41
The two previous quotes are foundational to the problem and solution of the lives of most people. Voskamp’s wonderful, poetic, descriptive writing skills mixed with meat-and-potatoes theology provide a banquet of exquisite Christian nutrition leading to wholeness. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Put it on the bookshelf with C.S. Lewis, and Dallas Willard. You will want to re-read it from time to time.
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