Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days of Writing: Gratitude

One Thousand Gifts sat on my night stand all summer.  A friend kept urging me to read it.  Katie and I kept telling ourselves we were going to read it.  But, for some reason, everything within me did not want to pick it up.

The tag line made me fearful, A Dare to LIVE FULLY Right Where You Are.

For so long, for so many years, this is all I have ever wanted.  To live free from fear, from worry.

What if I did pick it up?  What if I did read it? And, What if it didn't work?

What if I failed this life changing dare?

Eventually, I did pick it up.  I pushed through the fear and opened myself up to the possibility of living a full life life, right where I am, and I have been forever changed.

In the beginning of the book Ann Writes,
"....I wake to discontent of life in my skin.  I wake to self-hatred.  To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing.  Always, the failing.  I yell at the children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, got to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets.  I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes.  would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? But this morning, I wake wildly wanting to live.  Physically feeling it in the veins trembling, the hard pant of the lungs, the seeing it in the steady stars, how much I really want to really live.  How I don't want to die.  Is that the message of nightmares and dreams? To live either fully alive ... or in empty nothingness?"

I found myself, on a dark autumn night, in that paragraph. Weary. Anxious. Longing.

As Ann would say, I was a "...woman who speaks but one language, the language of the fall- discontentment and self-condemnation, the critical eye and the never satisfied."

As I continued to read, I found myself engrossed in the words resting in my lap.  The grey of my pencil rarely stopped to rest as I marked all that was true between the bindings. I found my heart speaking in audible "mmmmmm" 's as it was being spoken to directly.

And, with a dog eared corner on page 47, I marked the answer I have long been searching for.

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know
how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned
the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach 
or empty, with plenty or little. (Philippians 4:11-12)

"There it is - the secret to living joy in every situation, the full life of eucharisteo. Twice Paul whispers it: "I have learned, I have learned..." Learned.  I would have to learn eucharisteo.  Learn eucharisteo- Learn to live fully.  Learn it like I know my own skin, my face, the words on the end of my tongue.  Like I know my own name.  Learn to be thankful- whether empty or full."

Now at #170 in my 1000 gifts, and I am learning.  I am learning to be thankful whether empty or full.  Learning to seek God's glory and learning what it is like to live fully alive. 

I am slowing down, seeking God's beauty and finding the full life I have longed for by learning to be thankful for...

#139. The view I have been gifted.

#28. Never ending pencil marks in a sea of words.

#24. The crackling of warm bubbles.

#4. A pair of red shoes and a girl waiting to wear them.

#138. A soul sister who shares her corned beef.

#1. The hum of an old box fan.

#29. The creamy of coconut milk mixed with the sweet of strawberries.

#21. The smell of warm, apple cider, filling my house.

For I want to savor long whatever time holds.
                                                        Ann Voskamp


  1. Hi there! I'll be following along on your 31 days :) Perhaps you'd like to follow mine? we signed up around the same time on the nester!

  2. I stopped by from RDD's inspire link and wanted to say I applaud you for reading that book 1000 gifts! I too have it sitting here and have not read it have inspired me to do so!


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