Review: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Great Thanksgiving reading.
Voskamp helpfully connects the spiritual with mundane housekeeping. Start a running list of 1000 things you’re thankful for, and you will inevitably find yourself thanking God for small things. Trivial things that stop being trivial. We see them anew as gifts from God. Not being a woman I wouldn’t know so well, but I get the sense that Voskamp touches the burden of a mother and housewife and ably lifts it from the heart, replacing it with God’s gift, grace and tender touch.
The prose is beautiful and near poetry at times. Other times you feel she is trying too hard, literarily. I never caught on to her style and form of writing, but don’t really see that as a fault.
Here’s a summary:
1 – Awful things happen. We would write the story of life differently. But God is writing it and we need to accept that.
2 – Thanksgiving leads to joy.
3 – We learn gratitude by naming gifts God gives – list 1000!
4 - When we give thanks, we live more fully in the moment. Hurry and harry hinder spiritually.
5. Everything is grace from God, for He can transfigure anything into gift. (Romans 8:28). So give thanks for everything.
6. Looking and beholding is loving. We want to see God.
7. Giving thanks cleans the glass so we can see God more clearly.
8. Giving thanks builds trust in God. It is safe to trust him. He has shown His trustworthiness at the cross. Our fears and anxiety fade when we give thanks.
9. To receive joy one must receive gifts humbly which means giving thanks.
10. Thanking God helps us serve others selflessly, to be a blessing.
11. Communing with God is our highest goal and joy.
There were two possible problems with her message.
She seems to imply that our salvation is up to our thankfulness. That our experience of God is up to us. She never comes right out and says this. But neither does she say that God gives a heart of thankfulness in the first place. It’s kind of implied that it’s up to you, which can be a further burden.
The last chapter is about communion and intimacy with God. Friends warned me about this chapter! It could have done without the first sentence about making love to God. At a couple other points she gets close to the edge of indiscretion, but overall it was okay. The potential problems are anchored with lots of Scripture about the mystical union between Christ and the Church, abiding in God, in Christ, quotes from Calvin, etc. We DO need to appreciate this aspect of our redeemed creatureliness before God, but the teacher needs to tread carefully!
For a more critical review, see here.
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