A lover of many books, I rarely read a book twice. There are so many still waiting to be read! But this one—this one I just finished reading the second time. And not the last, I suspect. This one—this one is life-changing.
The title and subtitle name the theme: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Where You Are. A friend challenges Ann to list a thousand things she loves. So begins the list, a list which launches the author—and us—on a wild and wonderful journey. A journey which throws open the door of hope to receive wondrous winds of grace.
We come to understand the Greek word eucharisteo in a new way. Eucharisteo. When Jesus took the bread, in the original language the word is eucharisteo: “He gave thanks.” The root word is charis: “grace.” As we begin to list the everyday gifts of grace in our lives, it changes everything. It opens our blind eyes to a new way of seeing.
But this book is far more than a list, far more than one more reminder to “count your blessings.” It takes us deep. Deep into the dark, cold world of unthinkable tragedy and unspeakable loss. It begins at the beginning for the author: ”The day when blood pooled and my sister died and I, all of us, snapped shut to grace . . . the moment when the cosmos shifted, shattering my cupping of hands” (p. 10). No wonder, then, that she begins one chapter: “God and I, we’ve long had trust issues” (p. 141). How can wounded hearts and clenched fists ever learn to open to grace?
And how to live out eucharisteo in a very real mom-life? A world of laundry overflowing and kids fighting and appointments looming and exhaustion eternal (or so it seems)? Ann Voskamp writes from a real-life mom perspective. Very real. Homeschooling mother of six, Ann and her husband are hog farmers in southwestern Ontario. The book jacket tells us they are “raising a half dozen kids, crops of corn, and the roof in praise.”
Amidst all this, Ann is a poet. Her words sing. From the first pages, they take your breath away. And leave you gasping for air throughout this wild, wonderful ride. I made the mistake of picking up the book for the first time early one morning when deadlines loomed. I was so captivated that I literally had to walk it out to my car and lock it there until my work was done and I could go back to it.
Best of all, Ann is a God-pointer. Her words are powerful not only because she is so extraordinarily gifted, but because they are grounded in the Words of God. “Without God’s Word as a lens, the world warps” (p. 91). This book will help remove your spiritual cataracts so you can see both Him and the world around you—yes, the dishes and diapers, the runny noses and nonstop neediness, the meals and messes and real kids and real husband—with new eyes. Not just Ann Voskamp’s. His.