Jesus calls me to surrender and there’s nothing like releasing fears and falling into peace. It terrifies, true. But it exhilarates. This, this is what I’ve always wanted and never knew: this utter trust. This enlivening fall of surrender into the safe hands. – p.158
Above is a quote from One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It took me about a month to read it (which is fast in my current life with little ones running around). I savored it. I read passages over and over. I wrote down quotes. And most of all, I began a gratitude journal.
If you are at all familiar with the book, the premise is that she was dared to record one thousand gifts of thanks to God. In her journey of recording gratitude, she learned how to really live without fear, count it all joy, and be in close relationship with God. She learned how to reconcile the parts of life that make many give up their faith. She learned that she didn’t need all the answers, she just needed God. I’m not a book reviewer, so I’ll let that be enough to tease your interest.
It’s like God had Ann write this book just for me. So many of her struggles are mine too. With all of the mental struggle that I have had for over a year, I resonated deeply with her words about releasing fears.
I tried it. Cautiously… This giving thanks thing. She calls is Eucharisteo in the book. One of the kids would get sick, and I would sit by them and try giving thanks. I can’t explain how to do that–just go read the book–but guys, it worked. Thanking Jesus for all the blessings that I could find was the only way that I had peace. I didn’t “feel better,” and I think it’s important to note the difference. I felt peace. My soul wasn’t disturbed in the midst of illness, pain, or chaos.
The hard part comes in actually sticking to it. I could count my blessings and give them to God, and then an hour later be freaking out about the next thing. It was a wonderful read into our nature as human beings. We fling ourselves off of the cliff and into God’s hands, and then let go of Him when we realize where we are and we think we need to save ourselves. Kind of like Peter when he got out of the boat…
The book itself encouraged me to keep at it though. I’ve been trying to keep on giving thanks, even when I forget after a while. Just like we keep going to confession, we keep having to commit ourselves to God and to wanting only Him. It’s a read that I will keep around and read again soon, as it was so packed with wisdom, scripture, and meditation. If you struggle with fear, control, having joy, or doubting God, do yourself a big favor and read this book.
“All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. did you think I end, that my Bread warehouses are limited, that I will not be enough? But I am infinite, child. What can end in Me? Can life end in Me? Can happiness? Or peace? Or anything you need? Doesn’t your Father always give you what you need? I am the Bread of Life and My bread for you will never end.” – P.161