“When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become gift?”
One Thousand Gifts was one of those books that, when read with open hands and heart, gives you a new perspective on life. Mrs. Voskamp has very poetically captured what should be the essence of the Christian’s heart: giving thanks in all things.
Job 2:10b, “What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Trials and troubles are a part of this life; as are beauty and blessings. Should we receive only the “good” from God’s hand with thanksgiving and not the “bad”? Giving thanks in all things is a command from God. From the book: “…The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good. The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace because as the surgeon would cut open my son’s finger to heal him, so God chooses to cut into my ungrateful heart to make me whole.” Truly this giving of thanks in all things is a discipline of the Christian life.
Mrs. Voskamp’s goal is to have the Christian actively seek to see God in all things in all of their days, whether that day is seemingly insignificant, wondrous, tragic, average, joyous, or heart wrenching. God, the very God of this universe, the Judge and Ruler of all, is in our days and it is our duty not only to acknowledge this fact, but to thank Him for His presence and for His presents; whether we see those daily “presents” as fair, or unfair; wonderful and worthy of our praise, or horrible and something from which we wish to hide.
Ann Voskamp determined to write out a list. It was to be a listing of gifts from her loving heavenly Father. In her words, “This gift list is thinking upon His goodness—and this pleases Him most! And most profits my own soul and I am beginning, only beginning, to know it. If clinging to His goodness is the highest form of prayer, then this seeing His goodness with a pen…with a word of thanks, these really are the most sacred acts conceivable. The ones anyone can conceive, anywhere, in the midst of anything.”
Psalm 100:4, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” We are blessed with peace as our thoughts are centered on Him. “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19) He is worthy of our praise and our thanksgiving.
I highly recommend taking the time to read this mind changing and heart altering book. Life is full of twists and turns we never could have planned on. I have asked, “Is God really in my painful past? Does God really know what He’s doing by placing this trial in my life? Can there be any beauty found amidst this ugly?” Seek God where you doubt He is, for He is surely there. And praise Him as you seek for Him and the finding of Him will be all the more sweet.
Editor’s Note: The fact that this book is reviewed here is not a blanket endorsement of this book. There are aspects of Mrs. Voskamp’s theology that seem to be unscriptural and in her book she does quote some authors that would not be agreeable from our doctrinal position. The emphasis on thankfulness is helpful and needed and is the main benefit that would be gained by reading this book. Please read this book with scriptural discernment and “prove all things” from the Word of God!
As seasons of life change, Elizabeth happily remains desperately dependent upon her God. Three of her four children have now branched off to begin their own families. She is a homeschooling veteran and a faithful wife for over 30 years.