Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live...He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks to everything."

For the past year, I have acknowledged my sinfulness in discontent and tried to find joy and peace in my savior alone. Some days it worked, but most days I fell back into the same pattern. Though I have honestly loved every moment since the day I said "I do" (almost 2 months ago!), I have been complaining and drowning in discontent non-stop. My apartment isn't cute because we don't have any money for decorations. We can't go to a music festival because we can't afford it. She always has cute clothes and I'm wearing things from two years ago. Why can't you pick up after yourself? I feel like your mom.... I catch myself thinking (or whining) these things and I just think "I can be so ungrateful".

I had been reading Ann Voskamp's blog for a while and was very interested in her book called "One Thousand Gifts". I ordered it a week ago and have been buried in the book for the past two days. I'm telling you, this could not have come at a better time! The way she explains joy and the meaning of a full life is spot on. My words cannot do her book justice, but the gist of the book is to slow down in this world that is addicted to speed and give thanks for what God has given us. "Joy is the realest reality, the fullest live, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy."

I am not deserving of joy. Every piece of happiness I have in this life is simply a gift of God. Nothing else. I did not earn it. I did not find it. It was graciously given to me by my Father. Man, that really puts everything I think I need into perspective.

Ann challenges us to make a list of 1,000 things we are thankful for. You don't just do it all in one sitting. You carry a little booklet around with you and make it a point to slow down and record the little things you miss-- the little things that truly create this complex thing we call joy. I have also decided to photograph my "gifts". I started my list today. 1. The beauty and softness in a white doily. 2. The dimming of the summer sun as a storm brews. 3. Beautiful simplicity of raw wood. 4. The mulled sound of an old recording. 5. Soft sounds of Hem on a summer evening. 6. Tiny Coco snuggled in the small of my back.

I was zooming in on my mason jar when this cute little nose showed up in my lens begging for some loving.
I understand now that the fall was all about ingratitude. "Humanity's discontent with all that God freely gives" (One Thousand Gifts). I want to see every beautiful thing that comes my way for what it truly is: a gift.

"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)

Would love some feedback on how everyone lives life with a thankful heart!


A Gabster said...

Okay, I feel like I'm reading about myself here! We can be partners in overcoming this struggle!
Ps. I really miss Coco Bean. :(

Rutheah Rodehorst said...

beautiful post and pics. it can be so difficult to see the beauty in the small things. i've never thought about how beautiful wood is before...thanks for opening my eyes on that one. i suppose i try to focus most of my thankfulness on the goodness of my current situation. it's hard not to get down about having ryan deployed, but daily i am reminded that my situation could be worse. my thankfulness lies in having 2 1/2 beautiful munchkins-who teach me how to enjoy the little things and a husband who is loving and matter the distance.
that was long. sorry. :)

Anonymous said...

All I can say is what my Dear mother would constantly say to me Bloom where you are planted my dear your the only one who can chose to be content! I remember rolling my eyes so many times thinking that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard. As I have aged and become a little wiser and grown closer to my Lord and Savior. I think thats exactly what Paul was saying in Philipians and if you back up to verses 4-9 it gives us reason why we should rejoice In Him and the amazing peace Only Christ can give. Keep digging in His word!

Anonymous said...

i just joined a summer book club and this is the book we're reading! i really like it so far. discontent (especially of the materialistic sort) is my greatest earthly struggle. you have such a natural eye for beauty that you'll be able to decorate a beautiful apartment without spending much! being creative will save you thousands in this life...wish i was more like you in that way!
be sure and post all the cute things you come up with. xo!

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