"Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

If you're looking for an amazing book, check out "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  She is an incredibly gifted author, one who sees the blessings of life in the small and ordinary.  Ann was challenged to make a Gift List, a list of 1000 blessings -- one thousand gifts.  Not of gifts she was hoping for, but of gifts she already had. She discovered that as she counted and gave thanks for the seemingly microscopic, she made a place for God to grow within her.  As she intentionally looked for the precious gifts given to her, she discovered love

"And now I see it for what this really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love.  It is really a dare to name all the ways God loves me.  The true Love Dare."  (page 59)
The timing of this book is interesting.  Life has been difficult lately.  Swirling and buzzing around me are confusion, disappointment, sadness.  Depression and anxiety.  Frustration abounds.  I ask God about these things.  Silence is my answer.  Have I entered the wilderness?  Is this where God has been leading me?  I think back to the last time I was deep in the desert and I really don't want to go through so much pain again.  Yet strangely, it was worth it.  My faith grew in such amazing ways I've never recovered from it!  

This desert, though, is very different from that one.  That one entailed death and loss.  This desert is one of silence.  I don't feel alone or abandoned...just a little confused.  Not sure what God is up to.  This morning I read, "For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland." (Is. 43:19).  My honest answer to God was, "no, I don't see it.  I wish I did, but I just don't."   Then two short chapters away was another message for me.  "I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness -- secret riches.  I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the One who calls you by name."  (Is. 45:3).

Treasures hidden in the darkness.  Secret riches.  The One who calls me by name has hidden treasures waiting for me to find!  One thousand gifts.  And still more.  Beauty in the desert.  So I begin my own Gift List.

1.  Abba whispering me awake this morning, inviting me to join Him for a time away.
2.  Southern toasted pecan coffee!
8.  Honest tears from a friend in answer to my question, "how are you today?"
12.  The dishwasher quietly doing my work.
14.  Hot sunshine thawing out air conditioned bones.
16.  Pizza and prayer with friends around their kitchen table.

I dare you to join me!  His hand is wide open, generously pouring out love.  "When You open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing." (Ps. 145:16)