Monday, September 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

I guess I'm what you might call a slow reader.
Especially when you consider that my stack of books to read grows at a faster rate than I actually read.
That has been ever truer with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
Ann's words slow me down.
First of all, because she writes somewhere between prose and poetry and I've not spent much time with poetry since my career in Education ended. It's disarming the way she leads the reader down paths of imagery, always leaving the impression of beauty. Even sometimes with what she calls the "ugly beautiful", which has changed the way I see things in my own journey. It's hard work to hang with that Voskamp woman. You have to want it.
And, oh, you want it.
The other reason I've lingered so long is that this truth is worth marinating in. It seeps in, breaking down the connective tissue, tenderizing the heart, imparting the aroma of itself in the hearer.
God himself has orchestrated Ann's story. In movements that build on one another, her story crescendos with His, and "all is grace".
In what might be written off as one of those quiet time assignments from church
camp, “write down 10 things you are thankful for,” a manifesto evolves for
ministry. All ministry. From church to missions to being a mom or a neighbor.
By the time I wept through the story of Ann’s encounter with a homeless man in
Toronto, I was ready to hear it.
Not another strategy for a sweeping missions movement.
Not step-by-step instructions for confronting the ills of our culture.
But this,

While the Deceiver jockeys to dupe us into thinking otherwise, we who
are made in the image of God, being formed into Christ’s likeness, our
happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over…there is
always enough God… It is by the very function of our being, not our doing,
that we are the beloved of God. And so we become the love of God,
blessing those He loves.
(p. 197, 199)

It is a good story, the one this Ann, full of grace, tells.
It begins in redemption with thanksgiving.
It ends in intimacy with a Savior.
And in the middle, grace overflows to all.
Becoming the Love,

*You can find the link to purchase One Thousand Gifts in the "What We're Reading box to the right.

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