Ann Voskamp is one of my favorite voices on the internet. I read her blog, A Holy Experience, almost daily, and I love how her writing causes me to exhale and breathe gratitude in the midst of life’s hectic pressures and never-ending hustle and bustle. I actually read her blog and had become familiar with the One Thousand Gifts concept long before I finally read the book; in fact, I had started my own 1,000 gifts gratitude journal before I ever opened Ann’s book, but it still changed my life when I finally did.
Ann frames her work around a single word – “eucharisteo” – and the idea of living the small moments of everyday life with joy and with thanksgiving. One Thousand Gifts started when a friend dared her to write down 1,000 things she was thankful for – not 1,000 things that she wanted, but 1,000 gifts that God had already given to her. Through the process of making that list, of thoughtfully counting gifts of mercy every single day, God transformed her life by allowing her to see through the lens of gratitude, a lens that changes everything.
“Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience;
thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life. …
Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation
is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks.”
– from One Thousand Gifts, page 39 & 40
Gratitude changes everything. We cannot, Ann argues, truly live as Christians unless we live a life of eucharisteo, and at the same time, if we do live with such gratitude in our hearts and lives, we cannot help but bring glory to God and His kingdom as we do.
A small note: Ann Voskamp’s literary style is an acquired taste, and I admit that without hesitation. I have heard from many readers who find her message obscured by her style, and I truly understand. But my dear friend Melissa, my college English teacher and fellow book aficionado, put it best: her style perfectly complements her message. Her diction and choice of words force her reader to slow down, to breathe, to take in her message slowly and thoughtfully – and her message, in turn, urges her reader to slow down even more, exhale, and live life with eyes wide open to the gifts God provides at every turn.
Enjoy this beautiful excerpt, in video form, of what Ann’s message is all about: