Q Los Angeles 2013
Arts + Entertainment
Science + Tech
Losing our Language
Reflections on Giving Thanks
When they said they were boarding Group 2 now for Quito, he turned to me and said he didn’t know a word of Spanish.
It doesn’t matter, that’s what I said to my husband. Gratitude is a language you speak with your hands, the way you form the vowels and spaces of your life and we could all learn it together.
We’d just fly straight into the dark, fly high on health and all this grace and our bags right full and we’d speak love and isn’t love always what’s understood? It isn’t. The man I married, he knew that, but he nodded anyways and opened his passport to his unsmiling mug. The flight attendant approved. We flew.
Outside of Quito, our translator with
l, he takes us to Bianca's house. She waves for us to come in, sit down. The translator doesn’t have to translate the look in her eyes. We sit in her 2-room cement block house with a dirt floor. The one sleeping room, with its two beds for six people, it has a hole covered with plastic to let in the light. The living room, it has the open door. When the translator asks about bathroom facilities, Pedro points up the hill.
We want these kids to have a better life than us, Bianca tells us this. The translator passes on her lines, bits of her throbbing heart. They need to get a real education and be professionals and not live like this. She waves her hand and sometimes you can almost taste the scent of it in your mouth, the thick desperation on a woman, a cheap and heavy perfume.
Their oldest, Damian, he sits on the edge of the bed. He says he wants be a lawyer. He says it, his face turned towards that plastic patch of light in the concrete. I’m a bit wild to hand him hope. What I’ve got is a Spanish Children’s Bible. I smile, nod yes, I believe, ask if he could he read a few pages for us? He gropes hard along the lines, the letters losing him. My throat’s burning with the smothering scent of this place.
Pedro says it quiet, that Damian’s failed a few years. But he’ll have Damian try to read a few of the glossy pages to them every night. It will have to be Damian because I can’t read, Pedro points to his chest.
The man can’t read.
Yes, I say, watching how Pedro clutches the Bible to his chest. Yes. Learning a language, this can be unspeakably hard.
I don’t know how many years I have been trying to learn “
It’s only one word.
It means thanksgiving in Greek. My life’s struggling to pronounce it, that word that’s set like the unexpected crown jewel in the center of Christianity, right there at the Last Supper before the apex of the Cross. When Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks for it, that’s the word for his giving thanks: eucharisteo. It’s like a language lesson: in that word for thanksgiving, eucharisteo, are the roots of charis, grace, and chara, joy. If you can take all as grace, give thanks for it, therein is always joy. Eucharisteo – grace, gratitude, joy – one word that God in flesh acted out when he took the cup.
Just one Greek that may decode the essence of really living – but who reads this world eucharistically?
Are the people of God losing our ability to speak eucharisteo, speak thanks in all things, live eucharistically for all things?
What happens to a culture of Christians if we don’t speak the tongue taught by God when He took the bread of suffering? If we lose our language, relegate it to one day, a short season – we, the people commanded to give thanks for all things,
won’t we lose who we are?
Gratitude, this isn’t a one-day-a-year language, but the mother-tongue of the people saved by their Father. Yet in a world that’s captivated by bad news not The Good News, that sees the wrong in everything, who daily braves the language of eucharisteo, the dialect of doxology?
Who shrugs off the mislabel of Pollyanna and picks up their cross and counts their blessings, counts the cost and counts it all joy?
Forget that making thanksgiving more than a holiday but a way of life by keeping a gratitude list is scientifically proven to
decrease anxiety, enrich relationships
make you 25% happier
. (Instead of buying ourselves more things we think we have to have to be happy, why wouldn’t we write down thanks for things we already have – which guarantees us to be 25% happier? Why is it easier to seemingly buy our joy than to give thanks to God who is our Joy? Pens and grateful perspectives are a lot cheaper – and guaranteed.) True, you can just forget the overwhelming science behind the daily, intentional giving thanks. But does that mean we are forgetting the God behind it – who has given us everything?
Before we leave their home, we ask to take photos with Pedro, Bianca, the children. We have to step outside, find enough light. We stand close together, in solidarity, and the photographer gets us all in the frame. In all the photos, Pedro clutches the children’s Bible to his chest. A man who can’t read, who treasures what he doesn’t understand. Pedro stands with that Bible like a man pledging allegiance.
I look over at Pedro. And I’m the one pledging – that I will not forget the dirt floors and the plastic windows and the ordinary extravagance of food and how one mother longed to get what I took for granted. I pledge to learn eucharisteo and thank God even when grace speaks a language I can’t decipher and I vow not to further the wounds of the world by neglecting to give thanks for every grain of goodness, for every grace that falls,
for every gift bestowed.
I pledge allegiance to God and to my Father-tongue of gratitude and to giving, for this is what those who give thanks do, they do thanks because it’s a verb, and thanksgiving in Hebrew,
, it literally means an extension of the hand.
I can’t turn away from Pedro with his 2 beds and a bench and 4 kids and a wife and his arms around the Word of God and we will do war with the dark by never ceasing to count the blessings of the Cross and of the enough and of determined love, never ceasing to unleash lips again and again and again in full-bodied thanksgiving, and gratitude it can step straight out of the shadows of little to enlighten us to how much we really have.
We fly home. And the good man I married, he turns to me as we deplane and says it quiet, that he learned only one word in the four days with families and drivers and translators.
“Gracias. That’s the only word I learned. Gracias.”
He says it with his hands, says it like Pedro said it the end when he held the Bible and shook our hands goodbye,
. Like Christ said it at the Last Supper,
“Is it the only word we need to know?”
He nods, our lives learning the language of grace, the way the body bends and says yes and thanks and amen.
What language do you need to unlearn in your life in order to learn the language of gratitude?
What are you thankful for?
Editor's Note: This image is a photo Ann took of Bianca. For the complete gallery that accompanies this story, please visit
Yes! I saw in the photo (at your blog, A Holy Experience) and said to myself, "That man appears to treasure God's Word."
Thank you, Ann, for your always insightful, always powerful comments, and reminders that, like "love," "thanks" is a verb. I'm grateful to learn that in Hebrew it literally means "an extension of the hand."
I cannot thank you enough for your writing. I so often want to comment on your posts, but understand why you cannot open that option. But you and The Farmer bless our family. May God richly bless you and yours. You are precious in His sight, and to us, and we pray for youl
Reading your book at the beginning of this year has helped to make this an incredible year - a year for giving thanks. I thought I did that - - but know that I really didn't. I think I do now - - but know I have miles to go. These words I wrote are about me -- I want to thank you for this. I thank you though that my heart has also grown to encompass others through the giving of thanks.
Mary Kay, I've been thinking much this week about "Towdah" -- thanksgiving in Hebrew ---
It's towdah in this verse: Psalms 107:22: "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving..."
To to raise our hands, extend our hands, lift Christ high, even when circumstances press down... to reach out.
Thanksgiving blessings, Mary Kay ... and all that means, friend.
Becky, I am with you -- I have miles to go.
And Christ leads us on.
It truly makes sense that keeping track of things you are thankful for would allow you to have less anxiety...as someone who has suffered, I can say that anxiety is so much about fretting over what may happen..in the future, hence taking you out of the moment and propelling you into a maybe-future.
Thank you for this escape into your journey.
T @ aseedinspired.com
The language of Jesus...to be able to look into the eyes of someone who is hurting and just love them as I know Jesus would love them. I work at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and some of our clients are the prostitutes who walk the streets outside the center that God planted. It was not an accident that this would be our mission field.
Ann, never did I think that I would be able to love these women, but God has changed my heart and your book has been such a poignant reminder to give thanks in all things.
I am thankful for God's blessings each day and that each time I choose to be grateful I feel Him smiling down from heaven.
"Instead of buying ourselves more things we think we have to have to be happy, why wouldn’t we write down thanks for things we already have – which guarantees us to be 25% happier? Why is it easier to seemingly buy our joy than to give thanks to God who is our Joy? Pens and grateful perspectives are a lot cheaper – and guaranteed."
As I went home from Relevant and packed box after box as we moved... Words such as these swirled in my head and I couldn't get Shaun Groves' "Enough" out of my head. I kept asking myself... "what am I stockpiling in case God stops being good?" ...but He never will stop. So why do I keep dragging so much "junk" around... I've dragged 'junk' halfway around the world and back again... so much I just need to give away... a language I need to unlearn would be "hoarding junk" and ingratitude... working on one already... need to work harder at the other.
Thankful for His grace today... new life in Christ, every breath, every heartbeat, and hug from my kids.... This Christmas I will celebrate my 20th year of hiking with Christ (still a babe) but more importantly, as I have turned 40... every year forward I will have lived longer for HIM than me....
So much I would love to sit and talk with you about sweet friend.
So beautiful to learn lessons of "gracias" from such unconscious teachers . . . only God.
What was it I read the other day? " Every happening great and small is a parable by which God wants to speak. And the art of life is to get the message."
Isn't it His way to use the inconspicuous, the humble, the imperfect -- things that are not -- to lead us to His truth and be this parable by which He speaks??
Rejoicing with you in the message you received!
Thankful today for a God who uses it ALL!
"we will do war with the dark by never ceasing to count the blessings of the Cross and of the enough. . ."
What a beautiful way to wage war, Ann. Thank you for inviting me, for inviting so many, to join the battle!
I grew up in Colombia, south America - my parents missionaries. These images from Ecuador have brought back so many memoreis. This story too - the man in my memory lived in an invasion - a little shack - they had 1 small room - a board for a bed that served for all five - a lean too on the back that served as a kitchen - no bathroom. They borrowed money from the neighbor to buy us a soda when we came to visit. My parents helped with a private Christian school and sponsors fund their education. These 3 - this family attended our church. In colombia each family brought a little bit of groceries each week and placed it in a basket - these families that struggled themselves - each - 2 potatoes - a cup of rice in a bag, a loaf of bread. They were placed in a basket called la Canasta de Amor - the basket of Love. THis basket of Love was sent home with the neediest of families. This family that we were visiting was often the recipient of the baske of love. THis man too clutched the Bible my father had given him. Said how their lives were so much better than before he knew Christ. Before they knew Christ they didnt even have the little hut they had now. The church had come and improved it for them. He knew not how to read -but each week he would come to church clutching that Bible close to his heart - just as in this photo... Those memories.... It's so easy to forget here also - I have lived that - I have seen it.... I too must remember Gracias... Eucharisteo - thanks for your continuous reminders, Ann!
"It’s only one word." ~And a beautiful, soul-changing word that is changing my whole life ... my whole view of God, myself and my world. And praying it shapes the lives of my children and trickles down and throughout the world from there ... thank you for this lens, Ann!
Wendy -- your thanksgiving story here?
Moved me deep.
May I remember -- live -- Gracias.
That is the thing, yes?
Fear is always the flee ahead.
I am a slow learner.
Fear, this notion that God runs out somewhere.
When He is, and He is always enough.
Praying that eucharisteo helps me to keep learning...
Thank you for loving like Christ... I am discovering when with the hurting:
Jesus is hurting.
I am with Him and He is hurting...
Sharon... This: "a language I need to unlearn would be "hoarding junk" and ingratitude"
The pairing of these two... are they dialects of the same language? Profound.
Kelli... learning to read the message with you... such art.
Stephanie -- only. one. word. May we be obedient as Christ was... good to walk with you, friend...
Doug, sir: Gracias. Eucharisteo. Yes.
The language of self. I need to unlearn the language of self.
I have spent many hours this week feeling sorry for myself. I can't have what I want this holiday. I can't be with the people I want to be with, because I am facing divorce. And the people I thought should remember ME, didn't or can't or maybe even shouldn't. And it hurts. But someone else did remember me - I'll be joining them later today & I am grateful for that. But still wondering why God has me with them today instead of the people I long to be with? Knowing He may have me there to "reach out" to them through Him. Wanting to do His will, but my heart lags behind - wanting for mySELF Divorce leaves me wearing a sign, "Nobody wants me." And I wallow in that place of self, instead of FULLY embracing gratitude for what I do have today (a spacious home with real windows & floors, friends that want to host me as family on this holiday, a friend named Ann whose writing touches my heart) & for who He is (Sovereign, Gracious, Holy, Holy, Holy....) & even for what I don't have today (a husband, children of my own, Thanksgiving dinner with my family.) Why isn't it enough that He wants me? Even though I believe that He has the desire & the power to re-purpose my pain for His glory, why does my heart hang back with the "bad news?"
Please pray for me. I have so much to "unlearn" in this language of SELF.
Thank you Ann, for always pointing us to gratitude. It has changed my life and I thank God for you today, on the one day we set aside to be thankful. Because now it flows from this day into all the others and I can't imagine a better gift . . .seeing like Jesus.
God's timing will never cease to amaze me. That I would sit at SHE SPEAKS and be hypnotized into thankfulness by an amazingly, well-thought out collection of words and try to count 1000 blessings is, in itself, transforming.
I have three special needs kids...I just have one with a diagnosis. It is easier this year to be grateful for my six year old daughter who is finally potty trained. She only has accidents when she laughs too hard. My ten year old daughter just wrote a 40 page story about dragons and is learning Latin. My twenty one year old soldier is no longer around the world at war and, just in case I forgot God answers prayers, HE made it so that my son never had to fire his gun while in the desert.
Thank you for meeting me in the pit and showing me the imperfect path is so much richer when marked by gratitude.
What am I thankful for?
I am so thankful for this eucharisteo journey that God invited me on almost 2 years ago when he led me to your blog, Ann. My life is more than 25% happier (more joyful!), easily, by God's gracious invitation. I continue to be SO thankful for your pilgrimage, Ann, and the way that you share it. You are a great teacher! (Parker Palmer's definition of teaching: "To teach is to create a space in which the community of truth is practiced." from The Courage to Teach) Thanks for making space for me to practice this truth of gratitude!
beautiful reminder this morn here in the US...our thanksgiving...I want to speak the tongue of God....lifting up the bread given...whether bitter or sweet...and let it be broken...let me give thanks...
As I was baking cookies last night I listed to your keynote...now twice...and probably many more...oh the depth...honesty...and a call to walk humbly...I want to be thunder right here...right in my home...so God can pour down rain this weekend...with most of my adult kids home...I long for new rain...cleansing some of my old momma mistakes...bringing More Grace and Love...thundering here....
My words always seem to fail...my gratitude to you dear Ann....
One language I need to unlearn is bitterness...My mother has a life-threating illness which confines her to her room most of the time. It's really hard, especially on days like this, Thanksgiving, because she won't be able to go anywhere or spend time with family, or enjoy good food. I need to learn the langauge of eucharisteo, because without God's grace and all the medicine he has supplied my mother most likely wouldn't be alive today.
Thank you so much for your encouraging words!
I have read your book twice now and as I raise these 4 children and relearn grace and gratitude, I begin to find myself needing to be still more. Needing more silence and more moments of just watching and whispering thanks to God. As my guy heads to Haiti again, I begin to just wonder when I was trained to always want more and not rest in the enough....thanks for the remider Ann. Thank you.
My thanksgiving is to God for showing me how I need to go to the cross. I have listened to him for many years but have not yet gone there myself, have not picked up my own heavy burden. Seeing these pictures, I am avoiding my cross, neglecting the ones around me who are so desperate for the love I could be giving. Give myself treats every day so I can "make" it through my blessings every day. I have to put my selfish self on the altar and let it burn so pure love and grace may be freed from this selfish body holding them hostage. I love your words, Ann. They bring me closer to our God.
Thank you, this story ministered to me, possibly because it is my passion, my life. Thank you for going. Thank you for taking Bibles, colorful ones with pictures for those who cannot read..
Your life and witness blesses mine...
Ann-Thank you for making the stories of faraway people closer for those of us who can't yet go ourselves.
So often I have heard preached, "Be thankful in all things, but not necessarily for all things." I think I am unlearning this. Perhaps our way of allowing just a little discontent to be okay? But if we believe that all God gives is good then I think even in the hardest moments we can say thank you in faith. That it will work out for good.
I love the image of fighting the dark with thanksgiving. When I find myself overwhelmed, yelling at children, being angry, and then feeling such a failure, I have been stopping and saying, even through gritted teeth, "Lord, thank you that my children are healthy, that we have this house, that I am not alone, etc." and I believe that those words have humbled me many a day, reminding me of the grace I need so desperately, and that ALL is a gift and I, in my sin, still need him at 32 as much as I did when I first gave Him my heart. This is IT--this is the Good News.
There is nothing Pollyanna in learning to be thankful. It's sometimes a deep pain inside your heart, when the world feels so dark and you feel so forgotten and the enemy is screaming "I told you so". You have to dig deep into the very essence of who you are and remember why you are.
When my daughter died so many mocked me "where is your God". They couldn't see that in the brokenness of my heart Jesus was closer than he had ever been. In my tears, my heart wrecking sobs he was there. Gratitude was all I could offer in that midst of heartbreak I shouted to the sky, thank you for the blessing of being her mom, thank you for the 9 years I had to love, care for her and most of all thank you that she now lies in your arms until
we meet again.
Yes I am far from a completed picture, so many missing pieces do many fallen moments, but my gratitude journal is beginning and may it give me the joy of physically being able to
See the blessings that Jesus has bestowed upon me.
To thank you, Ann...with no e...is to highly understate my gratitude for your writing and for all that God is teaching me through you.
Eucharisteo is the key...you've unlocked the secret with it...and you walk with all of us as we practice and practice and practice...
Blessings to you, the Farmer, and your sweet six. Happy Happy Thanksgiving!
Towdah has been a word for years that I have strived to grasp and live. In fact I named our choir at church after the word - hoping to challenge us to live and testify to what we sing with our hands always extended in thanksgiving and praise.
I was moved and connected with your story as I this past year had an opportunity to travel to Colombia to work with the leadership/music ministry in the church in Barranquilla.
In your book, Ann, the table of grace teaching has profoundly touched my life. When I was in Colombia I was invited to sit in the cool shade of a home that only had a table and chairs. An older women stood bent over a hot fire on a sweltering day to prepare a traditional soup for us. All the other guests ( those I had come to meet and serve) stood outside in the heat. The humble feast was served to us, the Canadian guests first -we would receive larger portions than I knew would be served to the others. Yet noone complained, they gave abundantly out of what they had ( which was not much) and radiated with such authentic joy. As I sat eating this meal being served by these beautiful women - I knew I was undeserving to sit at this table prepared for me and partake of this extravagent meal. I should be serving them - not the other way around - I felt such shame, I knew I was unworthy.
Then the tears flowed as I realized when we see God, we see our true self and I had just seen Christ through this women who served me. How much more abundant the table that Christ has prepared for us and how I am so undeserving of His outrageous Grace ~yet He invites me to sit, rest, eat, and belong.
Your teaching jumped off the page and came alive to me. I am forever grateful for the table of grace that Christ has prepared and invited us to, for women who radically shine in fullness with gratitude despite their poverty, and for you Ann - who has become a treasured mentor and friend.
~ may God write a new song on your heart,
So GRATEFUL to learn to go low and to RECEIVE the goodness of God. Somehow it requires that I come out from behind the shadows with an OPEN HEART to receive a grace I could never earn.
Thank you for your book and opening my eyes. We are journeying through your book as a sixth grade class and each one is going for the "1000 thanks challenge" by the end of the school year.
And yes, we are all discovering glimpses of joy in the gratitude. Nobody is too young to learn this language of grace!
I am thankful this year that I was blessed to read "1000 gifts", that I was moved by your example, heart & stories to sponser a child with Compassion International, that this year I will learn about Advent and anticipate the day we celebrate the birth of Christ instead of dreading another holiday alone because of your family. So much of the highlites of this year were because God brought the knowledgle of you into my life.
I'm also giving thanks to God, that in spite of physical pain for over a year now that is accompained by depression & loneliness at times...I know HE has never left me.
..."he way the body bends and says yes, and thanks, and Amen." I do love that, because it sums up what my dense head, and jumpy heart, is only just beginning to register. That, bending, acceptance and thanks is all that is required, contrasting the resisting, agonising and internal despair. It feels that, at almost 45, Im only just really glimpsing how we allowed to rest in His soverignty. I come to the end of a year of living through a Natural Disaster, knowing He is sovereign. thank you Ann, for shining light on truth.
Ann, Your words always bring me back to God...what a blessing your writing has been to me. I give thanks and joy for that today!!
Ann, what do you think keeps us from living Eucharisteo, from living thanks, when hard, when seemingly impossible or inconvenient, uncomfortable? If not called ingratitude, what could we name it clearer, more real, more pinpointed than vast?
Could ingratitude be roots of different fear or pride in each of us? Could ingratitude have roots that plunge deep with names as well? Could is be possible that Christ was able to live the Eucharisteo fully, selflessly because He had roots in nothing else but His Father? Was He able to "give thanks" fully because He continued to go off and away to be re-rooted momentarily in His Father knowing He had given all things into His hands, knowing where He has come from and where He was going?
Could we if not practically through holy discipline, align ourselves momentarily, hourly to be re-rooted and fixed anew, grafted once again into Christ, the Father Himself, so as to cut roots and be rooted in nothing else?
Practically, could commit to moments, hours given in the closet of the Holy of Holies, in the Presence of the Gardener of our souls, could we ask Sweet Spirit to open eyes, hearts, to where we, our hearts, our spirits are divided and rooted in other things. So those can be severed and we then grafted back and re-planted in the land for Himself?
"I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love..."
Is a deeper work of Eucharisteo about re-rooting ourselves our of enemies clutches, fleshes grasp and into new roots, tilled soil, ground that is barren no more?
"Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you".
A process of breaking up fallow ground, roots that are rooted in anything but Christ, to be broken up lifted and destroyed. New roots. Fresh. Healed. So we can proceed as Christ, of whom it was said that He learned obedience by what He suffered...He was rooted fully in Father. He gave thanks with full heart for the tree-canvas that the painful paint of His blood would make beautiful in us. He could give thanks for even this. Because He was rooted deep and in nothing less than His Father. May we be uprooted from captive pride, from lying songs, from selfish longings, from all that holds us in grasp other than Father. So our hearts. Our lips may utter thanks. Pure. Full. Unadulterated. Grace.
Uprooted. To be rooted by Spirit. To be thank-full.
I am not sure if this makes sense..
Thank you for listening.
Grace and Love to you,
I thank God everyday for the discovery of your blog and your book "One Thousand Gifts". I subscribed to your blog immediately and I bought your book as a gift to myself for my birthday back in April. I began reading your book, hoping and praying for change in my life, in my attitude.
You see, I live daily with chronic illness - multiple health problems; 2 heart conditions, Ankylosing Spondylitis, fibromyalgia, nerve damage in my arms and my left leg (from a car accident in 2009) and chronic fatigue. I live with severe pain on a daily basis. I am told I hardly complain BUT I used to cry out to God daily asking "Why me??"
I raised 4 children on my own with a mountain of help from God; my eldest son is a prodigal, my youngest daughter suffers anorexia... and I continued to cry "Why me??"
My new marriage was falling apart after just 12 months... and I cried "Why me??'
Then I discovered your blog and book. I wanted to live daily with Thanksgiving... I wanted to live Eucharisteo!! MORE THAN ANYTHING I wanted my life to be different, to be happy even in the mess of ill health, lost children, a struggling 2nd marriage... and I knew that the only way is to live in THANKS. So since April, I have been counting. I became slack for a while and only did one a week but I am getting there. And this last week, your trip to Ecuador has spoken volumes to me. Thank you, thank God for speaking through you. I am back on track, counting daily again.
Living in Thanks, Eucaristeo, Gracias... and I am happy again. Yes, living in Thanks DOES change your life, decrease anxiety, improve relationships and make you happier (maybe more than 25%!!)
Thank you Ann, Gracias.
I do thank God for you and the work He has purposed for you so that so many could be taught, reminded, encouraged to deliberately look for God's graces each day.
For 34 years I have been the care giver for my husband (brain damage from car accident); raised three kids (the last born 4 months after the accident). And God's graces have been evident in abundance. Early in the process He taught me about giving thanks, at times forgotten, but always reminding me.
Joy???? Oh, yes, because you see one day, in His perfect time we will be with our dear Lord in Heaven and then we will be like Jesus Christ, because we will see Him as He is. Now, we practice at joy but then we will know.............because we will see Him.
Thank you, Jesus, for Ann and all the reminders.
Happy Day of Thanksgiving! You and your family crossed my mind today. We made your thankful bread out of our crescent rolls, and my girls loved organizing our family/friend to write their gratitudes to God and then rolled them up in the rolls. Thank you for that concrete little way to get them involved in the deeper meaning of this day.
I need to unlearn the lesson of rejection...the rejection I feel toward myself and that I perceive in others. I used to sense that from God as well. I had become a follower of Christ as a child, but I did not experience God's grace in Jesus fully until I was 28. I was set free from perfection (or the strive for it) at that time...I say I'm in recovery, just like an addict. He has taught me so much about Himself and who I am in Him. My transformation began in earnest at that point, and God has faithfully been leading me along that path. Your book "One Thousand Gifts" was recommended to my Bible study group last spring. During a hard moment of self doubt this fall, the same friend said she knew that book was for me. She was right. I am now a sincere seeker of Eucharisteo in all moments. I have seen miracles.
Today I am thankful for more blessings that I can name. My gratitude and thanks to God are beyond measure. I thank God that you are sharing what He reveals to you, for your ministries. I thank God for Compassion International...we have sponsored Soleil in Rwanda since 1998. She soon graduates, and she prayers for US as well! She was "ours" before my daughters were ours. I also thank God for Operation Christmas Child, which my girls were able to send a shoe box for an older girl this fall. And SO many service organizations that share Jesus' love and salvation in so many ways both big and small.
thank you for your willingness to share with all of us of what God has been teaching you. I read from your site every day and have your book. You have helped me to be more thankful for all.
My mother, father and step-mother have all passed away this pass year and I find myself fighting depression and living with changes. Someone wrote that they are "fighting the dark with thanksgiving." This is what I need to do. I do have so much to be thankful for...
Between "1000 Gifts" and another book, "Grace for the Good Girl," I feel that you wonderful ladies have reached into my soul with a mirror. I am struggling so hard right now -- with a worsening chronic illness that prevents me from doing all that I want to or feel I should (and all I used to be), that tries my patience with my three beautiful children that too often I treat as inconveniences rather than the precious gifts that they are, with loving my husband despite his grueling work schedule and fatigue that has left him with very little left for us on most days. I have started my list. I have felt brief glimpses of the joy thankfulness can bring...yet I feel like Satan's voice is so loud, screaming "You are not worthy anymore. You are lazy! You are ugly! Why do you even bother?"
Oh Ann, please keep writing and helping the Lord to drag me away from the edge that seems all too close these days...
Thank you for opening your life up to us, those of us who have struggled with so many similar "graceless" days and who now walk along side you in the journey of Eucheristo. Your book "One Thousand Gifts" and your blog have blessed me and my family. Through them Jesus is changing my perspective and giving me hope and a sisterhood that I never dreamed existed.
Thank you for sharing and counting the journey with so much authenticity!
You are blessing!
Thanks and Blessing in ALL things!
I'm somewhat behind in reading my emails.
Whenever I see poverty that I can only imagine, I feel thankful for every aspect of my life.
Being able to read and write, my humble apartment, family, friends, religious freedom, freedom of speech, my pension, food on my table, having a computer and a phone, being able to eat the ocassional meal at a restaurant, Jesus, chocolate, listening to my CD's or the radio(especially Christmas music!) etc.
I need to remember this when I complain about not having this "thing" or being able to go to that "event."
Continued blessings in your writing ministry.
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