There are sixty devotions in the One Thousand Gifts Devotional and a lined journaling space in the back of this book, "counting the ways God loves you ..." to write your own one thousand gifts.
Each devotion begins with a daily Scripture, a concept of grace, and prayer. Ann's writings reflect an unique journey of discovering God's love directly for each of us.
Ann Voskamp is a Farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and the author of the New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully
Right Where You Are. She tells stories. She takes pictures. She sees the whole earth full of the glory of God. A columnist with DaySpring, a contributing editor to Laity Lodge's The High Calling, and a writer of articles featured in WORLD magazine, The Huffington Post, and Christianity Today, Ann partners with Compassion International as a global advocate for needy children. The poor have made her rich, and telling the stories of those who need a voice has changed her own story. Ann can be found writing about messy grace and a magnificient god at her daily online journal aholyexperience.com. Visit Ann's website at: onethousandgifts.com.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
Bowed at the edge of the world, Jesus asks me soft what He asked of the man born blind: "What do you want me to do for you?"
Jesus, I am struggling and I get turned around, but I think I know, at least in part, what I want. If I had never run, if I had never fallen here, I am not sure I would have known with blazing clarity. I may not know all that it means, but this is what I want.
I whisper with the blind beggar, "Lord, I want to see" (Luke 18:41).
This kingdom laden with glory, this, the pearl that crams me with a happiness that throbs, serrated edge, pit open wide for more of His glory.
Beauty, God Himself, is the voice endlessly calling and so we see. So we reach. Doubt the philosophies, doubt the prophecies, doubt the Pharisees (especially the ones seen in mirrors), but who can doubt this--Beauty Himself? Beauty requires no justification, no explanation; it simply is and transcends. See beauty and we know it in the marrow, even if we have no words for it: Someone is behind it. Beauty Himself completes.
This is what I'm famished for: more of the God-glory.
The only place we have to come before we die is the place of seeing God.
What is this that I feel sitting here, coursing through me relentless, hot, ardent? I have to seek God-beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else.
How could I have forgotten how badly I wanted this?
To bow down and rightly worship.
Do I have eyes to see it in His Glory and not the thing?
I am bowed like wheat, raised like grass blades, grounded and rooted to now, and from Him and through Him and to Him are all things and all is His and everything that has breath praises Him, and I whisper it again, again, again, remembering, remembering, remembering.
Eucharisteo, eucharisteo, eucharisteo.
When the purity of Jesus lies over a heart, His transparency burns the cataracts off the soul. The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within.
God within is the One seeing God without. God is both the object of my seeing and the subject who does the act of all real seeing, the Word lens the inner eye wears.
To sit in the theater of God and see His glory crack the dark, to open the eyes of my heart to see the fountain of His grace--thousands of gifts--I have to split heart open to more and more of Jesus.
Who can split open the eyelids but Jesus? Christ Himself tears the veil to the Holy of Holies, gives me the only seeing I have.
I have been lost and now I am found and I sing it softly, before the flying of the flocks south: "Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart ..."
These heavy glory-waters endlessly flood from Him and God spills. Skirts of stars swirl through black space and waterfalls canter over stones, manes of runaway horses, and lone mushroom tilts in the shadows of soundless forest, and God sees it all. This is His endless experience because this is who He is--beauty overflowing. God is happiest of all.
Joy is God's life.
Don't I yearn for it to be mine?
I was lost but now am found again, Jesus, and I know what I want to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply. How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. Living in His presence is fullness of joy--and seeing shows the way in.
Our endless desires are fulfilled in endless God.
I long to know Beauty, breathe it into lungs, feel it heavy on skin. To beat on the door of the universe, pound the chest of God with the psalmist: "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Psalm 27:4).
Faith is the gaze of the soul and I want to see in. So I can enter in.
Isn't that what C. S. Lewis knew too?
What more, you may ask, do we want? Ah, but we want so much more--something the books on aesthetics take little notice of. But the poets ... know all about it. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words--to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.
Isn't the longing for Beauty Himself the happiest place of all? *FN
~*~Lord, in Christ You name me Beloved One, and in love I call You Beautiful One. Today, turn me from seeing burdens to seeking beauty. Cause me to glimpse at the grittiness and gaze on Your glory--because could there be more joy than adoring You more?
--One Thousand Gifts Devotional, 84-87
*FN C. S. Lewis, "The Weight of Glory," in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 12-13.
I received an Advance Reading Copy from Zondervan Linked to Lit for this review. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."