Thanksgiving is our annual reminder of just how blessed we are, and for how much we can be grateful. I thought it was a good opportunity to share with you a book about gratitude that has had a huge impact on my life since I first read it three or four years ago.
Ann Voskamp is a Canadian author. She grew up on a farm, and is now married to a farmer. Her life has been marked by that lifestyle, as all our lives have been marked by how we were brought up and the experiences that we have gone through.
As a child, she had to endure the loss of a sibling. Her sister was killed by a delivery truck backing up. That experience was devastating for Ann and her parents. It led to major depression for all of them. For Ann, it eventually led her to attempt suicide as a Bible college student.
One Thousand Gifts is part personal story and testimony, part encouragement, and part challenge to change your perspective on life by shifting to an attitude of gratitude. The main thrust of the book is based on an exercise that Ann’s counselor asked her to do. While she struggled with coping, her counselor told her to stop dwelling on what had happened in the past and on what she had lost. Instead, she should focus on all the blessings that God had given her. She was assigned homework – every day, list several things for which she was grateful. She was supposed to do that until she had listed one thousand things for which she was thankful.
This took her on a fascinating journey. The more she paid attention to the blessings God had given her, the more her way of thinking and dealing with life changed. It transformed her entire view of God, of herself, of life, and of the world. She realized that even in the most difficult of times, the smallest things that can reveal the riches of God’s grace.
Her conclusion at the end of her journey? In this world, if we have eyes to see it, all is grace.
I benefited greatly from this book – I think most people would. But if you’re dealing with loss and heartache, I would suggest that it could be a transformative read for you.
As you take time to enjoy family and feasting this Thanksgiving, take time to be thankful as well. One thousand gifts is a lot…but maybe this weekend, you can take a few moments and write down ten things for which you are thankful. You might be surprised at what that little exercise can do for your mind.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Oh – and if you decide you want to buy the book, the Kindle edition can be purchased here.