October 12, 2011

Study your life for blessings - Violet Nesdoly

Ann Voskamp's little sister died in a tragic accident when Ann was only four. That incident darkened her life's outlook so that even after she had her own six beautiful children, she lived in the night of mistrust. She writes in her memoir One Thousand Gifts:
"The fruit's poison has infected the whole of humanity. Me. I say no to what He's given. I thirst for some roborant, some elixir to relieve the anguish of what I've believed: God isn't good. God doesn't love me.

If I'm ruthlessly honest, I may have said yes to God, yes to Christianity, but really, I have lived the no. Infected by that Eden mouthful, the retina of my soul develops macular holes of blackness. From my own beginning, my sister's death tears a hole in the canvas of the world" -  One Thousand Gifts, Kindle Location (KL) 139.

Job, whom Eliphaz addresses in Job 5, had every reason to be skittish around God too after the series of calamities that pounded him. Though not all of Elphaz's advice is worth following, his admonishment to Job to shift his focus to God's doings of "great things and unsearchable" is good (Job 5:8-9).

That's what rescued Ann. A friend's challenge to her to identify, name, and list one thousand things for which she was grateful—in other words, to start noticing God's good gifts—outfitted her with a whole new set of life lenses.

I personally have joined Ann's "Gratitude Community." We share our lists of gifts from the past seven days each Monday, at her A Holy Experience blog. The clincher for me was finally "seeing" the reference to thanksgiving in even my own life verse:
Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God...- Philippians 4:6,7.
Why don't you try it? Today, instead of focusing on worries and what ifs, on aches and pains, on dour predictions and dark expectations, turn the tapestry of your life around and study it for blessings. You may find, with Ann:
"The act of naming grace moments, this list of God's gifts, moves beyond the shopping list variety of prayer and into the other side. The other side of prayer, the interior of His throne room, the inner walls of His powerful love-beating heart. The list is God's list, the pulse of His love — the love that thrums on the other side of our prayers. And I see for now what it really is, this dare to write down one thousand things I love. It really is a dare to name all the ways God loves me. The true Love Dare. To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and uncontainable. This is the vault of miracles - One Thousand Gifts, KL 780 (emphasis added).
(Reposted from Other Food Daily Devos, February 19, 2011.)



  1. What a great idea - sharing with a small group on a regular basis. I wonder if I could actually list 1000 things ... I may have to give it a try

  2. Tracy, it's taken me over a year, but I'm well into the 700s by now. I post my week's list each Monday--a great way to start the week!

  3. Hi Violet:

    Ann's experience and her final reaction to it is a blessing in itself--to us and hundreds of others.

    And I'm sure you have found like me, that it is often life's greatest blessings that we take for granted, and hardly notice.

    Just having life to see each new day is a miracle I shall always cherish.

  4. Violet, I'm so glad you told us of this woman's grief that lasted so long, but was not the final outcome. God was not going to let it be. He intervened, and not only blessed Ann, he blessed you and us and many others.


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