Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - Chapter 8

The vlog for Chapter 8 of Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts is now online.  What can I say... another great chapter... more words that spoke to the depths of my soul!

This chapter was a hard one for me to read because I identified so much with what Ann has written about herself.  Trust issues, anxiety attacks, stress --- things I dealt with (and still do!) on a regular basis as a result of childhood trauma which I'd experienced.  Believe it or not, typing that sentence alone even caused me some anxiety...

As a young adult, I learned to cry out to my Heavenly Father whenever I faced these difficult things.  I found safety in His love, comfort in His embrace, peace in His presence.

As I still experience trust issues, anxiety and stress, more recently I learned that trusting Him to be holding my hand (even before or as I go through the situations which causes these difficult emotions) is truly a gift.  By trusting Him to hold me together, in turn I always receive... peace for my anxious heart, calm during stressful moments, joy when eucharisteo is hard!

Chapter 8 is entitled How Will He Not Also? --- from the verse found in Romans 8:32 (NIV) which says:
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
It has truly been a gift... this forging a trust relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I feel that this chapter of One Thousand Gifts describes my trust journey... it has put into words what I couldn't!  Here are Ann's words... so beautifully written:
What if I opened the clenched hands wide to receive all that is?  A life that receives all of God in this moment?

Stress isn't only a joy stealer.  The way we respond to it can be sin.
I know an untroubled heart relaxes, trusts, leans assured into His ever-dependable arms.  Trust, it's the antithesis of stress.

The full life, the one spilling joy and peace, happens only as I come to trust the caress of the Lover, Lover who never burdens His children with shame or self-condemnation but keeps stroking the fears with gentle grace.

That's my daily work, the work God asks of me?  To trust.

Isn't joy worth the effort of trust?

If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief... atheism.

Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.

Thanks is what builds trust.

... if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.

Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks.  Remembering frames up gratitude.  Gratitude lays out the planks of trust.  I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds.

What if remembering doesn't kindle gratitude?  What if remembering just leaves third-degree burns?

He gave us Jesus.  Jesus!  Gave Him up for us all.  If we have only one memory, isn't this one enough?

Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember.

... sometimes we don't fully see that in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, He does give us all things good - until we have the perspective of years.

In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will.

Jesus calls me to surrender and there's nothing like releasing fears and falling into peace.  It terrifies, true.  But it exhilarates.  This, this is what I've always wanted and never knew: this utter trust, this enlivening fall of surrender into the safe hands.

There is no joy without trust!
Ann's journey towards really trusting God... so much like my own story.  All it takes is simply trusting every moment, everyday!  Not easy at all... but joy is truly worth the effort.

So today I add a few more to my 1,000 gifts list by offering eucharisteo for...

#386 - #394
~ My childhood... the good memories as well as the bad.
~ The experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today.
~ My journey towards truly trusting God... for I know I'm not fully there yet!
~ The strength He gives as He holds my hand along the way.
~ Safety, comfort and peace that only He can provide.
~ The perspective of years.
~ Abounding grace for when I slip {again}...
~ Christ, who is all there is to give thanks for and remember.
~ Joy that comes only from trusting God.

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!

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