peace of my mind

peace I leave you; my peace I give you… Jn.14:27

The Joy of the Lord

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One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp is the most stirring book I’ve read in some time. It is pure glory and poetry plumbing deep the wells of God.

I started reading the first chapter on Ann’s blog one night and ordered the book right then.  Her writing is exquisite, and though some people may be put off by her lyricism, her command of language, history, and scripture combined are a treasure.  And her theology is every bit in place to undergird her poetry.  It is clear from the pages that she has wrestled with God on many matters and He has been victorious in her.

I recently asked for prayer from dear sisters that God would restore joy to me.  All I do can be for glory or vainity on account of one little word…joy.  Without joy, I am a clanging gong in my home, a resounding cymbal.  With joy, the hardest pressures a day can dish out shine their refining value and worth.  Abiding joy comes from Him, but soon departs when my selfish ambitions and vain conceits muscle Him aside. He is long suffering and abounding in love.

Ann weaves fine threads of understanding into what is true communion, or as she defines it, eucharisteo: receiving all He gives as grace, giving thanks in every situation, and then giving His gifts away to others.  The effect of eucharisteo (grace, thanks, giving) is joy.  Who can contain anything but joy when one sees all that comes from the Father to his children as his loving, refining grace.

So in chronicling  one thousand thanks, she finds God is met through gratitude and service which all brings joy.  This sounds textbook-easy, but it is in the actual living and walking out obedience that its true effects are found.

Ann’s gifts are abundant, and she excels in many ways.  I have followed her blog for some time now and thought, how does she do that?! on many occasions.  She is careful to give God all of the glory and praise.  And this too is commendable.

It is important to remember that  God is a giver of gifts to all who surrender their lives to Him.  His love song is to you and me just as much as it is to the most gifted of men.  He endows as he sees fit.  But in so much as it depends on us, I am challenged to find thanks in the details of my life and to praise him through the hard, refining thanks as much as the cup-to-overflowing thanks.  It spurs me on to “live my one life well”, fully surrendered to him.

This book was an answer to prayers.  Thank you God, for restoring joy!

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