It’s been 4 years since I have begun this journey of thanks-giving. One cold winter’s day while perusing the books at Barnes and Noble, the cover of this book with a birds nest and two eggs inside stood out to me. I had never heard of the author before nor did I truly have any idea what this book was about, but I grabbed it, made my purchase and headed out the door. Little did I know that this book would be life changing for me.
Shortly after starting this book, my husband went through what I like to refer to as a “dark night of the soul” period. Life had caught up with him, so many changes at once and things from his past started to come to the surface. It was more than his heart and mind could handle. Many days I watched this strong man of mine, crumble underneath it all. He questioned his calling and his gifts. Instead of him being the rock, I now had to assume that position and I felt so very unqualified. We were both scared of what lied ahead and how long this journey would last. This book, the one I picked up that day in Barnes and Noble by chance, became a life line for me. The more I would read it, the more I would practice what it was ingrafting on my heart, that of penning my gifts and naming them. I realized that by giving thanks for all things, that the breath would slowly return to me and joy was possible even in this dark night of the soul.
Thankfully that period didn’t last long for my husband and I. And like most “dark nights of the soul” we both came out stronger and more equipped for the path that God would lead us on. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp has been one of the most influential books in my life, yes, even right up there with the Bible. When grief and life try to choke us out, “there is hope and transformative power in counting our blessings and naming the good gifts of God–because we encounter the power of God himself in our lives.”
I’m sure most of you are familiar with this old hymn. It was written by Johnson Oatman Jr. in 1897. His simple yet profound words are still true today…
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”