"He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them close to his heart, and shall gently lead those that are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eucharisteo - Thanksgiving

"I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. 
I have learned the secret of living in every situation,
whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little."
- The apostle Paul (Phillipians 4:11-12)

I started reading a new book this week.  It's called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  I have read about it on quite a few blogs and quite a few people that I highly respect have been impacted by it.  I am sorry to admit that when I first heard about this book, I thought that this wasn't something for me right now - that it wouldn't be relevant - writing a list of a thousand things that I am thankful for?  Is there really time in my life for that?  And even more telling is the thought that flitted through my mind - Can a mother of 6 healthy children really have anything to say to me right now about grief and disappointment?  I know - this was incredibly shortsighted of me......have I still not learned yet not to judge before I hear the whole story?!   
By the way - there are plenty of you out there who happen to have healthy kids, who have ministered deeply to my heart! And you too have experienced the pain and disappointment of this world.  It's just that these days, I feel hungry for books written by someone who can relate to my particular pain.  I hope you understand what I mean....
 But I was walking through Chapters the other day, one of my very faveorite things to do when I have some time to myself...and I found this book sitting on the shelf.  I cracked it open a bit absentmindedly and from the start, I was gripped....and I stood there in the aisle weeping as I read about the tragic accident that happened when she was young and her painful loss. I remembered that friends had given us a gift certificate and I bought it that day.... 

I won't say much more right now - I haven't read too long yet and I think I need to let it sink in first.  But she writes about Eucharisteo (thanksgiving) and how it must be learned and the learning takes practice - and sometimes it is 'hard eucharisteo' - "the holding out of our hands for this moment's bread - when it will hurt" but we must begin even with what seems insignificant...She says "life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time." Ann's naming of a thousand gifts is like driving in the nails - "driving out her habits of discontentment and driving in a habit of eucharisteo."

"A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit."  - Erasmus

As I keep reading - (and re-reading certain parts), I am finding that so much of what she says resonates with me and my longing to learn this life-giving eucharisteo too.  If you read it too, let me know what you think of it!  Maybe I will pick up my pen and start hammering away too...


fiona said...

ah . . . my friend recently passed me on to her blog and i too was gripped . . . i have this book on my 'to buy' list. i think i shall go out and buy myself a copy as well.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading that book too and following Angie Smith and Jessica Turner's book club on (in)courage. I feel like I have really needed to practice gratitude (eucharisteo) and this book came along at just the right time. I've started my list as well, and I have found that she is right--joy comes in the moments where we pause and see beauty in the everyday, acknowledging it as a gift and giving thanks. I have even gotten the chance to practice the hard eucharisteo (which is just that--hard) and I am learning. . .
If you feel like it's not for you right now, that's okay. Read it or put it on the shelf and God may remind you of it at another time, when it is just right.
Thinking of you and praying.

The said...
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The said...

Oh Kendra, I am not sure if you know this, but Ann is experiencing a wee bit of what you are right at this very moment. Ann's sister Molly is a friend of mine, her and her husband actually came to my house before they were even dating. I kinda like to think my house was where they started their journey together. Anyways, they have a new baby Ema who is very sick and doctors can't seem to figure out why. Ema can't stabilize her oxygen levels. If you think of praying for Dave and Molly, baby Ema and her 4 sisters I am sure they would be really appreciated.