I’m leading a women’s discipleship group through a 6-week intensive–reading God’s Word and journaling daily, memorizing scripture, serving others and reading Ann‘s book, One Thousand Gifts. And while they read, I re-read it all over again.
It’s been over a year and a half since I first read her scratched-out words, and they are still changing me.
And it’s just after five o’clock when I’m reading page 54, hidden away in the solitude of my room, writing and preparing for the ladies to come over in just two hours when I hear it outside—the water turned on falling, the laughter, chatter, and splashing. It’s only the second time they’ve gone in our new pool. The one that’s been over two years in the coming because of that envelope system we do. But the wait has made it that much more exciting. I reach for my camera because I don’t want to miss this.
I see the budded poplar trees as tall as our balcony, waving their leaves in the wind. I imagine them waving to offer their thanks too. And I hear the birds singing in their own bird language, back and forth without a pause.
I tiptoe outside and I see the air as it hangs on the mountain, the sun’s rays trying to break through its haze. And the neighborhood is calm and quiet on this Sunday evening.
I see the water flowing, and there my oldest daughter is sitting, watching the others. And the rest are splashing and swimming—time with Daddy before the work week begins.
I crouch down and snap the shutter and try to freeze time with the images—try to capture the emotion and expressions. I don’t want to forget. I want to see what is right here. I want to notice the things right before me wherever I am, as tiny and ordinary as they are.
Ann is right when she writes that it’s a hunt. A hunt for gifts is a hunt for joy.
“This naming really does call now a gift, a gift of God…in naming that which is right before me, that which I’d otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible…God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.” ~One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
I sit back down and open the computer so I can write and prepare, but the kids summon me back to the balcony. They ask me to come down and get in. They are calling me to become part of the gift.
And although the ladies will be here in one hour, even though there are papers to prepare, words to write here, a house to pick up, and a dinner to be made, I close the computer and don my suit. And I slow the time with the weight of my attention, and I continue on, seeing, naming, and enjoying the gifts.
All the gifts from His heart to mine…
How have you been changed by naming His gifts?
How have you become part of the gift?
#1386 Sunshine streaming in the window
#1387 Apple tree rows and abundant blossoms
#1388 poppies waving in the wind at the mountain above
#1389 a mining-for-gold field trip with co-op friends
#1390 Friday night sleepovers at Grandma’s
#1391 Cool evening breezes blowing in
#1392 Consignment deals, 50% off all day TODAY
#1393 Date night connection every single week
#1394 Wet rings of hair on the side of her small face
#1395 Trader Joe’s and their food
#1396 Our church and the Wii Fit series…radical change in community…just what I needed
#1398 Ripped in 30 menu planned out for me
#1400 grace and mercy extended daily to this wretched heart of mine