Almost a year ago already I discovered an amazing book that has seriously changed my perspective on life. The book "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" written by Ann Voskamp. It is a must read for everyone especially moms and those bogged down by the daily routines and the struggles that life often dishes out. Ann's style of writing is AMAZING to say the least. It is poetic. She shares her story of breaking through the darkness and truly living in the joy that God has promised. I know for myself personally I have struggled, as a Christian, wondering where the joy in my life is. God has promised us joy but honestly, I couldn't find it. I shared once that our joy is in Christ, yes, but Ann has reminded me that I must continually seek Him, give Thanks to Him and then I will fully experience His joy.
It is simple really and so true. If you look within Scripture you will find that before the miracle has taken place, before the feelings of contentment and joy (even in the worst of circumstances) THANKSGIVING has taken place. Philippians 4:6 reads, "in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to the Lord" and also in 1 Timothy 2:1 "First I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to Him". Paul writes, in Philippians 4:11-12, "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have". The key word here is learned, it takes practice and it is a choice to choose joy and to give Thanks. To take time each day, multiple times a day, to give Thanks to the Lord for all blessings. David took time, three times a day to stop, pray and give Thanks. Everything is a blessing. Even the difficult things. Even the dirty dishes, the piles of laundry, the whining children, the rain....are all blessings. We must take the time to re-frame our thinking and see the blessings. We can only feel one emotion at a time. We can choose to be annoyed and let our thoughts fester on the moment OR we can choose to give Thanks. For example (one I'm teaching myself) "Thank you Lord for two girls that have strong wills and are learning to work out things with each other" (my girls fight frequently!).
Ann was challenged by a friend to write out one thousand blessings. The simple act of writing out the blessings she saw each day taught her to seek out the blessings in ALL circumstances. I was inspired by Ann and have started my own journal of blessings. I leave it on my kitchen counter so I don't forget to use it. I'm still learning (very much so!) but do take time and write down my blessings. It truely has changed my perspective. Knowing that I want to write something down, encourages me to look for the blessings. And remembering that each and every moment is a blessing, helps me to choose Joy. We do have a choice in how we will live each moment. The Lord does not say there will not be difficult times. In fact He says there will be but He promises to be with us through those times. If I can remember this and remember that the irritating things in life are not that big of a deal, then I am SO much more JOYful!
You can visit Ann's blog A Holy Experience by clicking HERE. You can sign up for daily emails and I highly recommend it. It is SO encouraging! She's real and struggles too but she's learning to choose JOY. She takes awesome pictures too!
Here is the beginning of my list:
1. Clear blue skies
2. Cool morning breezes
3. Fresh hot coffee
4. Gentleness between my girls
5. Many shades of green (Oregon is GREEN!)
6. A warm bed to sleep in
7. The color red
8. Park playdates with friends
9. Fresh berries
10. Keeping Jeremy safe (he had an accident at work)
11. Healthy children!
12. Camping trips
13. Running water
14. Fresh water
15. Big imaginations and creativity
16. Friends to call on when you need prayer
17. Healthy children (added by Jeremy)
19. Clean floors
20. Experiencing nature
I have entered the world of blogging! My purpose? To stay connected to friends and family and invite you into my world. A world filled with fun, tears, laughter, excitement, elation, disappointment and all the blessings of being a mother and wife.