I had already heard so many things about this book, and read Ann's blog many times before I received it. While I admit I adore Ann's blog and her writing, I also felt a tinge of envy. To have a kind of spirit that overflows with thankfulness, yet remains humble, it's something of saints.
I feel anything but.
I know what His word says, but I struggle to believe.
Me a saint? A thought that's hard to swallow.
Not that saints are perfect, but they seek that which is, and I've been on a long journey over the past two years. A journey that's produced a heart of doubt and bitterness, not of thankfulness.
I wanted to read the book, but knowing the hardness of my heart doubted it would penetrate, or break through the icy film covering my spirit.
But it did.... and it is ...
I have yet to finish the book because I can only ingest small crumbs. Sometimes they go down like refreshing water and sometimes they scrape my throat like shards of glass.
The reoccurring talk of thankfulness can brighten my day and cast new light on everything He has given or cause me pain as I consider the words and the commands of thankfulness in ALL circumstances.
I am currently stuck on a portion of the book about God's grace in taking us out of this life and into a new one. You would think it would be so easy to grasp and the cliche is often uttered at funerals and wakes...
"they are in a better place now".
But my worldly mind can't fathom God's grace at the loss of a child. My heart says accept and praise His holy name and my mind and emotions say "Why the tragedy, pain, and suffering before they glory?" and what of those left behind with tears?
I see news stories of moms driving into frigid water as children cry and breath in water and they wonder "Why mommy, why are you doing this? Why won't you save me?". The one left behind is ten and he doesn't understand. His mother who he adored is gone and she took the babies with her. Now he's alone. Will he regret the natural response to save himself, and his inability to save the others for the rest of his life?
God's grace she says.
I don't understand it, but I want to. I want to say thank you Father, you are in control.
but if you are, then why?
So I dog-ear the chapter titled "what in the world, in all this world, is grace?" and I wait for an answer.
This book and His book are working in my heart.
It's not finished, and I'm not finished
So I wait.
God has been using this book to change my heart. I'm not sure what that will look like, or where I will be when I'm done with the book. I just pray it's in a better place than where I stand now. I hope it's not a place where I am standing at all, but instead a place where I am bowed down with tears and thanksgiving, even if I never understand...
Drawing heartbreaking beauty out of the simplest of details, Ann Voskamp invites you into her grace-bathed life of farming, parenting, and writing---and deeper still into your own life. Here you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of living that is fully alive, and a way of becoming present to God that brings you deep and lasting joy.
Ann Voskamp is a writer with DaySpring (a division of Hallmark), a contributing editor to Laity Lodge’s The High Calling, and a global advocate for the poor traveling for Compassion International. With an educational background in psychology and education from York University and the University of Waterloo, Ann and her husband are farmers in the Mennonite countryside of southwestern Ontario, raising a half dozen kids, crops of corn, and the roof in praise. She writes every day about the everyday wonder every day at www.aholyexperience.com .
~ I received this book from Zondervan for the purpose of this review. All opinions (if you can't tell) belong to me.