Counting One Thousand Gifts

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One of the books that most impacted me last year was One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. She has an incredible way of putting words together that lift your spirit and point you straight to our Savior.
Last year I was struggling through the journey of God’s calling to Cambodia and all of the changes it meant. I am definitely a girl who loves routine and the comfortable, so moving around the world to a culture I don’t understand and a language I don’t yet know was incredibly intimidating. I also was having a hard time with the idea of leaving the home office and the family I have found here. I hate goodbyes! I read the book in the midst of all of that, and God used the concept of thankfulness to really help me shift my focus back to Him. At first, any time I would encounter a tough situation I would stop and think about 3 or 4 things that I was thankful for in the midst of all that was going on. Not just general things, but specific parts of that situation that I could turn into a act of gratitude. I was challenged to make it a daily practice of writing down the gifts. As I started to make this a daily habit, I began to see more and more gifts that I had never noticed before. Sometimes I would begrudging write down something that didn’t seem like a gift at all at the moment, asking God to change my heart and see with a different perspective. And He often answered that prayer! By writing down and keeping track of the gifts, I have now an amazing monument of God’s faithfulness through the last three months.
Last week I reached one thousand gifts! I’m not done though because thankfulness is a daily, lifetime task. There are days when I struggle to find the gifts and other days when I can’t write fast enough all the big and little blessings. When thankfulness becomes a habit, God replaces fear with peace and joy that overflows.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
Here are a few of my gifts. Don’t worry, I won’t list all 1,000! As you can see, there is a wide range- some big and some little! 
1. Hymns in the wee hours
14. Perfect weather for time on the swing
30. Overhearing funny conversations in the hallway
44. A gift of money exactly when I needed that encouragement
78. Coffee/hot chocolate combo
92. Elohim- the God who created me just as I am
129. Learning a new Cambodian word
200. Fundraising is not about me
236. Working traffic lights
254. A Nebraska win at the last second
358. Sunday school laughter
362. A sermon in English & Khmer
433. Round after round of Spoons at Thanksgiving
463. The colors of a Nebraska sunrise
556. The brief moments just to chat
581. A short wait at the post office
627. Sweet hugs goodbye
661. A coffee cup waiting for me
723. Snowflakes falling, swirling, through the morning
805. Stories of God’s faithfulness
877. Grace to switch plans
933. The people who said thank you
948. Sitting outside at Starbucks in January
993. How the foggy mist makes it feel peaceful
1000. Counting gifts and the joy that comes from Thanksgiving!

1 Comment

  1. Emily says:

    You know that makes so much sense. Since school isn't necessarily my thing, the gifts that I look for during this time help to actually be thankful that I'm here. 🙂


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