|Gregory and Kory share a laugh over a Trivial Pursuit question.|
I've been following Ann Voskamp's blog for a little while now ~ beautiful photos, kind and gracious tone, homeschool mom of six, farmer's wife, Compassion International blogger and traveler. When I learned she was writing a book about gratitude I was so intrigued, as I have been on my own gratitude-is-the-key-to-joy-in-Jesus journey. I put the book on my Amazon wishlist several months ago, and then two weeks ago it appeared in my mailbox, and not because I ordered it, but because a friend in Pennsylvania was compelled to send it to me. She had no idea it was on my wishlist. We aren't even in regular contact. Hmmmmm....
|The GIRLS' table!|
I had already been reading verses like this, and taking heart in the wording. Thanksgiving is being offered as a sacrifice. It is a choice. It is not usually easy ~ sacrifices are typically painful ~ to give thanks in all things, but it is a good thing to do.
Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord.
|The dining room crew.|
I was also praying things like this in my journal:
June 2, 2011
Lord, forgive my grumblings ~ all of which your Word says are against You and You only. As I pray and ask You to speak to me in my times with You and and in Your Word, this is the theme I see lately: Be thankful. Even if it must be offered as a painful sacrifice. Food and water seem like very legitimate things for the Israelites to be grumbling about when they once lived in plenty and then lived in the desert. Still you called what they did grumbling ~ and not against Moses, but against You....Sometimes it feels like meaningless restrictions You've placed on me, and yet I know You are good and I take heart in the fact that Your Word calls the giving of thanks a sacrifice. You acknowledge that it is not always easy or natural, but that it is good for me and it honors You. Strengthen me to be obedient and let my giving of thanks not always feel like a painful sacrifice, but rather a natural response.
|Time to feast!|
|The living room crew.|
June 3, 2011
"I will render thank offerings to You. For You have delivered my soul from death, indeed my feet from stumbling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living." Psalm 56: 12-13
Lord, the above is more teaching from you on being thankful. Help me to do this, to be this. Open my eyes to your many gifts and blessings. Move my heart to gratitude. Help me move quickly to having this perspective: the fact that you have "delivered my soul from death" is ALWAYS something to be thankful for when I can't seem to see anything else, and really, that fact alone should always suffice. It should overwhelm me, actually.
|Coffee, pie, and games.|
So, I open Ann's book, One Thousand Gifts, which begins with the story of the tragic, childhood death of her little sister, and the adult musings of whether or not her heart will ever have full joy...
"And my life knew how elusive that that slippery three-letter word, joy, can be....I longed for more life, for more holy joy." p. 32
So do I, Ann. Tell me how to have this holy joy, my kindred sister. And I turn the pages as fast as I can, but still slow enough to follow her story.
|Some special ladies and sweet friends ~ Kristina & Christie.|
Then, just four pages later, I read this:
" 'On the night when Jesus was betrayed, the Lord took some bread and gave thanks (eucharisteo) to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces...' (1 Corinthians 11: 23-24) Jesus, on the night before the driving hammer and iron piercing through ligament and sinew, receives what God offers as grace (charis), the germ of His thanksgiving (eucharistia)? Oh. Facing the abandonment of God Himself (does it get any worse than this?), Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound him and yield a bounty of joy (chara). The mystery always contains more mysteries. Do I really want this way?" p. 36
|Letting the food digest.|
Do I really want this way? This choosing to offer thanks in ALL circumstances? Even in betrayal? Even in physical pain? In weary despair?
Yes, because there is really no other path to joy. The Lord has been faithful to teach me the exact same things He taught Ann. There is no other avenue to intimacy with and joy in Christ than this offering of thanks.
"Eucharisteo, the Greek word with the hard meaning and the harder meaning to live ~ this is the only way from empty to full." p. 41
So yes, Lord, I will strive to quiet my grumblings and instead offer sacrifices of thanksgiving to You. I want to know you in the fullness of your joy.