Monday, June 13, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (222-228)

I have been reading A Holy Experience (Ann Voskamp's blog) for over a year. Every Monday Ann adds to her list of One Thousand Gifts and today I'm adding to my list too.

I was invited to a get together with my Bible Study Buddies. These are women whom I've shared the last 5 years meeting with on Thursday mornings during the school year. Since I've been working full time for the past 6 months, I have kept in touch by meeting some of them for Saturday breakfast or coffee, and through our weekly prayer requests.

On Wednesday, we were meeting during the evening at our Bible Study leader's (Charlotte's) home with the main topic being Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts - A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I am not a public speaker and felt my "anxiety meter" start to rise when I received the email reminding everyone about meeting at Charlotte's house and it included that I would be "the guest."

I started re-reading Ann's book to prepare and organize my thoughts and although it had already been highlighted like crazy, the second time through was a brilliant reminder of her journey and other parts were calling out to me, speaking to me where I am today versus where I was in February.

Wednesday arrived and I felt anxious throughout the day thinking about the evening ahead. One Thousand Gifts opened a new door for my life. For my faith. For my way of living.

While following the GPS directions to Charlotte's house, I asked God to please be with me throughout the evening. (And in case you are wondering....He never disappoints!)

Handouts recommending visiting "A Holy Experience" before purchasing
 the book just to give a taste of Ann's writing.
Twelve of us were sitting in the livingroom. Some had read the book, some had started reading the book, and some hadn't heard of the book. I had come to the conclusion that I couldn't do justice in describing the book so I talked about how God has been leading me through a process of gratitude, how the book fit into my journey, and how it has helped me continue with writing down all the blessings that otherwise I wouldn't have noticed.

I brought show-and-tell items: "Be Thankful" and "Grace - a gift from God" sculptures. I spoke about the word "grace" being my focus for 2011. The realization that our daughter's first name means "God's grace" and our shared middle name (Anne) means "full of grace."

I've realized the gift of God's grace to me and I have been committed to sharing and showing His grace to others. God knowing I needed to walk through and with His grace because He knew what was coming this year in our adult children's lives. He has allowed me shining moments of (verbal) self control that I have jokingly and earnestly pleaded for many years.

I explained how writing the blessings has made my vision sharper in looking for them and recognizing them. Ann's book helped focus my awareness of all the blessings that I am surrounded by every day. I felt calm and connected to my Bible Study Buddies and can only thank God for His presence among us.

Some of the buddies expressed an interest in reading the book and gathering together later in the summer for a discussion.

#222 - #228 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

222. God's loving, calming, tangible presence

223. my Bible Study Buddies and their grace toward me

224. Charlotte's encouragement and hospitality

225. God leading me to these women years ago and all according to His plan and His timing

226. lives shared and prayers asked for

227. my anxiety and burdens lightened when being open about my life circumstances and faith, which led to

228. not feeling judged but feeling loved by my Bible Study buddies

Do you have a faith-filled friend or godly group that you have a relationship with whom God must have orchestrated?

Turn on your speakers.
Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

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