Thursday, November 20, 2014

Spiritual Journey Thursday - Gratitude

     I look forward to Thursdays when I can publish thoughts on my spiritual journey and hear the thoughts of others on a weekly theme topic.  It has become a space for an encouraging and fortifying community to come together.  We welcome anyone who would like to join us!
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
 - Thessalonians 5:18
     When I think about gratitude, I think about Ann Voskamp.  I was introduced to Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts through my future son-in-law's mother.  She and I were talking about books, and she recommended it to me.  I had never heard of Voskamp or her book, but I bought it right away, of course!  Here is my Goodreads review:
"Is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts?" Through poetic, painful, and intense writing, even somewhat like stream-of-consciousness, Ann Voskamp, a popular blogger, works through her anxiety, self-loathing, and grief to come to the conclusion that true union with God only comes through gratitude. I saw that Caroline Starr Rose compared her to Annie Dillard (Voskamp even quotes her at one point) - yes! Favorite lines:
1. The only place we have to come before we die is the place of seeing God.
2. Why do I have spiritual Alzheimer's, always forgetting?
3. Fear is like this piano wire cutting round the wrists, life shackled, cutting deep, and the hands spasm, fists of control. Fear keeps a life small. (See what I mean about her writing?)
4. Worry can be our lunge for control and we forget the answer to this moment is always yes because of Christ.
5. Quote from Martin Luther: "God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us."
6. Quote from her mother: "Expectations kill relationships."
7. Quote from Mother Teresa: "If we pray the work...if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus...that's what makes us content."
8. Quote from C.S. Lewis: "If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad."
I'm going to look into her Bible study for a possible class offering at church. Be sure to visit her blog at I also discovered Holley Gerth's blog through her: Thank you to Lyn Stagnaro for recommending this book!

     I know that gratitude is the key to happiness.  I know that God calls us to be thankful through everything.  Sometimes I forget.  Sometimes I complain.  Sometimes I whine.  There are people hurting and experiencing hardships that I can't imagine, yet somehow, some way, they endure and even flourish. I know that the ones who flourish, through good times and bad, are the ones who can be grateful and thank Him through all circumstances. 

     This past weekend when I looked around our kitchen as we were hosting our 27th Friends' Thanksgiving,  ready to serve the meal,  and I saw it so full of the family and friends I love, I wondered how God can be so generous.  I saw all those amazing young people - people who are so full of faith and promise, and I was so grateful.  They will graduate from college in a few short months, and I have no doubt they will go out and follow God.  Some will get jobs, some will travel overseas, some will teach, some will get married.  I'm grateful that Libby found a life partner who is so perfect for her.  I'm grateful Katie is happy at OSU. I'm grateful I have a wonderful husband of 25 years.  I'm grateful for a tradition that may have sparked future traditions.  I'm grateful for lasting friendships. I'm grateful for good neighbors.  I'm grateful for abundant food.  I'm grateful for a home. I'm even grateful for my dog and cat!  In this Thanksgiving season and beyond, thank you God - forever we'll lift up Your name...

Libby's friend, Chris, will sing this song at the wedding ceremony.
Ann Voskamp

Come back in TWO weeks to Spiritual Journey Thursday.  I'll be unplugging on Thanksgiving day!


  1. This is my favorite thing to write about! I'mg grateful for connecting with you and this blog!!! I love that book and you make me want to revisit it! Thanks Holly! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I'm grateful for connecting with YOU, too, Michelle! Happy NCTE travels and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. So full of gratitude today for this life, my blogging friends, and my vocation that keeps me inspired and moving on. I love Ann Voskamp, follow her blog and posts on FB. Her style is so real and almost guttural. Thanks for the lovely song. Feeling your support with me today. Thanks!

  3. Holly, thank you for creating this space for us to connect with each other and with our Heavenly Father. Your review of Ann's book was wonderful! I had seen the book, but had not paid much attention to it. This line from your review really spoke to me: "Why do I have spiritual Alzheimer's, always forgetting?" I think I might need to read that book as well! Happy Thanksgiving Holly!