My 1000 Gifts

Traditionally for Lent, people are in the habit of giving something up, based on Luke 9:23 "Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." The general thought is that through self denial we will draw closer to God...which is an awesome idea, but rarely occurs for most people (seeing as people who aren't even Christians will give something up for Lent). 

Instead of giving something up I decided to take a dare....a dare which certainly stretched me: Both mentally and spiritually. By taking on something additional I got more out of Lent than I ever did before. In the taking of time was the giving from God, showing me how blessed I am and just how abundantly he has blessed me. I got a list of a thousand gifts, in my daily life as well as in my life overall. 

Believe me, there were days when it was so much easier to think of 25 gifts (both good and bad days), and there were days when I struggled...praying for God to open my eyes to the gifts that I knew were staring me in the face, some that I am still praying to have revealed to me. One thing I truly believe though is that if you open your eyes to His gifts you will see them. They are all there, just waiting for us to look for them: Seek and ye shall find! 

The other thing that I felt was that when I was having a tough day or when difficult things were going on, those were the days in which I found my blessings more quickly. God knew on those days I needed to feel His presence, needed to see the blessings and He was faithful, always showing me His blessings. 

One of the many things I loved about this book was that it wasn't about happy-go-luck Christianity. The author hasn't led an idyllic life, she has gone through some pretty hard stuff, and she didn't hold back about her anger and difficulties in her faith through them. What she did was made it a point to find the gift even amongst the wreckage, she struggled to not just say "Oh, I know this is somehow a blessing, so I won't look beyond that". She genuinely searched through the tough times to find the gifts God had given through them.
As Christians I think we more often come to God in our times of need and turn away from Him when things are going smoothly. I think the inverse is true when we seek the blessings in our life: We can see them all the more easily when everything is "coming up roses", but when things aren't going smoothly we, in a sense, close our eyes to how God is working all for good. 

I don't think taking this dare is meant to create a list of favorites or special moments, but a conscious recognition of all the ways in which God gives us gifts, particularly during difficult times: Times when we NEED to be reminded of His goodness, grace, generosity most. It's meant to really make us think, to make us aware of the world around us, to make us aware of God's presence and His works. 

One of the things that truly resonated with me was the author's genuine love for beauty, particularly in nature. Every where she looked she was describing how God was speaking to her through nature and the world around her. Since I was a little girl I've always been a bit crazy for beauty; not fleeting beauty, but that same beauty of the world around me. Constantly through my life God has used nature and its beauty to speak to me, to bring me peace, to help me feel His presence. 

I loved this book so much that I actually wrote in it….I mean scribbled in the margins, highlighted and kept notes while reading it. There was so many things that I wanted to just devour! I love it so much that I loaned my marked up copy to a friend of mine, just to get it in her hands NOW! 

>Whether you believe in God or not, whether you're a born-again Christian or a twice-a-year-church-go-er I seriously recommend you read this book. It will open your eyes to seeing the good in your world, the beauty in all things, the truth around you. I dare you!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither
shadow of turning."
James 1:17