Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All is grace (One Thousand Gifts has arrived!)

I have been reading Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience since 2007. I found her right after Danica's birth, a time when I was finding my way back to God after many years living apart from Him. I have often described reading Ann's words like meeting a friend at the foot of the cross. Many times I would print her posts and stick them in my Bible to meditate on them with the Word. I began keeping links of the ones I needed to read again and again in a folder on my computer. I often prayed someday her words would be printed on pages with a binding I could touch and treasure.

There were a series of posts from the summer of 2008 I needed the most as we approached Danica's surgery last fall.

Scandalous Faith in a Good God.

When Bad Things Happen.

What is the Truth?

I clicked the links I had saved. They were gone. I emailed dear Ann asking her where I could find them, and she shared they had been pulled from her site to be folded in her book One Thousand Gifts which was planned to be released by Zondervan in January. She graciously emailed me the posts and reminded me to hold tight to "an outrageous belief in a God who can only, always, give good."

Chapter Five "What in the world, in all this world, is grace?" is a blending of the posts I mentioned above. It is as heart and life changing as Ann's blog has been to me these many years. I have certainly lost my way on the gratitude journey many times. It has often been Ann's words and her consistent reminder that we deserve nothing and are given everything in Christ that has encouraged me to stay the course.

Danica is lying here sleeping beside me as I type. She wears her little cage, and I see the scar from the huge incision in the back of her neck and head peeking out. Just like Ann that day looking down at her son Levi's mangled hand all bandaged up,

" . . . I see what I am. I'm amputated. I have hacked my life into grace moments and curse moments. The chopping that has cut myself off from embracing love of a God who "does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow" (Lamentations 3:33), but labors to birth grief into greater grace. Isn't this the crux of the gospel? The good news that all those living in the land of shadow of death have been birthed into new life, that the transfiguration of a suffering world has already begun. That suffering nourishes grace, and pain and joy are arteries of the same heart--and mourning and dancing are but movements in His unfinished symphony of beauty. Can I believe the gospel, that God is patiently transfiguring all the notes of my life into the song of His Son?

What in the world, in all this world, is grace?
I can say it certain now. All is grace.
I can see through the woods of the world.
God is always good and I am always loved.
Everything is Eucharisteo. . ."

Yes, He is making this story good. I don't want to stop reading yet, do you?

(If you'd like to join the (in)courage Bloom book club discussing Ann's book One Thousand Gifts this month click on the link and join the discussion of God's amazing grace.)

1 comment:

  1. Just found Ann's blog by accident today and fell in love with it. As I was reading it occurred to me that it must be the blog you had talked about in this post. I had to come back and check. Beautiful.
    Now I want the book.