My book reading schedule has not gone as planned the past few months, but I did finish One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp – and loved it.
Her writing is so beautiful it almost hurts to read it.
I don’t really have a review, but I’d recommend it.
She lost me a bit on the last two chapters, but the rest of the book was perfect.
Here’s my favorite passage:
I look down at the stained skirt of my apron, washed in moonlight. And I think I can stand here? I think I can brave this Beauty? Not an empty tinny beauty but a Fierce Beauty, Flaming Fire who burns through the thick masks and leaves the soul disrobed. I am naked and I am right ashamed. I know how monstrously inhumane I can be. Raging at children for minor wrongdoings while I’m the one defiling the moment with sinful anger. Hoarding possessions while others die of starvation. Entertaining the mind with trivial pretties when I haven’t bowed the head and heart in a prayer longer than five minutes in a week. My tongue has had a razor edge and my eyes have rolled haughty and my neck has been stiff and graceless and I have lived the filth ugly, an idolater, a glutton, and a grace thief who hasn’t had time for the thanks.
I wrap the hem of my splattered apron around a finger. I cannot raise the eye. We’ve read it around the table at the close of the meal, us all with Bibles open, and we’ve read the verse with one voice: “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8). What am I doing out here? I am filthy rags. Is sight possible? I’ve only got one pure thing to wear and its got Made by Jesus on the tag and the purity of Jesus lies over a heart and His transparency burns the cataracts off the soul the only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within. God within is the One seeing God without. God is both the object of my seeing and the subject who does the act of all real seeing, the Word lens the inner eye wears. To sit in the theater of God and see His glory crack the dark, to open the eyes of my heart to see the fountain of His grace – thousands of gifts – I have to split heart open to more and more of Jesus. Who can split open the eyelids but Jesus? He tears the veil to the Holy of Holies, gives me the only seeing I have. I have been lost and now I am found and I sing it softly, before the flying of the flocks south: “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart….”
The lunar pearl overwhelms and I am all eye to the word. It is strange, how joy pains. In the burn of the ache, there is this unexpected sensation of immense moon slowly shrinking and God expanding, widening and deepening my inner spaces. Is that why joy hurts – God stretching us open to receive more of Himself?
I ache-gaze on bits and blades of creation and all things created fade, diminish, and only the features of the Creator shimmer, magnified. My eye sees through to the heights and Him and things beneath are seen for what they are: but finite talismans pointing up. That full moon rising higher holds me rapt. This is where I see it.
God always sits here.