About the Author

Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby, Ellie, Kate, Charlotte, and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born, April 7th, 2008. Angie was inspired to write Audrey's story, and began the blog www.audreycaroline.blogspot.com in honor of her. You...

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  1. This was another very deep and rich chapter. One of my favorite sentences: “Fear keeps a life small.” (p. 145) My seed sentences: “Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks—from known to unknown—and know: He holds.” (pp. 151-152)

  2. I love the image of “sleeping with bread”! ( from WWII) It certainly IS what the gratitude journal is all about. Trusting God has also been a deep issue with me, and I needed to hear this whole chapter!

    Now I am headed to prepare for my dinner with my girlfriends book club….tonight.

    I’m re-posting from yesterday in hopes that you’ll respond in prayer for us, that this book & gratitude journaling will speak to these dear friends of mine:

    I’m hosting a book club of a few close friends & TONIGHT we meet. I am giving each a copy of the book and I covet your prayers for three in particular:
    one lost husband to cancer less than a year ago;
    one is divorced from husband for reasons I cannot tell other than that she is humiliated by his life-choices;
    one grieves the recent suicide of her 21 year old son.

    Please pray for our bookclub?

    • Vicki,
      just read your post and stopped prayed for the three, and then for the all in your book club! may you see his plan tonight.

    • Vicki, I’m praying for you tonight. This so grabbed my heart. I’m in tears because I can’t imagine the haunting betrayal and overwhelming pain in the six eyes you will look into tonight—it’s unspeakable. Phil 1:9 – may you love well your precious friends. May the God you represent pour out of you, Psalm 50:2. May HE show up, 2 Chron 20:12 for we know not what to do or say but our eyes are on Him this night and forever. He is jealous for all of you, Deut 4:24…loves you so, you know. How precious of you to embrace your hurting friends who need you to carry them a bit.

    • hi Vicki,

      so many people have so much grief to work through! i’m sorry about the awful trials besetting your friends, and i thank God that you’re reaching out to them. one of my (many) favorite things about “A Thousand Gifts” (and chapter 8 in particular) is the way that it combines unflinching realism about how dark life can be with invincible optimism about how Christ can transfigure everything that is dark. i hope that, in combining the realism and the optimism, Ann’s book will speak to your friends in the book club–especially the three you mentioned; that it will find them in the darkness, and help them find a way out. i imagine you’ve had your book club meeting already (i hope it went really well), but i’ll keep praying for all of you!

      –chris

  3. Seed: To choose trust. To choose.
    Water: To emotionally and practically believe
    Growth: To try to remember, be intentionally grateful, and KNOW His love

  4. This week I am going through a huge struggle and trust issue with my teenage daughter. I ask for many prayers please! 🙁 I need to trust what I am doing as a Mom is good. THIS JOB OF A MOM IS SOOOOOOOOOO HARD! The big issue being her dating a guy that is in our eyes (my husband and I) changing her and her loosing herself and not in a good way. What can I do? What should I do? So I am in the moment now of stress, searching for trust and hope, trying to find thanks in this difficult situation, trying to be calm and give love when I am in a state of fear and scared, etc. This chapter is good and I need to catch my breath. I am praying and ask for prayers for strength, hope, and encouragement please.~ Thank you!!!~Cindy

    • I’m stopping to say a prayer for you as soon as I post this Cindy. I too have teenagers and I know that, for me, this is the season of motherhood with the most treacherous waters. I think it’s because the stakes can be so high. The independence we need to encourage piggybacked with the desire to protect and guide.
      You ( and your daughter) will be in my thoughts today.

    • Prayed for you Cindy. We have a sophomore in college and a sophomore in high school. One thing my husband and I have to remind ourselves (especially when the kids get angry with our decisions) is that we are not here to be their friend, we are here to be their parent. Hard thing, but better to please God than please my child. Stay strong my sister.

    • Hi Cindy,
      I am not a mom of teenagers.. My boys are 3 and 1. But today at our MOPS group, a mom of teenagers spoke and she was fantastic. One thing she said was, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to things. Specifically, her and her husband had told her boys ‘no’ on dating specific people. My personal opinion would be to just simply not allow your daughter to date this person, if you think (which it seems you do) that he wouldn’t be good to date. She’s still a teenager.. I remember how vulnerable I still was as a teen.

      I wish you strength and courage!! Don’t forget how many times it says in the Word, “Be strong and courageous.. be strong and courageous. I will not abandon nor forsake you.”
      Blessings,
      Morgan

  5. I’m in a very black darkness with my teenaged daughter. Please pray I love her like Christ loves…unconditionally. Please Lord show me how to love her. Help me to point her to you. Help me to stay calm and in control. I never knew it would be so hard to look at my own child and I wonder if I’m even capable of loving unconditionally and how did I birth a child who would so willingly hurt me. Help me Lord to realized it is not about me. Help me God. Help me. I do love her so.

    • Cheri,
      I just responded to Cindy above. I too know the darkness you speak of since I have teenagers also. Although I love them with all my heart it is scary when I don’t like them…or the choices they make…or the personality that is emerging and changing. I think many moms of teenagers feel this way….it’s just an unspoken secret we feel guilty about. It takes courage to say what you did. I admire your authenticity and I will also pray for you and your daughter. I would appreciate any prayers for my son also. I pray that although he doesn’t believe in God right now that someday he will feel that God has ALWAYS believed in him.

  6. This is my favorite chapter of the book.

    I experienced sexual abuse as a child as well as religious abuse. (I think I just made that up, but it is so apt.) These combined, I simply have a very difficult time trusting GOd, giving up control, and fully surrendering.

    About 6 years ago, God took me on a crash course in faith and at that time my faith moved from understanding facts to being an action verb. During these 40 days of fasting, He taught me what faith really is: trusting Him moment by moment.

    Since that time, I’ve struggled and gained, struggled and gained, inching forward bit by bit. My favorite parts of this chapter are those that speak of the labor involved in trust and the priority of trust.

    John 6:29 and quote “And trust is that…work. The work of trusting love. Sometimes too often, I don’t want to muster the energy. Stress and anxiety seem easier.”

    Wow. So true.

    “Opening the hand to receive the moment. Trusting what is received to be grace. Taking it as bread.”

    I just love this chapter. It encourages me to keep trusting, keep receiving as grace, keep believing God’s heart.

  7. Cindy & Cheri — I commit to remember you & your daughters in prayer this week. Trusting with you for wisdom in responding to their needs and knowing that God will give His unfailing grace in your time of need!

    Vicki

  8. This book is powerful and I am so thankful for it. This video blog is adding so much and then the blog below each video really drives it home. I am so thankful for the three of you and your willingness to be honest and open. My life is changing because of it.

  9. So good. So much grace. Thank you thank you thank you. Way too much wanting to spill out of my heart right now. I’ll try to consolidate my thoughts.

    First, a dear friend and recent widow shared with me that the word “trust” can also be translated “lean.” In her loss of her husband and best friend she is leaning, and He isn’t letting her fall. As I read this chapter I thought of her and the glory light in her eyes. When we lean, we become part of the mystery, bread for a starving world.

    Second, God has gently dealt with me on the subject of fear. I have a ridiculously vivid imagination, and years ago I’d waste hours inventing dire scenarios in my mind — even completely planning a funeral for my husband one evening when he was several hours late and didn’t bother to call. (It was a very moving service. I wept as I imagined it. Yeah, I’m that pathetic.)

    But then when tragedy really did strike our family, I realized what this chapter so beautifully expresses. God shows up in the darkness, and His grace changes everything.

    I copied the following from speaking notes I used for a retreat last year:

    ***What do you fear? Do you worry about finances? Your marriage? Your children’s safety? The future of our nation? Do you fear that even admitting your fears invites their fulfillment?

    Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.”

    This verse says that fear=slavery. When we live in fear, we live in bondage.

    1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

    This verse says that fear=punishment.

    If you’ve ever been paralyzed by fear, you understand how it is slavery and punishment. And it’s easy to become fearful when the world appears to be spinning out of control.

    I think the reason fear so easily paralyzes us is because we can easily imagine hypothetical horrors, but we can’t appropriate hypothetical grace. Grace is a gift from God, given when it is needed. It defies imagination.***

    I remind myself often that the Author of our stories writes them with purpose, even (or especially?) the chapters we would skip if we had the choice. We don’t have the luxury of skipping to the end to find out how this all turns out, but He knows. Nothing takes Him by surprise. If God is loving (He is) and in control (He is), how can I not trust Him, even if this page I’m living is full of conflict, suspense, or worse?

    I loved what Ann wrote about sometimes needing to drive a long, long distance before we can see God in the rear view mirror. “Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven — that kind of distance.”

    God, Giver of good gifts, is a Redeemer, and Redemption was always the plan. The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world. This place was never going to remain an Eden. So we eat the mystery, and we taste God, and some day (some Day), the whole thing will make beautiful sense.

    I, too, am praying for Vicki’s friends, for Cindy and Cheri, and for Arabah Joy. May our Redeemer God be your portion today. May you see Him in the pages of your story, be amazed by His grace, and find rest.

    Love, Jeanne

    • Jeanne,
      This was beautiful, thank you so much. It was what I really needed to hear today. I am kind of hanging on by a thread..
      Thanks and consider yourself prayed for :).
      Morgan

    • Jeanne, Your story about imagining the funeral made me laugh in commiseration. I’ve gone beyond the funeral, to deciding whether or not I would move and here our family would go. It’s the curse of a vivid imagination; I find that the upside is the ability to enter into stories from the Gospels, or to imagine what heaven might really be like, etc..

  10. Yesterday I read chapter 8 for the second time, this time aloud. Peace enveloped me as I read. Then today I experienced a major disappointment, a hope stealer and I cried through the entire video.
    A mother’s heart never grows armor to the hurts which tear the into the lives of our children, at least not this mother’s heart. I don’t understand, I can’t see. My fragile hope is that this is a tremor caused by God’s approach.

    I cling to Romans 15:13 NIV that Ann refers to on page 146.
    ” May the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust Him, so that I may overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

  11. This chapter resounded big with me. I’m in the big middle of making my own worry “the facade of taking action when prayer really is.” I dealt with anxiety last summer, and have thankfully been delivered from most of the paralyzing effects. However, my husband was laid off his job in January and yes I am thankful for severance and some opportunities that are moving forward at this point, but I’ve been attacked once again with anxiety and fear of the unknown and not wanting to move my family. And yet it seems so trite because no one is suffering physically (but me). The LAST thing I want to do is “advertise the unreliability of God” – especially to my children and husband who needs my unwavering support now in extra measure – with my surrender to the stress that hops onto my chest each morning right around breakfast time and hangs out for the duration of the day.

    As I eat too many chocolate chip cookies, wishing for the time to read this chapter again, I’m thankful for the reminder in my sea of highlights that in this dark and shaky and seemingly unstable place, “God is passing by.” Even today, your words are timely for me, Ann…weeks after I originally read this chapter. I am encouraged with a breaking heart to admit that I am weak, so weak and fearful. But God. He is enough. And I’m encouraged because a gal in Canada had the gumption to write truth without condemnation, exposing the lie of satan for what it is. God IS indeed the “spilling God of the uncontainable, forever-overflowing-love-grace.” So I am all the more encouraged to continue my counting…with or without anxiety.

  12. A few nights ago my bed literally shook…and the entire house swayed…the winds were blowing so strongly outside and so I thought that a tornado was near… I reached out for my husband (was asleep ) and immediately I thought of the glory of God… The weightiness…& I was in awe ….instead of fear there was excitement and expectancy…a genuine understanding that on earth as in Heaven is occurring in my bedroom…whew! Found out later that morning that a earthquake happened… OhYes it DID…He is shaking all that can be so that what cannot be shaken remains …CHRIST…no more duality…no more Christ AND me…no…only Christ!
    To Christ Jesus be all the praise…He is taking His elect on to perfection…I praise you Father…you are so beautiful and so good and Glorious … I am so excited to see you get YOUR inheritance….your riches WITHIN the saints!
    Oh blessed redeemed Holy & beloved of my Father….may His grace be given to you today to KNOW that it is all His work and that He is the one who gives each of us the grace to woo and to do…all Him… What rest… What mystery!
    I like what Ann said about the dark being HOLY GROUND… oh yes! praise His name He
    surrounds Himself in the DARK CLOUDS…
    For He is coming in the clouds….Holy myriads of HIMSELF!!!
    His peace & love to you all.

  13. The sentences rolling around in my head most are, “Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on” (p.151) and, “It is safe to trust” (159).

    This morning I was reading in the middle chapters of Numbers, seeing over and over again how for the Israelites a seed of ingratitude ripened into fruit of outright rebellion. I don’t want to be like that, and as Ann so wisely writes in an earlier chapter, only emotion can drive out emotion. The practice of gratitude can drive out my spirit of, “No, not that!”

    Right now my biggest battles to trust God’s goodness concern (1) multiple loved ones whose struggles just seem to intensify despite ardent prayers and (2) close to a year of limitations due to chronic illness. In both cases, I am powerless to fix the situation and have no alternative to trust the Lord, but fear tempts and taunts me.

    Thanks to the community for the honest comments and prayers above! I appreciate you!

    • Hi there,
      I always post my comment before reading the comments, and you have the same 2 sentences I have! I will pray for you as we all count these graces together and so thankful He hears and loves us so…….

      (your phrase, how a seed of ingratitude ripened into a fruit of outright rebellion, wow, so true)

      karen 🙂

  14. 2010 was my year of weakness. I was weak physically and therefore also weak emotionally. I was weak occupationally. I was weak relationally and therefore also weak spiritually. Praise God, He was my strength, because I had none. What a blessing to hear that the darkness is the holiest. I love the image of Moses in the cleft of the rock and God covering him when He passed by! What a great gift – the darkness.

  15. I really think that every chapter is my new favorite! I struggle with worry and fear, and have missed so many wonderful opportunities because I chose the “easy” path of giving in to the fear. I don’t want to do that anymore!

    There were two lines that I had to star when I read through this b/c this entire thing is so timely for where I am right now. On page 143: “Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is.” On page 147: “Are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God?”

    Amen and amen. I wrote in the margin of 148 “God, I believe IN you, but do I BELIEVE you?” I think I’ll be processing this one for awhile.

  16. “The full life, the one spilling joy and peace, happens only as I come to trust the caress of the Lover, Lover who never burdens His children with shame or self-condemnation but keeps stroking the fears with gentle grace.”

    Words such as these drive like tent-pegs into my consciousness, and I know why. My husband, my best friend, my life-mate since I was fifteen, has shown me what it is like to be truly, selflessly loved. When we met, I was a scattered, splintered girl who had known more than her fair share of fear and trauma and grief.

    And blame. Told at 12 that I caused my father’s death, I accepted responsibility and carried the indictment as truth without flinching for some 18 years before I could bring myself to clarify with my half-sister that it was true. I remember her look of shock as she stared back at me and half-whispered, “What? What? Of course not! Daddy died of congestive heart failure that had nothing to do with you!” I explained how Granny had told me I had broken his heart when I went to live with Mama, and didn’t he die of a broken heart? She hugged the girl me, now 30, and spoke the no over and over and we cried and an anvil fell off my chest there in the soft Georgia clay along the edge of Shanna Drive.

    http://momentsfullyalive.blogspot.com/2011/03/ch-8-builder-of-bridges.html

    In Love,
    Lisa @Write, Pray, Love

    • And is it just me, or has Ann given us a whole new vocabulary? (Voskampulary?)
      Seriously…I keep hearing her words coming out of my mouth, from my fingers, always deeply embedded in my heart by the God we share by His grace. This is deepest joy.

  17. My two take away lines for this chapter are found on page 157…….
    God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors and they gave thanks and rested on pillows of trust………..I love laying my head on my pillow at night so I like the imagery of a pillow filled with reasons to trust God………..all of the many blessings in my life. Yesterday I saw pictures of some galaxies that exist. I started crying as I thanked God for making each one so brilliant with color! I thank God for the bright red of my amaryllis plant, the bright blue of our planet earth, the bright yellow on a daffodil………..tears come into my eyes, as I thank God for giving us so many colors to enjoy…………He could have made our planet in black and white. Giving thanks does cancel out the emotion of worry or fear…………..while at PT today I was reading this book and got to encourage two ladies on either side of me to go home, buy it and start reading it. I also gave them this site to be encouraged by all of you at. Hope you ladies will keep doing the on line book clubs.

  18. Reading about struggles with teenagers, desiring to be His listening ears and voice of encouragement to others , rehearsing a husbands funeral (and crying through it too..I thought I was the only one!) the fears, the longings, the praise, the regrets, the amazing insights and the gift of words…. how thankful I am that this is a safe place to share, and encourage, so that we, in courage, can move forward in our faith and trust of the One who gave up everything for us and gives everything to us. You all are gift #326.
    All IS grace 🙂

  19. The counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One (Christ our Crossbeam). I loved this sentence on page 155.
    I’m really enjoying this book and the videos! Thank you so much.

  20. Oh the questions of Chapter 8. Love them! I think there were 92 questions that you asked each of us. Jesus asked a multitude myriad mountain of questions. So reveals our hearts. Made me think of T.S. Eliot’s quote: “Be prepared for Him Who knows how to ask questions?”

    “What if remembering just leaves third-degree burns?” Mine does. Rape. Abuse. Violence. My body remembers what my mind doesn’t. But what little I remember bleeds me raw. But is this life about me and my pain? There’s a Larger Story going on here. A Mystery we face and embrace for HE so graces us. Wasn’t it St. John of the Cross who wrote: “You have been graced with a disaster that your soul requires to find its way back home.” My Good God has sifted through His Hands what is good for me. Never allows more suffering than what is good for me, His Beloved, Jer 24:6. I’m back home. And my current cancer bids me stay home and I don’t mean the physical address where we temporarily stay.

    I loved that you said belief in our Good God has to be more than mental assent. My friend last week told me I just needed to believe that the cancer was gone and stop speaking as though it was present. But, I must live in this present moment, always in His Presence, and embrace the grace of what He allows. Next Tuesday I go back for my 3-month check-in where they measure the amount of cancer in my body. My numbers are crazy low and I am ecstatic but there are alive cancer cells in my body and so I will wrestle and wonder and wait on a very Good God to show up through pages of a book like this, through full moons and toast, through foreclosure and loss of jobs, through my everyday mountains & valleys, Isaiah 40:4. I don’t know which way my life will twist or turn but I trust the One sifting for me. The One singing over me, Zeph 3:17-19. I have many fears and you bring me back home to Romans 7, then 8. Thank you for words of life, John 6:63.

  21. I have 2 sentences:
    “Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on.”
    “It is safe to trust!”

    I so appreciate how you write, Ann, so encouraging, but you do not leave out the hard questions either, and show how this working out of faith in this world is a struggle, but so worth it, and so necessary, and He is so faithful and can always be trusted. 🙂

    karen

  22. To His rose of SHARON…what a blessing you are…. Truly lovely… you are my gift too…His fragrance within you is gloriously delightful…
    Be blessed today my sister…all His goodness & sweetness to you!

  23. As I am reading this book I come across passages and just say, “Yes! So true.” Sometimes I can’t even verbalize or write what it means to me….but, God knows.
    One of the sentences that stuck out to me was: God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors.
    I might have to put that on an index card and tape it to my bathroom mirror, to see every morning. So many things in my life….when I look back, I see God was there. I just don’t even have the words to explain it…..
    On page 159, the saying “yes” in Christ, to the questions of every moment. I have that very same thought scribbled all over my prayer and devotional journal from 2005. That was quite a year of growing for me. I had Yes! written out in margins all over the place. Not only, was I learning to say yes, but I was also looking back and seeing how God worked in my life.
    This whole chapter in Ann’s book, brought all that back to me. Truly inspirational and life altering stuff. I’ve had times while reading this book, that I have to put it down for awhile because it is too overwhelming. Does anyone else ever feel that way? It’s almost as if God is sitting right there next to me and saying, “Dawn, I’ve always been there. I will always be there. Trust me. Just trust me, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. You stress far too much, and for what? There are no surprises with ME and I have everything under control. Just rest in ME.”
    God is good.

    • hi Dawn,

      yes someone else does (often) feel that way: it’s striking how a book that (in one sense) you can’t put down, is a book that (in another sense) you have to put down!
      in this chapter, as in the others, there’s ever so much to absorb–where “absorbing” isn’t simply a matter of understanding (intellectually) what Ann is saying, but also (and especially) of writing in our own hearts what she has written on the page.

  24. oh, my… so much GOOD in this chapter.
    Worry, stress, fear, control… so often these are my default responses. I so long to have peace and joy and TRUST.

    page 161 – “All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends.” and “Fear thnks God is finite and fear believes that there is not going to be enough….”

    I’ve been counting gifts for more than a year and have seen a big difference in my life — but in reading Ann’s book I’m making connections that I had not made before. God is taking me deeper, so much deeper! I am so grateful for this book and this community!

    And Angie… I AM interested in your book marking process. I’ve found that the older I get the harder it is for me to remember the wonderful insights I find in books that i read. Please share!

    Jaymie

  25. Yep, another amazing chapter. I agree with all the “underlines” and also love the correlation with thanks to trust to real belief. “Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on. My thankful moment today – the blessing of Sonshine! Thanks ladies!

  26. I guess I don’t tend to live with fear and anxiety… God has proven Himself faithful time and time again. Like crossing a bridge, I just do it without a thought… well, maybe I cross with a prayer now 🙂 But I loved how Ann describes the tremors as God passing by – even when the bridge feels shaky, I know it will hold. And if it collapses, He will catch me… after all, His tremors mean His presence! When I look in the rearview mirror I see the bridge behind me… I’ve crossed it and am moving on… I breathe a prayer of thanks.

    “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matt 6:34 [Msg]

  27. This chapter really spoke to me as well as so many others have shared. Fear has been a struggle for me too. My latest struggle has been watching my son deal with fear in a bullying situation and trying to help a 9-year old Trust God when I don’t totally do it either. . .He has been losing sleep, as have my husband and I, as a result for the last month. I am currently in physical therapy for a hip injury and working on healing. With these two things alone, it is hard not to worry about taking a trip to Arizona from our home in the Midwest next Wednesday (with tickets from my parents so feel an obligation to go). I can see I need to breathe and model trust to my son and it is not easy. Thanks for sharing your struggles so well in this chapter. I think I need to re-read again :). In the meantime, I have started my own list of gifts and trying to shift my focus. daily to that. . .

  28. Like almost everyone has stated, this was (yet another!) powerful chapter. I too have always been easily captured by the demon of anxiety. I was most captured by the word picture of being tucked in the cleft not being able to see but knowing that rather than being alone, He is the closest. Interestingly enough I stumbled across a very similar word picture in Sheila Walsh’s latest book, “Under the Shelter of God’s Promises”.

  29. “Eucharisteo, remembering with thanks, this is the bread. We take the moments as bread and give thanks and the thanks itself becomes bread. The thanks itself nourishes. Thanks feeds our trust.” (pg 158)

    Since beginning my list, I feel that every time I give thanks I am partaking of the communion in the midst of my ordinary day (I am!) Why is it that I think of “communion” as a church event? God poured down manna and said, “Remember, I will provide.” Jesus broke the bread and said, “Remember, I will provide.” Every time I give thanks I remember… I eat the bread and savor the joy. Every time I give thanks I am in communion with my Father.

  30. Yes, Ang, the quote on page 156 that the tremors are God passing by– what incredible and comforting imagery that conjures up! I went back and re-read that passage several times {and starred and underlined, etc} because this is powerful stuff. Freeing. Beautiful. Life-changing.

  31. Simply,
    〮”Trust is everything.” p. 149
    〮”Nothing has materially changed since yesterday’s fears, last week’s anxiety….But I have.” “Thanks is what builds trust.” p. 150
    〮”How can you count on life when the hopes don’t add up?” They don’t have to add up. The blessings do. p. 151
    〮God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors. p.157
    〮Hear me say thank you, hear me say Yes! Watch me live a life of yes. To all that was and is and is to come. The power of sin and death and fear-sent-from-the-enemy are forever ended because we can trust…in God even when it’s black, even when we don’t know what it is. p. 159
    〮He’s writing deep in to this heart: “Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle, child.”p 160
    〮All of p. 161
    〮And in ending…”I clutch soul Bread and a Perfect Love that knows no end.”

    Beautiful…Nourishing…”Incouraging”, Sweet is God’s Peace!
    Thank you ladies, again.

  32. Take Away —
    1) “Are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God?” Belief —> to put one’s faith in, to trust. “My daily work. ” p 147

    2) “…He does give us all things good – until we have the perspective of years.” (Patience AND trust.)

  33. Rejoicing with you December Rose that Father is drawing you closer into His spiritual REALITIES.
    The reality of communion… not the form of what the system of man has said it is (the little wafer & juice)…no!…the glorious truth that we are ONE BREAD…for He that is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT…. whew!… Glory!

    Oh yes, the glorious broken bread has been so precious right here on this site… His bread & wine poured forth… To Christ Jesus be praised and given all the glory!

  34. “I know my supreme need is joy in God and I know I can’t experience deep joy in God until I deep trust in God.”

    “The hopes don’t have to add up. The blessings do.”

  35. Oh wow! This chapter and video have so enhanced what God has been saying to me for a while. I had read the book, but God shouted to me through the reread. Stress is not trusting God. I went to the Dr. this week and found answers to issues that I’ve had drs look over for years. I have simple issues that I’ve tried controling for years. I thought that with my efforts I could fix things. I was told this week by the Dr. that it isn’t in my control. I was overwhelmed with God speaking to me at that moment. I’m not in control…I must trust God. This chapter so speaks to that. I also loved the part on p 156 about the dark place being holy ground. God has covered me, and protected me in the darkness. He is there…He is in the tremors. Wow, Ann! How powerful. I needed that too. As my Dad passed away 20 years ago when I was just 20. I need to look back and see that protection and those arms holding me.

  36. HELP! I really am trying to grasp the message and the videos are helping, but I am having such a hard time reading it. It seems “over my head” I am behind, just started Chpt. 5 and considering stopping. Should I? Did anyone else have this problem?

    • Emily,

      I pre-ordered the book and read it through before the book club started. I’m reading it again, chapter by chapter, so I get a better grasp of applying what I’ve read. I am unable to follow the video (I’m deaf), but still gain much from the overview and what is written by others… it adds so much to get other perspectives.

      Ann has a poetic, transparent way of writing – I’ve been reading her blogs for over a year, so I’ve gotten used to it. This is not a book to rush through… needs to be chewed on and digested slowly. I didn’t even start my list of thanks until the third chapter… the second time around! Take your time, I’m sure the posts will be in the archives for a while.

    • Emily, keep trying, I find that if I read the chapter, watch the video, read everyone’s comments, then re-read the chapter I gain so much understanding. I too feel like a lot of it is “over my head” the first time through. Another thing that has proven to be helpful to me personally, I flipped my journal over and started writing snippets of everyone’s comments and insights that I wanted to remember or that really spoke to me. Basically they are upside down and backwards from the back of my notebook. Eventually my snippets and my Gifts list will meet in the middle of the book. I like being able to go back and read quotes from the book and insights throughout the day, wherever I may be. I will add you to my prayer list that the fog may clear for you :o)
      ~Lisa~
      <

  37. This chapter is the one that has hit me the hardest. Not only do I struggle with anxiety, and fear, but also trust. I too, have seen terrible dark times at a young age. I relate to so many emotions that Ann writes through out this book. This chapter is one I believe, I need to read a few more times. Thank you for posting the videos. It truly helps to see someone asking the author for deeper clarity, and just discussing the richness that each chapter holds.

  38. I would shake in my bed as my drunken father came home and beat my mother. As I’d pick the phone up to call the police, I knew I, the person doing the right thing would be the one in trouble , so I’d hang up the phone hoping my mother wouldn’t die that night and wonder how many holes would be in the wall and what furniture would be broken when we came down the stairs in the morning. Fear that she’d leave me home alone to care for brother and sister in the middle of the night to go find him with some other woman, left me unable to fall asleep the nights he didn’t come home and I had that same ulcer Ann talks about at an age you don’t want to know. 40 years later, still living on the same roller coaster with her the drinking is over, but the women are younger and the last thing he does puts me over the edge. She always says “If I can forgive him, why can’t you?” She doesn’t understand because he hurts her and he is taking away from the life I’m trying to live as well. When you function in chaos, you have to learn to function without it. When you grow up without God, but are fortunate enough to marry a Godly man, it is still a long journey to trust and not overcompensate where there has not been compensation in the past. ( My children were never left home alone, not even in their teens.) I finally understand, it is God that is to judge my father, not me. I LET GO as if he is my father and the grandfather of my children and all is well. At the same time, I have to realize the love and approval I have always wanted from my mother is something only God can give me. So I still worry every time my boys get in their cars, I wouldn’t even let the oldest drive the youngest until he was 21!! God is in control, not me!!! And then, two weeks before graduation, the youngest flips the jeep we told him he couldn’t get because of the flip factor (and let him get!) three times and lands on the top and walks away without a scratch. At baccalaureate he was able to speak about God having a reason for him living…… I have IBS, migraines, fibromyalgia, CFS, chronic pain issues and it is all because of worry and stress and not turning everything over to the one that is in control. But FINALLY, living in a house full of God and love and grace and good men, I am able to say the the bad eucharisteo is GOOD! I have always been camera in hand since the age of five, appreciating the glorious things of nature, but WHEN my son at 25 has a detached retina and doesn’t regain vision after surgery (and this has all happened since I have been reading “One Thousand Gifts” )I can say.. but he has life, and he has another eye and his best friend is Jesus…..what more could we ask for. This was a premature son that we were told at birth was a 9 on the APGAR and 2 hours later wouldn’t live, but God has proven otherwise. And now, after this chapter, I think I can learn to help myself, through Ann showing us herself…..how to release this UGLY stress we hold on to and call it SIN, and “Trust and Obey” because He is beside us and I don’t want Him to think I don’t believe that. I have shared this book with two college girls, 5 high school girls, ten adult women……..we are all being blessed in so many ways.

    • LuvNHugz ~ SupportNPrayerz
      Living a life long on the lonely road when we can’t look to our parents for unconditional love is hard. I am so happy that you have found the light shining on your path from the One that we can ALWAYS trust and believe in. :0)
      Have a blessedly beautiful day!!!

  39. To write all the sentences that mean so much to me from this chapter would be too much. But I will share that right at the end, when Ann is sharing the moment of holding her sleeping child and she realizes “what I feel for this daughter He feels for me”. This is how I have also learned of God’s love, trusting like a child. My daily devotionals often come from the moments I spend with my daughters (3 of them). They bring such simple joy to my heart. Tears flow EVERY time He whispers to my heart, “you too bring me joy”.

  40. “There is no joy without trust.” I found myself saying, “do I keep reading or do I stop and ‘get there’. Then I would read on and realize even she wasn’t ‘there’ when she had an, ‘I’m there’ moment’. I am growing in trust. My abandonment issues, fear and distrust throttle me through a life of misery. I can only find joy when I fully trust in Him. I am not ‘there’. I am thanking my way to Trust.

  41. “And in the still, Spirit comes and He whispers a name. Christ.” (page 154)

    When I was little we sang a song at church that said, “I hear the Holy Ghost talking and He’s lifting up Jesus!”–I don’t remember the rest of the song or what it was even about but the thought of the Holy Spirit coming to us to remind us about the specific GIFT of Jesus is so powerful. I love the picture of him not coming to remind us of sin or commands, but of Jesus. To remember REMEMBER Christ “our Crossbeam”.

    The “answer is always YES” paragraph on page 159 had me shouting—well, I wrote SHOUT in the margin because I could just see Ann getting excited (in my imagination) and wanting to shout it to us! God’s promises are YES! His answers are YES! What a relief! It makes stress dwindle away when I know He answers YES!

    Beautiful chapter, video and post. Thank you for illuminating this book, ladies!

  42. SEED: “I can walk unafraid”…..I can live unafraid…His Love Endures Forever
    WATER : Even though the body remembers…shrinks away from the memories and the darkness gives way to the panic….The Truth Remains— Hidden in the Cleft…His Protection
    GROW: New seeds of Truth planted in the darkness….ever growing…in stillness….in Hope of bursting out in Beauty…in Freedom…in Thanksgivivg

  43. I so agree with Jess. I wore my highlighter out on this chapter! It is so very true: “Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks.” The discipline of thanksgiving absolutely builds trust in God. Remembering another strong bridge-building agent. “Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust–to really believe.”

    I can testify that God is with us in the dark. I never thought of it being the very shadow of His presence–how profound! Definitely there are times we don’t realize it until we’re looking in that rear view mirror.

    Praying each bridge-crossing is stronger than the one before–giving thanks each step of the way. Counting grace.

    How will He not also be a God we can trust.

  44. How providential it was when I read this chapter a few weeks ago! I was sitting in my ob’s exam room, waiting on a sonogram, just 9 weeks along. My husband was out of town. My three children were at home with my sweet God-send of a sister. I was shocked to learn that I had miscarried for the third time (shocked because all had seemed so well!). How I clung to these truths in this chapter, knowing the Lord was on this terribly painful bridge with me. Thank you for this honest, frank discussions of this wonderful book. May the Lord use it mightily for His glory. Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for sharing these truths with me, an anxiety-ridden girl. I know He will redeem all our losses in the end!

  45. This was a great chapter and hit close to home.

    In church this morning, one of the songs we sang was “Blessed Assurance”. The last verse in particular struck me as confirming everything Ann has been writing about, and what a blessing it was to sing it back to Jesus this morning! The last verse:

    “Perfect submission, all is at rest; I in my Savior am happy and blest, watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

  46. Convicted.

    “Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.” (pg 148)

  47. I just finished this chapter and I’m re-reading it before I go on to ch. 9 (I’m a bit behind!). I finished it and thought, “I can’t go on yet – I REALLY need to get this.” Fear has been such a big part of my life, and the Lord has delivered me from it in great measures…and I need so much more. The phrase that keeps sticking out to me is “moving from the known to the unknown.” What do I already know about God and how He’s loved me that will allow me to move forward into the unknown without fear?

  48. This chapter was amazing…and during my reading of it, I experienced a turning point. I loved the idea that “God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors”. Loved this: “Remembering is an act of thanksgiving, a way of thanksgiving, this turn of the heart over time’s shoulder to see all the long way His arms have carried.”

    Amen, amen, a thousand amens!

    It is the core of our faith…”Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust – to really believe.”

    Yes…yes…yes!!

    I, too, am a wanderer on bridges, wandering and eating manna….in this place that is not my home…until one day when I will be Home. And, He is calling me to surrender, to let go, to be free, to fall into His peace.

    This bridge analogy…and the remembering was especially meaningful to me as I experienced yet another goodbye recently at the loss of my dear friend, Dinah.

  49. I found the thought, “It is in the dark that God is passing by.” very helpful. I have struggled on and off with depression the last few years. And this time around I said, “Lord if this time is some how a gift, let me see it. Please don’t let me miss out on what you have for me.” This prayer has helped give me courage on those tough days. By His grace I’m seeing it as an invite into grace instead of a curse or pit. He is giving me strength to step outside of myself and how I feel to reach out to others. As a result I have been having wonderful fellowship with other young moms in my church and am learning much about hospitality. I am so thankful for this!

  50. This chapter was healing for me. I have always been a worried anxious person. However when my second daughter was born anxiety was joined by panic attacks. She was born with congenital heart disease. She had to undergo two open heart surgeries before she was 6 months old. (She has had many procedures since as well. And still needs another open heart surgery.) She was just about one year the day I had the first panic attack and I have to be honest thought I might die. I suffered a year with keeping this to my self. I prayed and called out to God but her never answered (so I thought) I wasn’t willing to accept his method of healing I demanded him to snap his fingers and I would be better. Then one day in my car with the girls sleeping I was yelling to God (people driving by must have thought I was crazy) But he spoke to me in the most clear voice I have ever heard. The words “you need to seek help” rang though my ears. Since that point I have never looked back. I did need medication and it’s been 2 years and I’m not ashamed to say I still need them for the panic attacks but that ok. The Lord has used them to work though me because now I have a clear mind. I am working toward independence from meds as the Lord allows. Thank you for this chapter……. I’m not alone.

  51. Reading this chapter at this moment in my journey, it was as if the Lord Himself spoke to my heart. I sat reading this in the bath, weeping my eyes out! Everything in this chapter resonated with me: The fact that I don’t trust God as I should. The husband who constantly re-focuses my eyes on the Lord (just like Ann’s hubby gently does). God as the bridge builder of my life… a plank at a time, who longs to hear my thanks b/c as I give it I trust Him for that moment which causes me to trust Him in the next moment. Some of my remembering too brings back the third degree burns like Ann speaks of. The hard and horrific things that He has carried me through. I loved that picture that Ann used of the us in the dark, in the cleft of the rock and at that horrible moment when we feel that He has abandoned us but it’s really God passing by IN THE DARK. Incredible!!!!

    This week is when my little baby should have arrived but instead six months ago I miscarried. This week four of my friends here and across the world have birthed beautiful, healthy baby girls. This week in my grief and longing for my baby who is with Jesus, I SOOOOOOO needed to hear the message of this chapter. I sat reading this and weeping in the bath, letting the truth of Ann’s words & the scripture she used, wash over my soul. Really incredible! Thank you dear Ann for your transparency in your writing. I often feel so defeated in my Christian life, believing Satan’s lie that I am the only one who feels ‘this way’. There is power in knowing that I am not alone. Not just in that the Lord is with me but in knowing that there are other dear Godly women who fight the same battles as I do. This is my favourite chapter in the book. So incredible!!

    • Stephanie, the week of the 19th this year I would have been celebrating my baby’s first birthday–but I, too, miscarried in October. It was not fun last year to get to that un-birthday, and this year there were too many reminders that it was not going to happen again. Praying that you will begin to see God passing by you now. 🙂

  52. There is SO much here that is so wonderful! How can i limit it to one special thing to remember?

    I’ve heard the story before (page 157-8) of the children after the war going to bed with a piece of bread, how that provided enough of a tangible comfort to them that they would at least have something to eat in the morning. And as I read this I think, remember: Doesn’t He tell us to ask for our daily bread?

    I need this, oh how badly I need this!

    http://purplemoose.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/1000g-chapter-8/