While at Relevant, I was given a bookmark which included a free download of Ann's book ~ One Thousand Gifts. I got my download and read a few pages only to discover I really prefer a hard copy in my hands - reading and e-copy just wasn't working for me!
So, I pre-ordered my book on Amazon. And, Wednesday after it came out - I was sort of listening for the UPS man all day and hoping it would come. Just after dinner with the evening ahead ~ the doorbell rang and it was here.
As I took the book out of the box, I felt like I wanted to treat Ann's words with care. I was holding a very real piece of her heart and life right in my hands and how to treat that respectfully? First of all, that meant I didn't want to fly through it - but linger and savor it and the time and effort she put into it.
You can read the first chapter here, and as you do - you will discover a hard story. Ann's words are beautifully and artfully written. And, they are from some deep places in her.
After reading the first three chapters, I laid down to sleep and gave thanks for Ann. For the courage to share her journey. I realized what a gift her sister's short life has been ~ for in their agonizing loss ~ multitudes of thanks are rising to Heaven, to the very throne of God. Out of the loss has come enormous gain for God's glory! What a treasure to have that said about a life, and not just said - but a reality!
It proves to us again and again that wonderful and beautiful things come out of our weaknesses and our trials. These are the times we grow the most and are changed the most. And, in His perfect plan ~ our journeys are altered. But, only within His grace. Only with His permission.
Now, I've finished the book and have read it halfway through a second time. I am amazed at how Ann can describe laundry and washing dishes and make them sound like art. Wow!
I am amazed at how I can read God's Word and the words "gave thanks" now jump out at me. I give this book my highest recommendation. It is one that I will enjoy and reference and be inspired and challenged by for years to come. Having a few more glimpses into Ann's heart and what God has spoken through her are even more benefits.
My girls and I have enjoyed the printable lists that provide an opportunity for us to list thanks. Theirs are posted by their beds and mine in my Peace Retreat.
This book feels like a friend because I have hugged the one who wrote it and know that she is a friend and kindred spirit. And, because I love the One who brought her story to us. God, Ann, this book - all definitely on my list of thanks today!!
How can any words I share do justice to Ann's sharing of her heart?! Have you read the book? Carrie's posting her thoughts today too - read here.