Archive for March, 2012

Last night, our book club met and discussed Chapter 9 of “One Thousand Gifts.”  Through events in her life in the last week and through the topic of that chapter, God has given Rachel Engler something to share with us today…so, without further ado, here’s Rachel:


Ann Voskamp discusses humility in the chapter we discussed for the Women’s Ministry book club this week. She writes of being brought down to your knees by awe and thankfulness that comes from a place of humility in the presence of God.


For me, humility is something that has always scared me…a feeling I have not gone looking to experience.


Just a few of the synonyms a thesaurus provides for the word “humble”:

shame, mortify, demean, crush, degrade, deflate, etc. (EKKKK!!)


And this is where God stepped in the last few days to really show me what humility is and to experience that in awe and thankfulness.


Recently, God led me to a place of being humbled by the unconditional love and grace of another person in order to completely blow my mind by the immenseness of His love and grace. He did not force me to my knees -the way I had always assumed “being humbled” worked- rather, I fell to my knees in awe, in gratitude, and in utter humbleness.


If a person who has no obligation to do so can love me so deeply then how can I not fall at the sheer amount of God’s love for me? How is it that I have devoted so much of my life to Him and touted His love and grace to both myself and others and yet never allowed myself to fully experience all aspects of that love?!?


For me the key was vulnerability. There was a place in my heart that I had kept so tightly closed, a place where I allowed myself to believe that parts of me might be unlovable, imperfect, even ugly.


When I was completely vulnerable, completely stripped and exposed in that place, God gave me someone to love me right through that. He gave me a relationship that could mimic my relationship with Him and be made Holy by that.


It is not that I had not experienced love or that I ever doubted God’s love for me. But this love, this grace was different. It was not that giddy, ecstatic, affectionate, sweet, happy sappy love.




A love from My God that came from a place of being wholly and exhaustively thankful – thankfulness that, as Ann would say, preceded the miracle – the miracle being humility- and realizing that it is not the defeated place I had imagined and feared it to be.


It seems so simple now and yet I am altogether in awe by this gift of being brought down low by God’s love and grace…


– Rachel

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Attitude Reboot

Getting out the door on Sunday mornings is not easy…in fact, some days you have no idea what a miracle it is that all of my kids have shoes on their feet and their hair combed when they get to church – so if you happen to see them and their clothes don’t match, just smile and give them a hug. 


This last Sunday, my careful calculations of how long it would take to get everything done went awry…not sure where the breakdown was, but nevertheless, we were running late for Sunday school…by the time we got in the car and pulling out of the driveway, Abby, Will, and I were all flustered and mad and snappy…Ella was pretty happy – which was a good thing!


So, as we drove away from the driveway, I started thinking about Chapter 7 of “One Thousand Gifts” and some of our discussions at book club the previous Tuesday night – specifically about how you can choose to replace all of these yucky feelings with thankfulness – so I tell Abby and Will that and we all take a deep breath and try to reboot our attitudes.


Abby and I proceed to just rattle off all kinds of things we are thankful for – with one rule – you can’t just say “I’m thankful for everything”…


Me:  “Thanks, God, for that green light so maybe we can get to church a little faster!!” Abby:  “Thanks, God, for blue – the blue in the sky is so beautiful today!!”  Me:  “Thank you, Lord, for a car to get us there!”  Abby:  “Thank you, God, for the trees starting to bloom!”  And we go on and on….


Will hasn’t said a word – so I prod him “Will, let’s hear it – what’s something you are thankful for?”  His response – “I’m thinking…”  So I leave him be and Abby and I keep going…a few minutes later, I ask him again…and I can tell he’s frustrated because he can’t think beyond “everything” or “the world”….


I then think of something I had read – probably on pinterest or facebook – but it said:

“What if you woke up today

and the only things you had

were the things you

thanked God for yesterday?”

I shared that idea with Abby and Will…and the lightbulb went off in Will’s head.  Suddenly, he won’t be quiet – he’s thanking God for everything from his baby sister and her carseat to baseball and football and his shoes.  In the next 8 minutes it took us to pull into the parking lot at church, I think Will came up with a thankful list of about 50 things, no joke. 


So, here’s my challenge to you today – what if you woke up today and all you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday?  You’d be alot more thankful, wouldn’t you?  Those joy/thankful lists would be overflowing….well – go get to it! 

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