Bloom (in) courage Book Club begins today, with Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Click on over for a visit, and watch the short video discussing chapter 1. It was well worth my thirteen-minute investment. I loved it. I am blessed, and I cried. Not surprised.
I hope to post on each chapter if time and baby allow, and process the reflection questions. Thanks for letting me know you are joining me on this journey, it’s way more fun having names (and some faces) for my imaginary friends on the other side of my screen.
Below I will include excerpts that spoke to my heart, and then answer the reflection questions.
If you are reading along, please leave your reflection answers in the comments section, and join in at any point in the journey.
Excerpts from book that resonated with my heart:
… Really when you bury a child-or when you just simply get up every day and live life raw-you murmur the question soundlessly. No one hears. Can there be a good God? A God who graces with good gifts when a crib lies empty through long nights, and bugs burrow through coffins? Where is God, really?
…How do I fully live when life is full of hurt? How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?
…What God once gave us on a day in November slashed deep. Who risks again?
… I believe the Serpent’s hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign through the ages: God isn’t good. It’s the cornerstone of his movement. That God withholds good from His children, that God does not genuinely, fully, love us.
…I live as though He stole what I consider rightly mine: happiest children, marriage of unending bliss, long, content, death-defying days. I look in the mirror, and if I’m fearlessly blunt- what I have, who I am, where I am , how I am, what I’ve got – this simply isn’t enough. That forked tongue darts and daily I live the doubt, look at my reflection, and ask: Does God really love me?
…From all of our beginnings, we keep reliving the Garden story. Satan, he wanted more. Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave. Isn’t that the catalyst of all my sins? Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives.
…my sister’s death tears a hole in the canvas of the world. Losses do that. One life-loss can infect the whole of a life. Like a rash that wears through our days, our sight becomes peppered with black voids. Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn’t: holes, lack, deficiency.
… “His secret purpose framed from the very beginning is to bring us to our full glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7 NEB) His secret purpose – our return to our full glory. It is one thing to choose the grace offered at the cross. But to choose to live as one filling with His grace? Choosing to fill with all that He freely gives and fully live-with glory and grace and God? It is a choice. Living with losses, I may choose to still say yes. Choose to say yes to what He freely gives. Could I live that – the choice to open the hands to freely receive whatever God gives?
…How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion?
Reflection Questions from Bloom (in) courage Book Club:
1. Seed: What has been planted as you read this chapter? What has it stirred in you?
Ann’s words – to me are like the Holy Spirit putting words to my many emotions, questions, and deep places I’ve been. Hence the tears, and raw emotion. I highlighted the excerpts above because they have been my heart’s cry at different times and issues I’ve wrestled with. Some are behind me and others are now being addressed.
As I’ve read chapter one, now twice, the seeds planted in me are that I am ungrateful. Loss and life have made me “peppered with black voids. Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn’t: holes, lack, deficiency.” I see the BAD, the negative – lots. I have not been living fully of grace or emotion, and experience numbness – without really knowing it. Yes I am open to what God has for me – but if I am honest, I struggle at my core with overcoming the doubt that “Is God Really Good and Does He Really Love Me?” I know the scriptural truth – and I’ve worked through these questions – but I’m realizing that the doubts still exist.
2. Water: How are you nurturing what God desires in you? Be intentional and obedient to what your responsibility is in growth.
I am nurturing these areas by keeping my gratitude journal. Counting gifts. When negative emotions, fears, sin arise and I want to explode – I am purposing to stop and practice gratitude.
3. Bloom: What is the fruit you are seeing from what you have learned?
As I posted here , I have learned the art of practicing thankfulness in despair. But I am learning that it works with my everyday issues just the same! My outlook changes. When I grumble in my heart about those around me and what they haven’t done, if I stop and count the gifts – pray gratitude to God for them – it changes my perspective. Fills me with His fruit, and I can walk in His strength through the moment.
4. How about you? Did any parts of the chapter stand out as far as a seed you want to grow?
So, I’m realizing my ingratitude, seeing much of life and people as deficient, my wrestle with not experiencing the full life and living with numbness, and my struggle with heart-core doubt of God’s goodness and Love for me. That’s a lot of seeds – some that need to grow and some that need to die!
Until chapter two girlfriends…
continuing counting His gifts…