'But God said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9'

Monday, 9 January 2012

One Thousand Gifts - Joy dare for 2012

I have never been one for making New Years resolutions. I like the idea behind them, but especially this year, I would have no idea where to even start.

However our pastor has named this year ‘The Year of Hope’, and I love this as a theme for my year. I want to have hope and joy in the Lord in 2012, even as I struggle through this journey of grief. I want to recognise Him more in each day.
I have been seeing a lot of comments online in the last week about a ‘Joy dare’ that people are doing for 2012, but until today I haven’t actually sat down and checked it out. This morning I finally looked up the website and read more about it.

It is based on a book called “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are” by Ann Voskamp. I must admit, I haven’t actually read the book yet. Although I have heard very good reviews.  Ann has had a lot of heartache and pain in her life, but she believes that in God there are still gifts amongst the hardest times of our lives. The dare of the ‘One thousand gift list’ shows a way  to create a habit of joy, even in times of pain.

Her website says: “In One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann strives to find the meaning of life and fully embrace the surprising truth from the final scenes of Jesus’ earthly life.  In the hours before Jesus’ execution, he took bread and gave thanks.  This fresh, heart-wrenching book unveils the long forgotten wonder that through the imitation of Christ’s thankfulness, we too can experience a life of joy.”

The dare is simple - to write down 3 things each day that you are thankful for. 3 gifts that you can praise God for. 3 things a day, for every day of this year. In doing so, you are cultivating a habit of joy.

Ann says this about it on her Facebook page: “Count 1000 gifts in 2012. You can jot the gifts down in a journal, on a blog, on a calendar, and share on FB, Twitter or not at all. You can collect them all on the free #1000gifts app and you can take photographs of each one -- or not at all. You can count the three gifts from the Joy Dare Calendar found on the blog -- or you can simply find your own gifts.

The means matters little -- just that gratitude becomes a habit and thanks to God becomes the default through counting 1000 of His gifts. Any way you choose to number or collect or chronicle -- however it's easiest for you. Make the discipline of giving thanks for gifts become a freedom to thank God all the time in all things!"

(You can see more of what she has to say about the Joy Dare on her blog, by clicking here, or more about her book on her website onethousandgifts.com).
This year is going to be another hard one for me. The pain from losing my daughter isn’t getting any easier. My baby is gone, and I never get to hold her again in this life. That isn’t going to change. But this dare is a way helping me see the blessings that I do have. It is a way that I can encourage the habit of having God’s joy, even amongst my deep pain. I don’t have to wait until my sadness is gone, which is just as well because that may never happen. I don’t have to wait until I feel ‘happy’ again.

I can have God’s joy right here where I am, no matter what my situation or heartache. I can have an eternal perspective, and recognise the blessings that God has gifted me with in and through Hannah’s life. I can be thankful for the love, joy, and grace that He is giving me.

I have decided to write my 3 gifts each day in a beautiful journal that a friend gave me for my birthday (thanks Jacinda!). It is called the ‘Amazing Grace Promise Journal’, and it has inspiring Bible verses and quotes throughout it. I have been waiting for something special to use this journal for, and this seems like the perfect thing. I have been learning about God’s grace these past few months, and I want to make the conscious decision to be even more thankful for that in each day. Grace is also Hannah's second name, so I love it ;)

I will also take photos of some of my ‘gifts’, and I will post about some of them here on my blog.

When I opened my journal just now, this is the quote that I saw:  “Much of what is sacred is hidden in the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives. To see something of the sacred in those moments takes slowing down so we can live our lives more reflectively”. (Ken Gire)

How appropriate! This is what the One Thousand Gifts Joy dare will help me to do. It will help me to see the gifts that God gives me each day, that I otherwise would just take for granted or miss altogether.

I know that having joy will not take away my pain. Being thankful will not lessen my sadness in missing Hannah. But it will help me to focus my eyes on my relationship with the Lord, and have hope.

If this idea has touched your heart, would you consider doing it too?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments, they are an encouragement to us xx