Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Flight…and First Steps

bloom book club
I forgot to mention in my last Bloom Book Club Post, that the Book Club is doing two chapters a week of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp.  One on Sunday and the next on Wednesday.  So, last Wednesday was Chapter 2 “a word to live…and die by” and today, Sunday is Chapter 3 “First Flight”.

Now, on to it.  (Pssst: There’s a big peek into my world…First steps! at the end…hope you make it there!)

Well, I must say, that I was really excite
d to continue this journey with Ann through her book.  Not only did I want to know more of the journey, but I was looking forward to seeing Ann move tangibly toward the life that is making her whole.  Ann makes anyone who reads her blog feel like a friend, and naturally, you just want the very best for your friendsSmile 

So, this is the chapter where Ann’s list begins.  Her friend Shelly notices.  And Ann takes us back to how it began.  A friend dares her.  ‘Could (she) write a list of a thousand things (she) love(s)?’ And it is almost nonchalantly that she begins.  Because ‘sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.’ p.45
And then very quickly she finds a tingling alive-ness,
‘Writing the list, it makes me feel…happy.  All day.  I can hardly believe how it does that, that running stream of consciousness, river I drink from and I’m quenched in, a surging stream of grace and it’s wild how it sweeps me away.’ ~p.46
Honestly, I could just quote this whole chapter.  It is so beautiful!
‘Something always comes to fill the empty places.  And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.  This, this, makes me full, and I “magnify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30), and God enters the world.  What will a life magnify? The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? or God?’ ~p.59
‘This act of naming grace moments, this list of God’s gifts, moves beyond the shopping list variety of prayer and into the other side…the interior of His throne room, the inner walls of His powerful, love-beating heart.  The list is God’s list, the pulse of His love…And I see it now for what this really is…It is really a dare to name all of the ways God loves me…To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable…The only thing that can change us, the world, is this—all His love.” ~p.59
(All quotes from Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are; Chapter 3

around home, osceola fair 006
And I think of my own first flight.  I go back to my freshman year of college and a night I talk about here where I knelt and sobbed and believed the Gospel down deep for the first time.  I was baptized when I was eight, prayed OUT LOUD at prayer meetings and really, truly loved God.  But, this was different.  I had read an essay, ‘The End of the Struggle’ as a part of Sonship Discipleship Course through World Harvest Mission {now Serge}.  I learned to ‘preach the Gospel to myself’ and I realize now that this was breaking this core, forever and ever and ever HIGH AND LIFTED UP Grace bread over all that I knew was mess and NOT the perfection I had relentlessly pursued for years.

Through this Grace, I was healed of so much that had been hard in life and saw all as Grace. Gospel.  I share about this journey in ‘Gospel Speaks Grace and Grace Keeps Giving Away’.  And I also talk about how I learned my deepest lessons when God brought me home to my parents.  The last place I wanted to be.  But, the place I most needed to be.  And gave me a priceless Grace of caring for my mother while she was dying.

And so in the nearly nine! years now since my mom died, there has been something in me that has beenaround home, osceola fair 011 a bit lost. Though so many wonderful things have happened like marrying my amazing husband, two incredibly wonderful children, the adventure of a missionary calling…I have been ‘held back’.  I quote this because a final thing my mother said to my sister to tell me was, ‘tell Abby not to hold back.’ Seriously? Mom!!!! 

So, I began my list late last Spring. Then returned for the summer to Hungary, not expecting to have the Lord ask me to surrender my timing and even if we would be called overseas long-term, but He did ask me to surrender and clearly called us.  

So, I came ‘home’ with a year of upheaval ahead and overseas life to follow and I began this list in earnest.  I also began to write after not really writing since I lost my mom.
I thank God for bringing Ann’s blog, heart, life, now this book.  Finding her blog was a huge impetus to beginning this blog. And, words did not come right away.  But, the thanks did.  And now both flow freely and I can’t imagine EVER STOPPING!!!!  (at least the thanks…people may definitely get tired of ‘my words’Winking smile)

This is my second flight and yet all I see are the continual ways He has made me soar all of my life…infinite gifts and I remember precious mama’s favorite verse:
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
~Isaiah 40 : 30-31
And I am so thankful to share this sweet video with you of my baby girl whose cautiously and carefully taking priceless little steps
Smile
My Sweet Susie has started walking! Named for my mama and just a gift. You can also see how her big brother is such and encourager! I am so blessed!!!

Thank You Lord!…
  • for friends to share these sweet steps with
  • for a priceless baby girl that is making many smile
  • for precious reminders in teeny tiny toddler steps
  • for a big brother who is cheering, cheering!
  • for breath
  • for life
  • for healthy kids…so, so healthy!
  • for their chubby little love that teaches
  • for wanting to hold onto that love
  • for how that reminds of staying like wee ones
  • for the new soul skin
  • for how it is eternally new
  • for how growing old is growing young in FOREVER
  • for those that break our heart and leave us so young
  • for how they will be forever held
  • for forever joy from their forever littleness
  • for the big transition coming
    • for a great meeting and the official ‘go-ahead’
    • for lots of things to work on together…to become strong for the days ahead
    • for a life-changing weekend in the final stages of preparing for
    • for a father letting his son come
    • for all YOU WILL DO
    • for a dear, dear co-worker and hard news
    • for how leaving those we love will break our hearts
    • for how the heart breaking is worth it
    • for You…You receive the Glory and will continue the work
  • for Valentine’s Day
    • for 364 OTHER days to express love (No, I’m not going to add 364 to my listWinking smile)
    • for a husband who receives simple gifts
    • for following through on a New Year’s resolution to bake more.
    • for how that is also a Valentine’s gift
    • for hugs, kisses and love that are always the best gifts!
    • for homemade love!
  • for being with my niece
    • for her amazing talent
    • for how she needed me after her competition
    • for the rare chance to hug and love her and be her ‘auntie’
    • for all that you’ve done in her these 16! years!
    • for provision for my brother, her dad,
    • for provision and space for their soon family of 10!
    • that I can now visit family in California!
  • YOUR GIFTS NEVER END!!! BY YOUR GRACE, I WILL NEVER, EVER STOP!!!
  • That I am finding You where I didn’t
  • That ‘thanks’ is my moody medicine extraordinaire:)
  • That it is harder to ‘feel’ discontent, ungratitude
  • That it IS all about Your love
  • That YOU have ‘loved me with an Everlasting Love and drawn me with Loving Kindness’
  • That YOU have made me FLY!!!
  • That YOUR love IS Better THAN LIFE!!!!
#707-755 of the One Thousand Gifts of the Endless list of Gifts…
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