Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessed are the people...

Blessed are the people who know the password of praise, Who shout on parade in the bright presence of God. ~ Psalm 89:15 (MSG)

Blessed be the Lord God Almighty 

I was blessed by Psalm 89 this morning, I say "blessed" because it seemed so appropriate as I consider my new book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Last evening I was questioning my decision to use this book.  I LOVE this book, but I haven't been sure I want to journal online as I once again read through its pages.  I wasn't sure I wanted to be quite so "open."  I was still questioning my decision this morning. I paused as I began my devotion time, asking God to give me direction AND to help me hear his direction!

Psalm 89 is a fairly lengthy Psalm. David moves from praising God, lamenting, and then back to praise. Once again, Eugene Peterson's poetic translation offers me new images to consider.  I loved the way he began"
"Your love God, is my song and I'll sing it."
I paused with this first verse, still it was verses 15-18 that opened me, giving me the courage to begin reading One Thousand Gifts with others and to eventually begin sharing my thoughts.
"Blessed are the people who know the password of praise,Who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.Delighted they dance all day long; they know who you are, what you do - they can't keep it quiet!Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us - You've been so good to us! We're walking on air!All we are and have we owe to God, Holy God of Israel, our King!"
On the inside of Ann's book it reads:
what it means to be...
...deeply human
...deeply spiritual
...deeply and authentically fulfilled

The publisher (Dayspring) goes on to write:
"Like most readers, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists about once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

"How," Voskamp wondered, "do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?

"A beautifully practical guide to living a life of joy, One Thousand Gifts invites you to wake up to God's everyday blessings. As Voskamp discovered, in giving thanks for the life she already had, she found the life she'd always wanted.

"Following Voskamp's grace-bathed reflections on her farming, parenting, and writing life, you will embark on a transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling gifts. Along the way you will discover a way of seeing that opens your eyes to gratitude, a way of living so you are not afraid to die, and a way of becoming present to God's presence that brings deep and lasting happiness."

Before I begin, I am confessing that this is the first time I noticed the words "transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling gifts."

I had totally skimmed past, over, through....those words in past readings.  This online journal is about discovering spiritual disciplines and I blew past these words!

This online journaling is to help me learn to "pause", to "slow down" AND I still blew past these words!!!

I confess (Okay...twice in one posting I'm confessing!) that I am totally, and have been totally, covered up with work today...and will remain so in the days to come. My mind has been fragmented today as I have tried to get things done for the church's upcoming Homecoming Celebration. It has taken me longer to do simple tasks, simply because I am not sharp mentally...I'm not focused.

While I am confessing, I may as well continue, by admitting that I purchased a pretty fabric covered journal in which to "chronicle gifts."  I actually chronicled gifts for maybe 2-3 weeks, but then like many things that are healthy for me, I allowed it to become pushed to the side by the urgent stuff of life.

You know what?

Reading these words ("my" words), its no wonder God seemed to keep nudging me to use Ann's book for my online reflections.

Let's consider the upcoming three months...Wee Kirk, Homecoming, Halloween, trip to Wisconsin, Turkey Dinner at church, Thanksgiving, Hanging of the Greens, Seven Birthday Celebrations, Christmas Shopping/Wrapping/Decorating, Christmas Eve Communion, Christmas on Sunday morning, New Years on Sunday morning....... Gosh, do you think I might need help in keeping perspective on what it is I am grateful for in the midst of the upcoming demands on my time?

It is these kinds of non-stop busy times I allow my resident Demon permission to whisper doubts in my ears that I then choose to listen to and believe....and then I'm headed down that track of fear and anxiety full steam. I allow this to happen because I am not taking the time to spend moments within the presence of most important relationship of my life. I'm not taking the time to be deeply human, deeply spiritual, nor deeply and authentically fulfilled.

Lord, I just ask your blessing upon me and upon all those who decide to walk alongside me, reading One Thousand Gifts. By your Spirit, help me to remain present to you as the demands of work and family begin to mount in the days to come. I cannot do this on my own, God, I need you working within me to give me strength to pursue that which I know to be the most important.  I thank you and bless you for all you do for me! AMEN!

A song for me to cling to whenever life seems to be coming at me a bit faster than I like.  "Your love God, is my song and I'll sing it...with your help!  His Eye is on the Sparrow.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. love the new look....
    i certainly understand your resistance, but I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts....
    yep...your schedule looks like the typical church schedule of any pastor......
    some of the flurry...I don't's a bit of advice i wished I'd learned when I was in the parish----guess what---the important things happen---we plan, sweat over every word, carefully write our liturgy, plan the ritual...
    thinking that it depends on us........truth is...sometimes if we just show up...stay in the moment...and trust the spirit...
    she comes....and does things we never imagined...praying for your busy schedule to be one where the Spirit embraces you and holds you up...then surprises you over and over again....

  2. I've read on several blogs about this book, but your post is the first one that has really made me consider going out to find it. I do believe that gratitude is the frame of mind we need. I look forward to reading more. blessings ~ tanna

  3. This book sounds wonderful - I'm going to take a look! Your blog also looks very interesting - thank you for your comment on my blog re: compline prayer - I'm so glad you enjoyed it - it's nice to find someone with similar interests!

  4. Oh yeah - I turned to blogging as a form of journaling, too - my former way of journaling in a notebook had lost its punch, and I thought "publishing" my thoughts, etc. would take it to a new place - which it has! I pray you'll be blessed by it and I'll be interested to read your own thoughts, etc.