the mystery

it’s always a different experience, reading a book at a different time in your life.

i first read one thousand gifts at the very beginning of this year, and i can honestly say, it changed my life.

i have a feeling it’s going to do so again, but differently this time.

on page 14, voskamp writes:

“Is this the toxic air of the world, this atmosphere we inhale, burning into our lungs, this No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this? No, God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here, thanks. And God? Thanks for nothing. Isn’t this the human inheritance, the legacy of the Garden?”

isn’t this the story of my life?

i have forgotten, and i still forget, that even when His plans look like a gutted, bleeding mess, they are ultimately for His glory.

i have also forgotten that when we try to throw wrenches into His plans, they cause more harm than good.

“‘[I]f Hezekiah had died when God first intended, Manasseh would never have been born. And what does the Bible say about Manasseh? Something to the effect that Manasseh had led the Israelites to do even more evil than all the heathen nations around Israel. Think of all the evil that would have been avoided if Hezekiah had died earlier, before Manasseh was born. I am not saying anything, either way, about anything.’

“‘Just that maybe…maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.'” [p.21]

which bears the question, whose ending do we want?

do we want His glory or do we want ours?

do we want His seemingly chaotic but really organized world, or our seemingly organized but really chaotic world?

what are we seeking, ultimately?

a close family friend of ours died two weeks ago. i have seen death before, but besides christy‘s a few years ago, i have not seen the death of someone i used to see on a weekly basis, who had been to our house, and to whose house i had been. and it’s hard – so hard – to look at that death and christy’s and believe that there was a purpose there.

it brings tears to my eyes. how do we carry on like this? how do we turn our eyes back to His and say, “i don’t understand. i believe – help my unbelief. because i can’t carry this anymore. i don’t know how. i never did.”

and He sends manna.

“I think of buried babies and broken, weeping fathers over graves, and world pocked with pain, and all the mysteries I have refused, refused, to let nourish me. If it were my daughter, my son? Would I really choose the manna?” [p.22]

would i?

will i?


is there a time when you wanted to refuse what God had given? how did He send manna to you?

link up your thoughts on the first chapter of one thousand gifts here:

now head over to margaret‘s to see what she’s written for this week!


  1. says

    Aw, I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of your family friend. Death is never an easy thing to come to terms with, no matter how close or distant the person who passed on was to you. I am still sorting through feelings I had after my Mimi passed away this past April.

    I did love this about you post though…”i have forgotten, and i still forget, that even when His plans look like a gutted, bleeding mess, they are ultimately for His glory.” I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes God’s plans don’t unfold so nicely at first, but you and I both know that He has a plan and that everything is for His glory!

  2. says

    I read this book two years ago, and like you, it changed my whole perspective on this life. I’ve been wanting to read it again, in this new season, but just haven’t had the time. This post is great. I even tweet-quoted you 🙂

    We are so alike, in spirit and in heart, and I think it’s cool.
    Hope you have a great weekend my friend!

  3. says

    Chapter one pretty much rocked me. We lost our daughter in 2008 when I was just 25 weeks pregnant with her. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced, especially since my husband was deployed to the middle east. But SOMEHOW, we got through it and I could feel the heavy weight of God’s grace covering me through the entire thing. People would ask how I was so composed or how I got through it. My only answer, ever, was Jesus. He is unexplainable. And God’s plan was to walk through that time with me and use it to use me in other’s lives later. (I didn’t include this story in today’s post because I’ve written about it several times before 🙂

    And yet I was devastated thinking about how I would handle the situation that Ann’s parents faced. And it made me wonder if I would rely on God as I had when we lost Izzie. I want to say yes…

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