By Sylvia Dickson
Anne Voskamp writes beautifully—I like her style. More than that, I like her perspective. In her book One Thousand Gifts, she presents a challenge of finding 1,000 things for which to be thankful. It is a challenge to look up, not down or even out.
Our God is a gift-giving God who settles things into our lives to surprise us with joy. Seeing those gifts creates thanksgiving, even in the midst of sorting socks or tackling a nasty spill on the floor…focusing on the beautiful ray of light that makes a bowl of fruit glow, instead of the dust mites drifting onto the table.
Being in a dorm 24/7 can warp your thanks into no thanks at times. Loving, guiding, and nurturing twelve to sixteen school age kids is a nonstop operation. After one situation is handled, another one or two walk through the door. Focusing on the good things happening can require a cosmic shift in the universe, or at least, in perspective.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17). No matter how our days or lives flux, we can count on God to be steady and faithful, and in that we give thanks.
In knowing that God called us to French Camp for His glory, we give thanks. In knowing that He brings every young person here for His glory, we give thanks. In knowing He purposes every event in our lives for His glory, we give thanks.
Knowing that He is establishing His kingdom through all the events of history brings a confident joy and thankfulness. Whether Isis is attacking, or someone in school calls you a bad name, or you would rather live with dad rather than mom, God is using all things for our good and His glory. Even when our dorm families are hurting, and the dryer is broken, and someone has nowhere else to go for Thanksgiving, we are comforted through His Spirit and can be thankful.
How many gifts has God given us? More than one thousand. Food, clothing, shelter, of course. And then we have puppies and kittens, cool rain on a hot day, sunsets with mountain silhouettes, a hug at just the right time, a listening ear, and much more. And a place called French Camp Academy where young people who are facing some difficult times can find peace, safety, joy, and even thankfulness.