So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness . . . and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. — Colossians 2:6-7, Colossians 2:10
Come Monday morning I forget. A child loses a book, has an exam, is late for practice. I stress over the trite, a phone call, what’s for dinner, a deadline.
Am I living God’s best for this life or am I bankrupting any legacy of faith? What misery lurks in the next twenty-four hours and the next? Stress can be an addiction and worry can be our lunge for control and we forget the answer to this moment.
My baby is five. She falls asleep in my arms after the close of dinner prayers, us still seated at table, and I hold her long after the Farmer has put the rest of the tribe to bed, her curls damp and etching into my skin and I don’t move. Her face is turned toward mine, broad and open, eyelashes whisper of gold. I trace her lips, gentle curve of all things beautiful. The way her eyes danced today, soul light, the arch of her eyebrows and that lyrical laugh, heaven’s echo that entirely undoes me. Her breath is warm on my face, all that is alive and warm and breathing inside of her now, falling upon me, and I can’t capture it, hold it, this, her life now, me in this moment. She is leaving me, she’s growing up and moving away from me, and she stirs and I sweep back the crop of the golden ringlets.
Stay, Little-One, stay.
Love’s a deep wound and what is a mother without a child and why can’t I hold on to now forever and her here and me here and why does time snatch away a heart I don’t think mine can beat without?
Why do we all have to grow old? Why do we have to keep saying good-bye?
He soothes His own restless child in arms with the whisper, law of the universe that He’s writing deep into this heart: eucharisteo always precedes the miracle, child. And the chin trembles and I stroke her cheek, her body leaning back against mine, and I tentatively open the hand to receive the gift of now… I name the now gifts and I await miracle.
That button nose. I touch a finger to its tip and smile. I gaze long, memorizing.
The way that singular curl spirals over her ear. The way it winds like silken staircase,on and on and on. And I lean over and the lips seal the delicate spot on her forehead with a long kiss, her skin berry wine and I feel Him, His kiss of tender truth: All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends. Did you think I end, that I will not be enough? I am infinite, child.
I wrap a thread of her curls around a finger. I stare into that face conceived in love, reflecting love, and I feel His fall soft on me. I am child in His arms and His breath falls warm upon my face and what I feel for this daughter He feels for me, and the gifts, all these gifts I keep counting, they are His love gifts and they’re slowly waking me up to the tenderest, fiercest Love of all.
Cradling this child, her eyelashes fluttering, her breath rising and falling in sure and steady rhythm, I know it in the pulsing, real, surest kind of way: “Perfect love casts out all fear.” His love had done that.
The table still needs to be cleared. The bowls washed. The bread put away. Snow falls in the dark, white on a barn roof. I can’t imagine what deeper layers of my wounds eucharisteo will gently peel back to heal, but I take her sleeping hand and trace the lines of her skin and I keep on counting blessings to keep on remembering to keep on walking out into the unknown.
I clutch a Perfect Love that knows no end.
Lord God, forgive me for raging against time’s snatching away — in a thousand different ways — a heart I don’t think mine can beat without. Remind me that all fear is but the notion that Your love somehow ends. You never end; our God is always infinite and enough. Today, let me walk unafraid: Your endless love ends all my fears.
Excerpted with permission from One Thousand Gifts Devotional by Ann Voskamp, copyright Ann Morton Voskamp.
* * *
What do you think about Ann’s quote, “All fear is but the notion that God’s Love ends”? What fears are you facing? Have you experienced the releasing of those fears as you give thanks to God for blessings, for His love gifts? We would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts and comments below.
In this video Online Bible Study based on the international bestselling book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp invites you take on the life-changing discipline of journaling God's gifts—to really look at life and find the good in it.
It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life that we already have that we discover the life that we've always wanted... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. And only then can we come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved—by God.
When you sign up, you'll receive:
- FREE access to five One Thousand Gifts teaching videos with Ann - recorded at her farm. These videos will be available throughout the entire study.
- FREE downloads of the Session 1 study guide, and the first 3 chapters of One Thousand Gifts to get started.
- FREE Gratitude Bundle:
- beautiful quote prints
- gratitude notes
- grateful jar printables
- and cell phone lock screens
- Plus, FREE access to an online community and discussion groups with others going through the Bible study with you!