anding out bare bits of your heart is ridiculously hard.
That’s what we did here these last few week.
Shared our hearts.
You were wildly gracious.
And I can say this: There were days I didn’t know how I’d keep breathing.
Strange, when your gasping heart’s laying exposed under your words: “A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.”
(Sort of … um… like your name meaning “full of grace” —- and you haven’t been ~ahem~.)
Yeah, I’m just a mama of half dozen, a wife to one gentle farmer, and I do this crazy thing that I don’t even tell folks about, this scratching out blog posts in the dark, in the fringe hours, a way to journal our journey, the interior and the outer. I’m a slow thinker, a slower word scratcher, and I was the kid who ran and hid out behind the barn when company came. I’ve always felt safest on the fringe, in the shadows…
I never set out to write a book.
When an editor slipped an email into my inbox, I thought it was a prank. The phone rang. It wasn’t a prank. And the Farmer said if it’s clearly God opening a door, it’d be a sin against God to slam that door shut. He’s the one who held on to me and the open doors and ushered me through with prayers.
I’m still figuring out that God’s ways are not our ways and surrendering to His plan is the first step to peace. I only forgot that about that ten thousand times on this journey. The Farmer prayed me through all ten thousand times I forgot.
Those prayers kept me writing pages and pages after dark and I carved off bits of my heart and I wrote for Him alone and He showed me things I’d never known. And when you come empty, God comes to fill, and I will never forget the way the Spirit met and He does come like a wind and you can hardly catch your breath and He, He, exhilarates.
Then there was that late night near the end, with just a bit more than a month before deadline, and I hung over the keyboard, afraid and bone tired and wild to give up, and I saw headlights stop out at the mailbox after midnight and a shadow get out and I stiffened. My heart folded in on itself, sucked in invisible, and didn’t move, until the silhouette opened the car door and the vehicle drove away. In the morning, the Farmer brought in what was in the mailbox. A note taped to a bag, blue ballpoint ink on a scrap of paper:
“The angel of the LORD came… and said, “Get up and eat… So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights…” 1 Kings 19:8
Inside the bag? Angel food cake.
I had exactly forty days left to write.
When you come empty, God comes to fill.
I taped that note and verse to my mirror and for the last forty days I remembered how God alone strengthens and His Spirit is like the wind and He blows in hope and He carries. Carries where He wills.
And He carried the words to you. And you picked up my heart between those covers. You cupped my heart gentle, two eggs in a nest.
I will tell you the truth. I trembled.
When God gives you a redemptive story, He’ll ask you to live its truth out over again, in a thousand different ways, even when you think you learned this way already. God intends to write His story deep into us and there is always more grace to experience. And when you picked up the book, I had to learn to trust all over again.
To let go all over again, to give thanks and surrender all over again, to find joy all over again, and when my knees knocked hard through interviews and I felt wild with fear, He invited me to live again the words I’d written: “It’s impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear.”
As you read the story of eucharisteo, of daring to live fully right where you are, God invited me, a broken mess, to come live it again with you, this neck blotchy with nerves, to learn it again, afresh, make the words of the book take on skin again, and find joy in Him, a God we can trust. He is always good and we are always loved.
We, you and I, all of us, we are living out eucharisteo together, we are counting gifts and discovering we can count on Him, and we are learning thanks in all things and joy is possible now because God is definitely here, and we are doing this together… And He makes the story on the pages into this mirror where we all catch glimpses of our inner selves, and the Word God uses the words to change who we are in the mirror — so we reflect more of Himself. More full of Grace.
I am right there with you — a happy little mess with her hands held to heaven, sustained only by Grace.
I keep it there on the counter, there by my gifts list journal , this little daily calendar , with excerpts from the book, daily lessons in eucharisteo, gratitude, the small seed that plants the giant miracle in the midst of it all. Because I’m that woman who learns and forgets, who needs to keep listening to His whispers in how to live fully, abundantly right here, right now,
God in the Moment .
And this week, when God puts His message of “give thanks in all things” again out there at #11 on the New York Times Bestseller’s list, can you hear it?
Your heart — my heart — a whole world of hearts all beating it out — eucharisteo, eucharisteo, eucharisteo— this rhythm of a gratitude revolution, a surge of glory all to Him, the God Who transfigures the dark into light, the scarred Saviour Who catches our tears in His bottle and promises to turn all this world’s liquid pain into a slow rain of grace to water the hard and hurting places.
To grow all the bits our hearts up into this fully alive life, enjoying Him now and forever, perfect grace…
I am so grateful we can give thanks to Him and change the world — right where we are.
The gratitude revolution is just beginning — come join us? Glory to God in all things!
A few ways to keep living the full life, the joy of eucharisteo:
~ Join us the gratitude revolution on Facebook
~ Gather in the assembly and give Him thanks daily at One Thousand Gifts.com
~ Keep learning language lessons in eucharisteo with the One Thousand Gifts DayBrightner, “God in the Moment”
~ Consider sharing the joy of fully living with a friend this Easter : a gift set of calendar and the book…
This Easter… may we begin together, kindest friends, to fully live… I am so grateful for you. Thank you — a thousand thank yous.
All is grace and I believe,