About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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  1. oh Ann… I knew it was you! 2/3 of the way through I ran back to the top to see if it were you!! 🙂
    New Year. JOY. It’s the word that has chosen me. And I so desperately need more of HIS! For truly, “trying harder” produces NONE of it.
    1. Morning prayer, physically holding out hands in surrender, “Come upon me and fill me in order to pour You out into each moment today.”
    2. Every morning, consciously know it may not come easy to smile, and that forcing a smile doesn’t mean failure.
    3. Journal my gratitude list… yes, I am finally on board! Let that gratitude transform as it will
    4. Smile and laugh. Even when I don’t want to. Choose the exterior evidence of joy even when my interior is slow to follow.
    5. I’m still working on the setting times part. What will work for me seems to change with the age of the babies…
    Thanks again!

  2. Ann, I just love you. Your words are pure music. I love that you not only give us beautiful insights into the Word but a plan of action to make His Truth jump right into the middle of our lives.
    I sense the Spirit wanting to work on my marriage. Not that I should ever stop working on it, and not that our marriage is in deep trouble. BUT, I have some serious fine tuning I need to do in the wife department.
    1. Focused prayer asking the Spirit to change what I need to do to what I want to do: Give my man total respect and honor. Sometimes my sweet husband can get the brunt of my “uglies”. So not pretty.
    2. Pray about a plan of action for when I want to give into the flesh and say or do something I shouldn’t.
    3. Habitually practice this in my morning quiet time.
    4. Ask my husband each day what I could do to make his day easier. Give him praise! I do this so easily with the kids, yet I can turn more critical with my sweet man.
    5. Step 5 convicts me to start this tomorrow!
    Thanks so much for writing this Ann. Happy, Happy New Year to you and yours!

  3. I have to agree, reading your words is like reading poetry. Just beautiful.
    I have a billion goals for the year and the 2 comments I’ve gotten on my blog make me think I’m too ambitious. Ha!
    But, for my spiritual life, I struggle. Time is a major factor. Then there’s the incorporating of Christ into my daily life. For this, I strive to:
    1. Participate in a group Bible Study
    2. Pray with my husband more
    3. Show Christ to my children through my actions
    4. Listen to more Christian music
    5. Trust God more and question him less. Have faith that I am in his hands and not wandering alone. Let go and let Him handle the details because God is oh so interested in every single detail.
    Thank you for your daily blessing and encouragement for me. I can’t tell you what that means.

  4. Ann, beautiful, as always. I find me in you right here:
    “That decaying rank that I know all too well: fear. Fear that I am impotent of change, that new ways can’t be my ways.
    What if I will always be this way

  5. Heart touching post, excellent advice…keep your eyes on the goal and the goal is Jesus.
    II Timothy 1:7 says, “for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of Love and of a sound mind”. Every time fear visits, give it to Jesus. You only have to give it once…every time it visits.

  6. …Thank You, Lord, for Your Holy Spirit! Where would we without it!!!!?
    Your steps are so right-on! My theme for 20-10 is “Stay the Course”. I know, based on God’s Word, what I need to be doing…now, I just need to do it! Not listen to the world, FLESH, & devil…but keep on keepin’ on! With a heart turned towards the Lord and with His joy & praise on my lips…I know that He is faithful to help me and do exceeding above and beyond all we ask or think…

  7. I agree with Christin that a “Best of Ann” collection would be a lovely and inspiring devotional book.
    LOL, it’s amazing how that “try harder to go nowhere” syndrome gets around.
    I long to be changed by His Spirit into His likeness. I pray Sisters that the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)will gently, lovingly and inexorably conform us to Yahshua’s (Jesus) image and that our lives will be a pleasing fragrance to the Father this year.
    Thank you for letting yourself be used of the Spirit Ann to encourage so many of us.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I will certainly take the time to put thought to your question. As for today ~ grace ~ seems to be the theme. My devotion time this morning focused largely on grace. What peace and hope it brings to accept that His grace covers my failures, and still I can come boldly to His throne of grace to find help in my time of need. It humbles me.
    May we soar with His wind!

  9. Ann, as always I am inspired by the beauty of your words. This is the year of “intention” for me. I feel called to make better, simpler choices in my life.
    1. Persevere…in the daily task of living. God has given me today, so make the most of it.
    2. Prayer…everyday, consistently spending time in His word and on my knees.
    3. Organization…in order to seize the day one must have a battle plan and I do (yeah)
    4. Patience…with the unscheduled chaos of life, with my own imperfections and with those around me. Gold is tested in fire and it’s always so darn hot in my house :>)
    5. Joy…in everything because life is a gift no matter what the day brings. We must count it all in Joy!
    My wings are ready to go…let’s soar!

  10. Thank you Ann ~ once again your words touch my heart. You are such an encourager and it is a blessing to “know” you! My goal is simply to live more In HIM and For HIM ~ WITH HIM! I appreciate you taking the time to set out your thoughts clearly for us here…it will be a help to many I am sure!
    May God bless you this year with HIS peace and joy in all of life’s circumstances…HE is so wonderful…let’s keep focused on HIM! (Hebrews 12:1-3)
    Blessings,
    Camille

  11. Ann,thank you so much for this.
    “And then I catch a whiff of it, that stench.
    That decaying rank that I know all too well: fear. Fear that I am impotent of change, that new ways can’t be my ways.
    What if I will always be this way

  12. Ann,
    My eyes filled with tears of worship and awe at your words. I tasted of the beauty of Christ that King David asked for in Psalm 27. The last
    chapters of Revelation have the same two words:
    Worship God. That is what I am asking in faith to do more deeply….as the Wind stirs around me.
    You bless.
    You are tucked in my prayers.
    Bonnie

  13. Thank you for these words of encouragement and hope and truth and light. I am blessed and given fresh strength to “set out” one step at a time…always renewed in Him. Yes, to soar, to mount up with wings as eagles, to ride on the wind of His Spirit….

  14. yesterday I posted my resolutions thoughts around this verse… Philippians 3: 13b-14 ~ Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
    So when I read your words “what if all our tomorrows are just more of all our yesterdays” this verse came back to my thoughts. I love how your resolutions list is all about focusing on glorifying God…which is where I landed on my thoughts as well!
    I’ve posted my list (just 3..not five!) here:
    http://feedingahungrysoul.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-resolve-to-forget-and-move-forward.html
    BTW…another definition for resolution is: “the progression of a chord from dissonance to consonance”. ONe of my resolutions is to move from dissonance (unresolved conflict) and go forward to consonance (peaceful harmony)… by forgetting what is behind, knowing it is resolved by the blood of Christ, and moving foward in harmony with God!

  15. God’s Spirit must be moving through many in the same way… Ann, your post spoke right to my heart! I’ll copy these 5 things down and put them in my Bible as a reminder all year long. I think I’m going to need them!
    As I read your post on “YES” the other day, I, too, have chosen a word for the year: LISTEN. Our year ahead appears to be full of changes and my heart is hungering to hear from God. So for me this year, I want to listen to what He has to say so that I will move in the direction HE wants and not how I think in my flesh! (more on this at my blog).

  16. This is one of my favorites, so nice to see it again. I was just thinking in my mind, as I typed out my goals…so many of them the same as last year, and years before; in my mind wondering if this can really be the year, can I really change. Then realizing I already have.
    Far from where I want to be, but quite a different creature than the one so many years ago.
    Always hope…

  17. amen. the Holy Spirit is our only hope of change. your imagery will help me press ahead. I LOVE this. Thank you.

  18. Wind at my back….I begin days reading scripture. no going to other resources, no note-taking, no overanalying…just reading to hear His voice….first voice of the day.
    Set jaw. NOT giving up on those pursuits I feel He’s led me to, but I’ve grown discouraged about.
    Set times. Rededicating my precious and peak creativity early morning time.
    Set sights. Coming back to the disciplined work habits I’ve gotten away from and then wondered why I’m not progressing.
    Set out. Beyond just talking and making lists, making sure I am really READY to step out and go.

  19. I just finished reading Crazy Love by Frances Chan (I know you have read it too…caught one of your book club posts!) and he has me thinking more about the Holy Spirit. How can I so often forget His power? Too often I am pushing against that wind…trying harder in my own flesh.
    Thank you for this, Ann. God speaks through these words.

  20. Oh.My.Goodness.
    This is like…way awesome. Beautifully written.
    How am I sensing the Spirit helping me sour? That is a good question. I tend to be a doubter at times…a skeptic….a Thomas. And I really feel like God is strengthening my foundation…my faith. Pretty cool.
    My 5 Step Plan for Souring? Hmm…
    1. First, I have to step out of my bubble. Not only do I deal with doubt, but I also deal with fear. Stepping out of the bubble makes me nervous – but it’s needed.
    2. Scripture memorization. I want the Word to live in me.
    3. Company. Friends. I like to do things “all-by-myself” as my three year old would say. But I need people. I need to do life with others. I think that was His plan.
    4. Prayer. I need to set aside time alone with Him. This is essential.
    5. Just doing it. Just going for things. I like to sit and mull and analyze everything. But sometimes, you have to just throw “caution to the wind”…and sour 🙂
    Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 I’m gonna print this post! Have a lovely day!

  21. Dearest Ann,
    You inspire, encourage and teach in such a gentle, wise way.
    I have been trying to think through exactly what I need to do this new year. Over and over the Father whispers Is 43:18,19. I must first learn to truly put away the past. If I cannot leave the past, I cannot begin something new. Not even for one day.
    I believe the Father is whispering the word “new” into my spirit. Rather than gathering up what little strength I have and endeavoring to make the changes I so desperately need, I am going to allow Him to do something new in me – the new He is desiring to do. I will need to get the balance in my life I so desperately need and then follow obediently wherever He leads.

  22. Oh this was a great post. I have been reflecting on this.
    1. Set time with God~begin day with prayer and my quiet time is at night before bed…I began yesterday
    2. Scripture memorization
    3. learning to be a better cook…oh this will be an adventure
    4. Seizing the day as an adventure with God

  23. I have read a number of posts in the past few days. I am thankful for them all. This post was a wonderful conclusion to my reading. Tonight I will turn the computer off as God speaks, and I listen. I am faithful for confirmation as I enjoy the first Sunday of the New Year.

  24. This is an affirming post, Ann. I am moved, as always, by the grace of your thought, the symmetry of your words. Faced with the immensity of all I would like to change in my own being I am suddenly struck by the arrogance of this desire. Wanting to change, what does this teach me about compassion? about the gift of interest? about how Jesus receives each moment like a womb? Compassion, interest, presence such Teachers, these. And so perhaps I can consider going forward, with the knowledge that each listening breath is an opportunity for rebirth, that each moment of presence is a baptism in His name, that each moment of interest is a sacrament.

  25. Ready, watching, willing, hopeful, to catch the wind where He decides to blow. That’s the plan and I am praying that He tunes my spirit to His.
    Great post…sent over her by dear Sara 🙂

  26. Thanks Ann….In the hours when all else sleeps is when it hits me, loathing. Self-loathing. It doesn’t make a regular appearance, but it slips in on occasion. It’s one of the reasons my quiet time is done in these hour & it’s also why loathing flees like the enemy who brings it. Here’s what I’ll be working on:
    1. Fill up– on His words about me.
    2. Look up-Allow His successes through me, not be about me (no matter how small they may be).
    3. Give up–My claim to what He’s passionately called me to do. (He feeds the desire to do it in the first place.)
    4. Show up–For my time with Him.
    5. Throw up–my hands that is. Not snatching up things He’s given for me to pass to on.

  27. Ann,
    Christin and Beth have spoken my ‘wish’ (for months now), for an ‘Ann book’.
    Chronological, Topical, Best Of, Most Read (by blog count)… I see at least FOUR ‘Ann-books’ in our future. Ahhhhhh, such a joyful prospect…..! 🙂
    with you, loving ‘getting to know the One who became Abraham’s Magnificent Obsession’,
    HveHope -:

  28. “Set time.. It is how the saints met God”
    There is new ground I am tilling to “pioneer” new growth. There are some rocks and weeds my hoe has hit. But, even if I have to keep returning to my set time, I will. I am praying for the endurance to keep returning. Even if I am not perfect, God’s strength in me to return is.
    Thank you, Ann. Set time. Set time.

  29. Can I comment just to say thank you. I keep reading this over . As others have said, oh to hold your words in my hands, see them just there next to my pillow , watch the wind catch pages of your heart on the porch…
    I was reading something about the Trinity, learning about the Rublev icon, and perhaps this is where I am . Gazing at the circle and knowing there is room at the table. If I love. Am in love. As I am loved.
    I pray for all of it and more to you and your family, Ann.

  30. This post is my heart’s cry. Thank you for the beautiful reminder that He is our help and hope. Oh, the toiling I have done. And oh, the discouragement such toiling has wrought as I have tried and failed, countless times, in my own strength. For me, this year, I have some change I’d like to see…but I know now where the real change comes from and it certainly is not from more effort. I am learning that it comes from ceaseless prayer, as I sop up spilled juice without flaring temper, encourage discouraged daughter with her spelling {without letting my own despair show through}, cheerfully pacify needy toddler while answering endless questions from the others. Living the life of a servant with grace and calm and gentleness comes so unnaturally, I often wonder what God was thinking when He gave me a family to serve! Prayer, early and often, for help and provision and Spirit-driven change is my only hope.

  31. My best wishes to you Ann for this New Year. It has taken me about 60 years to distill all these thoughts and New Year resolutions into a simple prayer /conversation I have with God all day long and often at night when I can’t sleep. I thank him for loving me and just ask him for the strength to do what he wills for me.
    It works.
    A Great-Grandmother

  32. Ann,this is the first time I’ve heard of you. You must be very special. Please, if you can help me to find my faith in Jesus…he’s seems to be my only hope. Raised Catholic, but as an adult, haven’t practiced spiritual anything. My daughter was brain injured in an auto accident 3 1/2 yrs. ago on her way to work (not her fault). She can’t eat, talk or walk; has been in rehabs, but is now in a nursing home due to insurance. Alison just started out-patient rehab once a wk., but will need it the rest of her life, which we know ins. won’t do. I miss her and her 8 yr. old daughter, who now lives w/Daddy in Chicago; we are in Texas. I don’t understand why we deserve so much pain in our hearts, this not being the only tragedy. I am grasping for any help from anyone for a miracle; to bring Alison home even would take a lot of money and 24 hr. care. We do play the lottery. But I need faith just to keep my hope up. My husband is a wonderful man and has been so patient, but is too scientific to be a believer and would never change; but tells me to accept the facts and go on and live my life.
    I can’t.

    • Dear Laura ~ I know you wrote this note long ago. But, what you have written here just breaks my heart. Yes, you can know the Lord. Perhaps you now do? I am praying for you today. Hugs, Camille (Isaiah 43:1-3 and John 6:37)

  33. Our message in church yesterday was taking more time to be with God – shut ourselves in a closet (Pastor said not in our closets, they are stuffed full – his wife turned red) but he said to find a spot quiet that we can shut the door and just be with God – I used to (in summer and fall) go to my garden and spend so much time with our Savior – your articles are so inspiring – thanks so much for sharing them. Ruth

  34. THE TRUTH!
    “Thank you” for sharing… as I pray not only for others, my family (children), and strangers I may pass by.
    I believe, just as many do; there is POWER in PRAYER! Amen?
    I have a prayer request; PLEASE pray for my children… PLEASE? Thank you, sincerely!
    I know that I know… I am a child of The Living God!

  35. Thankyou Ann GOD uses people to reach people so He chose to use you and to those who got this take a step of faith ,hope and courage to move on for we are called not to hear only but to do,for we are His disciples,ambassadors so i agree to be courageous enough to carry out the plans i set forward for this year may the grace of GOD be sufficient,mike