About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. It’s saying the video is private on my computer, too. I thought the chapter was a very important one – about β€œthe grace to be the blessing.” Even though it’s sometimes difficult to feel we have enough time or energy, it’s exciting to think both of being a blessing and the thought that β€œGod extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him.” (p. 197) What a great seed: β€œI can become the blessing, a little life that multiplies joy, making the larger world a better place.” (p. 200)

    • It was definitely worth the wait for the video! I love that the video always adds to and makes each chapter even more powerful. I especially liked Ann’s words in the video emphasizing “The greatest gift of all is to become the blessing” and “…ultimately, joy is found in service.”

  2. I logged in to Vimeo and searched for (in)courage, but only videos up to ch 9 are shown there….Do we need to do something else to see today’s video? Can’t wait to hear what stands out for you in “empty to fill”. I love the paragraph on pg 183. So beautifully written. “The child, this time, this day, we are all here, grace, all grace, and this fountain of Great Grace falls all around and it could flow through us and on into the world, and with borrowed breath I am fuel, a torch in October rains. I am blessed. I can bless. So this is happiness”…mmm love it, love it. How often do I miss that fountain. “One Thousand Gifts” is changing the way I think about everything. I have truly woken up, my eyes are fixed. I know I will still struggle when the hard stuff falls upon me, but fight to find that joy.

  3. I did the same thing Patricia..no chapter 10..I just figured that I had done something to my computer. I’m sure this chapter is gonna be a good video since we can’t get to it. I’m thankful for the opportunity to re-read this while I’m waiting to view it. I am so humbled to find all the gifts around me each day.

  4. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of this book so far but I think I missed early on that the postings were going to be on Sundays And Wednesdays (Not just on Sundays like the original schedule). I’m thankful for the video’s though because as I catch up on my reading I can watch the video from that week. Next time I’ll make sure to know what days are really going to be posted πŸ™‚

  5. Seed: To refuse to let joy die
    Water: To take and to give–even in brokenness
    Growth: To break the monotony with a heart of love

  6. I am so happy to NOT be crying through the chapter and video today. πŸ™‚

    Empty to fill.
    Love these words.

    Isaiah 58 passage is one of my favorites, but took on richer meaning in context of this chapter.

    When my children were home and I was an overwhelmed mother, I used to dream of serving God in big ways. Then one day in a worship service, I saw the image of all the shoes by my kitchen door, mud dragged onto the floor, snow scattered…daily frustration.
    The story of washing the feet came to me on the heels of this image. And I knew.

    “Serve Me here.”

    I wish I had known Eucharisteo then. I’m grateful for it now.

  7. This chapter especially has shown me how close-fisted I have been living my life lately.
    I needed to recognize that and allow Him to gently pry my fingers apart!

    I see now that perhaps I had not been in close communion with Him — neglecting the discipline of the Word and prayer a bit — and I knew that. The example of the stagnant Dead Sea said it all to me! Grace not flowing in, grace not going out. I knew that I had grown a bit lax and was “weary in well-doing”. I had not run to Him for my “rest” but had sort of pushed the pause button to catch my breath, and never got back to “play” ! The result was that my open palm became a fist without my ever realizing it. So *thankful* to have heart and eyes and ears and palms opening to his pouring out of grace, again.

    Ann, I loved what you said on page 184, “A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.” I read a book about Mother Teresa called Finding Calcutta — and I highly recommend it (I just might read it again now!) Her life’s work embodied the belief that we *become* Jesus to others whom we serve, and in so doing, we minister as if we do the same to Him. If we pictured ourselves literally ministering to Him in the flesh, as we wash feet, fold clothes, serve a meal…wouldn’t we do so with *all* heart and soul and strength? Didn’t He say that as we do to people, we do so as to Him?

    Close your eyes, and imagine setting a plate of food before *Him* and filling His water glass, passing Him the bread…folding *His* socks and shirts, cleaning *His* muddy boots ????

    • Vicki, I love your comments…they spoke to me as well! Especially your last 2 lines!

  8. Such a timely chapter & video for me as today is Ash Wednesday & I prepare for my Lenten journey. Previous to seeing this video & reading this post, I asked the Lord for guidance on my journey & the answer was clearly to serve others. Then, I come here & boy, He is shaking me by the shoulders with this one! lol!!

    I have so much enjoyed this book club…aside from The Bible, this is the only book that has touched my heart on so many levels. Thank you, Ann, Jessica & Angie, you are indeed BLESSINGS!!!

  9. Oh, I am so sad that next week is the last week, but what God has done/is doing in my heart will go on forever! I am so greatful to you three ladies for this time together, and everyone else at InCourage who made this possible, and also for what is to come. πŸ™‚

    Seed,Water,Bloom:

    “I could share the grace, multiply the joy, extend the table of the feast, enlarge the paradise of His prescence. I am blessed. I can bless.”

    “This is my place-open handed.”

    Yes, yes, and yes……………

  10. Ann you are so right when you say perspective is everything.To be thankful for all the mundane ,endless tasks of a mother.I need to teach myself I’m doing it for Jesus .
    Letting His Joy fill and flow out of me all the time ,everyday .Even when (and especially )
    I’m overwhelmed will piles ,overflowing piles of dirty dished and laundry and no end in near sight.May my heart sing for joy to the one who loves me and sees me as I am.
    Thank-you for writing this book (and your blog).You are a blessing Ann ,filling full of His grace and joy,pouring it out to all of us.

  11. Perspective is what leaps out from this chapter to me. Then it runs ahead off the page and calls me follow.

    I am blessed with one leg in heaven and one on earth. I am blessed to see the most broken lives, ones everyone has given up on be knit together again. I am blessed with first smiles after dark nights. I am blessed to live His love out every day even when it is hard. I am blessed to give what I have and then go to Him for more.

    Last week she came to us broken, having been tied to trees in the jungle by rebels, abused, suffering horror upon horror for weeks, months. Her hands no longer functional, her frail 15 year old frame so weak she could not walk. A few days later she watches our toddlers and *laughs*, sitting in a simple plastic chair observing her new world go by. Everyday she becomes a little more healed.

    She smiles miracles from heaven. Her life IS eucharisteo. I watch her unfold her petals to the sun to love again and I remember. Blessed, broken, given, multiplied. As He was in the world, so am I to be.

  12. Is there a way to help someone else understand the joy of eucharisteo? My brother’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer last year (she is 25) while she was pregnant with their first child. The cancer has spread aggressively and she now is in stage 4 with cancer in her lungs, liver and brain. They have one more chemo to try and then… My brother is faced with being a widower and a single father at the age of 29. I want so desperately to share this kind of joy with them. They are both believers but are sinking quickly into despair and depression. I want to help them…does anyone have any wisdom?

    • Dear Elizabeth, my heart breaks for them and for you. This is so hard. I will pray. As for wisdom, I can offer only what God speaks to me again and again. Nothing that happens in our lives takes Him by surprise. We reel under the weight of so much grief, but we can know with certainty that He is perfect love and sovereign grace, and He will accomplish His plans. He has promised to. If that means that your brother becomes a single father at 29, God has already gone before him to redeem and beautify this sorrow. It may be hard to see, but He is a redeemer. Always a redeemer. We can’t demand the outcomes we want, but we can know that He is working all things for good.

      When we were in the darkest season of our lives, the Lord often reminded me not to look ahead into the future (which to me seemed to promise nothing but more pain and suffering), but to receive His grace for the moment every moment. We don’t have strength for what will be, only what is, and we can’t imagine His presence and grace into the future we’re dreading. He is faithful, and He is good. In everything, He is always and only good, and His purposes will be brought to pass. When He calls us to suffer, He enters into it with us. May the Lord enable them to hold their hands open to receive the grace He offers, and to bless His name, whether He gives or takes away. And may He grant you, dear aching sister, words that will wash their feet. You are already a blessing.

      Words seem so inadequate. Praying.
      Jeanne

      • Elizabeth, I was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer last year and I’m twice as old as your precious sister-in-law. My heart is so drawn to your comment and some tears runs down my cheek for a very young wife and mom who battles Stage 4 for her very life, physically and spiritually. It’s our Beautiful God Who sifts these things through His Hands for each of us and I sure don’t understand it. May you love well, live well and suffer well with your brother and his wife. I will believe with you. I’ll hold you up this Lenten season. A very Good God is hovering over their darkness, Gen. 1:1, as I write and He has known, loved from the Beginning. When we don’t know what to do, our Eyes are upon You, O Good God, 2Chron 20:12. The Good Word says the battle is His, Exodus 14:14, He will fight for you all. I’m so sorry and offer a prayer for you and your family that you care for so! My Love, Bev

    • Elizabeth,
      My late husband was diagnosed with a terminal heart disease at 32. He only lived a little over a year after his diagnosis. When we first got his diagnosis we (my husband and I) realized that he would not live to old age. Our son was just 4 years old at the time. I was 31. From someone who knows the reality’s of living with a loved one with a terminal illness, and also being widowed at a young age…. God is still in control. God wrote a wonderful Book, of which we are each a chapter in his Grand Story. When we look at our own chapter, by itself, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Why, would a young mother die? Why would a young husband be forced to say goodbye to his love? From our human perspective it makes no sense and we often ask Why? Many times in this life the “why” questions will not be answered, or if they are, if might take a long time to see…… But, when we look at the ENTIRE story, God’s story of redemption, we know that there is a plan. A reason. For His glory. It is so hard…I know it is.
      Please suggest to your sis-in-law that she writes a journal for her child. That she writes all her wisdom down, her humor, her quirkiness, her stories…..so that her child can know his/her mother. This will also help your brother…in time…..
      I would love to talk with you more….if you are interested you can click on my name to go to my site.

      • So, because you have been there, what would help them? Giving them a copy of this book? I am sensitive enough to know that sitting them down and telling them to just be thankful is not quite the thing. πŸ™‚ I want for them to have peace and joy through this. Maybe that’s not possible right now…but I think it is…I just don’t know how to help them without just hurting them even more or making them angry because I DON’T know what they are going through.

  13. Silent tears of conviction as I read the story about the man on the Toronto street. How many people do I avoid because they make me uncomfortable? How often do I hurry past the smelly, ranting, or deranged, never even pausing to try to see beneath the mask? How often do I let fear or propriety or convenience come between me and the ones He may be asking me to serve? Is it mine to choose which feet I wash and which I turn away from in disgust or disdain?

    Serving family is joy to me. Pouring into nicely dressed women at a speaking event a delight. And certainly those are good things. Good and holy and pleasing to God. But, if I really believe I am not my own — I’m bought with a price — I need to pour the abundant grace I’ve been given on whomever He chooses.

    I honestly don’t know what that might mean. I hope I’m willing to.

    Beautiful chapter as they’ve all been beautiful. I am blessed to bless. And, as my eyes open to all that eucharisteo means, I’m accountable to live it. That could be scary, but then I remember the joy. Eucharisteo precedes the miracle. So, I’ll simply say thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful truth, and thank you for Ann, full of grace, and thank you for the dear, open hearts of Jessica and Angie. In this book, in these videos, you’ve tenderly washed my feet. Mine is to go and do likewise.

    Much love,
    Jeanne

  14. Thank you for living Jeremiah 6:16 for standing tall by the roads and looking long and asking hard for the ancient paths from The Emmaus Road to Yonge Street. Here, the good way is, walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

    Beautiful story about masking our hearts, Romans 7:24, oh wretched that we all are—“Did I get it right this time?” Romans 7:18
    No one has the ability to carry it out. Your welcomed words usher us to a God Who
    “can enter into me, even me, and use these hands, these feet
    …endless cycle of grace.”

    “Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel, fill it with your grace.” D.L. Moody
    “God cannot pass an empty life without filling it with Himself.” St. John of the Cross

  15. All of these comments have touched my heart here in the night and I am praying and believing for God’s touch upon your lives.
    It is a big day here! We are picking up our sixth of seven sons who is flying in the air at this moment coming home from a two month trec in the Bush in Guinea, West Africa. Oh, will he have adventures to share with us!!!!! He is 27. I wonder what God has planned for Aaron’s future????? I know it is something BIG, and it is all for the glory of God!
    Now I get to watch my friend, Ann. Thank you girls for putting this video together!
    God’s richest blessings to all of you! Love in Him, Bernice πŸ™‚

  16. How can I say thanks for this wonderful experience of reading book/watching video? Challenging in the extreme – with multitudes of blessings! Thank you, Ann, Jess, and Angie – for your sacrificial giving which has so filled my heart – and is changing my life!Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  17. The things that jumped out at me in Chap 10 were on pg. 184 Grace is alive, living waters. If I dam up the grace, hold the blessings tight, joy within dies…water that has no life. …open the hand to receive all His shimmering river of gifts…

    Also pg.!88 where the man looked as though he was saying, “Do you have time to really listen?”

    Pg. 192 Jesus is about to let flesh be broken with nail, heart be broken with rejection, the chains be broken with bleeding love. And in His last hours before His earthly end, He doesn’t run out to buy something or catch a flight to go see something, but He wraps a towel around His waist and kneels low to take the feet of His forsakers gently in hand and wash away the grime between their toes.
    This is the full-bodied eucharisteo, the eucharisteo that touches body and soul…
    it is the hand that opens to receive grace, then with thanks, breaks the bread; that moves out into the larger circle of life and washes the feet of the world with that grace. Without the breaking and the giving, without the washing of feet, eucharisteo isn’t complete.

    Thanks again ladies. So enjoy this!

  18. I love serving others. I am much “better” at that then sometimes taking care of the more mundane tasks under my family roof. HOWEVER, wow, what a truth and a caution on page 194. The notion that people owe you something for your pains…my oh my. Let me fully acknowledge that the Lord IS my helper (p196) and that I am blessed so I can bless. Amen.

  19. This chapter left me breathless.

    I stood in awe of the picture of the man who acted as a blessing…a raw, honest, come as you are, stripped naked blessing. The kind of blessing where we see His love…where He meets us and fills us and is right there in it. It never seems to come packaged as we expect….love like that….the way He reveals Himself to us.

    Something amazing is happening…in addition to the freedom and joy I’m experiencing…after a long time of heaviness and grief and waking up with dread…even as I talked about hoping in Him. Even before I read this chapter, I felt an awakening, quiet and still, as it is when He reveals a life-changing truth, breathing it into our life. That maybe…just maybe if I can practice and live eucharisteo…living in this place of savoring God’s gift for this moment, surrendering. Maybe, just maybe, I would be free to love and give freely to everyone around me…even some people in my life who have hurt me in the past, to love with abandon…the kind of love without expectations or bitterness…the kind of love that is bathed in grace.

    Not that I don’t give love abundantly now…but this kind of love…this love is a crazy love…the kind of love that seeks to be a blessing…that lives eucharisteo. I can’t say I’ve fully grasped it…but I can taste the beauty that such love and blessing exists.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you…for sharing what God has revealed to your heart, Ann…so that He can unlock the pieces of us that need to be set free.

    • Loved this: “The way through the pain is to reach out to others in theirs.” So true!

      This is the very basis of our ministry (Sufficient Grace Ministries: http://www.sufficientgrace.net)

      2 Corinthians 1:3-4

      Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

  20. SEED: Isaiah 58
    WATER: Psalm 121
    GROW : As a Nurse , I needed this reminder— that STRIVING to do it all may change To one of SERVING Him …and through Him — Others… So many times after going,going,going for 12 hours… I head home …battle weary….soul weary…..physically and emotionally drained….May my eyes SEE ..truly see….may I take the time to Listen….to linger a bit longer…. Before rushing off to do the next thing…. And when I wash the face , the hands, the feet….Holy , Holy, Holy….

  21. I just started reading One Thousand Gifts this past Saturday, after a weekend crammed full of heady stuff about art, culture, and theology (went to a conference at Union University), though I had purchased the book several weeks ago. Ann’s writing was the perfect jumpstart to get my creativity going in response to all that I had experienced at the conference. Now, I’ve finished chapter 1, not chapter 10, but the most moving and haunting experience I had at the conference resonates with what y’all are saying here: “communion is only complete in service.”

    For the first time in my walk with the Lord, I took communion by walking up to two people who were holding the elements. (My church passes those silver-tone holders of crackers and lil’ plastic cups of juice.) As I tore a piece of pita (and was glad it wasn’t a freezer-burned “chicklet” of a Lord’s Supper cracker!!), a peer (and not just some old dude in a suit) said, “This is Christ’s body, broken for you.” And then as I dipped the bread in the grape juice (we were on a Southern Baptist campus!), the other young man said, “This is Christ’s blood, shed for you.” It was all I could do not to sob and then bawl in front of these two. (Graceful me did drop the soggy bread bit on the carpet. Urm, great. Do I eat it? Well, of course! Snot running down my nose and face and all!) There was just something about the humility of those manning the “station” where I took the elements, about the way they whispered those words, about the grace with which we all lined up quietly without pushing or shoving. And having just seen a short film (in Polish, with subtitles – called Most) that echoed the truths of the crucifixion and resurrection, I was ready to meet God more fully in those moments of approaching the table and taking my turn. I had never before felt both the magnitude of both the “vertical” relationship and the “horizontal” relationships as I had this past Saturday. I wish every Lord’s Supper would be like that.