There are only so many full orbits around the sun, and who makes time to lie in bed and listen to rain thrumming on roofs or to take someone for strawberry ice cream sundaes and linger down at the bridge, the river running underneath like the present running through your hands?
And there are glads to be picked from the earth and there is time yet to live in the givenness of everything.
Your time is limited— so don’t limit your life by wanting someone else’s.
Sometimes I stand in the living room after they’re all in bed and listen to that clock tick slowly.
Sometimes the ticking of the clock is like Morse code, tapping it out again and again:
You have only one decision every day: how will you use your time?
Sometimes the best use of your time is to stand and listen to a clock. We’re all terminal— and we all just want a number. What size is this bucket of time? How many days do I actually get?
The hands of the clock are bound by the decisions of our hands. And He has made our hands free to be His.
I don’ t even know who has the audacious idea to go up to the dollar store and leave dollars up and down every aisle, but our kids watch unsuspecting kids wander in. Smiles break up every aisle.
This boy in a ball cap stops at the counter and picks up a lollipop we’ve taped a note to: “Here’s a dollar. Pick any color. We’re Giving It Forward Today. #betheGIFT.” His face explodes in this smile, and bits of joy lodge in the brokenness of me, and I feel a bit remade.
Smiling at anyone is to awe at the face of God.
And “the beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile coming to us through matter” (Simone Weil). There’s a clerk grinning at the till. The guy stocking shelves is chuckling. There are people Giving It Forward Today, and don’t think that every gift of grace, every act of kindness, isn’t a quake in a heart that moves another heart to give, that moves another heart to give, that grows into an avalanche of grace.
Don’t say this isn’t what a brokenhearted world desperately needs; don’t say it isn’t how to change a broken world. What if the truth really is that every tremor of kindness here erupts in a miracle elsewhere in the world?
I can feel it like the slightest sense of a suturing along raw and ragged scar lines. Maybe our suffering and brokenness begin a kind of healing when we enter into the suffering and brokenness of the world, right through the brokenness and givenness of Christ.
And these acts of kindness, gifts of grace, they start a cascade of grace to fill a multitude of canyons in a hurting world. Maybe there’s no such thing as a small act of giving. Every small gift of grace creates a love quake that has no logical end. It will go to the ends of the earth and change the world, and then it will break through time and run on into eternity.
I would read later that those who perform five acts of giving over six weeks are happier than those who don’t, that when you give, you get reduced stress hormone levels, lowered blood pressure, and increased endorphins, and that acts of kindness reduce anxiety and strengthen the immune system.
Five random acts of kindness in a week can increase happiness for up to three months later. “He gives by cartloads to those who give by bushels,” wrote Spurgeon.
Maybe if all you have to give are handfuls, He might make a broken heart full?
The world kinda echoes with it:
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
Die to self— and have twice as much life.
There’s a way to multiply your life. You let every kernel die.
The shape of multiplied time looks like a cross. Cruciform. Broken and given, reaching right out— reaching right out to the world.
The greatest living always happens through the givenness.
There’s enough time yet for picking glads and filling Mason jar vases of blooms for sidelined, forgotten people.
There’s time for lingering over cups of coffee and listening to the pouring out of someone’s cracked heart, time for long phone calls and shared pie and going the extra mile.
And there’s time to be broken and given — time to be the gift today — into all the world’s brokenness, because this is how to break time’s hold.
Because maybe if we give just what fills our hands — our broken hearts fill with more of Him — the gift we all want the most.
Recommended Reads Giveaway:
Today we are excited to give away five copies of Be the Gift by Ann Voskamp. To be entered for a chance to win this beautiful book, please leave a comment sharing one way you might give today (or why you’d love to read this book)! The giveaway will be closed at midnight (CST) on Wednesday, November 29. Winners will be randomly selected and must live in the U.S.
Want less stress? Abundantly more joy? Grab a copy of Be the Gift — and we will email you a FREE gift of a download of THE WHOLE 12 MONTH *Intentional* Acts of Givenness #BeTheGIFT Calendar to print from home! Easy, doable prompts for you and your people, daily intentional acts of givenness — to Give It Forward Today and #BeTheGIFT — every single day of the year — and get a heart full of joy and the abundant life you’re longing for. Just let us know that you’ve ordered Be the Gift over here and we will get the calendar to you immediately.
Ann Voskamp is the wife of one fine, down-to-earth farmer; a book-reading mama to a posse of seven; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers One Thousand Gifts, which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into more than twenty-one languages, and The Broken Way.
Named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today, Ann knows unspoken brokenness and big country skies and an intimacy with God that touches wounded places. Millions do life with her at her daily photographic online journal, one of the top 10 most widely read Christian sites: www.annvoskamp.com.Leave a Comment
Terri Manning says
Wonderful inspiration … We don’t have to see the result to plant the seed & we grow in the process 🙂
Trina Rich says
Since I have been saved 6 years ago, I feel I can not do enough to thank my Savior for all He has done for me and the many blessings He has given me. I want to give from my heart and express my devotion to Christ and let others know that they can have this love and joy by accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord. I feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to talk with others and I feel compassion and love overwhelm me. Thank you Jesus!
Rebekah McGaughey says
I so loved the phrase about how a smile is looking into the face of GOD – it is like God’s matter coming through- what a powerful thought – just a simple smile to a stranger in the grocery line, on the road, at the gas station – i will never know if that brought hope to someone’s day or life. I just know that a smile from a stranger to me brings me joy and peace. Thanks for the list of simple things to do to savor like – just take a minute to listen. I love your words!
Amy Heath says
Would love to win the book to read and to share. Always inspired by Voskamp’s words. Appreciate her writing rhythm.
Dana Hott says
I choose to be a gift by volunteering for Lower Cape Fear Hospice at the Festival of Trees. Hospice took amazing care of my Dad and it’s a way to give back.
Dawn Cartwright says
Today I will give my time to spend with my precious daughters preparing food together for Thanksgiving. I will give them stories of our past celebrations and share hopes for the future. I will give attention to my newly acquired step grandchildren, 11 and 13 are hard ages to transition to a blended family. I will give thanks.
Trisha Bice says
Today I will go to the grave yard and thank my God everyday I remember them!
Tara Hernandez says
I would love to read this! My husband and I just moved to a new town and are looking for ways to get involved and help out our community. What better way than to start out small and simple and make a difference in someone’s life by one act of kindness.
Pat Onan says
If I had no pressing obligations in life, you’d find me doing random acts of kindness for most of my day. Often I find myself ignoring my daily “to do” list because I find so many people with needs that could use a call, visit, meal or encouraging card in the mailbox.
I would be extactic reading this book, loaded with wonderful , secret ways to be the hands & feet of Jesus!
I can be the gift today at work by going the extra mile for my patients even though I am tired and long for thanksgiving break.
I’d love to have this book because sometimes my creativity tank runs low when it comes to ways I can give in my own everyday life. I’ve been printing out the free “be the gift” calendar ideas for the past 4 months and I just love how doable the ideas are. Thank you so much for giving this book away!
Love this message today!! With a house full of high school kids in my home everyday, I am trying to plant these seeds of giving with them. I’m working on setting up a couple of days of going out into our community and being “the gift” with them. They are amazing kids and I really feel that God has given me an opportunity to share His love and plant seeds of giving. It’s a beautiful seadon with these kids in our imperfect world and I’m praying we can live this out soon. I would like to share this book with them and embark on a book club setting with them if I were to win. <3 Happy Thanksgiving 2017 ~ Diana
Sally Shafer says
We put together “Blessing Bags” to give to the homeless.
Adrienne Radtke says
Last night – a few friends of mine went and played games with the seniors at a local assisted living facility. While looking forward to it, we may have “grumbled” that it was to close to Thanksgiving and having our own families to attend to was adding one more thing to our busy calendars. I love how God shows up in those moments and reminds us that NONE of us are to busy to be the gift. A simple kindness blessed the seniors and US in ways we didn’t see coming! It was more than playing games – it was giving them my time, my attention, my focus for a short while. It was reminding them that they matter! It was loving and a night filled with tons of laughter and FUN! In fact, I may have teared up when we left as one sweet lady asked for our names so she could pray for us ❤️
Erin W says
I want to be more intentional about spreading generosity and kindness in the world. This post has inspired me to start my own kindness projects with my daughter. Not for recognition, but just to share love. Thanks!
I had the chance this weekend to Give it Forward to someone. She was ahead of the people in front of me at the store. And I could tell that something wasn’t right. The cashier was calling someone over to void her order, to return her bags of groceries to the shelves. The people in front of me got frustrated at the delay and left the line. They told me her card was rejected. So I moved up in line right behind her and listened for a moment. I saw her take out a little money and heard her say, “I guess I’ll just take the cat food.” It hurt me to see her groceries taken away, to hear her apologizing for holding up the line, to see her embarrassment as she stood there alone and “rejected.”
“How much is the bill?” I asked. She said, “$80” because she had $40 to make up for the total of $120.
“Would you like me to pay for this?” I asked. It was her hesitation that told me all I needed to know, that she really did need help. Before she could finish saying, “Oh, that’s okay, you don’t have to …”, I jumped in and told the cashier that I would pay for the order. The girl started crying and hugged me there in the aisle. She tried to give the $40 to the cashier to help pay for it, but I gave it back to her and told her I would cover it all.
I told her that I knew what it was like to be in need – that when the economy collapsed in 2008, money was so tight that we couldn’t even afford fruit or pizza or bread for our family of 6. We had to make do with very little. And there was a couple times when my mom, not knowing that we were hurting so bad, would send bags of fruit home with us. Just because. And she never knew what a blessing that was to us, how it came at just the right time.
And now it was my time to pay it forward, to help someone else. And wanting to make sure that she knew Who I was really doing it for, I told her that I was a Christian and that I believed in helping people who are in need. Christians have such a bad rap today, and I wanted her to know that there are some Christians who try to live like Jesus, to pour out His goodness and love and compassion and generosity. Maybe someday, she’ll be drawn to God because of it.
Thank you for this beautiful post and beautiful reminder about giving it forward. So timely for this time of year! Being a blessing to others is such a blessing to us!
Oh, and I didn’t see the part about this being a “book give-away” thing till now. I didn’t leave my comment for that reason. So please don’t enter me in the drawing. Give it to someone else. I’ll read it someday.
Loriann Smith says
You made my day Heather❤️
Cheryl McGrath says
I’ll give today by calling three friends who are dealing with major health issues right now. I’m a prayer warrior and look for ways each day to encourage others.
Today I will purpose to break down the walls that keep love out. I will smile through my brokenness and let love flow through my reluctant heart. I will push past the fear of vulnerability, and live given as I give the gift of time to my children who unknowingly break my heart, again and again, as they row through the billowing waves of transition from teen to adult years.
Give thanks for my husbands 4 bypasses last week and returned health. We spent a week hiking in Sedona AZ then found out he had major blockage. God surely blessed us and watches over us always. Many things to be thankful for but the best is God’s love.
Jane Engebretson says
I am going to make my Son breakfast and coffee and listen to his heart pour out all he has learned his first semester of college and enjoy our morning together–like before he left.
Andrea Williamson says
Giving my sons some time for joy today…stopping the chaos and duties of holiday and relishing in their time now.
Ann is such a gift. Her daily writings are an inspiration to me as I try to live love. As a 20 year old college student, I wrote 40 letters for the forty days of Lent this past year. It’s rare to find others in college who seek to give their life away and live like Jesus but I am so very thankful for the few wonderful, God-given friends that I have who encourage me. One of them was the first to introduce me to Ann’s books and God transformed my life outlook through them. Every day I write a small cross on the inside of my wrist as a reminder to live broken and given for those around me. I try to talk to or text a least one person every day with an affirmation of love and seek to do that with my classmates in college as well. I am so blessed to love others with Christ’s love.
Michele Kearns says
I am praying without ceasing for my late husband’s niece who became a widow yesterday. She lives out of state and since I work in retail, I will not be able to attend the services. Already shared a post from Ann today on my Facebook page as encouragement to my niece and any other friends who are hurting. I am also giving thanks to God for her husband’s life and their marriage. Now to finally head out of the house and see how I can be the gift to someone today.
MaryEllen Mattern says
I love Ann Voscamp. God bless her.
Jessica B says
I have been praying for several days about how I am teaching my two and five-year-old how to be the shining light of Jesus. I am going to take my kindergarten age son up to his school and anonymously pay another child’s school lunch balence. I was just praying about this on Sunday in church and then I see this post. Coincidence? I think not.
Christina Nordick says
I love the acronym GIFT. For what is a gift if not something (some One) who touches a heart need – especially in estranged? My GIFT today is a surprise pancake breakfast with my 16 year old daughter with Down syndrome. It will make her grin from ear to ear! 🙂
sharon A says
I would love to get new ideas for giving
Mae Wagner says
I’m a busy mama of little munchkins, and in the midst of the crying, the chatter and the mess, I feel like I give all day long. But so many times I see myself giving out of stress and not love…which nullifies my gift of givenness to nothingness. Stressed giving is not true giving. So today I will choose to slow down and give out of love and patience, and pray always that He will forgive my failures.
Besides hosting the thanksgiving gathering, I’m going to give the gift of listening because in times of hurt and need it is a patient ear one really needs. Thank the Lord for giving me such trials and tribulations in my life; for without them I would not have developed such empathy for others’ suffering. Life is full of ups and downs which build our character and enable us to be Gods helpers assisting others back up again.
This season of thankfulness has been hard. Long prayed prayers God in His sovereignty chose to answer no. My heart has been heavy, but the Lord has been opening my eyes to others. Helping me not wallow in self focus, but to show His love to others. As I prepare my dishes for the family Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow, I’ve been thinking about how it is better to give than to receive. The Lord has blessed me with so much more than I could ever ask or deserve, my heart is filled with thankfulness.
Julie B says
I will be spending time with my husband and son preparing food for Thanksgiving. Thank you for this wonderful post and giveaway.
To give forgiveness. To cut the chains of regret. To give thanks to many.
We placed a “sweet treat” in the mailbox today for the mailperson with thanksgiving wishes.
Donna McColligan says
I have it in my heart to go to the food bank where many are waiting and tired. To listen to them and offer a drink, snack, or warm encouragement. I would love to read this book by one of my very favorite people. Ann is right up there with Corrie ten Boom. Love to all. God’s grace.
I would like to be the gift. My sister and I live with and take care of my mom, who is 93 and has dementia, and is in a wheelchair due to a broken hip 3 years ago. My sister has had deep spiritual and emotional problems (age 69) for the last several decades, and there’s a lot of strife in our home because of it. We’re as different as night and day, and I have a VERY hard time coping with her problems. I feel like I’m a caregiver for her sometimes too – she hasn’t worked in years and doesn’t drive, so what mom can’t pay for, I have to. I’ve prayed that God would help me to be the change in our relationship – I very much want a good relationship with her. She’s my only sibling – we lost a brother to cancer nearly 6 years ago. It’s important that we get along not only for us, but so that we can do our best in being caregivers for my mom. I’m often overwhelmed with all of my responsibilities, plus the ones she has that she doesn’t keep up with because she just doesn’t feel like it, and I find myself resenting the fact that I feel like I’m doing it all. I know those around us can change when we are willing to make that first move. I want to be the gift so that I’m not so stressed all the time, and can be not only a better, less angry daughter, caregiver, and sister, but the person God made me to be.
Mari Dertinger says
I would love to read this book and explore new ways to “be the gift” in this world that needs the gift of Jesus.
Joanna Bachmann says
Love what being the GIFT is all about… simple little acts of kindness that simply spread joy and God’s love for all of us. A pan of brownies made for a special young man at church is my way of being the GIFT.
Debbie Parsons says
Our family has learned this year that tomorrow is not promised. I want to back off from empty busyness and make each day count. Instead of complaining, I want to be someone who brightens another’s day. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
karyn Elliott says
How I’m giving today is buying decorations and decorating the stairwell, door and exterior of my friends house as a surprise when he gets back from a trip.
Kathi Hoy-Bianchi says
Today I will spend time preparing food for those invited to share the Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. Also, knitting warm gifts to take to our city’s homeless youth center.
Tending to an ailing parent’s needs and helping with her thanksgiving preparations.
Eden Thompson says
One way we might give today is with an authentic heart. When we give, whether it be meeting a physical need or to “awe at the face of God,” 🙂 , it is that much more beautiful with a joyful heart. It creates that tremor of kindness you wrote about. Thank you for being so sensitive to what God is speaking to you, Ann. So blessed by you and your words! Would love to read Be The Gift ❤️
God bless you in this season,
I want to extend and give grace and mercy every day ….. I give praise to God for all He’s done for me. If I tell someone “I’ll pray for you”…. I am really going to pray for them. Acts of love.
The faithful, frequent, extending of grace & kindness to my own; purposefully given throughout the day.
Reaching out to those that are hurting with His healing, comforting, hopeful Word in texts, emails, cards, and words.
catherine brown says
Here is what I love doing!I know there are people who hurt or have a broken heart.Since I can’t help them all.So I start in my church.I let the holy spirit lead me.I will pick a small gift for the person who is on my heart.I let them know God loves them and we were thinking of them and that they are so special to God .We don’t have a big church.Life can hurt those in the church to.I don’t need to know what’s going on.That’s between God and them.Hopefully when they see a small trinket or what ever I can afford to buy.They will think about how much GOD really loves them.And they are not ALONE.
Katie Jaberg says
This is so encouraging and challenging! The past few Monday’s I’ve been surprising random coworkers at work with cookies I’ve baked them. I’ve decided to start doing this every Monday for different people at work =)
I LOVE this book and already bought copies to give away! I would find someone special to give it to if I won!! Thank you so much for being a gift to me! I am practicing everyday to be a gift to someone!
Box pies for the homeless. Make time for a single person this time of year.
I would love to win a book
Lauren Kay Manning says
I’m a single mom of three boys, 11, 9, and 7. At Every opportunity during the day I teach them about God and about how the enemy acts and what to recognize. Sometimes I act like the enemy and sometimes I act like Jesus. But the grace of God is new every morning. I get to start again. I’ve been a worship leader but now perform for crowds in a supper club. I’m going on tonight exhausted, but one thing I can give is an example of strength and weakness at the same time. A mirror of an imperfect human made strong by our God. Because He planted me, and He makes me a force for good. And for that I’m grateful.
Norma Bowers says
One way we gave today was to take homemade pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and give them out at our favorite Christmas tree farm to the workers. It filled our hearts with joy and put smiles on their faces!
Thank you for your beautiful words. There are so many small ways to give everyday. Let someone else go through the door first, let another pull in front of you when merging in traffic, smile at the cashier even though you were the one who had the exorbitant wait, get up with a child in need during the night without being cranky, serve without being asked in any setting, pray for those who persecute you, give to those who have taken from you… I am finding the joy in living given, in seeing His light shine through my broken. I know the beauty He paints with my pain creates a better God glorifying picture than anything I could have done on my own with a more intact life.
I would enjoy your new book as your words have comforted my soul through a long season of deep trauma. And because of my trauma, others have seen His light. It’s free to shine forth more readily through my brokenness than any shining that could have happened through my togetherness. My brokenness in His hands is made beautiful, a priceless God beauty that will bear fruit for eternity.
I love this! Today, I’m giving out lots of hugs to my kids and smiles to strangers!
I will be giving to my little daughter through nursing he through the night, giving myself so she can gain weight and prosper. I will give myself to my man to encourage and love him. I delight to give myself away…
My family is serving in Nepal. Today we plan to host a meal for the other team members who are far from family on Thanksgiving.
My little boy also enjoys going down the street and sharing candy we received in a package with all the local kids here.
Thank you for this beautiful reminder of how life is all about giving!
K Mercer says
I would be utterly humbled by receiving a copy of this book as it is my heart’s desire to be a gift daily, not only to strangers, but also, to my friends and family who tender love me so graciously, with all of my faults and brokeness! My deepest desire is to be a smooth stone that has been thrown across a lake that is glass still, that would skip across the entirety of the lake and leave a ripple of God’s love and grace at every bank!
I had no idea she had a new book out! I fell in love with The Broken Way. It was so challenging, so raw, and so refreshing. As a writer myself, I truly appreciate her unique writing style and melodic way with words. I’m excited to dig into another of her though-provoking reads.
Cy Swendsen says
I have had a major back surgery and after that healed a foot surgery that has taken longer than expected to heal. Due to both of those issues, I haven’t been able to spend much time at my sewing machine this year. But…This week I have made 15 11×9″ fabric bags to send with the O.C.C. boxes that Samaritans Purse gives to children, as I have found a pattern and tutorial that allowed me to make each bag in about 15 minutes! Being able to sew for giving makes me “sew” happy. I am planning on making more bags to gift and will try to make the little dresses and shorts that other ministries are asking for also. I want to be like the woman that was featured on a YouTube video for sewing the pillow case dresses at age 106. Since my Grandmother just passed on Easter at age 111 and 6 months, I will hopefully have much more time to gift sew. But in case my days are not so long, I need to get back to sewing.
Giving brings such joy. Anytime I start thinking about wanting something I try to turn my heart towards giving something away instead
kristin sauerbrei says
today i choose to simply spend intentional time with my parents as i am home from college. sometimes i forget how precious their tune is and what a gift it is to be with them.
We will sit with our child this Thanksgiving because of the gift of another’s brokenness. How can one even, or ever, pay that forward?
Thank you feels so inadequate. The greatest gift….
To every donor family: thank you. You have given the gift of life.
May peace and comfort find you and ease your suffering this holiday.
Moriah Simonowich says
I would love to read “Be the Gift” because Ann’s words have been a rich encouragement through the years — and continue to be!
It began when I read “One Thousand Gifts” and decided to take her joy dare: writing down 1,000 ways He loves. My gifts spilled on paper that spring and summer until I finished my list Thanksgiving afternoon. The dare worked! My heart flooded again and again with joy.
As far as two Christmases back, I’ve adopted the sweet tradition of observing advent the day December arrives. Carving quiet moments to anticipate Christ’s coming in the pages of “The Greatest Gift” has changed my entire perspective. It helped me push away what has become a traditionally chaotic holiday so I could embrace its intended sacredness with both arms.
This October, anticipation ran deep on my 21st birthday — right in the Barnes and Noble cafe over a Pumpkin Spice Latte as I held “The Broken Way” in my hands, admiring the cover. The first chapter did not disappoint me. I cried when it came when her Farmer said “Never be afraid of being a broken thing” because I have been an afraid broken thing for far too long. The healing came in those words…and her words of truth that followed.
So, you see, there isn’t a doubt in my heart that”Be the Gift” would be a sincere *gift* to read! 😉
Heidi Reichert says
Today I baked bread with an at-risk youth that I absolutely adore.
Kathy Gillis says
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, my life has changed. My faith has grown stronger in Christ. I see other people who have itvfwr worsevand I have learned to do little gifts for them, making raisins and cookies they like. My biggest playing forward is listening to their stories as my feelingbpeople this day andvtime dont take thevtime to ttuly listen to people. I read every email i recieve from you and enjoy them so much you truly are a blessing in my life.
Oh, I love this!! We all need this lesson in giving!! To be givers and not takers!! I get to “be the gift” to my husband, my kiddo’s when I humble myself and apologize for losing my temper. They get to “be the gift” back to me when they forgive me and love me unconditionally and smother me with hugs and kisses!! I also get to “be the gift” to a bunch of precious soul sisters who have a kiddo with special needs like myself. God created a place where we can share our broken stories and encourage/sharpen/listen/hold up one another. So thankful to God for allowing this broken mamma to be united with other broken mammas.
I’d love to have a copy of the Gift. I have just discovered Ann’s book One Thousand Gifts. Can’t wait to read everything she has written.
The words we speak ant the facial expressions should be kind. I want to make sure I give both. Reading what Ann writes will help me think more and dig deeper, so her book would be a gift.
Jordan Taylor says
Today I was able to give by helping my mom with stuff around the house! This book is on my list, I’d LOVE to win!
“Maybe there’s no such thing as a small act of giving.”
Too often I fail to Give It Forward because I think my act would be too small to matter. I love the idea that there is actually no such thing as a small act of giving! This is a great reminder to Be The Gift!!
Amanda Kroening says
I am going through a grieving time right now. I lost my mom one month ago. I am clinging to God’s promises and clinging to Eucharisteo. Tomorrow I’m hosting my family for thanksgiving and I would like to give them hope through Jesus.
I love your writing, it’s beautiful. It helps me on my journey so I’m very thankful 2 you. I try, seems like I don’t handle everything I want 2 as well as I would like. Work in progress. 🙂 I am very thankful God doesn’t give up teaching me/us. I love my Jesus, my God & my Holy Ghost. You do a Wonderful job
As a Christ follower for many years, I am working my way back from a long period of self-centered living. As I seek to live for Him and not myself, I find that the road is hard and lonely at times. Yet, I can’t stop seeking Him. I can’t turn away from Him. There’s nothing out there without Him. Even when I’ve yelled, cried, begged and grumbled at the state of my life, I find myself knowing that I’m loved, saved, and payed for by Jesus and ask for help, grace and mercy to keep going with Him. Hallelujah!
Smiling at people who pass me as I drive.
I will write a letter to my sponsored child through Compassion & let her know I am thankful to know her & that she is loved.
Alita Romans says
I love to serve the elderly. I work in a nursing home where I often look to brighten ones’ day, pray with them or tell them about Jesus. I also recently adopted an elderly lady in our church. She was very lonely and full of anxieties and fears of growing old and being alone. Through our developing and growing friendship, I have watched her change and become like Jesus…calm… and trusting him. I would love to read this book so I may learn of more ways I may give and serve him.
There is something special about receiving a handwritten note. I have been blessed by sending simple notes to people. Next year I want to expand that by giving notes of thanks and encouragement to cashiers, receptionists and others who are not part of my circle but whose path crosses with mine. I would love to incorporate more ideas from Be the Gift.
To spend time with an elderly neighbor and just listen!
Today I will love the one life I have and not wish for something different. I will be the gift in the present moments with the family I’m blessed to have!
Bill Stovall says
This is absolutely beautiful and a great reminder that a life well lived means bringing joy to others, or being the gift. We are His hands and feet, Thy will be done, not mine, but through me. I will strive to be a gift daily and pay it forward and letting those close to me how much joy they bring to my life.
sandra branson says
i love the concept of this book! I’m nearing empty nesy and wondering what the future holds without the children that have enveloped my life. i want to be the gift for thpse around me…and quite honestly, need to wake up to the needs around me. #bethegift ❤
It’s 11:41 p.m. And I’m sitting on the ground in the closet where my baby’s pack-and-play is set up, nursing him. It’s been another one of those weeks. God has given me so many opportunities to give as I parent my 5 small kids. My own brokenness and “spentiness” (made-up word for running on empty) doesn’t seem beautiful right now. Today was filled with impatient words and exhausted frustrations. I need to be reminded of Christ and his grace.
Margie Kluth says
I absolutely would love to read the book, Be the Gift! And yet, I think books are meant to be shared. So what would I do if I were randomly chosen to win this book? I would pay it forward and give it to a friend of mine who would be blessed by this book in numerous ways.
Susan G. says
Thanks for this! I love buying someone coffee behind me in line at the drive up. Someone first bought mine, and I was so shocked and thought about it for months!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
Be the gift today… by listening to God’s voice. So thankful for truthfulness and faithfulness from this precious woman of God.
Today, I’ll give time to a colleague I don’t really want to give time too. I’ll make the conscious decision to enjoy our time together, and invest in her without expecting anything in return.
What wonderful ideas and what grace is given every day by Ann Voskamp. Thank you.
We had a chance to pay it forward this past week. A homeless gentleman who does our yard work told us he had no place to live as of that day. We have a small apartment and we’re able to offer him a place to live in exchange for his yard work. He is welcome to stay as along as he want. We are bless to have him here.
Thank you for your messages.
There aren’t words to discribe how much God speaks to me about my heart through Ann. She is able to -in the kindest possible -way convict me of my unsatisfied thoughts. She reminds me that I shouldn’t be thinking that way, it is sinful and harmful and unproductive. I’m forever grateful for her writings. They will certainly echo through time as they are timeless.
Today my family and I will share the Thanksgiving table with international students who are in college in our community. We hope to show them the love of Christ. I would love to share a copy of Ann’s book with one of them.
Becky Flood says
Today I will be the gift by extending grace to family around our Thanksgiving meal, choosing to pray and not to judge.
I love the inspiration of Ann’s stories and would love to read more ideas in Be the Gift!
Janice Johnson says
I would love to take my grandkids to the dollar store and do this!
Robin Lamont says
Me, too! 🙂
Volunteer in the ICU of the local hospital.
Elizabeth Snyder says
Thank you, Ann. I needed that reminder today to be the gift. I’m thankful for this season of life, how God grows us and gives us grace while being so abundantly merciful. I’m thankful that God sees us as saints not for our sin.
Ann Voskamp has been such a daily part of my healing as I’ve walked the broken road of my husband walking out of our family (myself and our 3 kids) just six months ago. Her words have truly been a pivotal part of my healing and hearing her words of grace and abundance in suffering and brokenness has brought me life again and again in the darkest of moments. I am reminded that God is still good and I can give thanks even in this.
What a gift the book would be to me!
Anna Tucker says
I would love to read your new book , Ann as I have enjoyed your previous ones immensely. We are the gift to our hurting world because we know the Giver who gave His Son for us.
Giving to others is the best gift in itself!
I so appreciate how your words paint such a great picture of God’s grace and His will for our lives…I love being encouraged to give of ourselves!
Mmmm…. so good!
By giving time and energy to stop and listen and care for hurting hearts in my family, to listen and pray and try to find a hundred little ways to serve and love them.
And… to do a bunch of dishes and cook and clean!
Juliet Oberding says
I woke up in the middle of the night thinking how broken my life is and how many mistakes I made with all I have been given. But as I sat in the quiet while my family slept, I realized that God doesn’t care. He loves me and heals me every day so I can go out and #bethegift. And isn’t that the point? How can I know another’s pain if I didn’t have some of my own brokenness. PS. I would love the book for my Mom.
Sandy Beck says
I have already purchased Be The Gift! It’s Thanksgiving Day and is my “read” by the fire today. SO, if I am chosen…….I want my copy of your book to be paid forward to someone whose comment touched your heart! I am smiling! I am grateful for your willingness to be intimate with the world so the world can see God’s Grace.
Gratitude and giving it forward were part of the healing process from the loss of my mom. Can’t wait to read this book!
This is a wonderful idea. I didn’t do this but I have knit hats for the homeless, battered women and foster kids. I’ve also painted rocks to hide in my community and one of my granddaughters likes to hide them. You do what you can with what you have and it IS a very real blessing.
Robin Lamont says
Today I will bring bone china service for five, damask linens, silver cutlery and serving pieces, etc. – all inherited from mom-who-passed-in-2013, turkey, stuffing, broccoli, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, etc. to my elderly client who lives alone. My husband and I will be honored to serve her and two neighbors who faithfully looks after her, with a happy “thank you” for just being alive. And I am so thankful. I made a lovely flower arrangement for her big table and this was possibly my favorite part of the whole thing, I am a trained florist as well and this is my gift to myself. So thankful..
Kaye Hodges says
My husband and I are helping at the local homeless shelter this evening.
Your writings have been a great inspiration to me.
Carol Payne says
I would love to have the book to give to my daughter who is feeling very “broken” right now and her marriage is broken. She is seeking the Lord but she wants her husband to change first. One of my frequent comments to her is “You be the gift that you want him to be. Be the change you want.” I also minister to young teen girls in the ‘hood of Birmingham, Al. They have been taught for the most part to grab what they can get and don’t put up with anything from anyone! I want to teach them to “be the gift of change in a hurting world that changes that culture!” Wonderful phrase that…”Be the gift.” Thanks for this inspiring post!
Stacey Pardoe says
Ann, I watched dawn rise above crystal ice glazed over black pond water this morning, and I read your words and they spoke something my heart was hungry to hear. This work of transformation to the likeness of Christ often feels far too slow for a girl who likes to cross numbers off of to-do lists and sprint toward goals like there’s no tomorrow. Despite the slowness, something about living to intentionally give our lives away to others – every single day – seems to lead to the fullest kind of life there is. And I suppose that’s what we’re all really chasing – that kind of abundance that often feels just beyond our reach. Your words remind me that I don’t have to wait until the day I stand before the throne of God, lake of shimmering glass at his feet, to taste the abundance Jesus promises in John 16:33. That abundance opens up as I give my life away here on this quiet November morning. And though I want to run into the world and perform some grand and noticeable act of kindness to write about on a blog or in a magazine, I sense the way I ought to give my life away today is to do the quiet, low, grinding kind of giving: to wash the sticky little fingers of my son with a warm cloth, to gently comb the tangles from my daughter’s hair, to help my mother-in-law dry dishes, to sit and really listen to my Grandma as she shares stories about life and God. . . Thank you for reminding me of these things today.
I ordered this book for a secret sister to bless her. I’d love to bless others with this beautiful book.
Jen Blackburn says
To be the gift is such an inspiration and challenge! After serving my family and two others a Thanksgiving feast yesterday, today I look forward to giving my time with my 17 year old & looking for needs as we are together in our little town. I would love to win this book because I’m learning giving is REALLY living!
Lisa Hudson says
I want to be the GIFT to my family & friends & every other individual God brings across my path on my journey. I know one of my Spiritual Gifts is “encouragement” & I want to use that gift to bring everyone I know into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Loretta Rolle says
What a beautiful reminder of the pursuer of life; to love one another and give of oneself for the welfare of all mankind.
I can never give as much as I would love to give but the gift of “ being there” for another always, is my goal. If I select one person and God says “no,” I know that person will be taken care of and I am to give to another. Giving for the welfare of another is following The way of Jesus. Thanks Ann.
Loretta Rolle says
I meant “ purpose” of life but I think “pursuer” is even better as it indicates action. Thank you Lord for autocorrect.
Jacqi Teehan says
Your writings have become my inspiration! I love what God has uncovered in me through your writings! Thank you for your brutal honesty and sharing your brokenness, it has helped me heal in ways I didn’t even know I needed it!
Thanks for a chance to win this new book! I will give today by praying for certain friends/family members who need my prayers.
Chelsea Rutledge says
Such a good reminder to get my eyes off of self and turn them to God who is gracious to give us a change of heart to give. When we abide in Him we will feel the desires of his heart and desire to live them out. I know for me giving always feels so good, even when I don’t see the reaction. Like just the other day I paid for the car behind me in line at the drive-thru window. I just know that it would have blessed me. And today I purchesed, with my family, a bunch of winter coats for our church’s Hope Clinic. It is free to anyone in need. And there was a need for winter coats. So my husband, kids and I picked out a bunch of coats to donate! It was so exciting to see my kids get excited and into it. And it felt so good to know that people wouldn’t be cold for the winter. It truely warmed my heart so much!
One way I pledge to give today is to forgive the person who has and is hurting me. The reason why I really would love to read Ann’s new book is because it reminds me to give in all circumstances and that a bad situation and broken heart may be a blessing in disguise! And I put up the giving calendar for each month on the kitchen pantry door for us to get inspired to give (using photocopies from the blog right now, but would love to have the real thing)!
Erin C. says
I would give more to my coworkers: more time, more listening and more of being truly present with them.
Today I’m giving by calling my mom. I’ve really dropped the ball on keeping in touch with her. Like the post said, there’s always time for long phone calls.
Jeanne Takenaka says
What a beautiful post! I so need the reminder that there is life that comes from giving. Today, I am giving time to one of our sons. It’s a busy time of year, but he wants to have a smoothie together. I need to be more intentional about doing those little things with our boys. this week I am going to call a family member who I haven’t spoken with in ages. It is time to reconnect.
I have wanted to read Be The Gift for awhile. I know there are still areas of brokenness God is wanting to heal. Sometimes reading another’s perspective helps me to better define my own and understand more clearly the work God wants to do.
Sarah L says
“Maybe if we give just what fills our hands – our broken hearts fill with more of Him – the gift we all want the most.” Yes, Amen! Thank you for your writings, Ann – you are a Blessing!
I am a kindergarten teacher and my to do list is always long. I so often let this list rule my life and my time. I want to focus outward and especially work on giving the gift of time to my family. I want my life to mean more than a list of chores.
Amy Glover says
I just finished The Broken Way and I always look forward to the emails from Ann and her latest post. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your wisdom….I also have a son with heart defects and I really appreciate your perspective as you reflect on your daughter’s situation. I would like the book to learn how to be more creative and selfless in giving in the everyday moments.
Ashley Riegler says
I am planning on giving more grace, more hugs, more re-dos to my sweet tribe. You see, many days I let the tasks steal my joy and peace and replace my giving grace to my kiddos with stern words and furrowed brows. They are the very gifts God has allowed me to raise and watch bloom and blossom into creatures who will model the behavior we show. I want to always be the one to give more love and hugs and re-dos because our very own Father has done that over and over for me.
virginia sproul says
A smile given to a forlorn person. A positive start to any day is good, this book would be a great tool.
I would like to give by being the person that the Lord has molded me to be. Not to allow outside influences to change my heart. To overcome the control freak that I have become. I am now realizing I’m not in control I just perceive that I am. And that control is causing the anxiety in my life that I cant seem to shake.
Kristin Anderson Ratley says
How would I share, if I won this book? Well, i have a dear friend who lives in Florida, who I KNOW would be blessed by receiving this book as a gift…so, if I am a winner, the first thing I will do is have it sent to her!!! She blesses me more often than she even knows….constantly encouraging and inspiring me…. and never complaining about the very real challenges that she faces on a daily basis (a retired nurse, confined to a wheelchair, since losing both her legs). What an amazing woman of God she is…and how blessed I am to call her “friend”. 🙂
M helms says
I will give of myself to wash and put away my daughter’s laundry because she has been so busy.
I would love to win this book because Ann’s words always just speak to my heart.
E. K. says
This is such a great giveaway. Thank you. I would love to read this book and help my child to have a giving spirit. We try very hard to always give but it’s difficult in our society. My hope is this book will help.
Deb Strite says
I would love to read this new book. I have read the broken way and was very inspired. Today I plan to give by caring for the brokeness in other ladies lives.
Connie Boyd says
I would love to bless a neighbor with the gift of a Christmas tree.
Sandra Raburn says
I love all her books. Can’t wait to start the devotional – The Greatest Gift. Today I gave a gift of food to a homeless man.
Today my gift is time. Time to hear the pain of a broken-hearted friend. Time to contact another who is overwhelmed and just needs some encouragement. Time to run my kids to all of their activities as my husband is tied up with other activities. Time to stop and say thank you. Time may seem like such a easy gift but it is so precious and to be able to give that in order for someone else to get some time is, to me, a wonderful gift.
I left my change for the next person at the campus coffee stand. Smiled at the tired souls who glanced up from their studies as I walked by. Sometimes the simple things can matter more. Thank you for the opportunity.
My mom is a long term nursing home patient. She now needs assistance above what the nursing home is providing. As her oldest and only daughter, I am honored to return the love she provided to me when I needed her assistance the most. She needs me to feed her all of her meals and keep her clean and dry in her hospital (nursing home) bed. It is my privilege to be there for her and oversee her daily care. I love her and want to do as much as I physically am able. As daughters, we do what we are able! And, I always pray for the best!
Wendy Vollmin says
I’ve followed Ann’s writing and blogging for awhile. And without exception God through her pen, had changed my life.
Your right when you say to look upon a smile is to look into the face of God… Serving is contagious because joy is contagious. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us Ann. May God bless and continue to inspire your writings.
Linda Turanchik says
I give time, since I have more of that than money. I help my niece with her 4…all age 5 and under. It makes a difference to her, especially with the twins being ADHD. I buy books at the library book sale, some go to the kids and some to the library of an assisted living facility.
Ginger Sain says
Be The Gift is on my Christmas wish list. I’m having a hard time waiting to read it. I wish I had a copy today. I love to find ways to bless others. Just this week, my son & I left a quarter in a bubble gum machine and helped a stranger who had run out of gas. I totally agree, I receive SO much joy each and every time I give/do something that brings a smile to someone’s face.
We are all born with talents, but God gives us gifts that we can use to serve others! When we give of our talents and gifts we can bless others in abundant ways!
Amanda Church says
I would love to see how to be more of a gift to people in my life & teach my children to do the same.
I would love to read. I am home with a sick child today and sinceninhave extra time at home I plan to do things that give to my family. Often in this crazy thing called life they are the first to be neglected.
Sitting by the bed of my brother who is in critical condition from a very serious heart attack. We are blessed by a critical care nurse that is sharing her gifts to us by taking such wonderful care of my brother. I pray that sometime today that I can be the gift in return. I am reading Ann Vos Kamp devotionals out loud to him. Love her writings.
I am looking forward to reading this book. I’ve enjoyed the previous books and have seen them change me dramatically. I am a dean of students at a Christian high school and we are constantly talking to our teenagers about the idea of being the gift to those around them. I am hoping this book will help me to inspire them to look beyond themselves to those in need.
Smile at everyone and talk good about people behind their back as well as to their face.
What a beautiful article! I would love to have this book! 🙂
Beth Anne says
I love Anne’s writing and need the constant reminder to live given out of the abundant grace that God has lavished on me. Reading and sharing this book this Christmas would be a pleasure.
My daughters and I were the gift today bringing pizza to the break room at my dad’s workplace to celebrate his 60th birthday and to share with his coworkers.
Lisa Hovis says
I love each of your books, they are so inspirational and so convicting. I love the concept of grasping the biblical understanding of giving, and in the giving – becoming the conduit of healing in the lives of others and in the opening of our own lives and hearts to be healed by God in the giving. I am learning, that God works in us and through us “in the midst of”…we are not called to give out of our own resources but out of the abundance of His resources and the limitless power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through us. As you have so poignantly expressed, it’s in the breaking that we are able to be poured out and emptied into the lives of the broken, and find healing and wholeness in our own hearts and lives in and through Jesus Christ; our redeemer, restorer, and reconciler! I work with young women everyday at a local pregnancy center who have been broken by abuse, abandonment, neglect, and a multitude of environmental factors that speaks defeat over them and their lives…But God…I pray that He continues to use my own story, to share His story in the journey of learning their story, walking with them through their story & praying for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to their hearts. If I receive a copy, I will be so blessed and honored to learn and glean from it…if not, I will still purchase a copy for myself…can’t wait to read and absorb every page!!
Lisa M Ishioka says
This book is calling out to me, for I am often scolded for doing/giving/helping others too much. I don’t write that to boast, at all! Something struck my heart to impress upon me the need to help others. It is as essential that I show Christ pouring out from me with my actions. Words, you see, do not come quickly. Therefore, I often fall into my natural state of availability for anyone.
My church Choir Director has mentioned a few times that “I” cant save those I help. Well, that is not my department; it is only God’s. However, I can shine Christ in my doing/giving/helping & maybe they’re hearts will catch a glimpse of the Son.