This book was one of my Christmas gifts from my brother and sister-in-law (thank you, by the way!). I'm only three chapters in, but this is a MUST read for all of you out there. No matter what your story is or where your life finds you today, I guarantee you'll gain something from this treasure, by Ann Voskamp. Even if you're not a believer, this work is worth reading just to taste the author's unique style. Her writing is some of the most beautiful I've ever read. It's taken me a looong time to get through these first three chapters because I keep reading over each sentence, marveling at it's creativity. Had I known about this book while I was still teaching Advanced Placement English, you can bet it would have been in the rotation for my students.
On top of her splendid writing skills, her personal story is just as compelling, having witnessed the tragically gory death of her baby sister and the passing of her two infant nephews. These incidents left her with "soul holes," as she calls them, and wondering how God could exist. The beginning of the book walks you through the questions she has in exploring the possibility of God and filling the emptiness in her life. Through her testimony, I experienced one of my favorite elements of reading -- the "ah-ha moment." I've been taking communion or eucharist since I was six years old, but never had I TRULY understood the purpose, despite hearing the same scripture again and again and again for twenty years. Voskamp breaks down the Greek meaning of the word eucharist for her readers as she discovers that the words grace, thanksgiving, and joy make up it's definition. She comes to the conclusion, through scripture, that what we're all ultimately seeking through wanting "more" is joy. And the joy we're desperately searching for is found in giving thanks to God, in all circumstances, every day, as Jesus demonstrates when He breaks bread with his disciples before His crucifixion.
So, I don't need to go on an exotic vacation to Spain (although I'd still like to) in order to find joy. I can find it in giving thanks whenever and wherever -- in my home, while doing dishes, sorting laundry, and changing a baby. Sounds kind of dull when you put it that way, but how profound is it that you can experience pure joy in any moment by thanking the Lord?!?! Of course, she explains this in a much more tantalizing and convicting way than I can. I highly encourage you to pick up this book and read along with me as I continue to follow the testimony of this talented writer. Happy reading!