It’s All Good in the Hood
For those of you who desperately want what David, in psalm 51.10, a “clean heart” and a “steadfast (sometimes translated “right”) spirit”, may I recommend a resource? I only started reading it this morning, but it’s so powerful I can hardly stand it.
One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp, is going to be an amazing read. I can tell that by the first few pages. I admit to a deep love of words. I blame my English heritage. Ann is such a wordsmith that I’m in awe of the gift within her. And I’m only a few pages into it!
For those who are at all interested in how God is changing my heart and spirit today, here are a couple of insights from the book.
“Could a name be any shorter? Three letters without even the flourish of an e. Ann, a trio of curves and lines. It means “full of grace”. I haven’t been… I haven’t lived up to my christening.”
She talked about how her family had experienced a gut-wrenching pain, and were living life “raw”, “closed to any notion of grace”, because “memory’s surge burns deep”. How can God be good, when, as she quite rightly says, “… babies die, marriages implode, drams blow away…”
“Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt?”
One day she tried to discuss this hurt with her father, waiting for him to “find the words for feelings that don’t fit neatly into the stiff ties, the starched collars, of sentences.” The day that “branded our lives.”
“No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God, Your plans are a guttered, bleeding mess, and I didn’t sign up for this…” What she calls, “the legacy of the Garden”, “… I believe the Serpent’s hissing lie, the repeating refrain of his campaign through the ages; God isn’t good. It’s the cornerstone of his movement. That God withholds good from His children… doubting His goodness, distrusting His intent, discontented with what He’s given…”.
“The rest of the garden simply isn’t enough. It will never be enough…”
“I live as though He stole what I consider rightly mine… long, content, death-defying days… That forked tongue darts and daily I live the doubt.”
“Ultimately, satan, in his essence, is an ingrate. Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve were, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave.”
“Our fall was, has always been, and will always be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other. Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil’s murmur…” that of Genesis 3.5, ‘In the day you eat your eyes will be opened.’
“We eat. And, in an instant, we see… we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity and injustice. We are hungry. We eat. We are filled, and emptied…”
“… unsatisfied, we who punctured it all with a bite? The fruit’s poison has infected the whole of humanity”.
“… I have lived the no. I have. Infected by that Eden mouthful…”
“Losses do that. One life-loss an infect the whole life… Now everywhere we look, we only see all that isn’t…”
“I hunger for filling in a world that is starved.”
OK. Done. Hope some of these words minister to you like they did to me early this morning. If they did, please let me know. Seriously. I wanna know.
Kari, the thoughtful
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