This book is a joy to read even from the very first page --- no not chapter one but the very first page by Joni Eareckson Tada. We are using it in our Ladies FOCUS class at church. Though we've just begun, I think it will make a great impact on each one of us. I've read Nancy Leigh DeMoss before and think she is a wonderful women's writer. I do think; however, anyone who is struggling in life ---- woman or man would glean much from this book.
This is the first and only book(so far!) that I've read by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I admit, it was a little hard to get into at first. However, after reading a couple of chapters, I really got into it! Nancy writes a style as if she was sitting in front of you. She is very real and transparent. This is a book that really opened my eyes to the pervasiveness of ingratitude in our culture! I would recommend this book for women of all ages, not just young women.
I've been interested in this book for awhile, so when I had the opportunity to review it, I said "yes, please!" It was well worth the wait. =-)
As someone who has spent more than a year working to cultivate a spirit of gratitude (and who has been blogging about that journey!), having a book focused specifically on how to "choose" to be grateful was wonderful for me.
On the back cover, the author asks these two questions:
What if we responded with worship instead (of protesting or whining)?
What if we moved beyond an occasional "thank you" to cultivate a lifestyle of appreciating God's goodness every day of our lives - despite the circumstances?
The book explores all the ways we can be grateful, but it goes one step further and makes sure we understand that an attitude of gratitude isn't really about just saying "thank you" all the time - it's about having a heart that seeks to appreciate the seemingly mundane, the things that aren't necessarily things you'd be thankful for otherwise, but those things that make life easier/better/more fun/happier/etc/etc/etc. It made me think about the things I'm grateful for, and how often I'm grateful for big things_ but isn't life filled up with those little things, small moments, "trivial" things? Shouldn't I be grateful for those as well? Even being grateful that my situation, while at times not the best in the world, is better than it could be? There was an example given of someone who had been robbed, but was still able to be grateful for so many things after that experience_ could we each think the same way?
Thinking about worship instead of frustration was a really great point for me, because while I do try to look on the bright side of situations, I don't consider that I should worship instead of just have positive thoughts. That said, while reading this book, I realized that often in my moments of frustration, that's when a hymn will come to mind, when a praise and worship song starts running through my head, so maybe I do turn to worship more than I think I do? But what an important thing that is in turning around our times of angst, to praise the Lord instead of giving in to being annoyed or irritated!
This book is full of great examples and really thought-provoking statements, but probably the BEST part of the book was the section at the end - Growing in Gratitude: A 30-Day Devotional Guide. The author tells us right away that "being a thankful person is a choice" and that you'll need two things on this journey: your Bible, and a journal (to record your thoughts). I'm thinking that a journal isn't absolutely "necessary" but it would allow you to do this exercise more than once, if you didn't write your answers in the book. But this section of the book reinforces things learned in each chapter, takes you to Scripture that also backs up how important the thoughts are, makes you look up the verses and track your thoughts, then challenges you to an action. I guarantee that if you go through the 30-Day Guide, you will come out on the other end with more appreciation! There's no way you can finish it without having a change in your outlook_ and if you get to that point, then I think the book accomplished exactly what the author intended.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive - the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.
I knew I wanted to read this book when I saw it recommended on a blog I love. The reason I knew I needed to read it was because the woman who runs this blog lives these truths out- she lives and breathes gratitude. She has challenging days. She has known trials. Yet when she speaks of a trial, it is always to praise God for another mercy in the middle of it. She finds God's Gracious hand in the middle of pain, she finds a beautiful sunset at the end of a long day. Her archives are filled with posts that are a breath of fresh air- and it is the lovely scent of gratitude that perfumes them. Reading her posts made me want to have what she has.
So, one day, when I had (very minor) dental surgery planned, and was inwardly complaining about it, I decided to try looking for the mercies. They were there.
1. My dentist has very gentle hands.
2. My dentist talks to you while he works.
3. I had a family member who got the whole day off from work to take me, and would be waiting in the waiting room the whole time.
4.The rest of the family got to stay home...that is a blessing!
5.The weather was excellent for a drive into town.
6. I would be missed while I was gone and told so many times when I got home.
7. I had a new book at home to read when I got back. :-) That is a special blessing!
And there is was...Gratitude welling up in me for things I never would have seen. And I knew I needed this book. And now I think we all need this book.
"Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard fought, Grace infused Biblical lifestyle. And though there is a sense in which anyone can be thankful- for God has extended His common Grace to all- the true glory and the transforming power of gratitude are reserved for those who know and acknowledge the Giver of every good gift and who are recipients of His redeeming Grace. This book is about discovering what makes gratitude truly Christian. And how it makes life, even with all its bumps and bruises, a joy to behold."
God commands us to give thanks, to Glorify His name with Thanksgiving, to Praise Him. Our gratitude also blesses those who hear it and see it, because it points them to the One we are Thanking. Gratitude blesses us too...keeping us from sin. Nancy Leigh quotes D. James Kennedy, who says that an ungrateful person is one step away from meeting their needs in an illegitimate way. I agree. We want what we don't have and we don't have what we want. We envy those who get "it" first. And yet what are we missing that we need? We live in a fascinating world of blessings...and yet we miss the daily blessings showered upon us. Like Nancy says, we think our soap and tea come from the grocery instead of our Gracious God.
This book goes deep... this book talks about being grateful in affliction and terrible loss, like the death of Nancy Leigh's brother as a college student. He planned to be a missionary.
His family gathered to praise God after he died...not because it was easy and they felt like it, but because God was worthy. There is a reason it is called a sacrifice of praise, Nancy says. "Our hearts were breaking even as we tried expressing them. But what we were really saying was 'Lord, you've not given us the privilege of understanding why You would take this young life that was so devoted to You, and we may never understand your reasons this side of heaven. But LORD we trust you. We know you don't make mistakes. And what we really want even as we grieve the loss of son, brother and friend--more than anything else--we want you to be glorified.' And he has been."
That is awesome, the way a heart can praise God in the midst of pain like that.
This book is so full of truth, and the writing is beautiful.
Choosing Gratitude will be on my top books of the year list. I intend to do the thirty day devotional included over the next month, as part of transforming my mind to think in grateful terms. I was blessed to receive this book from Moody Publishing to review.