Sunday, April 27, 2014

Always Preceding The Miracle

Today's National Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge is: Book Report. What’s your favorite book and how can you tie to your health or life?

I'm gonna be completely honest and admit that I haven't finished the book that I'm about to write about. But I've read enough to know that I can definitely relate it to my health and my life.

The book that I've been reading in between classes, projects, thesis catastrophes, doctors appointments, procedures, and labs is called "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.

This book is a real life memoir of a woman who through some of the toughest of circumstances chooses to lean in on God and fully rely on His grace. She has had lots of unfortunate circumstances in her life including the death of her 4 year old sister at a young age, having to help her brother bury his 2 kids, her mom had to check herself into a psych hospital, and her father couldn't find God. In the book she decides that she is going to dare herself to live fully right where she is...meaning she is going to praise God in the good times and the bad times. She does this by making a list of 1000 gifts that she sees in ordinary things in her daily life. Things from the crackle in the fireplace to cookies that are still warm.

Throughout the book she builds on this theme of euchariesto and comes to the conclusion that as long as thanksgiving is possible then joy is always possible. And Charis=grace, euchariesto=thanksgiving, and chara=joy. So with grace and thanksgiving come joy. Therefore, finding thanksgiving in every day things and living fully with grace in good and bad circumstances brings joy. She finds out that euchariesto--thanksgiving--always precedes the miracle.

A quote from the book says this:
"There it is--the secret to living joy in every situation, the full life of euchariesto...I would have to learn euchariesto. Learn euchariesto--learn it to live fully...If living euchariesto is the key to unlocking the mystery of life, this is what I want. I want the hunt, the long sleuth, the careful piecing together. To learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. That is a secret worth spending a life on learning."
It's just a really great, inspiring book.

But back to the original point of this post. I can tie this to my life because this is how I've been trying to live my life. Though chronic illness is not an ideal circumstance there are still things to be thankful. Being put in front of the right doctor at the right time, networking with the right patient to help you be steered in the right direction, finding a new treatment that works, just plain 'ole having a good day. Then there are things that you can be thankful for that have absolutely nothing to do with your health.

I started making a list of things I'm thankful for everyday when I started reading the book. But since then I've started doing something new. I found out about this challenge called 100 Happy Days on my Instagram with the #100HappyDays. Every day you are supposed to take a picture of something that makes you happy for 100 consecutive days. Their website states 71% of people can't complete the challenge and it's usually because they are too busy. That's crazy to me. That you can't find something in your whole day that makes you happy because you don't have enough time to.

Anyway, this is basically thinks why my life is similar to "One Thousand Gifts" because I am always going through some kind of rough situation, but I'm always striving to find something to be thankful for, something to make me have euchariesto, so that I can have joy even in the hard times. I really think it does change your outlook on life. If you are spending your whole day trying to find something that makes you happy you are focusing on the positive things and wondering how to make it a good picture then you are having a positive attitude all day. I'm just a chronically ill gal daring myself to live life fully, no matter what the circumstances are that day. Giving thanksgiving as much as possible because euchariesto always precede the miracle and we could all use a miracle or two. :)

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