Monday, August 1, 2011

What is This Gift if I Refuse to Give?


Ann Voskamp spoke these words in our meeting last Saturday night and I am forever changed:

"Not only do we open our hands to receive the gift, not only do we become gifted because of the gift, our very lives become our gift back to the Giver."

This is living. This is ministry. This is worship. This is loving.

We were challenged at the end of the service to write down things that were holding us back, things keeping us from courageously giving our lives as a gift, from living open handed. Laying down my paper at the base of the tall, wooden cross on the edge of the stage, by faith I released the fear of failure, the fear of man and surrendered to His will.

It is not about what we can do that might impress someone or make our name great. It is letting our lives become a beacon flashing and pointing to His name which is great and greatly to be praised. It is about sharing and loving and helping and healing and gathering and encouraging and telling. It is about Him and what He has already done.

Simple yet one of the most difficult things...prying our hands open to receive His gifts and leaving them open so they are given back. Living transparent and exposed, trusting, hoping, waiting.

We have been given gifts. Take a moment to see what you've been given...that which has been put into your hands.

Let us be bold in our sharing, selfless in our living... open handed.

"The gospel is not about what we grasp, but about what we've been given......We (our lives) are to be a trailer (think book or movie trailer), a foretaste of the Kingdom of God..." Ann Voskamp.

Today I am linking with Jen for Soli deo Gloria, Michelle for Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday and counting my gifts with Ann V.

Thankful for...

8. refreshing moments of quiet

9. falling stars under an open sky at midnight with girlfriends

10. a husband who never complains about working to provide for our family

11. Kindle (for Android) book downloads on sale for $2.99

12. deep breaths inhaled, exhaled

13. birds singing early, reminding me to praise

14. eyes that see His majesty and a heart that feels

15. our house that's too small because it's full

16. unexpected visits at a roadside gas station

17. feeling my child's heartbeat when he hugs me just because

18. opportunities on airplanes that allow my gifts to become my gift back to the Giver






9 friends had this to say:

Amy Sullivan said...

It's funny. That was such a powerful message and already of slipped back into my life and pushed it aside. Thanks for reminding me, friend.

Theresa Miller said...

This is a wonderful reminder! I'm just reading about this concept in Ann's book and is so good for me to reflect on.

I imagine the conference was amazing!

Brandee Shafer said...

It's so hard to live wide open. Thank you for these words. Here from Soli Deo Gloria.

Jen said...

I love this post. I cherish the reminder of the same words that I heard, as well. And I see the fruit that He has already borne in you from this post...this releasing. Knowing that you were so ready to have your book signed that you sat in the back. And then, on the plane ride home, there you were, freely giving to that sweet man.

Kristin Bridgman said...

I loved being here and reading your post. I just know the conference was amazing. . .maybe someday.
Blessings to you,
Kristin

visiting from Jen's place

dawnbright said...

Thanks for reminding us of our gifts. I tend to forget that I have a purpose and a gift during the every day.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Oh wow, I can see why that statement made such an impact on you. And then this, from you: "...prying our hands open to receive His gifts and leaving them open so they are given back." I love that image -- the prying open...the leaving open.

Thanks for linking up...

Stacy said...

Shelly,
I love this line....
"Simple yet one of the most difficult things...prying our hands open to receive His gifts and leaving them open so they are given back." My heart has spent the last two days pondering all that this statement has to teach me and I'm still pondering!!!Thank you once again for challenging me.
Thank you, too, for your continued words of blessing and encouragement. Your words always arrive, right on time, to spur me on.
Oh...by they way...your She Speaks Graduate button looks great! So proud of you and so excited to see where God is leading~

~Stacy

amanda said...

Her words were so simple, but powerful that Saturday night. It really struck a nerve in me too. Just to be reminded that everyone has a gift and it's our job to give it away. Thanks for this great reminder.