The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I've hit a really bad patch with my chronic illness.

The fatigue is drowning me. The pain is pushing me to my limits. And don't ask me about my ability to think, concentrate or spell. What once was easy is now a marathon of limitation and difficulty.

I limp to bed discouraged. I'm crying. Again. A rotating calendar on my nightstand catches my eye. It's the God in the Moment Inspirational DayBrightener by DaySpring. Its daily quotes are taken from one of my favorite books, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

The quote says:

YES! Not "I'm worried." Not "I'm stressed out."
Not "I'm anxious." Not "I'm too afraid." Hear me say thank you.
Hear me say YES! Watch me live a life of yes. 

A few days later it says this: "God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us." Martin Luther's words hit me right where I am, feeling emptied of all strength and ability. I am weak and He says that in my weakness, His strength is made perfect. How does that work?

I've been wanting to reread Ann's book, but I can't concentrate long enough. DaySpring sends me two things to review and the other, the little gift book of Ann's words and photography, is just right. Beautiful pictures that remind me to breathe. Beautiful words in bite-sized chunks I can handle.

In this very hard time, in a time of waiting and hanging on to hope, Ann's reminders buoy me. Oh yes, I think, this does help. I'll say thank you for what is good. I'll say thank you for what I can still do. I'll be grateful for the supportive people in my life. I'll try focusing on the good because it will be amplified.

Chronic illness presses hard, crushing the breath out of me. My chest hurts, my hips hurt, my ribs feel broken.

Chronic gratitude infuses life, a whiff of grace. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

So tonight, after a particularly hard pain day, I type this post not just to review these beautiful products, but to say Thank you to God, Thank you to Ann, and Thank you to DaySpring, for reminding me of what and Whose I am, all I have to be grateful for, and how to make thanksgiving a lifestyle.

*DaySpring sent these products at no expense to me, in exchange for my honest review.*God in the Moment DayBrightener can be ordered here; One Thousand Gifts Photo Gift Book can be found here


  1. I am so sorry to hear you are having a difficult day. Hoping tomorrow is better for you, take care of yourself.

  2. Beautiful, my friend.
    I know these days particularly well as I'm trudging the same waters as of late. Being thankful is truly where we must begin and end our days. For me, these times can get particularly out of control when it comes to my emotions. It's easy to tell ourselves stories that only make our pain worse. (for me, it's things like...I just can't do this, my family is hurting because of this, I am losing friends, I'm not a good enough mom...)Sometimes I don't even really realize that I am doing it until I find myself acting on some impulse based on my insecurity. Being thankful narrows my world down to right here, right now. What am I thankful for in this very moment? It does not allow me to beat myself up over the past or worry about the future. It's a realization of the good that is with me right at this very moment. And in that being thankful I find peace. It always amazes me how I can handle my pain so much better if I just empty my mind of "hopeless" thinking. When I get sick, I sometimes become frantic in my thinking, especially in regards to my family. I just plain old worry that I'm messing up all their lives with my illness. And what good does that thinking do? What purpose does it serve? Nothing, other than to make me feel even that much worse!
    Being thankful is a wonderful practice and some of the best medicine there is! It's that very Grace you speak of that carries me through to the next day.

    Bless you. I know these days seem endless. I hope there is some comfort in knowing you are not alone.


  3. I'm so glad you have that book!!! Like you, I often have trouble with big chunks of reading, and sometimes I can't open the original book because I can't face a whole segment of type on cream paper with the weight of chapters behind it, but I can always open this little book, gaze at the beautiful photo, and digest the kernel of text, holding it in my mind for the day. Page-a-day calendars are very helpful as well. I think it is far better to focus on one small thing, and to have the reminder of gratitude is important to me. I am so very sorry that the pain, stiffness, and fatigue are so consuming right now for you. I am thankful for you every single day. Love you! p.s. There's a One Thousand Gifts Devotional coming out in November.

  4. So glad to have discovered your blog - I just read through a few of your recent posts and they really comforted me as I fight through a rough spell of chronic illness.

    Is there a way to follow this blog via email? I'd love to read more. :)

  5. Hi Rachel,
    Welcome and thank you for the comment. I'm so glad my posts offered some comfort; I know how important that is when chronic illness has struck hard and you're feeling that deep sense of isolation.

    Yes, you can follow the blog via email. On the left column, just scroll down and you'll see a place where you can do that. Also, if you're on Facebook, feel free to 'like' Live Art.fully there -- I post a link to each blog post when I write them.

    It's people like you I wrote for, so thank you again for letting me know you're reading along.

  6. Thank you so much, Tiffany! That's very kind.

  7. There is great comfort in knowing I'm not alone! Thank you, my dear friend, so much for sharing vulnerably and authentically. I have met so many dear people on this illness journey and you are all such a gift to me.

  8. Thank you, Wendy!

    Ooooh a devotional! I hadn't heard! That will be amazing.


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