Pray and be Thankful Through Adversity


It’s not enough to pray through adversity, says author Ann Voskamp, but be grateful in it

It’s beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving, so it’s time to publish edited excerpts of an interview with writer Ann Voskamp conducted last month before students at Patrick Henry College. Her best-selling (and extraordinarily good) One Thousand Gifts (Zondervan, 2011) is about giving thanks even in–especially in–adversity.

At age 4 you encountered death. Can you talk about that? My sister was 18 months old and crushed by a farm delivery truck in our family’s farmyard in front of my mother who was standing at the kitchen sink. My father never shadowed a church door for probably 18 years after that. His line was, “If there really was a God, He was definitely asleep at the wheel that day.” The death of Aimee was my first memory.

How did that event shape your family? It seriously, detrimentally impacted my parents’ marriage. It shaped who I was as a person. I was raised in a non-Christian home. My life was formed by fear. One Thousand Gifts was working my way back to living open-handed and accepting the sovereignty of God and that all is grace because all is being transfigured to bring glory to Christ. When we understand that God sustained the Israelites on manna–which literally means, “What is it?”–then can we be sustained in situations where we don’t understand the why, but we trust the Who.

How did fear affect you? By my second year of university, I was experiencing anxiety attacks and agoraphobia. I was on anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants.

When did that start to change? My husband Darryl is firmly, firmly rooted in Scripture. His mother ran a Bible club through Child Evangelism Fellowship for 23 years, with an average of 60-80 kids every Friday night. She was a beacon of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our community. When I was 16, Darryl’s family started picking me up and taking me to church every Sunday. Marrying him at age 20 and entering into the family–the lens of the world was through Christ. That began to change me.

Where do you live now? My husband and I and our six children live on 600 acres of land in southwestern Ontario. We farm corn, soybeans, and wheat in a three-year crop rotation, and we have 650 sows with a thousand little piglets, so we feel very blessed.
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Marvin Olasky