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Bonnie Gray Christian Blog and Commentary

Bonnie Gray

The Faith Barista

 "You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen." ~ Ernest Hemingway

You might have wondered like I have. When will it be my time?

When will it be my turn . . . to taste spring? Like me, you might have been waiting, longing -- ever so patiently -- to finally come to a place in your story. Where there are no more distractions. No more tears. No more fear.

Where the road will walk wide and the people you meet on this journey will welcome you with open arms. And call you friend. You imagine what it would be like to walk into a room and feel at home with yourself.

Like me, you long to be known.

I've often struggled to find this inner place of spring -- where I could finally grow into the me God had in mind when He made me. I kept waiting for a moment I felt I was okay, when I was no longer afraid -- when I could feel confident of where I was headed, what I was doing, and where it was all culminating to.

I was always trying to figure out my dream and my calling. I thought I was being purposeful. I thought I was a good thinker. 

But, the honest truth that I've come to realize is this: I was really afraid to be the Beloved. God's beloved. Now. As is.

More Intimately Soul Beautiful

It's a lot easier to set goals and endeavor to achieve them -- whether they are better versions of ourselves as a woman, friend, daughter, wife, mother, or even as a believer.

But, it is a lot more vulnerable to say instead --

"I need loving. I don't want to do it all. I need beauty."

And in those quiet moments, it is intimately more soul beautiful to hear God whisper in return --

"You don't have to do it all. Don't try to be something.

Be my Beloved. Be loved."

It's easier to push through in a noisy world that celebrates doing and ignore God's soulful whispers. To do something definable -- to do things that others could point to and say, "Look. She did something. She is somebody."

It's a lot harder to stop. And soak in all that really matters again.

To rest. To feel tenderness toward yourself and those you love.


{click to download free printable}

It's what our soul truly longs for. To love and to be loved.

Love. It's the seed to everything we were meant to be in this life.

The Most Beautiful Vision of You

Love. It's the seed God planted in each of us as He traced His fingerprints into our hearts when God made us in the secret place. When God dreamed of making something new -- when He thought of all the sunsets He would paint, all the waves He would brush along the ocean's edge, and all the wildflowers He would dot along hillsides no one else would ever see, except Him alone -- God thought of you.

God held the most beautiful, perfect vision of you -- and He breathed that part of Himself into your soul and your spirit. Your personality. Your likes and dislikes.

And He protected that eternal version of you with His love. No amount of brokenness, betrayal, loss or rejection can hurt that inner part of you.

Because you belong to Him. You are His beloved. His love is Spring to our soul.

Will you let Spring back in? Will you let God love you again -- in a fresh and new way?

Like honey bees harvesting nectar in the spring when flowers and plants are in bloom, I'm gathering Scriptures that are returning a sweetness to my soul. 

I've come to a point in my journey -- a chapter in my story -- to make these truths mine.  Now. 

I'm not going to wait.

I choose to be God's beloved -- afraid, doubtful, incomplete. As is. I am choosing to be God's beloved -- by saying yes to Spring.

6 Whispers of God's Spring In You

It's the first weeks of Spring. I'd like to celebrate it by sharing God's whispers of love with you -- as they're whispering Spring in me.

You are my beloved.

Just rest. "Return to rest, my soul for the Lord has been good to you." {Psalm 116:7}

Choose joy. "He will take delight in you... He renews you with his love.. he will rejoice over you with singing." {Zephaniah 3:17}

You are my beloved.

Be real. "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." {Deuteronomy 33:12}

Choose beauty. The God who made the world and everything in it...He made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God." {Acts 17:26-27}

You are my beloved.

Enjoy what delights you. "Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. And delight yourself in abundance." {Isaiah 55:1-2}

Start new. Cherish the small. "Do not despise these small beginnings. You are mine." {Zechariah 4:10, Isaiah 43:1}

May these whispers of love inspire you to join me on this journey of spiritual whitespace:  choose to be His Beloved.

Today. Don't wait.

Let His Love become Spring in you today.

~~~~~

Pull up a chair. Share a Scripture that God is whispering words of love to you. How can you say yes to Spring in you?

 

By Bonnie Gray. Bonnie is the soulful author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, which has garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly, named as the Top 6 notable new religion authors.  Bonnie blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

For inspiration to create space in your life to breathe, order a copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest.  This memoir-driven guidebook for rest will nurture your heart to draw closer to God. 

"Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility." - Ann Voskamp, NY Times bestsellng author of One Thousand Gifts

"If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever befrore, this is the book for you." - Lysa TerKeurst, NY Times bestselling author of Unglued

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, I'd like welcome you here. Click here to subscribe by email -(free) and get each post in this series served up hot and fresh directly in your mailbox

 

 

 

{Photo Credit: Kelly Ishmael MindingMyNest.com}

 

{my images are free goodies for you to enjoy & share}

{psst.. I have a soul-stirring video below  to share with you today I created with my friend Henriette. We share an honest conversation between kindreds... with you.}

For those of us who are encouragers, we're often shy about voicing our needs.

We don't want to add to anyone's burdens. We often liven in autopilot mode.

Especially if we find ourselves in a stressful situation, sometimes we are the most vulnerable.  

We're afraid to take time for ourselves because we don't really believe there's a place for us in this world, among our friends, apart from what we can do for others. We don't know our worth.

Sometimes it's the encouragers, the strong ones that struggle with our experiences - putting ourselves to the side.  As the strong ones, we feel we add to people's burdens, if we were ever to express or be in touch with our need.

Do you often live in "autopilot" mode & put yourself to the side when life gets frantic? I wondered if I was the only one, so I recorded an unscripted conversation with my friend Henriette. What she shared is so vulnerable & powerful. Click below watch today's Soul Mocha Video "Why Choosing to Rest Is Choosing Your Worth" & share your comments below. Wk 4 Video - book club - Henriette

(I've returned from my trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion (click here to read the life-changing stories I experienced). We're continuing reading of my book Finding Spiritual Whitespace — with this video.)

We don't want to feel weak. We're afraid others wouldn't love us if we couldn't offer them the strength we always give.

We may have adopted this as our coping mechanism when others around us struggle.  

We may feel it's the only way to feel in control. But, with God, there is one place we can let go of that heavy burden.

God doesn't need us to be in autopilot mode. God's heart breaks for us when He sees us moving through our days merely functioning, performing -- stressing -- and surviving.

God longs for us to be a child again.  It's all He ever wanted -- was to provide a place where we can just be me.  And find that little girl emerge again -- with all her stories, her needs and wants.

So He can comfort her, take care of her and put her first place in his heart.

So He can love her.

"Encourage her to believe. there is a place for her. comfort her when she cries.

be patient. show her kindness.

don't give up on the little girl on you and on me." -- excerpt from my book Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

We all long for. Someone to say --

i see you. i hear you.

i value your story.

let me love you.

take time to feed your soul. enjoy rest.

God wants us to make time to come to him. God wants us to be loved.

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Pull a chair. Share a comment below.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!

** Who can you share today's encouragement with? **

[THE DAILY WORD CROISSANT]

"How precious are your thoughts about me, O God… Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.” ps. 13: 17, 18

FindingSpiritualWhitespace_BookDaySpring{this post is part of the #SpiritualWhitespace Book Club. get a copy of my book Finding Spiritual Whitespace & join in. Click here to learn more.}

By Bonnie Gray. Bonnie is the soulful author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, which has garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly, named as the Top 6 notable new religion authors.  Bonnie blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

For inspiration to create space in your life to breathe, order a copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest.  This memoir-driven guidebook for rest will nurture your heart to draw closer to God. 

"Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility." - Ann Voskamp, NY Times bestsellng author of One Thousand Gifts

"If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever befrore, this is the book for you." - Lysa TerKeurst, NY Times bestselling author of Unglued

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, I'd like welcome you here. Click here to subscribe by email -(free) and get each post in this series served up hot and fresh directly in your mailbox

 

“There is a crack in everything.  That's how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen

She lives next the river. Where her mother committed suicide...by drowning.

Elsa.  No, she isn't the queen that lived in an ice castle in the movie Frozen.

The Elsa I met in the Dominican slums of Santo Domingo lived where even the poorest look down on her.

Elsa lives next to the river.  Where people get sick from the polluted waters and everything putrid that gets ejected from the slums built up higher always finds its way downhill.

Living next to the river also means your house will be flooded -- regularly here in the the tropics when the waters rise. So your home can never be free from the refuse that sloshes in as it washes away all you own and leaves a reside you cannot wipe away.

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No matter how hard you try. The waters always rise.  And you will always need to face what remains after.

You'd think that someone who has lived in this place as a child, as a young woman -- who has now become a grandmother -- would have no hope.

But, then you will enter her home, as I did, and you will find it odd that a little girl who cannot walk or talk, whose wrists curl up against arms rail thin sits on the sofa in the corner -- with beautifully, gloriously braided hair.

And maybe you'll find yourself amazed -- even as you're sitting there surrounded by broken things strewn about on cracked cement floors -- how clean her hair is, how smoothly it's been combed and gloriously beautifully it's been braided so intricately.

I Want Them

Jazmin cannot move, except for eyes that slowly gaze because she is too frail.

Jazmin was born with birth defects. And her mother was going to throw her away and get rid of her.

Her mother got pregnant with Elsa's son -- two more times. Each time, she wanted to abort the babies.

But, Elsa is a grandmother who loves like she lives in a castle, daughter of a King, even though she suffers the destitution of poverty.

Elsa went to the mother and said, "Don't throw Jazmin away.  Just give her to me.  I want her."  And she said it again when the mother wanted to abort Jazmin's two other brothers.

Give them to me.  I want them. Elsa tells us with a smile that waved like a banner of love, flying high in the sky. She caresses baby brother and pats Juan affectionately with her hand.

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An Intimate Whisper

"I call her my daughter," Elsa proudly boasts. "Because I have 6 brothers and I only have one son.... I've always wanted a daughter. So God gave me Jazmin."

My brain asks why poverty always make so many babies? And I start to analyze the impossible cycle of poverty that often leads us to "can't solve world hunger" phrase that is used in the work place. People use that phrase, in order to put away any notions of grandeur. This applies to projects, technology, marketing and business.

But, Compassion isn't a project. Compassion isn't about analyzing a person and their plight.

Compassion is a personal movement toward ONE individual. Not a people group - a faceless identity.

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Compassion is an intimate whisper you hear when you look into a child's eyes.  

Compassion is the voice within you -- that only you can hear -- when you give yourself permission to let Jesus move your heart. To touch one child. To sponsor a child.

But I said No

"Her hair is beautiful," I tell Elsa through the translator.

"Yes. Everybody tells me to cut her hair. It's too much work to wash her hair if it's long, if she can't do it herself. But, I said, No.  I want her to be like all the other little girls.  With pretty hair.  I don't want her to feel any different. I want her to feel just as pretty as all the other little girls!" Elsa smile beams with pride.

I cry because I've never known such love as a little girl.

I cry because Lisa Leonard wraps her arms around Jazmin, picks her up to lovingly cradle and hold her.

And I hear in those tears the One Voice who has always loved me from within.

I love you, Bonnie.

I love you, Jazmin.

I love you, Lisa.

I love you, Elsa.

I love you, Juan.

I love you baby brother.

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I'm here. Jesus whispers in return. In every sponsor.

Poverty is replaced by somethings sweeter and something deeper and something eternal from within: compassion.

Write, Bonnie. And I will whisper.  Kindreds will hear my Voice.

Because I will join their hands -- with other Elsas. For other Juans, Jazmins and other baby brothers.

I love all the children who live next to the river. The ones whose hopes have drowned. Those are the ones I will love.

Together, they will hear me. There will be a river that flows from their hearts.

Fresh. Clean. Pure.

Love.

"One night the Lord spoke to Paul: 'Do not be afraid...For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city." Acts 18:9-10

Become a part of Jesus' network of love. Say to a little boy or girl --

Don't be afraid. God has many people in this city.
I am one of them. I am here for you. 

Become a sponsor today.  Don't hesitate. Be His voice of love.

As I’m writing this, 99 children sponsored through the Dominican #CompassionBloggers! See them all here. Thank you!

p.s. Will you take just a few seconds and share this post on Facebook?

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Sponsor a child today!  Click here to see all the chilren who are praying and waiting for a sponsor -- EVERY DAY -- in some cases more than a year.  Let's be God's answer to their prayers!

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~~~~~

{Today's post is part of Bonnie Gray's Online Spiritual Whitespace {Face}Book Club. It's free!  You can join anytime by simply liking Bonnie's Facebook Page.  Order a copy of her book and grab a journal!  Find out more & read about it here http://www.faithbarista.com/bookclub}

 

 

By Bonnie Gray. Bonnie is the soulful author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, which has garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly, named as the Top 6 notable new religion authors.  Bonnie blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

For inspiration to create space in your life to breathe, order a copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest.  This memoir-driven guidebook for rest will nurture your heart to draw closer to God. 

"Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility." - Ann Voskamp, NY Times bestsellng author of One Thousand Gifts

"If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever befrore, this is the book for you." - Lysa TerKeurst, NY Times bestselling author of Unglued

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, I'd like welcome you here. Click here to subscribe by email -(free) and get each post in this series served up hot and fresh directly in your mailbox

 

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