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Bonnie Gray Christian Blog and Commentary

Bonnie Gray

The Faith Barista

Rest. It’s not something moms often give themselves permission to enjoy.

But, making room for rest and prioritizing nurturing my heart hasn't just changed my relationship with God.  It's completely remade me as a mother -- and it's transformed how I parent and how I view my children.  And most incredibly beautiful, it's transforming the hearts of my children and given me a growing confidence to guide and build deep, authentic relationships with Josh and Caleb.

Before finding spiritual whitespace, my life as mom felt like an ending test of strength and will and perseverance.  I was parenting and loving my children out of obedience, which God honors.  But, since taking time and seriously prioritizing it -- even above many other things I thought I had to do in order to be a good mom -- my heart has been remade -- and continues to be renewed -- so that being a mother is flowing out of my heart.

I'm so excited to share these thoughts with you in a podcast I recorded last month with Kat Lee, as a guest on her fabulous podcast Inspired to Action.

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I've done over 30 interviews about finding spiritual whitespace, but this is the first time I was invited to talk about finding rest -- as a mom -- and how it's impacted the lives of my children, my husband and me as a mom.

Join us as we talk about:

  • What is spiritual whitespace and why do we need it?
  • Why it’s ok to rest and create margin in our lives
  • The power of seeing our lives and our families as art and not a to do list

I can't wait to hear what your thoughts are on this topic!

Click below to jump over to the Inspired to Action podcast and listen to our conversation!

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Soulful parenting.  It's my new way of guiding and loving my children and it has affected my emotional connection with my husband Eric.  The more I'm able to re-fill my heart with God by enjoying rest, the more my heart glows and my family is blessed by that warmth, energy and creativity.

I'm growing in a new freedom -- parenting out of sharing who I am with my children --- as I learn to discover more of myself with God -- and less about what I do.

Because the truth is, everyone longs to be beloved.

It's beautiful to realize the more we give ourselves permission to experience life as the beloved, our parenting and love for our husbands will flow out of that experience.

I loved hearing a couple comments listeners have shared.

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It gives my heart joy to keep growing.  Because we are kindreds on this journey together.  Transforming the hearts of our children and husbands.  As God's Beloved.  As is.

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How is God prompting you to give yourself permission to rest as a mom?

How would prioritizing rest impact how you see your children and family?

Who can you share today's encouragement with?

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For more encouragement and words of rest for your soul, read Bonnie’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Restwhich garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly.

 

Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  A UCLA graduate, 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.

 

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, click here to subscribe by email (free) and get each blog post hot and fresh directly in your mailbox.

Is Father's Day worth remembering when you don't have a daddy?

Since my daddy left when I was five, I've never really had a hard time with Father's Day. I described it to my friends this way whenever they ask if it was sad growing up without one -- I don't feel anything. It's probably like being born without a limb. You can't miss what you've never had.

Now that I'm not a kid any more, I don't have to lie. It was sad -- because I can never know what it's like to have a daddy.

A Little Too Strong

I remember her words like it was yesterday. My mother told me to cope this way: "Just think of yourself as being born without a dad. Some fathers die when babies are born and they grow up just fine."

What she said did make me stronger -- a little too strong, maybe. I never felt the pain of a missing father. I felt nothing. I made a detour around the place inside me that wanted a father. I didn't think I needed to be vulnerable, held, or carried. To feel this way was a sign of weakness and limitation. This changed when I became an adult.

Living by faith didn’t grant me immunity to heartbreak and disappointment. For the first time, I wished I had a father.

A Beautiful Possession

Being loved by a daddy is like having the sun kiss your nose while you're eating sweet strawberries and running through sprinklers with laughter. You don't need it, but it can change your world.

A father worth remembering makes the pain of missing someone a beautiful possession.

Since coming into my own, I've learned that having arms to crawl into, shoulders to ride on, and a soft place to land are birthrights Jesus paid for me to own.

To feel loved by a father is a sign of belonging and blessing. It's what everyone truly wants, no matter how old we get.

A person can die lonely in pursuit of a father’s love. Not us. When we embrace God as our Father, we are finally free to discover who we really are.

If you're like me, without a daddy, here's how you can remember Father's Day: 

1. Still celebrate.

As we read cards meant for others, read them the way I do at the card store. Read them quietly in your heart to our Father God. You may feel an ache, but imagine the tenderness on our Heavenly Father’s face.

2. Take steps to experience God as Father.

My relationship with God as Father began to grow from being a polite paternal relationship into an intimate belonging with my real Heavenly Daddy.

First, dare to believe: My Heavenly Father loves me the same way He loves Jesus. “I have made Your name known to them … so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them…" Jesus speaking to Father God. John 17:26

Second, confide your deepest longings: My Heavenly Father takes a loving, personal interest in me. "… I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you…” -Jesus. John 16:26-27

Third, be honest: My Heavenly Father can handle my feelings, especially when I’m most troubled. "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will." -Jesus. Mark 15:36

Fourth, pray to God addressing Him as “Dad,” “Daddy,” or “Papa.” My Heavenly Father has adopted me as His very own.

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery … but you have received a spirit of adoption as [daughters] by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

3. Send words of encouragement to your child if his father isn't here.

Or encourage a friend who may be separated from her child's father. 

If you're a single mother and your child’s father isn’t here -- here's what I wish my mom would've done for me. Follow the prompting of your own ideas, knowing your child. Your child may not express their longing or vulnerable feelings, since he may be afraid it would affect you or he may have confusing or difficult feelings. Know that any movement you make to be present with your child this weekend will help him know he is not alone.

* Reflect Father God’s love to your child.

Take your child on a fun outing during Father’s Day weekend, celebrating Father God’s presence in your family.

Ask how your child is feeling about Father’s Day. Give him freedom to share difficult emotions.

Comfort him with your understanding, having confidence that God can heal all hurt directly as Father to your child.

Send a card to your child with an encouraging note and Scripture. Sign it, “Love, your Heavenly Daddy."

* Allow God to love you as His child. Parenting draws out our greatest vulnerabilities. Confide in God as Father, who is intimately near.

“Praise be to God ... Father of compassion … who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 1 Cor. 1:3,4

4. Take the time to list and appreciate the ways your husband is father to your child.

Thank him for the many ways he allows your child to experience God's kindness, wisdom, and love -- through him. How wonderful it is for a child to feel God's love through the arms of a father!

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you." Isaiah 43:2

5. Send words of appreciation for your father.  

If you're blessed enough to have a father to call daddy: I'm so very happy for you. Look into his eyes as you hand him a gift or card, and say his name.

Here, Daddy. This is for you.

For all fathers reading this:

Love harder, even if it costs you everything you have. You are making a difference, the kind that lasts into eternity. You can never lose who you are. You will find yourself in the hearts of the children you love, along with the Father who lovingly carries you all the way until you are home.

I'd like to close by sharing a promise I’ve come to cherish. It takes my breath away every time I read it -- because I know it's true.

"Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (Isaiah 46:4)

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For more encouragement and words of rest for your soul, read Bonnie’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Restwhich garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly.

 

Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  A UCLA graduate, 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.

 

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, click here to subscribe by email (free) and get each blog post hot and fresh directly in your mailbox.

"real freedom is freedom from the opinion of others. above all, freedom from your own opinions about yourself."  brennan manning

Every day I wrote Finding Spiritual Whitespace, the critical voice in me would say, "Who do you think you are? You think someone wants to read this? Don't waste your time."

Maybe you hear similar voices about your own art or about spending time or attention on something you enjoy -- a seed that's planted in you.

You keep checking the soil of your heart, doubting it, thinking it fell there by accident. But it's still lying quiet there, waiting for you to breathe and water it with your care and your hands.

Many times, feelings of guilt weigh us down the minute we begin to feel inspired.

It's like an automatic response when I want to share something free from my heart -- or when I feel drawn to do something I feel I'd enjoy. I begin to guilty for not doing something earlier -- for something I did, didn't do or did wrong.

I beat myself up. I replay my mistakes. I waste enormous amounts of energy re-enacting how I could have done it differently.

I feel bad. I feel that I am bad.

We are afraid to fully lean into that feeling of rest. And joy. Or peace. We might not think we deserve rest or special attention. We might not think we've earned it. We may be afraid to give time and attention to nurture our passion.

Are we really worth it? we ask silently. In the heart of every woman, God whispers --

Yes. You are worth it. You are my beloved. 

You are mine.

Why It's Hard To Let Go of Guilt

One of the reasons it's hard to let go of our guilty feelings is that it feels safe. No one can hurt us if we don't do anything. We can't be rejected, if we never attempt to blossom.

We won't have regrets, we tell ourselves. But, the longing God placed in us doesn't go away.

Every woman longs to dream, to feed her soul and rest. Everyone longs to move beyond coping and surviving. Every woman longs to be loved.

4 Ways To Give Yourself the Grace to Rest

As God's beloved, let's keep awakening to God's whispers of rest. Rather than driving ourselves into the ground by guilty feelings, let's see what happens when we give ourselves permission grace to rest.

Let grace in, instead of allowing guilt to hold you heart back.

Next time those critical voices start whispering, imagine Jesus standing next to you, taking your hand gently into His.

1.  Confide in Him. Then listen. What is He guiding you towards -- away from?

"It's God's kindness that leads to repentence" Romans 2:4

What words of kindness does He want to say to you today?

2. Give attention to what refreshes your soul with God.  

"I will send the Helper to you... When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth."  John 16:7-17

Make changes God wants you to enjoy now with Him. Today.

3. Take the journey to discover who you are with God, rather than acceptance of others.

"It is for freedom that Christ set us free.  Therefore.. do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery." Gal. 1:1, 16-18

Live as beloved through your Heavenly Father's eyes.

4. Make time to pursue what touches you heart.

"...the Holy Spirit helps our weaknesss.. the Spirit Himself interceeds for us with groanings too deep for words. " Rom.8:16, 26, 27

Stop thinking about grace and let grace be a heartfelt, confident prayer to be the bold, beloved version of you.

Start responding to God's love -- instead of other's expectations of what is beautiful or good enough.

Don't wait to be you with God. Not tomorrow when we're more qualified. Not later, when we're no longer struggling. Don't wait until you're no longer broken.

Open your heart and step out now. As is.

Grace means we no longer are trying to make up for our weaknesses. Grace means giving ourselves permission to express God's beauty and rest -- in you and me.  

The seed in you isn't there by accident. You were made to bring beautiful things into this world. Just like the One who calls you beloved - the Creator - who placed it there.

Your voice, your art, matters to Him. Don't wait until the critical voices die down. Do your art. now. as is.

Last year, when UPS first dropped off the first books on my doorstep, I jumped in my car & drove to the hiking trail to take a picture to share the moment with you. I was so excited I forgot to change into my jeans and trail shoes!

So I hiked this way into the mountains. Then the critical voice said,"That's dumb." So I ended up putting this photo away.

See how the enemy of our hearts steals our joy?

Don't wait like me. Dare to be you. With God.

Be the Beloved.

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For more encouragement and words of rest for your soul, read Bonnie’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Restwhich garnered starred review praise from Publisher’s Weekly.

 

Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grindShe has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership.  A UCLA graduate, 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.

 

*Don't miss!* If you are new to Faith Barista, click here to subscribe by email (free) and get each blog post hot and fresh directly in your mailbox.

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