A heart's imprint, one winter morning

“Having come to know Jesus, we are forbidden to return by the way we came.” St. Gregory

The new year is approaching.

It’s right around the corner.

One moment, I’m sure of where I’m heading.

Another moment, I’m thinking, maybe it’s time to change course instead.

It’s a voice that’s not very loud.

It’s a voice that’s soft.  Still.

Like a stone cast upon a pond standing cold in the winter, my heart thinks it’s resting when it feels a ripple cascade from the center.

Come back to me, Bonnie.

But, don’t come back the way you came.

I want you to journey ahead — by traveling another way.

Like the wise men who traveled long and hard, to follow the star that finally led them to Jesus, God is telling me in more ways than one.

It’s time for your homecoming.  And I want you to return — by a different route.

Homecoming

I was talking to Margriet in the church quad after worship service.  The week before Christmas.

I tell her it was my birthday a few weeks ago.  And it wasn’t such an easy occasion to celebrate.

I had mixed feelings about marking a milestone.  I looked back on where I’ve been and I feel the pressure to make this year different.  To make it count.

Margriet is an expert in gerontology.  She teaches on the social and psychological aspects of aging.  Yes, I know I’m really not that old.  People say I look young.  I can’t take any credit.  I tell them it’s my Asian genes, that make me look like I’m just hardly out of college.

But, inside I feel old.

This past year, I’ve had to relive old wounds and memories, that have come alive through post-traumatic stress.

With each flashback, I’m sucked back into a time machine, and I’m four again.  I’m alone, standing barefoot, in the dark of a basement.  I’m cold and crying, standing tippy toes against the window pane of a gray sky, wondering if my momma has left me for good this time.

The other day, as I inhaled a bite of winter air and moved my legs in its rhythmic pace for my morning walk and prayer, I noticed a heart-shaped imprint left on the dirt path.  I thought about the girl who wore those sneakers, and I’m suddenly feeling seven, with floppy hair and choppy bangs that poked me right below my eyebrows whenever I ran.

I remember how lost I felt, gripping my little sister’s hand, as we walked down my grandma’s driveway, to climb into my father’s old green Nova and sit on vinyl seats in the back.  Unlike my parents, I never signed my name on any divorce papers.  Divorce was a brokenness I experienced in my heart — during those last visits with my father weekends.

Even against the rattle of his old Chevy engine, I rode in a vacuum of silence.  But my heart was far from being quiet.  There was world of pain that comes from separation that I never allowed myself to experience.

Returning to this world of pain, to journey through it — it’s what Jesus calls healing.

This is journey of healing is my heart’s homecoming.

My Full Voice

I was the strong one.

I was the one who always smiled, who only cried just a little.  And for the times I cried a lot, it was always alone.  And never for too long.

This is how I came to Jesus as a little girl, drawn by the love and the light of a loving Savior, a gentle Shepherd who spoke my name and smiled to see me.

But, now God’s taken me on a spiritual journey that leads me back to the places where I’ve been wounded.

Jesus is there too. But, I’m finding a different Jesus walking with me.  He is Jesus with eyes dripping with tears for me.  He is intimate friend, chest heavy with understanding, sullen and sober with my memories.  He knows the pit of loneliness.  He’s still my Shepherd, but His arms open to hold me, rather than nudging me to walk forward as He’s done in the past.

I’m seeing with painful clarity the truth of life’s imperfections and the marks they’ve left on my soul and in my story.

And it’s very disorienting to understand why Jesus would want me to revisit the past, at a time in my life when I feel there’s so much more I can do without the healing.

Jesus doesn’t seem to explain very much.

Which can be very frustrating.

Instead, Jesus keeps pointing to the changes He wants me to make.

These are not changes that are easy to check off a list.  When I make these changes, there will be people who will not be happy with my choices.  Expectations are a very painful thing to break.

I don’t know how my life will look like, but I recognize the Voice of Jesus, who whispers –

Speak.  In your full voice.

I won’t be able to explain very much.

I will feel frustrated.  Yes, even afraid.

But, I must go.

Because I want to go where God leads me.

I want to go the other way — where the Shepherd of my Heart calls for me to return.

“I am the way, the truth and the life.”
~ Jesus, John 14:6

Home Another Way

I’m sure the wise men expended a great many emotional, financial and personal sacrifice and expense to keep following the star — for so many unknown number of days.

You’d think having finally found Jesus, they would finally return home the way they came.  In peace and with ease.

The moment they found Christ, they were overjoyed and ecstatic.  They were able to finally give their gifts to Jesus and experienced the thrill of reaching their goal.

But, their journey wasn’t over.  They could not return home the way they came.

They received news their lives were in danger.  They had to go home another way.

If you’re like me, looking into the new year and wondering, how in the world will I navigate my plans in the midst of sudden changes?

If you are burdened with anxiety, fearful it’s too late — that the journey of faith is taking too much time — with too many detours…

Jesus may be calling you to take a different route, to bring your heart to a new homecoming.

A Different Route

It’s scary to unexpectedly find ourselves in a disorienting position — especially if you’ve traveled long and hard to reach a personal goal or dream for many years.

You and I have journeyed through many different lands, believing we had finally arrived at the cusp of what we thought would give us closure, joy and peace.

But, having reached that place in life, we discover ourselves in circumstances we could have never predicted.

Margriet tells me God’s timetable is different from our own.  Jesus himself lived 30 years of his journey hidden, yet God chose to call him while He was single with only three years time to share His purpose.

God chose a different route for Jesus to make His way back home.

It’s time for us to make our way back home too.

It’s our heart’s homecoming.

Back to that place inside us where Jesus is at the center.

To travel together — back to where we are at home with Jesus — feeling safe and loved.

We need to go back via a different route.

—-

“And having been warned  in a dream not to go back to Herod,
they returned to their country by another route.”
~ Matthew 2:12

 

—-

What is the different route God is calling you to take?

How is God encouraging you — in that quiet voice — to take the next step to your heart’s homecoming?

Pull up a chair.  Click to comment — Share your thoughts, as we turn over a new year.

—-

Written by Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life.

Join Bonnie on her blog, as she continues her heart’s homecoming journey — returning as the beloved — into the heart of God.

 

 

 

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  1. 3

    bonnie, i have read of your journey this last year and the shaking bravery with which you continue to share your brokenness and god’s putting back together has encouraged me in my own broken places. i see how you keep heading towards your savior, even at times when that means standing still while he wraps himself around you. xo –kris

    • 4

      ” heading towards your savior, even at times when that means standing still while he wraps himself around you. ” So beautiful. Thank you, Kris for expressing this well. Standing still is one of the most difficult and intimate spiritual act we can experience, and I’m glad you are here to share this moment together.

  2. 5

    Thanks for sharing. This spoke to my heart.

  3. 7

    Oh Bonnie why do your posts challenge me in such a way. I think I have finally realised why, I’m walking my own journey of PTSD and your words are at times the very ones I’m trying to hide from.

    Each new year I promise it’s going to better that I will rid myself of my anxiety and will not let fear overwhelm me. But it’s a battle I keep losing.

    Do I need a different direction? For sure but which way I haven’t a clue. May God be my compass in 2013 and maybe I will find my way

  4. 9

    I was so glad when I noticed a new post from you in my email. She is still continuing to write, I thought and smiled. I know it’s been a challenging journey for you these last months. But your journey with Jesus is an ongoing journey and He will lead you as you allow Him to do so.

    Each of our journeys is different. But He is leading me down a path that seems uncertain. I’m learning that my part is to trust and follow His lead. I’m learning that SURRENDER is not just a song but a way of living in Him. This next year I want to live closer to Him as I give Him all the junk in my life. Only He can bring something beautiful out of it.

    I continue to pray for you Bonnie. May He lead you on your journey in 2013 and beyond …

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    • 10

      Thank you, Debbie. Your encouragement never stops touching my heart, giving me courage — for friendship and encouragement on this faith journey. I’m sipping this morning’s coffee with you across the miles.

    • 11

      A different route or the same route. Either home is where the heart is. We all have our own ways to walk,run or crawl home to. When our heart is open the road is not as difficult. I pray that God shows/gives me the wisdom to make sure I just make it home the way he sees fit. I have learned under certain if not most circumstances that focusing on what I can’t have now makes it for a more difficult road. The goal now should maybe be changed to OK God this is what is offered. I shall do my best with what you have Blessed me with NOW! Looking at the Blessings with much optimism. Understanding that I will make plenty and much more mistakes. Trying to learn from those mistakes in not to keep doing them over and over. May God grant us Grace to focus on what we can do with what he offer us NOW! The road is not always easy. May I/we walking blindly along this road. Blindly so that my/our Faith in God is put to his most ultimate challenges. In Hopes that I/we understand the Blessings he gives me/us daily. How can you/I change the NO not right NOWs into OK this what I/we can do with the NOs right NOW!?
      I can’t wait to be home! Going to enjoy which every route I go. How about you :-) ?
      A different route or the same route. Either home is where the heart is. We all have our own ways to walk,run or crawl home to. When our heart is open the road is not as difficult. I pray that God shows/gives me the wisdom to make sure I just make it home the way he sees fit. I have learned under certain if not most circumstances that focusing on what I can’t have now makes it for a more difficult road. The goal now should maybe be changed to OK God this is what is offered. I shall do my best with what you have Blessed me with NOW! Looking at the Blessings with much optimism. Understanding that I will make plenty and much more mistakes. Trying to learn from those mistakes in not to keep doing them over and over. May God grant us Grace to focus on what we can do with what he offer us NOW! The road is not always easy. May I/we walking blindly along this road. Blindly so that my/our Faith in God is put to his most ultimate challenges. In Hopes that I/we understand the Blessings he gives me/us daily. How can you/I change the NO not right NOWs into OK this what I/we can do with the NOs right NOW!?
      I can’t wait to be home! Going to enjoy which every route I go. How about you :-) ?

  5. 12

    Bonnie, so good to read your writing here! And it breaks my heart to read of when you were four, and when you were seven. I cannot imagine the pain. Thank you for sharing from that pain and that place – and for following God to new places. There is so much pain in this world – and I know that your writing in your full voice will be (and already is) such a blessing to many others. Praying for you as you step into a new year – and thanking you for all the encouragement you have been to me, especially when I was first beginning with blogging.

    • 13

      Hi Cherry! It always cheers me to hear your voice. My heart surges happy, knowing I share a part in your journey of releasing words from the pages of your journal, from your heart, to all us here, friends on this journey. I love hearing your voice, each time you write. Thank you for holding me close in heart with your words and your prayers!

  6. 14

    Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing this…it meant more than you know. May God surround you with His peace…

    Blessings in Christ,
    Rae

  7. 15
    Bonnie Jean says:

    Bonnie, It is hard to ignore your posts since we share the same name… and a similar battle with anxiety and PTSD from events of the past. I spent 46 years of my life in abusive relationships… now I am free of that… but married to a good man, but he is not saved. I feel totally alone right now. He has taken good care of me and my sons… but I have had to walk through the inner struggles alone. He thinks I should just “get over it” or “leave the past in the past.” Unfortunately, God heals from the inside out… and seems to be peeling me back like an onion. I started to write a book about domestic violence, thinking I could help other people and add to my family’s finances as I am considered permanently disabled (I have had 34 surgeries in 9.5 years after being beaten and stabbed and left for dead by a former spouse)… but with each chapter more wounds that had never healed came gushing open like a volcano in my soul and I began to feel and remember things I had buried soooo deeply I had forgotten them. But God knows we have to clean up all the mess… get all of the poison out of the system. Empty ourselves and let Him heal and cleanse and fill us up. The path is sure a whole lot longer and rockier than I ever expected. I think I wanted a fairytale “poof” ! and everything is changed like in a Disney Princess movie. It is more as if I am Eustace in Voyage of the Dawn Treader trying to peel off my dragon skin… only to realize after many tries on my own that Aslan must do it and it will hurt and it will hurt terribly sometimes… but Aslan is there and God is in control and one day all will be well. This year I have decided to put myself in “God’s Spa” for a year… kind of like when Esther had to prepare herself for the King … I am going to let God give me a total life makeover inside and out… and I am going to stop striving… just “Be Still and Know that I am God.” That is my verse for the year. We can pray for each other on our journeys in new directions.

  8. 16

    Homecoming of the heart? Ok u said a “hearts homecoming” but I alway have to turn things in a different light to understand that Gods desire to see my heart coming home, I don’t fully grasp that truth? Sure I believe it but to say it with belief is another thing.

    It’s like my heart won’t fully surrender to that in fear…… ? But I know that I know HE won’t give up on me to be able to trust myself in His arms of healing to beable for my hearts homecoming!
    There I made full circle hearts homecoming!

    Thanks Bonnie for putting yourself out there to be used by our precious LORD JESUS

  9. 17

    Thank you so much Bonnie. I’ve just caught up with the last few days of incourage and have posted a tale of ups and downs on a thread of Bests for 2012.

    Bonnie, your blog has lightened my soul and Bonnie Jeam I’m taking on board your verse for the year. I have been so busy trying to fix things by my own power and almost leaving God out of the solution, although hanging in there with Him by a thread. I have faith that he understands!!!

    May the Holy Spirit guide all of us who are struggling in any way and give us peace to allow us to hear the voice of God and wisdom and strength to change what we need to

  10. 18

    Bonnie,

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I can recognize much of myself in your story. I too was the strong one, few tears, big smile. My parents divorced when I was 8.

    God is calling me into a whole new version of myself this year. Especially as a mother. My son is 8 and we lost my husband/his dad a year ago to cancer. Being a single parent is hard, but God is with me and reminds me that we are never alone.

    Bless you in the new year!

  11. 19

    Bonnie this is beautiful and soul deep. Thank you for sharing your journey here today.

  12. 20

    What is the different route God is calling me to take? Well, it’s NOT a DIFFERENT route. It is just a route I don’t take very often or journey down very well. I crawl laboriously forward, often slipping off the side of the road into the mud of resentment or the ditch of bitterness.
    It is the route of FORGIVENESS.
    I know I need to forgive the person who has hurt me who is ALWAYS right, never wrong. The person who wounded me out of mental illness, demanding actions and attitudes which could not be met.
    I know Jesus whispers to me of how he had to do this, too. To forgive, when no wrong has been acknowledged let alone forgiveness asked. To forgive, not expecting any reward or return. To forgive unconditionally.
    The route of forgiveness is one I need to walk over and and over again. I need to pick up my pace, walking more surefootedly than I have done before. I need to keep on going, keeping in mind my destination of holiness rather than looking at the uneven ground of snide remarks, unkind comments or downright rudeness. I need to gaze towards my goal and not look at the barriers of rejection or hurt or anger.
    I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, THE author and perfecter of MY faith.
    What is the different route God is calling me to take? Well, it’s NOT a DIFFERENT route. It is just a route I don’t take very often or journey down very well. I crawl laboriously forward, often slipping off the side of the road into the mud of resentment or the ditch of bitterness.
    It is the route of FORGIVENESS.
    I know I need to forgive the person who has hurt me who is ALWAYS right, never wrong. The person who wounded me out of mental illness, demanding actions and attitudes which could not be met.
    I know Jesus whispers to me of how he had to do this, too. To forgive, when no wrong has been acknowledged let alone forgiveness asked. To forgive, not expecting any reward or return. To forgive unconditionally.
    The route of forgiveness is one I need to walk over and and over again. I need to pick up my pace, walking more surefootedly than I have done before. I need to keep on going, keeping in mind my destination of holiness rather than looking at the uneven ground of snide remarks, unkind comments or downright rudeness. I need to gaze towards my goal and not look at the barriers of rejection or hurt or anger.
    I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, THE author and perfecter of MY faith.

    And I need to listen to and hear God encouraging me — in that quiet voice — to take the next step to my heart’s homecoming.

  13. 21

    Saturdays and Mondays are somewhat freed up this new year and I sensed God leading me not to treat the time wastefully. Sundays we will be working on a church plant! So sabbath rest is important on Saturday and writing on Monday. I think! Yes, and my heart daily needs to turn to God upon awakening.

  14. 22

    Yes! I’ve been on a similiar path this year, myself. I’ve had to step back and just live and breathe, writing less in the last several months. I too, was the strong one, and I’m finding out things about myself this year along with a family (biological) that I had long left behind as a young girl. I was “strong” to leave (as in not go back for visits) but perhaps in leaving I moved on too quickly? Thank you Bonnie for sharing! You are blessing me in your journey.

  15. 23
    Susan Ringoen says:

    I am encouraged by your post – thank you for the gift you give in sharing your journey! I woke with a heaviness that I have been wrestling with in my own three years of great loss and trial. I need “another route”…but I’ve been clinging to old ways that don’t work in this “new” I am in. I am bolstered by your words, they’ve given me a fresh enthusiasm to “press on!” May we all stand together (in)courage and faith as we press on toward our heavenly goal!

  16. 24

    Thank-you so much for sharing this with us Bonnie, you are a great inspiration to all, I will pray for your heart to heal……

    I fully appreciate the message that you and others are relaying and I too need to follow through on this , no matter how painful some memories are they need to be dealt with in order to heal.

    I also need that reminder from time to time to time.Slow down be still and I will hear that voice guiding me down the path that I am meant to follow.

    Peace , joy , comfort and prayers to all …….Penny

  17. 25

    My journey has changed a lot in the past year. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression after the birth of my 2nd child, and I have responded so incredibly well to treatment that my husband and I have wondered if I’ve been suffering from some degree of depression for a long time. If I have, it makes a lot of things make a lot of sense. It’s changed the filter through which I view my experiences and makes me think “What if there wasn’t something wrong with ME – what if it was depression?” and honestly it’s helped me let a lot of things go and stop being so down on myself.

    I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to really talk about it though. Mental illness isn’t something that’s given a lot of credence in the church, I’ve found. But the church didn’t give me any answers all those years when I was desperately trying to figure things out and then wondering why I always crashed and burned.

  18. 26

    Bonnie- I read your post with tears streaming down by face. As I read your words I thought “No, Lord, I am not ready for a healing.” But your words resonate with me. I too was the little girl who smiled a lot and cried little. But I felt very alone. I “feel” that I am walking this journey alone, but I know that is a lie. Jesus is so close. I am face to face with him daily. So close, I feel as if I could touch him. How I long to be Home already. He is not finished with us yet. It is not time. So we continue on. As a mama of five, I must continue on. Trying to love, even when I feel I have nothing to give, nothing to offer. God can do it all through me, when I let him. When I remember to let him. You are so precious Bonnie. You are blessing so many! Reading your post was a total “coincidence” (haha-there is no such thing in my book). God is using you mightily. Thank you for letting Him do the work. What a mighty God we serve!

  19. 27
    Patricia Aiken-Buffalo says:

    I just read your article and cried all the way through it. The Holy Spirit had you write this for me I fell. I just had a back flash last night and am experiencing exactly what you have described. I too had a rocky childhood with every unthinkable trauma beginning at the age of 3 when my older brother molested me and tortured me. I have searching for the end of the tunnel. I came home to my Indian reservation to find the family love I always wanted, only to discover they ( my native family) are so broken that they refuse to open their hearts or can’t because of their trust issues. Thank you for writing this because I am struggling to step on the new path Jesus is asking me to walk. Like you I have only wanted joy and peace. I have been getting older and struggling with God to let me experience real love from someone before I die. I have walked in isolation on this earth all my life and looking ahead to what seems like more isolation walking alone I have despaired for my life. I don’t have the energy to even want to fight or wish for a new day.. I’d rather lay down and sleep and wake up in heaven. Pain and suffering caused in a young life can take years of healing and I have been on a healing kourney now for over 31 years and I am weary. I pray you are doing well today and thanks for sharing… Chii megwetch ( Big thanks)

  20. 28

    Dearest Bonnie,

    I appreciate your vulnerability to expose your personal writings of experience of years gone by and yes, they are exactly that. Don’t let Satan rob you of what you are in Jesus today for yesterday is gone and tomorrow we have yet to experience. Live today and capture in this moment all that God has to offer you now and forevermore. I find if we allow Satan to continually remind us of what he has robbed us from, that we are only allowing him to win. Let us press forward knowing we are a new creation in Christ Jesus and know how much He loves you/me. Your writing is helping so many conquer their fears/anxiety and my New Year’s wish for YOU Bonnie is that God will lead you to a place of stillness, peace and unspeakable joy forever being reminded that we are conquerors is Christ Jesus just as He has promised. As I myself approach another birthday I am reminded of how God is leading me and to never look back. Have a God-filled New Year full of peace, joy, health and let Him fill you with the kind of love that only He wants you/me to have in Him. Be Blessed!

  21. 29

    Praising God through tears…knowing how He brings good out of our pain…as we keep trusting in Him- the author and Perfector of our faith. Thank you dear Sister for sharing your journey of healing.

  22. 30

    Lovely to see this, Bonnie, and to hear through your words that healing is happening. Continuing to pray for you as you find your way home by a new route.

  23. 31
    B H Montgomery says:

    Those different ways come in many forms and oft leave me filled with anger that things happen…
    A dear friend who started me on this site wants me to stop sending things she does NOT want to hear. Her opinions and likes are my only choices to send to her. So I stopped and grieve the loss of a friend whom I saw accept Jeses and change from a “hippy” to a wonderful wife, mother and beautiful friend to all she met. And I want back the friend I had for so long.

    I find that the start of my day is differrent from the end, I am suprised and GOD knew all along. I went to work a wife and came home to begin the journey of widow.

    I went to work as an Office Manager and the converstion with my boss ended with her ordering me to lie to a client ‘because we don’t have the money to send back to him right now.” I do not lie for anyone and so I spent the day clearing my desk and changed to another job, and have enjoyed ministering to the elderly for the last 10 years. According to my grown sons, this job would NOT have been one my Husband would have wanted me to have because; “Mom, you give so much of you to them, there would have been nothing left for Dad (this is how they tell me he felt about some of the volunteering I did.)

    I work for 9 older folks and do all the things needed to keep them in their own homes, and go home to have a knock at 9PM that tells me my 43 year old Son has taken his life. No note or warning and I face an empty place in my life. Enough that the other 3 kids have ignored or written me off but to lose the only contact that gave me clues to 8 living grandchildren and how to pray for them was a deep shock. Bigger shock is to find that for some of my grandchildren, they think their Grandmother has been dead for 14 years (since my husband died in October of 1998)

    Over 20 years ago I met a couple that wanted help to lead services in Nursing Homes and Care Homes. Now all these years later and their children-born to them and adopted- are the “Family” that cares and prays and helps me to function when things knock me off balance. How wonderful is His plan and I need to accept the different paths He offers and know that
    Contentment is accepting whatever God provides.

    Thru all these “differnt paths” to knowing and following Jesus I am reminded that Psalms 139: 16 tells me “EVERY DAY of your (Barbara’s) life is written in My book before there was even one day.” Thank you God for giving me so many ways to seek You and never failing to give me many options for which path to accept in the journey to You. I am in awe of all the ways God provides and directs the path He wants me to take and how even the wrong path He helps me to make good from a not so good choice.

    • 32
      Beth Williams says:

      Barbara,

      Wow! You have a wonderful, insightful perspective on life and its shotcomings here on earth! Great that you can see God in all the good and bad in your life!

      Praying His blessings on you in 2013~ May it be a truly magnificent and awe-inspiring year for you!

  24. 33
    Charlene says:

    A different route or the same route. Either home is where the heart is. We all have our own ways to walk,run or crawl home to. When our heart is open the road is not as difficult. I pray that God shows/gives me the wisdom to make sure I just make it home the way he sees fit. I have learned under certain if not most circumstances that focusing on what I can’t have now makes it for a more difficult road. The goal now should maybe be changed to OK God this is what is offered. I shall do my best with what you have Blessed me with NOW! Looking at the Blessings with much optimism. Understanding that I will make plenty and much more mistakes. Trying to learn from those mistakes in not to keep doing them over and over. May God grant us Grace to focus on what we can do with what he offer us NOW! The road is not always easy. May I/we walking blindly along this road. Blindly so that my/our Faith in God is put to his most ultimate challenges. In Hopes that I/we understand the Blessings he gives me/us daily. How can you/I change the NO not right NOWs into OK this what I/we can do with the NOs right NOW!?
    I can’t wait to be home! Going to enjoy which every route I go. How about you :-) ?

  25. 34

    I’ve quietly followed your courageously vulnerable journey during the past year – with prayers and tears, but without comment. I want to thank you, to tell you that I continue to pray for you, to weep and rejoice with you. You’ve encouraged me in my own PTSD journey, where going forward means going back…so I can return by a different route! So hard, so exhausting. OCD has suddenly cropped up as well…crazy-making…sigh. Some days I just don’t have the fight left in me and Jesus wraps me up and whispers that to rest IS part of the fight.

  26. 35

    Thank you so much for posting this! As I was reading, I kept thinking this could have been something I wrote myself. I also suffer from PTSD from abuse (though a different type) that I know started by the time I was four, if not earlier. It’s so hard to respond a different way, behave in a different way, LIVE in a different way, even when GOD is leading you! But, at least we have the knowledge that now HE is definitely leading us every step of the way. This post reminded me of a dream I frequently have of being lost in a corn field, collapsing and crying out of frustration and anger at being left there and anger at myself for getting lost. Someone grabs my hand and leads me, weaving and winding through the stalks, on a path I cannot see no matter how hard I try, I can never understand how whoever it is leading me knows where to go, but they do, and when we leave the field, there is an opening in the center, a circle in the center of the pasture and what I think is a little white “country church”, but then I always wake up. And, as I was reading, I was also reminded of the song “Long Way Home” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Again, thank you so much for sharing things that are so personal and things that I know are so hard to share!! I pray that I am able some day to use my experiences, good and bad, as you are, to share and to teach and to help others in their healing and in their walk with GOD!

  27. 36
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    I lost some much in 2012 that, I confess, I’m scared to begin 2013. I hate when people say to me that I shouldn’t be fearing anything, fear takes away faith. I’ll fight my fight of faith that God is for me and that I believe He’ll turn in good everything that has been set up ahead of mine journey for the next year.

    I miss my loved Paul who is in heaven; I miss my children. I miss my grandchildren that I haven’t met yet. I love each moment of my life with Wesley, my eight years old grandson. Today, as he got up he asked me’ “Grandma, do I belong to an adult grandmother?” Yes I answered. “Do I belong to my mom too?” he added with some saddness in his voice. “Yes, Wesley, we’ll always belong to you mom.”

    My future is gray mixed with rosy shades of God’s care through my community church and incourage community of sisters. i’m in search for something like to become a blogger. I’m also looking forth to begin my master degree in education.

    I’m holding tight God’s promises and follow Him in sorrow or gladness times. “It’s hard, God, but I promise to stick with You no matter what.”

  28. 37

    Bonnie, I sit here with tears. Your sharing brings hope. I have been so broken, some I have shared with you before. In January there will be a trial (on the 25th) for the man who molested by grandson and his step-sister. I pray he is found guilty and sentenced until these children are adults. I struggle with fear that he won’t be found guilty, then we have no way, legally to keep this man from the children. He has threatened and stalked my daughter and we couldn’t get restraining orders (not until she was physicallly hurt). Oh, if all of you who read this would pray that the man will be put away for years – -and that these children can heal. my grandson won’t talk about it – please pray they find healing, that they don’t hold these things in, so they can be free in every way.

    • 38
      Christine says:

      Definitely praying for you and that God intervenes and makes sure that those children are never hurt again. Anyone who touches a child should NEVER be let out of prison. They get what they deserve. Once he’s inside the inmates have special ways to take care of those who molest children. Where on earth do you live that you can’t get a restraining order on a child molester and that authorities say that your own daughter has to be terrorized by that monster in order for the police to do something?

  29. 39

    I feel in my own life…after making plans for how and where I think my life is going, and really following Jesus’ guiding, He is taking me “a different route”. It was His plan all along… We have to believe His plan is always best, and keep trusting Him no matter where that “path” may lead. Keep ‘listening’ to Him, keep holding His hand, keep reading His Word, a “lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path”. Let life in Him be an adventure!
    Blessings to you!
    Susan G.

  30. 40

    Just before Christmas I wandered the library in town. I wanted something to help me hide away from the pain of the season. Escape for a few hours down a different path, hold the New Year at bay. And somehow I came to a book titled, Getting Past What You’ll Never Get Over by John F Westfall. And somehow, I felt the truth of it. Getting past, going on, taking a different route. And here are your words confirming the message and my eyes are brighter and I see the hope! Thank you for writing, Bonnie.

  31. 41
    Christine says:

    One of my consistent prayers, whether out loud or in my heart, is that our Dad will send Jesus back soon for the sake of the children. I think a lot of us have been abused in a variety of ways. I know I have when I was very small by sisters that were 15 and 16 years old than me. Then they told me about it when I was in my twenties and laughed. Sick. My brother, who is 10 years old than me, waited till he was an adult to do his part. I stayed away from them for 30 years and have no regrets. The remaining two (one sister and my brother) are still the same, but now they are verbally abusive. I refuse to see them or have anything to do with them.
    But so many other children get horribly abused on a daily basis and its a growing epidemic. That’s why we need Jesus to return. For their sake as well as ours.
    Personally, I don’t think I’d ever want to go back home by the same route. Besides, whatever route God has planned for you will be way, way better than your past. I think it might be a refreshing adventure and healing, too.

  32. 42

    Bonnie, Your post hit close to home. I too had a childhood that was filled with periods of deep pain and fear. In my years since I’ve had bouts of depress, intense anxiety, and most recently PTSD. I’m learning to trust. To go in blind faith. To know that our God is an awesome God. To know that He has a plan for us. And that I must just follow this plan that He has for me. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  33. 43

    “Returning to this world of pain, to journey through it — it’s what Jesus calls healing.”

    It always, always seems like we are on the same road, Bonnie. Our stories are different in the details, but beyond that it feels like I am stepping in your footprints as we walk towards Home.

  34. 44

    I was not able to read your comments. I’ve not read your writing before. You are truly gifted. How you tied this all to the Magi. I, brain damaged, God has opened my understanding to the message you’ve written by the Holy Spirit using you to help me. Thank you so much. Although our journeys don’t parallel, every person must learn to take these walks with Jesus. He and I have been taking these walks on several more than several times in the past two to three years.
    Blessings

  35. 45

    love this. and i think i’d like to journey alongside you. quietly. if you don’t mind. i’ve been learning more than a few things from your heart over the past few months.
    thanks for sharing.
    blessings,
    steph

  36. 46
    Helen Silver says:

    Bonnie, this was the first post of yours that I read. A friend led me here. I am so glad I came. You and I have a lot in common it seems. I thank you for sharing your heart. It gives me courage to do the same. But first I must re-visit- all of it. And I must go a different way. The way of repression has not really worked all these years. Feb. 12, 2011 my husband went to heaven. I have repressed not only stuff from my childhood but also my grief and hard decisions and actions I must make. Your words stunned me with the similarities and also the hope they give.
    I believe with God’s help we will make it through.

  37. 47

    I read the comments left here in response to your heartfelt post and am again amazed at how God connects those who need to join their voices and journeys for strength and encouragement. I, too, am on a journey through my mostly unremembered past with PTSD playing a big role in bringing things to the surface for healing. Jesus is with us as you say and has his own reasons and plan for healing. Thank you for sharing yours. I am one of many who are grateful.

  38. 48

    Bonnie, thank you for this post. I was so sure I knew where I was going when I retired. I have been nowhere near where I thought that was, but I am afraid I failed to let go and follow Jesus and His different path. Hopefully with your words as comfort I will try to think of the fact that He may have something different in mind for me.

  39. 49
    Chuck allen says:

    Bonnie thank you for sharing your journey. I am so sorry for the pain you experienced as a young girl. My heart hurts for what you went through longing to see your journey end in peace joy love contentment and most of all fulfillment in your life. Bonnie you are a great inspiration. The Holy Trinity has gifted you with a precious way of sharing. Where my journey is at this moment in time is in experiencing being loved, and a greater peace then ever before with Our Lord, Jesus Our Savior, and The Holy Spirit Our Comforter. I received a healing that has allowed me to feel truly loved beyond doubt for the first time in my life by Our Holy Trinity. Feeling loved this way has enabled me to really love myself for the first time in my entire life. I was raised with an abusive mother and learned in a professional way to devalue myself diminishing every accomplishment wanting only death rather than life. The adversary almost succeeded with my four serious suicide attempts over my lifetime in four different ways. Our God Is So Good, he saved me each time, there was nothing I could do to save myself. I have never felt this peaceful, this loved, ever before in my life, never experienced Their Love like I am experiencing it right now. Thank You Heavenly Father, Thank YOU Lord Jesus, in Your Precious Name Lord Jesus.

  40. 50
    Christine says:

    Read “WONDERSTRUCK”!! Author is Margaret Feinberg. It’s what you need right now.

  41. 51
    Alecia Gale says:

    Thank you for your post today. I cannot tell you how timely it is for me. I am currently awaiting divorce papers to be finalized to a man who has abused me and my children for almost four years. I feel broken, low and worthless. I wonder how this could have happened and how I will continue on. I ask for the Lord’s help, but the way I have traveled before seems closed now. And now I know…he wants me to return a different way. I don’t see that path yet, but I have faith it will be revealed to me in His time. Thank you for listening to him and blessing me with this knowledge. Thank you for being His hands today.

  42. 52
    speechteech says:

    I have been traveling down this road now for a month…He has taken me back to painful memories from my childhood. Memories of sexual abuse from an older cousin at ages 4-7, physical/verbal/emotional abuse from my mother who I longed to forgive before she goes to be with Jesus, then there’s that mental breakdown that occurred years ago…I still battle from feelings of shame over that one. The pain inflicted on those I love is immeasureable…yet unavoidable. I was in a hole so deep and dark that there WAS no one else…not even God. He didn’t forget me, sent a concerned husband to find me and bring me back from the brink of death…the journey has been slow, painful, cathargic and finally healing. While reflecting about the Christmas get together at Mamaw and Papaw’s house…42 of the most amazingly talented, witty, successful people that were spawned out of that brokeness, I was able to fully forgive mother, daddy, and most importantly, myself. Healing can happen, not in MY time table (isn’t He funny like that?) and I am so grateful that there are those like you who can so eloquently express what those of us wish we could express. Thank you for this

  43. 53
    unityfalls says:

    Thank you Bonnie for this. So much of what you wrote reasonated with me. May God continue to bless you and strengthen you as you continue on this current journey. Your sharing is truly making a difference for me. May the upcoming New Year you be blessed in ways you can’t even imagine.

  44. 54

    Hi Bonnie!
    Thank you for sharing your heart. I counted your post as one of yesterday’s 7 gifts in my gratitude journal. I like the way you put it, of being called to take a different route, to bring our hearts to a new homecoming. Part of that is acceptance of the new route, instead of rebellion because it’s not the old route. God is doing a new thing. I am praying for you.
    In Him, Ann

  45. 55

    Dear Bonnie: This was an important message for me today. It is a cold and lonely winter day in Chicago. Four months ago I moved to a new life here. Even as I praised God for the opportunity I questioned whether it was the right thing to do. I went home for Christmas and my sweet 85 year old Mom fell and broke her second hip and now sits in hospital, in pain, without me. I have two lovely sisters at home taking great care of her-but I catch myself thinking….did I do the right thing. I don’t know. All I know is that my faith journey continues and as of February 3rd I will be Chrismated in the Orthodox church. HE is with me here; has not stopped pursuing me. Thank you for pointing out the real need to stop and listen to HIM to know where I need to go next and for sharing your real pain/history. I have a lot to share too and must listen for opportunities HE presents me with to do so. God bless you on the difficult steps of your journey ahead and I do covet yours for my journey as well.

  46. 56

    Bonnie, I don’t know your personal story, but I can feel your heart’s cry . . . it’s a familar one . . . “Lord save me”, it’s on my lips often. You’re looking for and listening to the One who has the answers, the Great Physcian, the healer of wounded hearts, and broken lives. Let patience have her perfect work. God who knows the beginning from the end, sees you as He’s always meant you to be since the foundation of the world. . . His perfect creation. Walk in that knowing. . . that He loves you, indeed He cherishes you, and the victory–which is in reality His– is already won. May He give you an extra measure of grace to brave the future and the past with joy and peace and love in your heart. Saying a prayer. . .blessings sister.
    http://www.writemomentswithgod.blogspot.com

  47. 57

    As I read your insights I couldn’t help but be drawn to Proverbs 20:5: “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” Like your own heart my heart has also been wounded (deep waters). Like yourself, these wounds have also now become part of my story (which I see now as being integrated within God’s story). Deep betrayal, abandonment, abuse and loss during a very vulnerable time in my life has left my heart to resemble that of shattered pieces of glass. I found that when I tried to pick up these shattered pieces of glass in order to put them back together myself, they only cut deeper and created new wounds. I finally learned God’s Will for my life, my life’s new journey, was not to continue to put back together these shattered pieces of glass, which resembled my old life, but was in fact to allow Him to refine and smooth them out in order to give me a new heart – a heart resembling the things and people He loves and cares about. He is making me new and sending me on a new journey, which may just include reaching out to people who have suffered a wounded heart as I have. I have also wondered why I must continue on a journey that includes examining the wounds, but then God shows me that our journey toward healing just might be what someone else needs to hear at that exact moment. All things He has promised to work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28-29). Thank you for being a “man of understanding” who can “draw out” the “deep waters” of a “man’s heart.”

  48. 58
    Nombulelo says:

    You always speak to me, the young and the older me. Thank you so much for reaching the inner me that @ times I can’t reach. You are such a divine blessing and you really got me thinking and taking stock. You are God’s real deal as you get naked and deal with real issues. God’s wealthiest and healthiest blessings upon you and yours… Much love!

  49. 59

    As I was reading your blog the term PTSD jumped out at me. As the wife of a retired firefighter, I am we’ll aware of PTSD. Strangely enough it didn’t affect me through my husband’s career but through a freak accidental fire that injured our son. It had been 3 years and tho he has recovered , I was struggling to be my “old self”. God had been dealing with me all along this path; He told me I would have joy unspeakable again, that my heart would be full. I never felt alone but I was not THE SAME. My household suffered, I had no energy, things that once mattered no longer did. Then He did a miraculous thing for me. He helped me to finally understand that I did not have to be the same! That I didn’t have to go back to “the before”! That I was OK just as I am! It’s called PTSG Post Traumatic Stress GROWTH. Who knew I was on the right path all along but just wasn’t getting it?! I’m kind of a spiritual slow learner but He knows me better than I know myself! Blessings to the New You!

  50. 60
    muchalone says:

    Thank you for sharing more of our journey…for those of us who battle PTSD, it is So helpful to read such honest sharing!
    I too have been wondering about a different route home…not different from the way I came, but different than my idea of what the route should be. And in my wondering and wandering, I began thinking about those Magi…and now I wonder what they did when they finally got back…did they continue searching the stars? After all, they had found the Promised One…what would they be searching for? What am I searching for? I have my Savior, and I am told that He is enough…so what am I searching for? Journeying toward?
    I want heart-peace to replace the giant scar left by deep wounds…and I’m unsure of the route needed to make this trek a healing journey…my map is flawed…and I find myself lost in a wilderness that feels so foreign…could this be the different route I need? Or am I just lost in confusion?
    Still. Seeking.

  51. 61

    Oh dearest Bonnie,

    I have prayed and prayed for you and your journey this year. I have a journey like you are experiencing, with the PSTD, depression, anxiety, life in general. I will continue to pray for you. And still you encourage me every time I read what you have written. I love you friend and though I haven’t meet you in person you are a friend.

    Love
    Katie (formerly from xanga)

  52. 62
    Beth Williams says:

    Bonnie,

    You are an inspiration to many many people out there! It is wonderful to see the Holy Spirit work through you and not only heal you but many others also!

    We all have journeys of a nature–some caused by our own mistakes, still others caused by the family we are given to life with!

    My journey is caused by my own mistakes and now I must learn daily to lean on God and let Him lead me where He wills. Can’t rush ahead or go to slow!

  53. 63
    Bonnie Banks says:

    As you can see, my name is also Bonnie. When I began to read the email I did a double take. It was talking to ME! I went back to the heading and looked again. Then I re-read the content. I thought Hmmm. So I pulled up the actual website to read the entire piece. It was still talking to ME. I have to admit I am TERRIFIED!!! I know God and the Holy Spirit go with us through the fires and the valleys. I ever want to follow Him. I am afraid. Of the unknown. I have private concerns for both my daughters and I struggle. I am a mother. My heart aches for them and the pending decisions to be made. I am afraid. Your piece speaks to ME.

  54. 64

    Bonnie, I am walking through multiple trials at present, and it’s so easy to suppress the grief and just do what’s next. Reading your experiences, I am reminded that the best time to grieve is now. Not grieving is not a choice, just a postponement.

    May God continue to give you grace and courage each day to walk by faith and not burden yourself with “by now” expectations that do not come from God. He led Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph He sent ahead to prepare a new home for the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. He will lead you and glorify His name in the process.

    You are an inspiration to keep fighting. I’m grateful for you.

  55. 65

    I just wanted to thank you for your obedience is sharing your story. This post allowed me to click on a particular post of yours that I resonated with. I won’t go into details, but again, thank you. Must read more of your story…

  56. 66

    Bonnie,

    I have recently discovered your blog through my brother-in-law. Thank you so much for the courage you have taken to be authentic with your struggles and real with your faith. I have only read a couple posts so far, but they had me in tears…hitting emotions that I thought were solely my own to feel. Now, I can see there are so many more people out there like me, struggling through brokenness. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  57. 67

    I know this is way past when you actually wrote this, but God knows when we need things. I know I never opened the email with this story for a reason…b/c I needed it right now. God is working quite a bit in mine & my family’s life. Very good thing, but can cause me to have to face some fears & face old reactions, etc that I’ve had in dealing with similar situations in my past. Thank you for sharing this. I can see now how God is whispering to me that it’s time to take a new route. Time to become more like Jesus & follow in His footsteps. It’s not easy, by any means. Doing anything in God causes our human selves to rise up in resistance. I know God has some awesome plans in store that He’s bringing in to play. I appreciate you being used by God to be real…as well as to encourage others to be real with themselves too. Blessings on you & yours. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] …To catch a “A Heart’s Homecoming:  Taking a Different Route” & read the rest of the story – click here to join me over at DaySpring’s (in)courage site, where today’s post is published. [...]

  2. [...] …To catch a “A Heart’s Homecoming:  Taking a Different Route” & read the rest of the story – click here to join me over at DaySpring’s (in)courage site, where today’s post is published. [...]

  3. [...] was thinking about how I wanted to approach the unknown of 2013, I came across Bonnie Gray‘s post at (in)courage. She sums up her year, explaining her initial frustration and the resulting peace at [...]

  4. […] just read Bonnie Gray’s “A Heart’s Homecoming: Taking a Different Route” this morning and kept thinking, “She gets it!  She understands!”  As one who has avoided […]