Everyone has a story.
All of us were once little girls.
We all have memories. Some happy. Some not.
Some we share.
Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.
We try to forget about them.
So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy. So that we can be free.
That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.
But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.
My memories were no longer stories I once told myself. And I began reliving them.
Unexpected. Painful memories. Trauma. Anxiety.
Just a Visit
I was seven years tall. I didn’t want to be afraid.
It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.
On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me. After the divorce.
I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova. It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back. It smelled sad and lonely. But, I didn’t say anything.
I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back. But, I didn’t know what to do.
Because my momma said nothing about this visit. Other than I better not take anything from him. I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.
Which was nothing.
As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent. It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed. The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.
I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.
Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to. She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.
But, I knew better.
Nothing ever came simple for me.
That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared. Not simple.
Who I Could Be
The journey of rest has been the same. Not simple.
How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?
I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.
By problem solving.
By being strong.
I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability.
I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.
Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband.
Yet, I somehow came to believe this way of being in this world was what I called faith.
That somehow trusting God meant stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.
Awaken Your Heart
It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.
This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.
But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary.
I longed for rest.
Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.
Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.
Make room for you.
Feed your soul.
As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how.
Until Jesus took me on a journey of faith to awaken my heart.
To be real.
To be known.
Come. Jesus whispers.
You are loved.
You are cherished.
You are worth it.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.
As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.
God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.
A story of rest.
To find the things I somehow lost along the way.
Intimacy with God.
In that secret place where I dream dreams.
Where I can just be me.
In my search for answers, I made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.
It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched.
White space is used in art and design.
It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.
Without it, clutter takes over the page.
Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace.
We need rest.
God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.
My story is really every woman’s story.
Everyone long to find a place to breathe –
to dream dreams,
to slow down,
feed her soul,
and be free
To feel more deeply connected to God.
Make Room For Your Story
Learning to make room for you. Your story. For rest.
It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.
I’ve had to choose risk over safety to share my story — even in the face of rejection (and it will happen).
But, as I uncovered my story, I have found kindreds on this journey of rest.
These kindreds have changed my story. Because I realize I’m not so alone anymore.
You never can really know with certainty who your story is going to resonate with.
I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.
By living a beautiful, broken story of love.
He told this story.
By living it.
Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.
Our stories. They are the greatest, most authentic gifts we can offer: ourselves.
Take the risk.
Let’s uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.
So we can live a better story. Today.
How are you longing for spiritual whitespace — time to feed your soul, to rest — time for you?
Is God prompting you to share your story?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. This is a quiet space for you and me.
I’ve Written a Book For You. An Intimate Journey To Rest
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest is a memoir-driven guidebook for anyone longing to create space in life to rest and discover who they can become when rest becomes their heart’s home.
100 FREE copies of the book. Are you a blogger? Revell is selecting 100 bloggers to receive a free book to review Finding Spiritual Whitespace and help me launch this book into the hearts and hands of fellow kindreds. Click here to sign up.
We need your stories. It’s not too late. Savor some whitespace for yourself or with a friend. Listen. Share some stories. I’ll be sharing my whitespace story for the first time publicly as an (in)RL speaker. So, I’ll be right there with you.