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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.

I.

was.

going.

to write.

a book.

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.

By doing.

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.

Surviving.

But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary.

I longed for rest.

Soul 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.

Slow down.

Breathe.

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.

To rest.

Come. Jesus whispers.

You are loved.

You are cherished.

You are worth it.

Just rest.

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.

Something New

As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.

Something new.

God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.

A story of rest.

To find the things I somehow lost along the way.

Quiet.

Stillness.

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.

Spiritual Whitespace

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.

And others.

Make Room For Your Story

It’s vulnerable.

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 eventually went on to complete writing my book.

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.

Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.

Let’s uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.

For beauty.

For rest.

For God.

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.

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

I’ve Written a Book For You. An Intimate Journey To Rest

findingspiritualwhitespace_book From brokenness to beauty.  I have an intimate story to tell — a book that will take you on your own intimate journey — to uncover your  stories and make room for you. For God. For 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.

Watch the Book Trailer (click here)

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Pre-Order my book  Finding Spiritual Whitespace & Receive Exclusive Bonus Gifts (click here).

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.

 

inRL2014-speaker-250x250-2 Register for (in)RL this weekend (click here) 

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.

{Photo credit: faithbarista.com}

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  1. 1

    so glad to hear you’ll be speaking this weekend!! can’t wait!

  2. 3

    Thank you for this message! I felt you were speaking about me…
    God bless you!

    Gi
    Portugal

    • 4

      Sweet Gi, I feel you speaking to me this morning and my day is warmer because of it. thank you. from my heart in CA to yours Portugal.

  3. 5

    Bonnie,
    So glad your book has come to be…true beauty born of ashes. Thank you for being willing to share a long and hard spiritual journey. I, too, was a striver, an organizer and a list maker – not allowing myself to just “be” because I thought that in just being I would be unacceptable to God (and others). God, in His merciful way, took me on a painful journey in order to hear Him whisper to me, “You don’t have to DO anything my child, you only need to BE.” What blessed rest for my soul when I finally started to believe what I was hearing. It was not an easy journey for me, but one so worth taking. What a joy to know that God rejoices over me with singing – not for my doing and striving, but just for my being. All blessings and best wishes to you in your book release!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • 6

      what a beautiful story, Bev – you’re telling it by living it out. and I’m less alone with kindreds like you to keep me company on this journey. thnk you.

  4. 7

    Oh Bonnie your words are just so very beautiful. Thank you. I hope I am able to buy your book :)

    • 8

      thank you, Janet. it is very special when someone takes a book into their hands and their hearts. and i don’t take it for granted. blessings!

  5. 9

    Thank you for this, Bonnie. I love the phrase “spiritual whitespace”. I need that. I’ve tried to discipline myself over the past couple years to have room in my life to rest. And while I don’t do much resting at this stage, my mind is less cluttered and I’m not rushing around crazy like I used to – at least on most days. :) Thanks for your truth. Your style of writing is even calming. Thank you.

    • 10

      you have a beautiful voice, Christan. just visited your site. repurposed. keep telling your story. through your art. your words. *you* are God’s work of art.

  6. 11
    Karen B. says:

    I’m so happy to see your book and dream come true for you. You are a great writer and I know the journey to write the book wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad to see you accomplished it!

  7. 13
    Sarah S says:

    This is beautiful.
    It is exactly where I am right now.
    Learning to live in the spiritual white space of life.
    Learning to rest.
    I stopped everything.
    Necessarily.
    Slowly I’ve begun adding things back in.
    Slow is good.
    Less is more.
    Love stays home.
    Fully present…here…is completely absent everywhere else.

    • 14

      “love stays home” this. is. beautiful. Sarah – *you* are a writer. you write from your soul. and it brings us into your world. and we are kindreds. thank you.

  8. 15

    Came here after realizing, again, that I’ve buckled down, determining to pull myself out of a life I didn’t plan.

    I don’t know how to do this chapter. It’s so different than the previous 20 with their lists and calls-to-action that I knew by heart.

    Thanks Bonnie for sharing a story that’s familiar.

    • 16

      Sweet Marcy, my heart knows this familiar way you describe so well. to have to start “over” – with a new chapter out of a life we didn’t plan. but it’s just that. we are moving into something completely new and we need each other for this journey. because we were made for more than surviving. it’s our turn. our time to make room for us. for you. for God. for rest. thnk you for sharing so vulnerably here.

  9. 17

    I love this and can’t wait to read your book! I’ve often said, “our scars are lines in a story that have opportunity to shout the beauty of our Savior.” I’m so glad you are shouting His beauty! Have a great day!

    • 18

      Jennifer, as you step out to announce the release of your own book next week, may God refresh your heart, as you cross the finish line to tell and share your story through your words!

  10. 19

    God bless you for being so brave! I just know that God is going to use your story to reach many. Your writing is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. 21

    This is a message more of us need to hear, I’ve been carving out (or at least trying to) margin and white space for years. When I do this, life just flows so much better.

    Unfortunately, not everyone gets this concept. I’m anxious to read your book, to be encouraged in this area and then to encourage others.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • 22

      Dear Gina, I know what you mean. That’s why finding kindreds on this journey is such a gift and encouragement to me. I can’t wait to meet with you between the pages of the book. Let’s make some whitespace together!

  12. 23

    It’s so true that we need white space, margin in our lives, but it’s so hard to give ourselves permission to just “be.” My favorite white space luxury is to take a walk in the middle of the day. Just because. (Even though I walk for exercise every morning.) I don’t have to be productive every minute.

    Congratulations on your book.

    • 24

      Betsy – ooohh… you are a whitespace kindred! thank you for sharing your whitespace: walking not just for exercise, but just to be. and yes, it *is* hard to give ourselves permission for whitespace. but, it seems it’s a gift God can only give to us through us. I can’t wait to meet with you between the pages of the book.

  13. 25

    Such glorious news–your book is ready for launch! I look forward to reading it. I also sense in my spirit that Finding Spiritual Whitespace will resonate with thousands of women, breathing ing new life into their souls, their families, and beyond. God bless you, Bonnie, for your honesty and vulnerability!

  14. 27

    This is one of the best blogs I’ve read. It describes me. Not in content but in theme. I’ve just started a blog in an attempt to let my story help others. Though I can’t share all the specifics on the blog to protect other people, I can use generalities to hopefully help others. I need this rest. And I am seeking it. The whitespace is a great illustration!!! I would love to read your book and I’m so thankful for your story and your willingness to share. You have reached me with your words. As I’m sure many others. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • 28

      you have a beautiful blog — because your voice – your story is beautiful. it’s real, alive and it’s authentic. thank you for your encouragement. as you know, i need kindreds for this journey. we all do. ;)

  15. 29

    Your powerful story today has resonated deep inside……your age..your strong emotions…..needing a safe place to rest……and we have found that in the arms of Jesus, haven’t we. No longer just surviving, but thriving! Bless you Bonnie as you step out in faith to share your journey. Hugs, Renee from Faith Barista Jam ‘s list of followers and writers

    • 30

      Sweet Renee, thank you for being a kindred to me, writing alongside me on our blog linkups, swapping stories for years — right through the trauma when it cut the deepest. words are not trivial to me and I’m grateful for yours. so much sweeter is this moment with kindreds on the journey ((hugs)) Blessings!

  16. 31

    Pausing to tell my story–to reflect and to let God speak to my heart–has transformed me. I love this post!

    • 32

      Sweet Tricia, my heart is surges with warmth to know the words today have found a kindred in you. You must pause a lot, sweet Tricia – to reflect and listen – because so many beautiful stories have come to be birthed through you. Keep transforming us through your stories and your books. through you.

  17. 33

    Oh Bonnie,

    Though I have not said anything, your story has resonated with me. I have struggled to be the strong one. The one who can fix things. God is showing me that I cannot fix all things. He protected me from much in my younger days, but it is time; time to deal, time to trust Him, time to believe it is my time to be okay. It is hard to be okay when everything/everyone seems to not be. Thank you for opening the doors to the pain I may not have wanted to deal with. It is time… Thank you!

    • 34

      Sara, this is a hard but beautiful thing we’re doing. making whitespace for ourselves. it’s time for us. time to make room. for you. for God. for rest. and we can’t do it alone. we needed each other. looking forward to meeting in between the pages of the book.

  18. 35

    So beautiful Bonnie. I have been in a recovery program the past year and I’ve had to delve into some pretty dark places to have God help me pull out some ugliness that was clogging up my soul. It has been a painful, but freeing experience. The Lord has been encouraging me to take my masks off so that the light can shine through my weak places. Looking forward to reading your book.

    • 36

      it is heart chokingly painful. this journey is worth it. you’re worth it. thanks for being vulnerable here. and making our journeys one of kindreds. so proud of your courage, Christina! i’m looking forward to meeting with you between the pages of the book.

  19. 37

    Just reading this creates whitespace – room to breathe and to be ourselves as we connect deeply with God. Thank you, dear Bonnie! I am one who values spiritual whitespace highly … and I am continually learning and growing more deeply in love with our incredible God, and also am continually learning to live life more truly and authentically as who He created me to be. Greatly looking forward to your book!!

    • 38

      what makes my heart smile is knowing how true this is of you, Cherry — as we’ve been blogging alongside each other for years. i appreciate the whitespace you’ve shared with us through your writing — through who you are. Even as your journey continues into new chapters, your heart is always organic, listening and responding to where God’s leading you.

  20. 39

    Dear and precious Bonnie,
    I continue to root for you on the route to get this book out. The LORD has used you before, in the whitespace of your blog, to (in)courage me, so I am trusting He will do it again through the pages of this very aptly named book, His baby, being brought forth to (in)courage so many little girls that He considers special in Christ, our Savior and Defender’s Mighty and Merciful Name. God, the Father, truly loves women and wants them to know it through His Dear and Precious Son, the Word of God. I am so looking forward to the whitespace He’s providing through you, pretty, talented and gifted lady, in Christ.

  21. 40
    Danyalle says:

    :) I am so thankful that I found (in) this time last year, and found your story as well Bonnie. Thank You yet again for being courageous!

  22. 41

    You nailed it – it is vulnerable to admit when you need rest. Thank you for sharing this!

  23. 42

    Perfectly beautiful.

  24. 43

    Yes I need rest! And when the Holy Spirit guides my schedule I go from 15appts this week to 9. And I know He has read the weariness in my soul and can care for me as I care for others.

  25. 44
    Brigitte Sands says:

    Thank you for blessing me with your story, I am looking forward to reading your book. What I have just read was God reminding me, confirming what I knew in my heart, what I need..to rest to have that whitespace. God Bless You!

  26. 45
    Colleen Comito says:

    This is my story for today…..so need the rest in Jesus’ heart!

    Easter Monday……….
    Feeling so heavy, so dark…cloaked in sadness like the foggy mist sky…..
    I disappear into it, as I respond to the voice calling me to come and see…..
    Pain searing, I struggle down the steps into the Chapel and there……….is
    Jesus…..
    Fully Present, in all of His Risen Glory
    Exposed on the altar…….for Adoration..in the wee hours of the morning
    Jesus!
    To love and adore, to cuddle close and to pray….
    Filled with His Grace………..Risen, Redeemed, Restored
    Alleluia! Alleluia!
    My song………..even in darkness………I embrace the gift of today and the promise of tomorrow
    Jesus, my One Love, my Grace, My Life, My Hope, My Savior, My Rest…
    I adore You Lord Jesus, in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar…Eucharist…..Alleluia!
    Even in the darkness………….and the pain, I kneel
    Everything is Grace,
    The wee one

  27. 46
    Melanie Awcock says:

    Wow. These words resonate with me. Two years ago that was me. Trusting in God in what I could do, taking care of everyone, tending problems, being strong. Fine, functioning, surviving. I believed this way of being was faith. Deep inside, I was weary. I needed rest. My journey involved resigning from my job, battling depression, letting go of my people pleasing and approval seeking, seeking God, feeding my soul. Now, two years later I’m still learning, continuing to seek that rest, God won’t let me go back, He keeps leading me forward to Him. To keeping hold of that rest, of the truths I’m learning, to be satisfied in Him. This Easter He spoke, “Jesus is enough. It is finished. I am making all things new. You are free.” I chooses to walk in the new, in rest, rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances.

  28. 47

    Yes, I feel prompted by God..feel at peace when I write. But, I also feel ill-equipped and unworthy. If you feel led, please visit my blog and comment as you feel led. Insecurity buttons or Filtering Fear really share my heart.

    Thank you for using your talent for the Lord!

  29. 48

    Thank you so much for these words. I closed my laptop and shoved it away when I began reading. Still afraid and making a futile attempt to run from God’s prompting in my own life. I did eventually continue reading. In tears. A little closer to surrender. So glad I found this and this community.

  30. 49
    Melissa says:

    No kidding a friend and I were talking about this just last night. Ya think God’s trying to tell me something? ;-)

    In all seriousness I’ve been one of those who has stuffed things down, trying not to let them bother me, so I could live a functional life. But any time I tried to move forward those things welled up and I’d get stuck. So I’d stuff them down and keep just functioning. But I can’t do that any more. They’re not going away. And it’s either stay stuck and miserable and wondering what could have been, or walk the journey of healing. *deep breath* So. First steps.

  31. 50
    Elizabeth says:

    Oh how I long for this. But this is such a struggle. I don’t feel like I can rest. Even when I read scripture. Is there something I am misunderstanding? I know loving Jesus is not about what we *do*… But last night I spent time in the Word, reading the sermon on the mount in Matthew… And felt that it left me so discouraged. What am I misunderstanding? The sermon on the mount seemed like action, things we need to do… Where can I read in scripture about this soul rest we all speak of?? I know the verse where Jesus says we can come to Him for rest, that His burden is light, but after reading Matthew last night, I felt like following Him did not feel so light!

    • 51

      Elizabeth, I don’t have answers for you, but I know I am still searching and learning what my spiritual whitespace is about. Know I am praying for you now, to have that intimate time of rest with God. For me (which may not be right for you or it may) I hang out in Psalms and pray like the psalmist – I hate my enemy for _____ right now, I wish you would just _______ them. But not my will God, yours. In reading the psalms so often I have found what I am feeling expressed to God, then end up praising God by the end of the psalm. Katie

  32. 52

    I am continuing this journey with you friend! Thank you for the encouragement to let out my story. I have done it and will continue to tell it. It is hard letting the painful parts go and out sometimes. They are hidden so deep within and do paralyze me at times. I am learning whitespace and figuring out what whitespace is for me.

  33. 53

    Thank you for your courage,be blessed

  34. 54

    Bonnie, you won me over with this post. I signed up, already pinned this to my community board on Sabbath and look forward to reading your book (we share the same agent too!).

  35. 55

    Bonnie,

    I loved this post. I love the word white space. I have always felt there were broken pieces inside me that needed to be revealed so that they could heal. Like you, I took on the role of the strong one. I sacrificed my time, my energy and life to make sure that my family was okay, even when it wasn’t wanted or appreciated.

    This past year I took a hiatus and came to believe that each of my family has God’s love and caring and that I was not the ruler of the universe. I took this hiatus to take care of me, who had always been neglected. What an amazing journey! I, too, just wrote a book something I have been trying for over 15 years. All this happened because I took time to find the little girl who was lost long ago under the burden of responsibility. Thanks again for this gentle reminder.

  36. 56

    As a woman prepares to give birth she must endure labor pains before the joy of birth. I’ve watched and read as you became pregnant with this book and quietly cheered you on as it became more and more of a reality for you.
    You’ve been such an amazing inspiration to me through it all. I know the past few weeks you were laboring and breathing through those last few “contractions” before the actual birth/launch of this amazing book. Here we all are surrounding you and looking to get our hands on that sweet “baby” :)
    I’m so excited for you as you start this new exciting leg of your journey. Thankful for you friend!! (((HUGS)))

  37. 57
    Melanie Nijland says:

    Bonnie,

    Every time I read your beautiful writing, I feel like you are speaking straight to my heart. How can you possibly know exactly how I am feeling? For years I have pushed so hard, trying to earn acceptance and reassurance. You see, I always think that if they all just found out that the real me is just really that – lost, scared, vulnerable, not organised, not really lovable, they would see that I am a fake, not worth their affection and approval anyway. Whenever those feelings threaten, I just work harder to prove to myself that I am worth it as a person… Even though I desperately cling on to the scriptures about rest (come to me all ye who are weary and heavily-burdened and I will give you rest) I have never been able to really make them mine. It’s really scary to stop DOING – what will there be left of me?
    Your posts inspire me to press in deeper, to release just a little bit of control bit by bit … thank you for you x

  38. 58
    Cindy Rogers says:

    Oh how this touched my heart. I have many stories, and I am thankful for the love of Jesus, and how He really does put pieces back together in our lives. At the beginning of the year, I asked the Lord to give me one word to describe what He wanted for me this year, and the word I received in my heart was, “rest.” I realize that rest covers a lot of areas in our lives, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. So I am still working on that, as we are nearing the end of April, and about to go into another month. Thank you so much for sharing. I will order your book soon. Blessings.

  39. 59

    Thank you so much for this post. I am eager to read you story, and was struck by your comments on “be-ing” vs “do-ing”. In my own journey, I have recently had a life-changing encounter with this very topic. God showed me the vast landscape between being and doing in one very tangible, “scales falling from eyes” moment about two months ago, and I need to admit: I am humbled by this revelation, I am ashamed by it, I am encouraged by it, and I am awakened by it. Realizing the freedom and “white space” within the “BE-ing” has….well, there just aren’t always the right words to say. It has been so impacting that I have struggled to find a way to properly document it in my own blog. So thank you for giving such a freeing liberation more verbal recognition. All the best to you, and congratulations!

  40. 60
    Becky G. says:

    Definitely writing “strength” on the board. I have a progressive disease. It is difficult to completely surrender that to Him. Feeling that I’m responsible to fight it and not give in to physical changes. If I completely surrender then it seems as if I’m content and giving up. I remind myself that in my weakness He is there with perfect strength.

  41. 61
    TaraHorsley says:

    Bonnie thank you for your encouragement and your beautiful writing. This post really touch home for me. I used to work all the time and did double shift and never took care of myself or rested. But I paid for it in September2013 I had to have a major surgery and still home recovering from the surgery. The doctor told be I need alot of rest. I am also getting rest in God things days. I am putting my heart first, letting Jesus love me an on a intimate journey of resting with him. I Love listening to good christian music. I really enjoy being able to spend time with God even if others may assume that I am a crazy reilgos person. God uses all my broken pieces to make something beautiful for me. I love how my broken parts can be put back together whenever I am in God’s incredible presesence, no matter how I am feeling. God has been whispering to me. I am still learning ,continuing to seek rest, God won’t let me go back. He keeps leading me closer to him. To keep hold of that rest, of the trust. I am learning to be satisfied in him.

  42. 62

    Oh, how I love you, friend. I’m proud of you. I’m THANKFUL for you, for your story, for how the Lord made strong the weak in you. His redemption of your past to tell a story, your story…a hard one. Yet a story that so many others are desperate to hear, one that leads to healing and wholeness.

    I can’t wait to read Spiritual Whitespace. It was birthed from a tender, hope-filled place.

    xo

  43. 64

    This. So beautiful. I love these words and your heart Bonnie. Thank you for your courage to share even the hard places of your journey, there’s power there. Can’t wait to read more words from your book. This is my favorite,
    “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.” Yes. and Amen. You are a beautiful soul…huge blessings on you.
    Debbie

  44. 65

    I love how you are learning to be so transparent and opening up your heart. It can be so hard but it also invites us in to your story. As I read about your little girl at the age of seven, I remember me at that same age. Different circumstances but a little scared girl who didn’t want to cause trouble for others. I was about to go into a serious heart operation and everyone was so worried. I didn’t want them to cry for me.

    Thank you for sharing your heart story including all the scars and hurts. You give me encouragement to share mine.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    PS I pre-ordered your book and can’t wait to open the pages to read.

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    My story….it seems so long and twisted, bent and broken, yet being upheld by God, by His precious hands…. The times I felt so lost and broken, lonely, or just sad. My story is absolutely nothing like what I imagined it would be in my childhood, adolescent years. I don’t know where I’m going or where God is taking me but I do realize that in Him I find rest for my soul. I find peace and joy and comfort and purpose. So many times I’ve gotten lost in the trials and tribulations and I think, How could God ever use me? I’m so up and down and left and right and good and bad….. But God has been leading me to read a lot of devotionals and blogs written by Christian women….women who have similarities with me. Who have more in common with me than I usually realize. Oh that we would share our stories….then we wouldn’t feel so all alone in this hard place called life. I don’t have the children that most of you have or the “normal” life. My husband is incarcerated and has been since we met. 8 years of waiting….long waiting…impatient waiting….longing…crying…pleading…. The home and family I didn’t realize I so desperately wanted has been seemingly on the other side of this wait that seems to be lasting FOREVER. I wonder all the time, God why was this my journey? There has got to be a reason but I will admit most of the time I don’t think that way. I get lost in the missing…..in the wanting things to be different….in the wanting to just have what I’ve desired for so long. But so far that has not made my desires come to pass. God keeps breathing in my heart….wait for me Kristy…..be thankful for what you have…..hold onto your hope. Romans 12:6-12 I’m glad that I’ve found your blogs…. It helps me have that connection I desire with other women.

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    Jessica Garzon says:

    Thanks for such beautiful words. My father passed away 6 years ago, and it feels like broken pieces all over the room. Life is hard but God in those horrible moments has encouraged me to follow my dreams, to don’t give up and to never look back. God bless you girl, I’ll make a room for GOD, so that I can feel all this anxiety to finish my PhD, to pursuit my dreams continue being just part of the trip and don’t blow my mind with sad feelings.

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    Stacey H. says:

    You wonder what your counselor is really thinking as you spill out fragments of your life, the ones you remember. No fantastic memories of loving fun family moments, but memories of telling the police that everything is okay, and you are a kid apologizing for the inconvenience of their having been called by your very drunk mother. Memories of watching your (again drunk mother) being pulled out of the car by her abusive drunk boyfriend leaving you in the back of a moving vehicle alone and yes your still a kid. Memories of your father telling you that your presence causes conflict between him and his new wife so he is going with the new wife. Memories of being physically violated by your mother’s men, and then having gone thru what you now know was a abortion and yes your still a kid. These and many more memories flood into your mind, but not as full memories, but pieces a little at a time. There was God, but he was not in my family, and not known to me. Now, being Fifty-one you wonder if to GOD you are Esau. You know Esau, the brother of Jacob. The brother who God did not love. You wonder if your entire life of mostly tragic moments, is your abundant life? Many who yell back NO! Christ died for you! I agree Christ did die for me, he suffered because of my sins. I get that. I accept that. But, can it be that God in his holiness can choose to not love some people? My God who creates, cannot he in his sovereigns’ not love, or poor his blessings on some? I believe he has that right. The counselor is asking about hospitalization. I have been there and don’t that and it did not take away the brutality of my life, it did not fix my need to want to belong, but also isolate from everyone except my children. My heart has two whole pieces inside and there names are Zachary and Rachel, and like my childhood and adolescence they were taken from me for I had to find a safe place for myself. You see my then husband chose to bring into the house while we were married his mistress and her daughter. She got the husband and the bed, and I got the couch. I wanted to fight, but I have already have had so many fights I just couldn’t do it. I hear the counselor ask the same question I have been asked over and over again. “are you suicidal?” “No.” I respond but I would not mind dying.

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    Beth WIlliams says:

    Bonnie,

    Happy that your book has come to be. Thankful that you were willing to share deep dark secrets of a long, painful journey.

    My journey is on-going. My parents did not divorce, but dad was an alcoholic. Life as a teenager was not fun for me. Hated living in Florida and living with older (40+ my age) parents. I also had/have a hearing problem. I survived learned to lean hard on God in times of trouble.

    My journey continues with mom getting dementia and after 1.5 months of hospitalization, rehab, etc. she came home with sundowner’s. Dad diligently took care of her for 2 years 24/7. I lived through that and watched as the dementia progressed. Hospice was called in for a while to help with not going to doctor and giving her a bath weekly. Now I find myself in yet another painful situation. My dad’s dementia is starting to worsen. He can’t live alone anymore and he is losing his facilities. Knowing this frustrates him and gets him anxious and irritated. He can be hard to be around at times. My family (3 older sisters) come and help some, but it is stressful and a little painful to watch this again.

    Thanks for listening!

    Blessings:)

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    These words of yours Bonnie, go straight to my heart. I cant wait for your book.

    And for all the tales of woe and battles in the comments – be strong ladies. God is with you all. I can see it in your words. …my prayers are with each and every one

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    My Faith Story
    You are beautifully and wonderfully made

    I grew up in a household where my dad would abuse my mom in front of my brother and me. This is a traumatic experience when there is nothing in your power to stop it. As I grew up my father was mentally abusive, condescending,and manipulate. The feelings that I experienced are so hard for me to write, I can’t describe the fear that was on me. The rejection that hit me everyday . I would get criticized if I did the dishes wrong, gave a look, did my hair a certain way, or the way I dressed. I remember in 4th grade I told him I loved him, and he told me I didn’t love him, that I was just manipulative. At that age, how could you know? You were supposed to love your parents. I have unending stories and memories of my childhood which I can articulate really well but when I find it hard to write it in words. I felt like I was never good enough and had a poor self-image of myself. I found myself trying to please other people and would go to arm’s length to get. Especially when it came to dating I would give myself because it was a form of approval. I always knew that God loved me and that I had a calling on my life. But my image of God was distorted and believing that He loved me so much and wanted more for me felt so far from the truth and that the way I was living was as good as it gets.
    How I received Christ:
    At this point in my life I was living at my aunt’s house, dropped out of high school, and was working as a waitress. When I was 18 I became pregnant and I decided to have an abortion. The guilt that I had was so immense. One night around 12am I was at my lowest point. I had dropped out of high-school, was working a dead-end job, and just had an abortion. I grabbed the bible and threw it on the ground and starting crying and screaming out to God. Reading random verses telling Him that I was so sorry and that if He was real, to please forgive me. The pain was agonizing. I just wanted to feel forgiven because it was something I couldn’t do myself. I cried out and prayed for hours then all of a sudden I had this peace and hope. It was so tangible. It was about 2am now and I was so excited with this new found peace that I drove to Steak N Shake to tell my friend Emily what just happened. I stayed there until 6am saying that I knew God was going to change my life. I knew at this point I was going to live for Him alone. After I left there I went to take my friend Sophie to school and I proceeded to tell her all the joy and forgiveness I had found. Right after I dropped her off, I got a flat tire. My step dad and his pastor were at breakfast and they ended up coming to fix my tire. On my way home my step dad called me and said that the pastor wanted to get new tires for my car (it was winter at this time) because we couldn’t afford it. So I met the pastor and we dropped off my car to get new tires. While we waited, he took me to lunch so we could get to know each other. After we finished eating we went to the mall and he said, “I would like to buy you something, you can get whatever you want”. He continued to say, “You deserve to be treated like a princess and you are worth it.” When I heard him say that, I didn’t know what to think because my own father would never say that and if he did he would hold it over my head. As we walked by this store I saw this beautiful coat and he saw my eyes light up. He said, “I will buy that for you.” For someone that didn’t know me well, to take time and show me love that I hadn’t seen before, was so touching to me. Words can’t explain. As we drove to get my car, I felt the need to tell him that I had an abortion. So as we are driving to pick up my car, I started to tell him what I had done- he said to me, “Sweetie- I didn’t have money to buy you new tires but God put it on my heart to take you and show you how much He loves you and He wants you to know that you are forgiven. The tears started streaming down my face. God had met me twice, all in the same day.
    After I received Christ, these changes took place:
    After that, I started to take small steps in living out my faith. I renewed my faith by getting baptized. Growing my relationship with Jesus has been a slow one since I had a distorted imagine of God because of my earthly father. I had to overcome rejection, low self-worth, and the fear of man. When I was 18 I moved to South Carolina and God had opened a door for me to work at Adidas Headquarters. Dropping out of high school really left me unqualified but nothing is impossible with God. A couple years later I ended up moving to Portland after a series of bad events. I came here with my stuff packed in my car and jobless. It was a struggle for a good year and a half. I prayed for God to open a door at Nike. After a failed interview at Nike customer service, I got a call for a temp position in Nike finance, which I ended up getting hired on for as a US pricing analyst. Again education wise, I didn’t go to school for. I have been placed in the most amazing group. I couldn’t have imagined being where I am today. Not in a million years. God has taken all of my failures and setbacks and have set them right. He has asked things of me to let go of and to Hold on to Him, which has been a process but all I can say is that it’s worth it. One thing I have noticed from my life is that Jesus will never let go. He has beautifully re-written my life and woven it back together and still is today.

    Pertinent verse which is important in explaining my Faith Story:
    Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
    1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—
    Jermaiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.