About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul...

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  1. Bonnie,
    God can, and does, make us strong and courageous by being broken. I am at a place where I can look back at my brokenness and thank God for bringing me through…through an ongoing battle with anxiety and depression, through discovering my husband’s multiple infidelities, through healing from childhood wounds. What others, and the world, may have meant for harm, God worked together for my good. I am truly thankful for His companionship and faithfulness in my brokenness. I am thankful that He brings beauty from ashes. I am thankful that He loves me in spite of my doubts. This is my real thanksgiving list. Thank you for sharing yours…in your life, God is building a testimony to His great strength and love!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Thank you Bonnie, Bev; God’s timing is impeccable, and it He is faithful even to a wretch like me. The words you have written today, more than adequately and beautifully express the inarticulate place of my heart. I have asked to be crushed for His sake, emptied so only HE will shine, and blasted out of my comfort zone, to forgive as He forgives, to LOVE as He loves. Lay down my sword, and take up my cross daily. To receive even the wounds that He did. Abused, forsaken, despised…betrayed. Leaving only the foot of HIS cross to flee to. Repent, renounce and RECEIVE…finally His Amazing Grace. Raised a gentile, He revealed by His Spirit and Word, that I am Hebrew-(both sides, mother and father) . I am SO ungrateful. Bitter, angry. Why can I not see, that while He chastens and rebukes (and certainly my sinful nature requires His judgment) there is His MERCY, and the cost of discipleship requires complete sacrifice, perhaps even my own life ? Lord, I want to know YOU. Gethsemane, Golgotha, the (empty) Garden Tomb. Made in His Image, bought by His Blood, and raised to LIFE. Could it be, that even a wicked sinner like me, can be transformed into the likeness of the King of the Universe~ the Perfect Bondservant ?! He told Peter that if he refused to let Him wash his feet, then he could have no part In Him. I understand partaking in His sufferings, but allow Him to serve….me… unthinkable. ~ Love, Lee Thank You ! For your faith and courage !

  2. Oh yes!!
    “Friends who remember the earth was once formless.
    Empty.
    Yet, God was still moving in it, making something new and deep.
    Something beautiful and real.”
    Amen!! He is a Creator! He is always, has always, created!
    I am thankful that He was there when I was being broken. There when I was found. Here now as He uses that brokenness to draw others to Himself.
    I’m thankful that He is bigger! He is bigger than my brokenness!

    Thanks for sharing Bonnie! Lovely!

  3. Thank you for expressing what I have and am walking through. That you are able to express so beautifully. That you aren’t afraid to express it. You are brave. You encourage me to continue the battle and receive the bounty of joy God provides in the process. God speaks beautifully through you. Dianne

  4. Wow.

    Don’t know you but I am amazed at the strength it took to share your heart.

    God truly does make beauty out of nothing…out of our mess and pain. If only we could see that, believe that.

    Thank you for sharing this today.

  5. So beautiful as always… I always feel encouraged after reading what you share Bonnie 🙂

    “Friends who understand the journey of faith takes us off script.” – I want more friends like these 🙂

  6. I think you’ve been peeking into my soul these days. You’re a bit ahead of me on this road and that encourages me to press on. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Bonnie,
    I can’t thank you enough for being so real and showing, I too can come out and trust God!
    I’ve written to you over a year ago and then went back within, scared to show my broken heart. But month after month you are coming forth showing your life to all. Thank you thank you thank you.
    A million thanks.

    In the monthes past it lined up exactly where I am but for some reason I’ve stuffed so much from years past I’m not sure how I feel or what exactly I’m going thru. Than The Lord would have you send out an email and there it is. I can somewhat makes since of it all!
    Kind of like today you said I can be in the outside world and function and I even can convince myself I’m ok and skip over all this mess I’ve felt. But it’s not much time that goes by and God shows me otherwise. The journey I’m on is his idea not mine! Lol

    I’m truly grateful that He waited when He did to start this partially journey cause as a new believer I’d think he was crazy. (Cause in this journey I feel crazy, he turned the tables on me. Lol)

    Once again thank you so much for allowing God to use you to help others!!!

    Many blessings your way:)))
    KK

    • Hi KK, sometimes faith takes us far beyond the surface because God wants to touch what is most tender and beautiful true. You are not crazy. You are beautiful and real. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  8. Thank you for helping me make peace with my own years of brokenness. I have been searching for a way to understand what happened, a framework for placing them within the context of the rest of my life. Your words make sense to me, and I am closer to truth because of your courage.

    • Hi Maria, it’s so amazing to me each time I find a friend along this journey — and it’s that much more sweeter, because it is real. You are real and beautiful. May you continue to find rays of light opening the way on your journey.

  9. I just want to thank you so much for this inspiritonal message. I royalty needed it today it was exactly me. And I’m. Thankful. God. Brought me to this. Site.

    Sherri

  10. Thank you for being open and honest. As I walk this journey, I realize that being true to myself and knowing that every day will not be perfect but as Paul stated, he learned to be content in his circumstances. I am no longer running, I am asking God to walk with me through it. I started dreading the holidays after my husband passed on in June thinking what was I going to do, but realizing that whatever may come, I will embrace the pain, the tears, the joy and realize that God is with me no matter what. I like your Thanksgiving list, it is an eye-opener for me, and now I can know that it does not have to be dread, but a new connection to God and to my heart. Be ever and always blessed in the Lord, he is pouring marvelous things into you.

    • Dear Iva, I am so, so sorry you lost your husband this past June. I feel so honored that the words shared here today can have a part in this very tender, tender place you’re journeying through. May you continue to find His whispers in every way corner you find your heart opening into during this time of sorrow and remembrance. May the connection you felt today continue to soothe your soul — and draw you deeper into the safety and protection of the Arms that will never let you go.

  11. This is so beautiful and as I have shared with you before it is a journey that takes a lot of time and with every step you learn more and give up and gain and become stretched and broken and then stretched more. It is a hard road but so worth it when you are on the other side. Praying you through this… to wholeness.

  12. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful words. Your words were an encouragement to me. I am working towards a numb free, real life. Thankful that He is the God of more than one chance.

  13. This is the journey I have been on….thank-you for putting into words the place I am in that I myself could not express

  14. It wasn’t time for me back then, as a little girl, to understand it takes greater faith to be broken than being competent. Love this.

    Yet again I am in tears at your words. Someone hears and understands. I ThankPapa For your courage to share your story, your song with us!

  15. It never ceases to amaze me how God shows us that we are not alone in our trials right when Satan tells us that no one else is screwing up as badly as we are.

    Thank you for creating a spirit of community with me and so many others with your honesty.

  16. Bonnie, as always, your words are hitting home for me today. I’m in a season (a very long season) of struggle with my son and it’s up and down for me all the time. I’m like you, I’ve always had this place in me where I run and hide when it’s like this. I’m trying to turn that into running and hiding in God’s arms during these times, but like you have said, it’s hard. I so appreciate you sharing your words here my friend. You’ve always been such an encouragement to me and by sharing your story, you still are.

    • April, this is very hard. What you are going through. What is happening to you is important. And I’m so glad you can voice it here, so I can let you know my heart breaks for the hardness of this season for you. It’s a very special moment to know my words can reach that part of you — who hears and recognizes that part of me — so you can feel my hand squeezing yours, as you stand at this point in the struggle. I am praying with you tonight — for comfort for your heart — as I think about you and your son. You are real and your struggle is not trivial or unimportant. If you were here, I’d invite you over to pour you a cup of hot chamomile tea and we’d gobble up strawberry pastries, while we laugh and cry over it all. 😉 xoxo

  17. Your honesty is beautiful. As I’m journeying in and out of brokenness and emptiness I’m very thankful to know I’m alone. Praise the Lord for that reminder! God bless. 🙂

  18. I am so sad since my husband died anf all my Children are married and a way far .I am a Island

    • I know how you feel. Even when people are all around me I feel as though I am an island surrounded by pain that sometimes goes so deep all I can do is cry wrenching heart broken sobs. But even when it looks so dark I know that there is life and love coming from the most simple things. I would sit in my gazebo and watch the birds flying around. God would remind me that there is life in them because HE made them and so it is with me. HE made me and so there is life, love and hope that the pain and loneliness will one day be replaced by joy and singing. Please don’t drown in the pain because God will always be there to talk to. He may answer you in a small way like He did me. Be ready for the small things that grow into big things. Like a small smile that will grow into a big thunderous laugh. God loves you and will always be there. Just talk to him, HE will get you through it.

  19. O the LORD is telling me how much HE LOVES me. And how much worth there is in my life. How much worth I am in HIS eyes. How beautiful I am. How lovely I am. I can do nothing wrong in HIS eyes as I choose HIS statutes and ordinances and commandments as I focus my eyes on HIM and HIM alone.

    I’m just really really thankful my best friend is alright. Really alright by JESUS and HIS work. I just am just thankful about this which is so very important in my heart this year. All this year and the last one. And the next.

    🙂

  20. Thankful for being lonely, then the only place I can go is to God. To pick up my broken pieces and remake me as He orignally wanted me for His Kingdom.

  21. Today, more than all other days, your message is a lifeline for me. On this day, 33 years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Life was filled with so much joy and expectation! That all changed on September 13, 1991, when my beautiful son died. Today, I celebrate his short life, and once again, I can feel the sun shine in my aching heart… I am healing.

    Thank you so much Bonnie, for sharing your brokenness and journey to wellness with us. God bless you!

  22. Walking thru the pain while still breathing, is HUGE. Being aware of gratitude in the process is monumental. To invite others to travel with you while-you-are-in-it, is incredible.

    As a survivor of some pretty wacky stuff, painfully agonizing stuff, and spent a lifetime in service to others…..pausing to take time for me was a gigantic step. I did so without your wisdom…..AND I have no regrets. The health that shines forth, is well worth the journey.

    Safe Travels!

  23. I am thankful to be out of an abusive relationship that I know had to end. I am thankful for the courage to do that. I am scared and alone and your writing came to me at the exact right hour on the exact right day… God is talking to me through your words and I am reminded that I need to continue to be strong and I am NOT alone as long as I have Him. I have been down for days. It is a scary place. I pray that your words give me the faith I need to stand up and keep walking forward.
    Thank you!

    • Amanda, Praying for you ! Safety in His Healing Wings, Peace, Comfort and all of the Loving Support of Heaven, and beautiful safe people to come alongside of you at this moment ! You are loved, and beyond worthy ! Proverbs 31:10-31

  24. Im thankful in my brokeness I can still praise. I can still worship. Last month I wanted to commit suicide. I still have trouble loving myself but I do love God. I realize Im broken but Hes not. Im thankful Im here.

  25. You have no idea how timely this is. I have tried to explain to family and friends but you have put it in words so eloquently. I am thankful today that God sends a timely word. Thank you! Yes, I may be broken right now but it is okay because He is here with me (even when I can’t feel it) and He is walking this out with me. It has been almost 5 years of hard things, illness, death, hurt, betrayal, loss, etc… BUT GOD!

  26. This is beautiful Bonnie, I am going to take some time to think about your questions and hopefully write back. It encourages me to want to walk this walk of faith and it gives me hope. I even want to read some christian fiction now something I love but have had a hard time wanting to do cuz of feeling so blah. God bless you…Angie

  27. Bonnie, my spirit does flip flops as I read your posts. Your words surprise me and touch me. For example, the list of things for which you are thankful is worlds apart from the lists of most folks. Yet it speaks eloquently of how God takes ALL things and uses them for good.

    And then, your sentence about “the beauty you’re finding among the devastation of letting go” reminds me: even in the midst of difficulty, God is lavishing me with the riches of his grace! Thank you, Bonnie for sharing your journey with us, and showing us the way from ashes to a crown of beauty (Isaiah 61:3).

  28. Bonnie,
    Thank you for this gift of poetic transparency. I am so grateful for your gift to articulate the experience of going deep into old hurts in order to receive HIs healing touch and freedom. This messy, painful, broken experience brings increasing wholeness and awareness of Him. We would rather tuck away the pain and live like others, but we find ourselves as whitewashed tombs and a sense of distance from the very God we love and need. When we walk into these dangerously fearful places He brings us the unexpected: peace, joy, freedom to feel lousy and not come undone. I am with you skiing down these slopes and hitting moguls which take my breath away and then crashing down, bindings loose and everything scattered, but getting up again for more of what I know is the course He has laid out for this restoration of me. You are a beautiful example and I pray God’s sweet blessing on those most sacred inner places (as He already is doing!).
    With love in Him ~ Patty

  29. I’m so here, broken, battered, unsure about everything, but picking up the pieces and trying to breathe at the same time. I have days of terrible fear, yet I know that Jesus is here, so if I fall I know he’ll catch me….This is so beautiful….I can honestly say I wasn’t going to read this. It’s when you go ahead and do something not quite knowing why, but I think it was a touch of Gods Hand that I read this today….I know this…I’m living this out right now myself…and I praise God that he has never abandoned me, ever, even when I deserved it…..

    Thank You for this message, I needed to hear it, read it, feel it from the depths, the tears stop and I know I’m going to be okay, that it’s okay to feel the way I’m feeling…..God Bless You Bonnie…God Bless You.

  30. Thank you for this post. I am thankful to have people coming into my life to carry me to the foot of the cross and allow me to rest in knowing that its okay to not be okay.

  31. Wow, this morning’s msg was like God answering my prayers to Him today. I cried reading this. It was refreshing, it was encouraging, and it was powerful that God heard me and sent this msg to me today when I was doubting Him and, honestly, doubting myself. Thank you so much for living real and honest with us. I have struggled with anxiety and loneliness for a long time. I have always felt guilty for struggling like this because I could/can be thankful for so many things but, like you had mentioned, something can be missing within us that is hard for others to see or understand. It feels good that my brokeness can be used for His glory and for my growth. These are things I know… Knew, even, yet needed to be reminded of today. I want the COURAGE to be broken so that I can receive God’s full healing where its needed and move forward to where He wants and needs me next. Thank you and thank you God!!!

  32. Thank you again, Bonnie for sharing your heart. I also have the man of my dreams & 2 precious sons(now grown). I know that place where one can go deep inside. Thankful for our loving Father who never leaves us!
    Have a great holiday!

  33. Hi! I understand this very well. I identify with this statement, “It’s a numbness. In places no one can see.”
    There is no way to get rid of that numbness except feeling the buried hurts and wounds. For years God has been teaching me it is OK even GOOD to be just as you are and feel however your feel in any given moment.
    There are times when His loves reaches down and at the same time rises up from within and the tears will flow, but very briefly.
    I wonder if someday I/we/others who go into the numb heart place by auto-pilot will ever be truly free all the moments.
    This month God asked me to listen/write and post each day… so far I have. He has been speaking as always of rest.. rest in and on him..coming to him…
    Thank you for this post and as you said, “new friends who understand that both sadness and joy can co-exist. Who aren’t trying to fix me.

    Friends who trust that love is greater than any resolution.

    Friends who understand the journey of faith takes us off script.

    Who share their own stories of struggle and dreams.

    Who can touch the deep places.”
    God bless you, THANK YOU for sharing

  34. I am thankful for you Bonnie… someone with my own name and possibly a similar past in some ways… certainly the same feelings of shame and brokenness. I am thankful that your sharing may help to lead me to the start of my deep heeling.

  35. This resonated with me so much. Thank you for these beautiful words that tell the story of your heart! As someone with chronic illness and disability, my brokenness will never be physically removed, but Praise God, I am whole and shiny in Christ. And my children, well, they never see my cracks at all. Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  36. Bonnie, thank you so much for this.

    To be able to hold the tension of the healing Jesus purchased for our hearts on the cross, and the reality that the journey toward that healing takes so much time and process–to hold those truths simultaneously and trust that He’s IN the time and process and journey, that He’ll encounter us intimately there… it’s a gift. And on TOP of that to find friends who understand the process and don’t try to fix–what an incredible blessing. I’m still searching for friends with whom my heart is safe in that way. I have a couple but I’m asking the Lord for more. Your piece today gives me hope–they’re out there.

    Thanks for your courage, Bonnie. God is forming such beauty in you. May you sense Him holding your heart close, covering you even as you’ve offered yourself to us with such grace today.

  37. I am walking this road with many horrific steps yet to take. And yet, I know He walks with me. Thank you for your raw, yet comforting words this morning.

  38. Praying for you, Bonnie, that you will continue to heal and feel the love of Christ always. There are things that we have read and heard a hundred times but sometimes it takes one person to use different words to describe the same thing and it hits hard. It was this sentence that you wrote that made me cry. “Jesus didn’t want pain, He wanted us more.” In that moment of reading that sentence, I saw Him in the garden, sighing deeply (knowing the enormity of what He was about to undertake) as He went off to pray after leaving three of His apostles to stand watch.

    There are so many of us that have been abused in our childhood and so many that are being abused horribly now. For those children, Jesus cannot return fast enough.

  39. Bonnie, except for the wonderful husband and 2 boys (of which I do not have) your words could have been my words today. How I wish that others could see that the struggles I have had served to make me who I am today, that being broken does not mean I cannot thrive. Being broken has made me stronger and brought me closer to my Lord. I feel blessed to be walking this walk with you. God bless you and thank you for sharing.

  40. Oh Bonnie, thank you for writing this so beautifully. It pulls on deep places of my heart. So many times I feel myself pulling away, into that place of deep sadness and overwhelming frustration over the pain I still experience. You are a beautiful soul, redeemed by the love of a relentless God. And He is using you to speak to so many hearts, to bring His healing where otherwise it may not have come. Beauty for ashes, joy for morning. It’s a promise. Blessings!

  41. Thank you for this encouragement. I have been battling anxiety for a few years, brought on by believing lies about myself and God. At times I think I’m free, but then it comes back and I can see now that through each time, God is revealing something that needs to be dealt with. Currently it is shame, which makes your post all the more encouraging. I needed to hear this morning that God doesn’t see my suffering as shameful, and that He is making something beautiful out of this.

  42. I know the feeling of numbness in unseen places. It still comes at me but I know that I can get thru it with God. Thank you for these words Bonnie.
    My list starts with being thankful that I am alive. I am thankful for a good husband. I am thankful for my two dogs and three cats. 🙂 I am thankful that I have a good church to go to and that I am spiritually fed there. I am thankful that you are here with words that encourage me. Please don’t stop. There are many people out there that love you and need you. Thanks again. Cynthia

  43. Oh Bonnie, this sounds very very similar to what I’ve been journaling lately! I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in “holding it all together” on the outside. I am thankful for you sharing your story as it has helped me start my journey to heal.
    Bless you!

  44. “Jesus confided – “… I’m very sad. It feels as if I’m dying…”
    You broke open my heart with this Bonnie. Our beautiful, beautiful LORD knows exactly how I’ve felt again and again and again over the years, lying on my bed. It makes me realise that I have avoided becoming one with the LORD (1 Corinthians 6:17) and coming under His protection, through believing the lie that this would mean having to bear EVEN MORE suffering, instead of understanding the truth that becoming One with Him is a healing experience – the healing of being KNOWN in my suffering by The One who has already suffered so greatly for me. Today, I make the pledge of becoming One with Jesus by His Spirit. Thank you Bonnie. He has used you so directly today to speak into my own life xxx

  45. Thanks so much, Bonnie, for reminding me that God is with us even through our brokenness and emptiness. Often I wonder why I should feel so empty when I have such blessings surrounding me. I just never thought it takes greater faith and courage to show my brokenness. I try so hard to be strong for those around me when sometimes I feel like cracking.

    I checked out your site and found so many posts that strengthened me. Thanks so much for sharing all your fears about writing a book. (Congratulations on completing it!) And for the encouragement that God wants us to write afraid and to write as His “beloved.” I try to keep up my blog, but sometimes I am so tempted to quit. I know it helps people more if I’m transparent, but it’s so hard when that vulnerability and shame choke my heart. And I feel like such a hypocrite when I try to be strong and encourage others when I can’t always grasp that encouragement myself. God keeps pressing it on my heart to write a book, but I get so afraid of deep emotions springing up to the surface. I’m afraid I’ll crack. I’m also afraid of hurting others by telling the truth.

    God bless you, Bonnie, for your courage to show your brokenness. It has deeply touched my heart today.

  46. I love your honesty… It’s refreshing and real. There are no easy answers yet God gives us Himself in the midst of the struggle and pain.
    I experienced the loss of my mother-in-law two years ago when she took her own life. My husband and children and I felt like we’d been run over by a mac truck. The heaviness and sadness stayed solidly with me for at least two years… and of course even now I’m easily saddened by a thought or a memory or a glimpse of some reminder… But while in the very midst of my grief I had a deep sense of His very presence with me and I carried in my heart and mind a vision of a birds nest with a fragile egg nestled in it, safely suspended high up in the branches. It was me, so fragile and helpless. Needing only to be tenderly cared for, covered and embraced by my Heavenly Father. He was there and I had to learn to accept that it was OK to just “be”. Be in my pain, be still, be useless… be. And He let me, and He was there with me.
    It’s been 4 years this month since we lost her and only recently have I recognized feelings of anger… Deep sadness came first and then some healing. Then slowly a bit of joy crept back in… maybe these are why I can now finally allow anger to show up. It’s not intense anger but a “what were you thinking; there’s so much more to see and experience” anger. Her granddaughter got married last May. My beautiful 22 year old. She’s missing out down here. Missing out on seeing her grandson figure out how to do life after graduating high school last summer. Her son misses her deeply and daily. He wears it as part of his work uniform every morning and all day long. It’s a pain that there is no escaping. Only to feel and experience. Suicide is brutal. However, Jesus has been present to us in the midst of it all by His Spirit and through the love and care of sweet frienships.
    What ever the pain; allow God to show you He’s present with you in it. In Spirit and through friendships. It’s important to be able to just “be”, and equally important to “be” connected to others and share your sorrow and did not be alone in it.
    Blessings to those who morn and who are beginning to see a different type of “Thankful For” list showing up. I’m thankful for His very presence and deep love and care of my fragility and sadness. I’m thankful for friends who’ve been sweet listener’s and provided a safe place to morn and express sorrow and then help me begin to find joy and laughter once again.

  47. Oh, dear Bonnie! I feel as if you have written my own story! By the time I was a young married woman my heart was already damaged by growing up with a belligerent, alcoholic father and the worst thing of my entire life…the suicide of my wonderful. selfless mother.
    I had a loving, sensitive husband and babies filled our home. Eventually I was in a great teaching career. We had a nice home, a church home, 3 children, and even a cocker spaniel. All looked perfect.
    Nobody who knew me would have assumed the pain the real me had at times. Nobody would see the grief I stuffed and stuffed deep inside me.
    Of course, eventually I had anxiety that grew into a change in brain chemistry for going so long untreated; general anxiety disorder. When I finally saw a doctor she told me that rather than being what I considered weak because I could not shake this awful thing, she said I was very strong to have coped well enough to raise a family and have a career for YEARS before it finally caught up with me!
    That happened in the late 90s. I was treated with medication and a time of therapy. But, it was not until about six years ago that I began to realize this “soul damage” could only be healed by bringing it up. presenting it in all of its realness, and realizing that God could take it from me if I could only pry the tough tentacles of my heart’s grip on it. I was afraid of it. I was afraid of looking at it all in its ugliness and allow the memories to come up to the surface of me! Forty years…FORTY…years after my mother’s death I had a divine epiphany during the study of a Beth Moore class…that I could continue to go straight to my mother’s suicide every single time I thought of her (which caused me to quickly stop thinking of her)…or I could remember every other day of my life that I had with my mother up until that day! My mind had not allowed that to be a possibility for forty years of my life!
    It is impossible to truly express the immense sense of Freedom and Gratitude that came to me in that moment of epiphany! I can remember the fun-loving, sweetness that was my mother with such a feeling of blessing! I had been robbed of that for four decades by burying it deep inside myself.
    Thank God for the REAL blessings of my life. God was never far from me; I never one time felt alone or victimized. I just blocked his efforts at digging deep into my soul.
    Your story is beautiful, Bonnie. November is the month Mother died….a week before Thanksgiving. November has not been a good month for me…at least not until recently. Now I celebrate the blessings of my life…the very real life blessings and the living mother memories of my life.
    May God richly bless you this month. Thank you for beautifully expressing what I have lived myself.
    In Christ,
    gretchen

  48. Thank you thank you for this.

    I am thankful for your transparency, your honesty.

    I am thankful that there are those besides myself who need to be able to rest in Christ when we are no longer competent, no longer strong… no longer really wish to be either.

    I am thankful that I have been brought friends this year who take my faith and my experience on faith, as it were… because it’s so much easier to believe that God holds me close and longs to make me real when they tell me that I already am.

    I am thankful for every small moment when I stop and find God’s grace in me rather than try to conform to the expectations around me or from my past.

    I am thankful, as you said, that God is making me not “good” or even “whole” yet, but real.

  49. “I’m thankful I can fall apart….” Wow. Another courageous post, Bonnie.

    Thank God for the sorrows which have ripped me open to make more room for His grace and strength. I would not know Him half as much without brokenness.

    Grace and peace to you, friend.

  50. Bonnie, I can understand what you are saying so very well. It describes my life. You have given words to my woundedness and to my pain. Even the scriptures you have used have resonated with me because the Lord has used those very verses in my journey of healing. I am still in process and have found fellowship in a group of women who pray together on a regular basis. They know much of my story and so I am feeling safe there and am beginning to open up and am becoming more “real” in the process. God is faithful and I thank Him for you!

  51. Thank you for reminding us to be real. Inspiring us to find the beauty in real. Helping us not to fear real…even when real hurts.

  52. thanks Bonnie for sharing your journey. The highs and the lows, the moments of joy and the ones of sadness that mix and mesh and make us whole. Prayers! I am thankful for God’s faithfulness as we journey through the ups and downs of this life and the He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world, the father of lies who seeks to destroy our joy.

  53. Oh my! Your story could be mine. I connect with every word you wrote. Thank you for being real. I know my circumstances are no more difficult than anyone elses and my choices past and present have attributed to where I am today. I wouldn’t want to change the things I have gone through because I’m closer to God now than I’ve ever been. I’m thankful for opportunities to depend om my heavenly father. Through my experiences both positive and negative I have become a stronger person. I pray that I may be a blessing to someone else because of the experiences I have faced.

  54. Thank you for sharing, caring and inspiring me Bonnie. I appreciate how you gave words to my flailing soul’s weary flight. I am overcoming a career change, loss of close friends and the sting of an uncaring pre-marriage family. I have much I’m thankful for but find the holidays bring mixed emotions. God IS good and is my healer, sustainer and encourager. You have a gift and I just wanted to say thank you for your bravery, candor and love in sharing it.

  55. Hi Bonnie,
    You have a way of expressing the truth in your heart that goes straight to my heart. You give words to the unspoken thoughts of my heart that are longing to have their voice. I so appreciate and am blessed by your true words of your real life.
    With love,
    Joannie Koch

  56. I’m so Thankful, that Jesus carried me through every trial I faced this year…. I look back and wonder, ” how did I make it? ” then I realize “HE CARRIED ME”
    Even when I felt abandoned, when I cried, when I prayed and no immediate answers came… Jesus was still there carrying me … ” Thank you JESUS for carrying ME !!!

  57. Bonnie, thank you, this really ministered to me today. You put thoughts and feelings in to words, in a way that I could have never expressed thank you.

  58. O, Bonnie, your brokenness is BEAU-TI-FUL! I am happy and excited for you, both at the same time. If we were together, I’d be giving you a HUGE hug (if you let me) and spin you around, jump in delight, and shout for joy…THANK YOU FATHERGOD FOR THIS AMAZING WOMAN!!! Thank You FatherGod for all You are doing in her and through her! Thank You FatherGod for showing Your love poured out! Glory to Your Name!!!

  59. Bonnie, you are amazing and brave and beloved. I identified with much of what you penned. I’m partly overwhelmed by the strength and beauty that shines through your willing, transparent heart’s writing and partly overwhelmed by the hollow-heart echoes from within my very soul. Your words have brought me to hallowed ground and I am keenly aware of the pure holiness of our Lord. I am awed and hopeful. As we wake up and find there is life-long shame underneath the layers of numbness, oh how wonderful to know He is a Faithful God, Healer, Friend, Lover of the soul of His precious daughters. Thank you. Your words have in effect brought the Holy Tabernacle of the Lord to the focal point of my heart right now, and I am blessed.

  60. Bonnie, thank you. This line has been knocking around in my head for the last few hours and I think it’s going to take a long while to work through why it touched me the way it did: “I can feel sadness, so I don’t have to live separated from my heart.”.

    I so admire your bravery in writing truth. And being real here, with us.

    Thank you.

  61. Bonnie,

    The words you write are so simple, but yet so very profound. They articulate the present season of my own life to a tee. Words that I have searched for, you have written. Thank you so much for sharing. I am deeply appreciative. I know very distinctly I am not on my healing journey alone. God is working. Thank you.

    Jo

  62. Bonnie,
    I felt like I was writing this myself as I read it. Only I’m not even sure if I believe in God anymore. Childhood: hell. 20 years of marriage: ended. Church: 20 years as an adult in legalistic hell. Children: almost grown, only thing keeping me here. I’m a full time student, work 2 jobs, single mom, and trying to get on my feet again. I live in a new city and have no family. I see what is left of my good friends very seldom. (If I do get to see my friends, I have great difficulty connecting or trusting now.) I am in a sea of strangers.
    I began the journey of healing a few years ago. I am not the typical give-up quickly type. I have been relentless in my pursuit, courageous even, but I’m just tired now. The future doesn’t look any better than the past. I was hopeful at first, but frankly, I am not sure I will make it through.
    I have a helpful therapist I see weekly, but feel it may be too little too late. I’ve been hopeful for so long and have nothing left. The anxiety has crept into my life in immense proportions. (I was the person who 3 years ago thought anxiety was bull, and a person had control over it.) When the anxiety lets up the depression lies heavy on me like a lead blanket. I’ve lived about half my life and have had awful things happen. I don’t want a repeat. I don’t want to face the other half. There are things worse than death. I feel so alone, so numb, and yet so raw. Crying, losing control is the new norm. I feel nothing but brokenness and vulnerability. It’s excruciating.

    Your words though… It helps to know others face this task.

    The new people in my world don’t understand. I feel their looks and judgment. I was once an “upstanding member of society” and even the “Christian community”. I have served and loved others freely. My friends would tell you that I will be there in an hour of need.
    Now I fight to keep from fulfilling the secret plans I have to cut this life short.

    Today I found your blog, and for now, I don’t feel so alone. Someone else feels what I feel, at least some of the time.

    I’m holding on. At least for now.

    • Dear Anonymous,

      God loves you so much. He sees you in your brokenness and loves you even more. His arms are around you in the dark that surrounds you.

      There are so many that understand your journey… you saw that in Bonnie’s post. There are many of us who have once been ‘upstanding’ and active in service to their community and right now face a new place of brokenness… Yes, there may be others who judge you, but there are many of us who don’t. Hang onto that.

      My heart weeps for you. Hold on. HOLD ON no matter what. Jesus has you… He really does… even though you might not be able to feel it. And He desires healing for your broken heart and your wounded spirit. I pray that you will find the healing that you need, that God will bring you the right person to pray life-words into your spirit, to breathe upon you with His breath of life, and that there will be someone else to surround you with arms of love. I wish that I could be there in person to comfort you, sweet sister.

  63. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. One short year ago, I’d have not understood your words. In the space of the last 11 months, I admitted the first time to be being abused for years as a little girl. I understood how dysfunctional my family really was. I found out siblings have similar stories. Some friends couldn’t handle knowing all this about me and left. It put my marriage on the rocks. I lost my church. And my children have suffered thru a very tumultuous year.
    But…there is hope for every story. As God unpeeled layer after layer of pain and hurt, He touched every part of me with Divine healing. As I fell to pieces over and over, He picked those pieces up and put me back together in a way that is whole, healed and healthy.
    Had I never fallen to pieces, I could never have experienced the wholeness that I have in Jesus. My husband stands by my side, I have a beautiful relationship with my children, I have been blessed with new understanding friends. God is good!

  64. Thank you so much. These words made me cry – but with tears of life, not death. To know that someone understands where I am at means so much. Last Christmas, my family wanted to share what they were thankful for from the previous year and I cringed inside as I thought of a list of thank-yous to God that isn’t so different from yours, Bonnie. In the end, I just couldn’t share. I feel like I am hiding away inside that part of me where I pull everything together more often than I am really engaging with the world because I just feel so ignored and misunderstood. Seeing God’s goodness in brokenness doesn’t mean that I think God isn’t good! Being told that feels like wound upon wound. Thank you for your words and for your courage in sharing your journey with us. You are needed and valuable, Bonnie!

  65. Thank you, again, for your words. Oh how I can relate, especially to, “I didn’t understand God could make me strong and courageous — by being broken.”

  66. Oh Bonnie, what a blessing your words are. Thank you for sharing your heart and giving us so much to consider. Thank you also for the reminder to be the kind of friend “that understands that both sadness and joy can co-exist.” I always want to fix everyone and I should be pointing them to Jesus. Wishing you and all your readers a Thanksgiving that is filled with joyful surprises from our loving God.

  67. We don’t celebrate thanksgiving in my country, but looking back at the year I’m thankful that my heart was broken. I was crushed and think this was the year I cried the most in my life. I don’t know how but God brought me till this point and I know He’s going to lead me further. I have many past hurts, questions, fears and anxieties but I look up to Jesus and gave Him my burden. I’ve tried for years to carry it alone, but I just can’t and I don’t want it any more. Through it all I learned that God is good and that I can trust Him. For all the ladies on this forum I pray that the Lord will hold your hands and fill your hearts with peace and joy this thanksgiving. That He may sustain you, according to His promise and that you shall LIVE, that you will hope again. The Lord is faithful He will carry us through, He promised. The devil is a liar and a thief, but the Lord promises He will restore and give us everything back that the devil has stolen from us. May the Lord bless you all abundantly!

  68. Bonnie,

    Thank you and God for your honesty. It takes true courage to expose yourself. By doing so you may have helped many women going through similar circumstances.

    These past few years have been “tough” on me. I went through several transitions at work–a new boss and new job duties.. My hubby got a different job within his company. Now he’s worried about not enough work (CT Tech) and we both have shoulder problems. This time of year my aging father has many issues. So dealing with a lot of “life issues”.

    Thankful God is there to bless me, walk me to the other side and make me stronger through these trials!

    Blessings to all here!

  69. Bonnie,

    Thank you for sharing…this touched my soul, in a time when I needed to hear this so desperately in the pain of having to move on and leave some very dear people, and after having been deeply betrayed and rejected.

    Blessings,

    Marlene

  70. Bonnie,

    Thank you so much for your words; they are comfort to a heart that is hurting so desperately today as I walk through such deep brokenness and threatened loss. I so identified with your statement “I have a heart that is becoming real.” Through this pain and this brokenness God is unthawing a numb heart and bringing new life. Deepest sorrow I have ever experienced but I know this journey holds within it great victory. Thank you for your timely word, your transparent heart and your gift to the body of Christ. May you be blessed beyond measure this season, experiencing deeper depths of the Savior’s love and greater revelation of God’s word than ever before. For eternal purposes…

  71. What does brokeness mean to me? It means I can’t get these negative thoughts out of my mind. It means I think of my brokeness caused by loved ones actions as cutting the rope. You can’t glue the rope back together and expect it to look as good as its original. I would only be pretending that it is as good as before. You can tie the rope where it broke. You can even claim that it is now stronger than before. But nothing, nothing will change the fact that this rope does not look like its original form, so perfect, so whole. I can’t help miss that rope with no glue, no ties, no pretense of it being as good as when you first wound it to connect you to someone else. That thought makes me very sad. I have faith. I believe God works everything for my good. I learned, I grow, maybe I can even say I am stronger now. But there is no denying that no one knows what it feels like to want that unbroken, whole rope that can never ever be again. Like you said Bonnie, I look normal at work, or grocery store, or whereever, but no one knows the deep pain that comes from needing, wanting, that whole rope like it used to be.

  72. Hi Bonnie,

    Thankyou for this post.
    It describes how I’m feeling so well.
    I’ve been a very inscure girl for as long as I can remember and am struggling with depression and social anxiety. My greatest dream is to become a nurse and to make a difference but atm I feel that I don’t have what it takes. I feel so broken, needy and find it hard to believe that others care about me. I don’t have many friends who encourage me so I’m so thankful for finding your blog.

    Thanks,
    Naomi.

  73. a friend e-mailed me this post. it took me until today to read it all, and i am so glad i did. i bookmarked it under my folder “articles i read during my second pregnancy” so i wouldn’t forget. though our struggles are likely very different, this ministered to me and resonated, too. i find it difficult to be thankful this thanksgiving, as in just under two months {if i go full-term} i will give birth to our second child who has been diagnosed with a fatal chromosomal disorder… and this will likely be the only thanksgiving i get with her… while she is still yet in my womb. my favorite line was this… “I am finding new friends who understand that both sadness and joy can co-exist. Who aren’t trying to fix me.” yes!… i get that. i’m thankful for the unexpected joys i have come to know through this awful experience. but also giving myself the freedom to be sad during this time… and broken, too. anyway, thank you for writing this.

  74. This is so well expressed. I know this woman, this Jesus, and my own experience in a deeper way.