“Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning,
that without listening speaking no longer heals,
that without distance closeness cannot cure.”
~ Henri Nouwen
There was every reason to be thankful that morning.
Honestly, I was truly grateful. For everything God has led me through. For everything He’s given me.
Then, why did I feel so weary—inside?
I woke up with my heart a blur with worries.
A competing bevy of voices. All driving me to be tired—and frozen all at the same time.
A wall of decisions stacked up around my heart, all without clarity, as to where one decision would lead, while fearing I’d risk the wrong choice.
God, why can’t You just tell me what to do?
Just tell me. And I’ll be alright.
And I would begin to cry. Because I would feel all alone.
I would feel unreachable.
I wouldn’t know what to do anymore.
When you’re bound by things unknown, your mind can betray you.
We need a deeper restoration.
A soul restoration.
We need more than a plan.
We all need Someone. To stay.
We need Someone to make us stronger. With love.
I need You, Lord.
I need You.
Like raindrops beginning to dot the dirt, I couldn’t stop the need from raining down into my heart, swirling like water gathering strength running into a fresh winter creek bed.
Why can’t I shake this?
I couldn’t see.
I drove toward the mountains to take my morning walk, feeling guilty, unable to stop my heart from slipping into a place of troubled waters.
Autumn has been slowly undressing into winter. The early hours of the morning pulled a blanket of thick mist over the hills.
I couldn’t see but a few steps on the trail.
I couldn’t see where the path would curve.
Follow me. It was a whisper I heard in the breeze, standing there on that barren mountain, cold slipping underneath my wrists into my arms. I didn’t bring my gloves.
I heard God speak to me, the same way you hear the love in your child’s voice when he looks at you, his eyes clear like the lake glimmering at sunset.
It’s the same way you hear the love in your husband’s voice when he says your name, when the stars are shining outside your bedroom window and there is nothing else in the world but the sound of your heart beating next to his.
I know you’re tired.
I know you’re weary.
Don’t be afraid.
I want you to set your heart free. To choose.
When the journey leads you through the fog, I will stay.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,
‘this is the way; walk in it.’
I realize that I often look for a plan—in order to secure my peace.
But God doesn’t offer us a plan. He may have a plan, but we don’t get to know that plan. That wouldn’t require any faith.
The only certainty I’m beginning to understand I’ll ever have in this life is in the Person who has always held me, before I ever woke up to His Presence: Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t lead us by a plan.
He sees our scars. He leads us by His love.
God guides us with His presence.
Jesus gently puts His hand on my heart and tells me:
Don’t hide what worries you. Bring it all to me.
Let me make you stronger . . . stronger . . .
Stronger with my love.
This week—as you step into the final days before the wonderful memories you’ll be working hard to create with your loved ones—find some time.
Find some spiritual whitespace.
Breathe and let your heart speak.
Find the beauty of what touches your heart—a song, a paintbrush, a walk, a guitar, a cry on your bed, a fresh page in your journal, a candle, a look at the stars through your window at night—in whatever space that is quiet and intimately yours.
Meet with just you and God.
By the One who sees you. All of you.
Listen to Him gently whisper to you:
You are so good.
At holding others close to your heart.
And putting them first. Even at the expense of your own peace.
I want you to look at Me.
Let Me really look at you.
Lay down your burden.
And the expectations you’ve been carrying.
Lay them all down.
And lean into Me.
Wait and watch the fire that needs to die, die.
Now, watch Me make a fire. Here. In your heart.
Wait. Watch me kindle the flame you thought had extinguished.
Feel the warmth return to your heart.
Stop. Let Me hold on to you.
Stay. Let My arms hold you close.
Let me love you.
I’ll never leave you. I’ll never change.
Wait and watch My love for you grow wild.
This love, kindreds, leads us on a journey to a Happy Thanksgiving—a real Thanksgiving—marked by God’s love growing wild, like a fire, aflame in our hearts.
What is on your heart in these final days leading up to Thanksgiving Day?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment.
If there is anything in this quiet moment you can convey to God, stop right now.
Confide in Him. As friend to friend.
Right where you are. As is.
Written by Bonnie Gray, the soulful Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for the daily grind.Leave a Comment
Melanie Vanlaningham says
It is so very easy for me to get caught up in all the responsibilities and struggles around me…always seeing what’s undone, how I missed a mark, and just wanting to melt into a puddle because my heart, soul, mind and body are all way too tired to keep going. I know and completely believe my only real rest comes from being in the Lord’s presence. Listening for that beautiful whisper to drown out all the screaming accusations. Your words are a fresh wind blowing across my dry and weary heart. I’ll just stay here in His arms a little longer this morning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.
Joy to you,
Bonnie Gray says
“resting in His arms a little longer…” this is a gift that’s just for you that you can continually return to. thanks for sharing this moment together, Melanie. joy to you!
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
When you mentioned putting others first even at the expense of our own peace…that really resonated with me. I yearn for God’s peace that passes understanding as I struggle with not having my son with me at Thanksgiving and mourning over the distance between us. But the pain continues to drive me into my Father’s arms where only He can comfort me and give me peace. I will continue to give him praise and thanks and will certainly seek some white space with Him this Thanksgiving. Thank you for the reminder of God’s great love for me…
Bonnie Gray says
have a wonderful Thanksgiving as that love you feel continues to touch your heart, Bev…
A Mama's Story says
Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!
Bonnie Gray says
love how soothing the space on your blog — Sara. Keep sharing your beautiful voice (psst. i love lavendar!) 🙂
Thank you for gently nudging us into “spiritual whitespace”. How quickly I forget as I run through Thanksgiving week.
Bonnie Gray says
sweet Denise.. thank you for this moment. happy Thanksgiving…
Thanks so much for this. I love the part, that says “I need someone to stay” – Thats what I really want- in a season of various kinds of losses, and there is great fear of being alone and not knowing what to do or where to go and being unseen again- Thank you speaking truth to me today and reminding me –
Bonnie Gray says
i feel that too… and God feels it in our hearts and places His hands in ours. thanks for sharing this moment together, Susie. have a wonderful Thanksgiving… #kindreds
Jennifer Kostick says
I love to read your writings. You are so honest and real. Spiritual White Space was one of the BEST books I have ever read. I’m actually giving it as a Christmas gift to someone who I know will benefit from hearing your story. Thanks for allowing God to use you. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Bonnie Gray says
Jennifer, you’ve been such a kindred on this journey. it warms my heart to be here together, this very week. Thank you for being present together btween the pages of the book. wish we could have a cup of coffee! 🙂
Tina Joy Cochran says
Beautiful.. simply beautiful!
Bonnie Gray says
Tina, thanks for being here. and being present! happy Thanksgiving!
Jeanne Takenaka says
Bonnie, thank you so much. With kids home this week and drama aplenty, it’s not been a restful beginning to Thanksgiving week. I loved what you said, “Jesus doesn’t lead us by a plan. He sees our scars. He leads us by His love.”
I’m a plan-girl. Love my plan. But when it comes to Jesus, I need to learn to be led by Him, rather than always trying to stick to my plan. I love that He leads us by His love. It requires stillness and trust to follow His leading. I’m working on doing this better this week. Thank you for such a beautiful post!
Bonnie Gray says
hello sweet fellow plan-girl. 😉 may this week be tucked with quiet small spaces just for you. thankful we got to meet in this in-between place in our soul and shared a moment together. may you feel as beautiful as you truly are, Jeanne and experience something just for you from Him. #kindreds xo
Joanne Peterson says
I love your reference to Isaiah. Before it is also a beautiful talk He is having with us. This is what the Amplified version says and it is along the same lines you wonderfully fleshed out today:
And therefore the Lord earnestly waits expecting, looking, and longing to be gracious to you: and therefore He lifts Himself up that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of Justice. Blessed, happy fortunate, to be envied are all those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look, and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, and His unmatchless unbroken companionship!
O people who dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you, at the sound of your cry; when He hears it He will answer you.
And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet Your Teacher will not hide Himself any more, but your eyes will constantly behold your Teacher.
Some of my hardest times in my life, and I had a stretch of years, His talking to me like this would always make me cry and thankful. Just now as I am typing this, Jesus is talking to me, and this is making me cry at how tender He is and how sweet His words are.
Thank you Bonnie so much!
Joanne, thanks so much for sharing this scripture! It amplified what the Lord was already doing/saying to me through this blog!
Thank you, Joanne and Bonnie. I really needed that Scripture amplified today.
Loving-Kindness in Christ,
Thank you Bonnie – I needed to read this and know that someone else has gone through what I’m going through now. Lots of new challenges in my life, moving to a new apartment, new responsibilities at work that are stretching me WAY beyond my comfort zone and all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and make it all go away 🙂 But God is calling me to grab His hand and listen to HIS plan for my life, which is so much better than anything I could ever come up with. Thank you again sweet sister – you are such a wonderful blessing!
Lord, there are so many preparations coming in my life right now. Thanksgiving is coming and lots of those preparations are finished. But among those are the ones for my daughter’s upcoming wedding this spring. So many things to pull together. My son and his wife are expecting their first child–our first grandchild. Still more…my heart races and I know I’m supposed to stop and enjoy this time. It’s hard for me. Please fill me with your peace and joy and help me trust You will guide me and my family members. This should be a joyful time. Help me embrace the joy. Help me know your presence in the midst of all these preparations. Help me let go and know all will come together and Your spirit will bless us all.
“When you’re bound by things unknown, your mind can betray you.”
I woke at five this morning filled with anxiety and panic. Feeling that fight or flight response, yet not knowing what I was needing to flee from, or fight.
I have many memories that my mind won’t release, yet the emotions connected to those memories leak through.
When they do the anxiety and panic can be overwhelming and beyond my control.
When I struggle with anxieties over every day circumstances, God faithfully reminds me of His promises. But when the fear is coming from the unknown, It is a whole different ball game.
As I struggled this morning, I heard God gently ask me to let Him into that place of anxiety and panic. He reminded me that there is beauty in the broken places because Jesus is right there with me.
I invited Him in, but not really grasping how it might help.
Not long after I read this blog, and this one line in particular jumped out at me. “When you’re bound by things unknown, your mind can betray you.”
This morning (and many mornings), I am bound by the unknown. In my unknown I need Jesus to protect my mind. Protect it from the lies of the enemy. Protect it from the lies I tell myself. Protect it from becoming ovehermed by hopelessness and despair. That’s why He wants me to let Him into those broken places.
I may continue to struggle with the anxiety, but as I continue to invite Him into my unknown I will not be alone, and there will be beauty. I pray I can do that.
Thank you Bonnie!
Therese O. says
Thank you so much for this post. I lost my young husband to cancer five months ago. These words spoke to me and it was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you with all my heart!
It’s like you’re in my head! Thank you so much for writing and putting it out here on your blog, it gives me such comfort to know I’m not alone in how I feel. I love a plan – a plan makes me feel (a bit) secure and currently there isn’t a clear path forwards – there is a ‘back up’ plan that I’m not comfortable with…..but to be led by Jesus’ love – that is the only way to go. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction. May God bless you with peace and love this week and always.
My dear Bonnie,
Oh, how I wish we are just neighbors! I wish I can just knock at your door and bring you my freshly baked cookies and over tea pour out my aching heart over my never-ending anguish with my damaged and troubling relationship with my own mother…. and then end it with a time of prayer. Thank you once again for redirecting my heart to the healing love of God. I am so tired thinking of a way or ways of patching up my broken relationships and planning to mend and redeem them myself…..it is not always effective and the vicious cycle of enabling my mother to hurt and verbally abuse me continues to the point of feeling desperate…maybe in this side of glory I will not be able to find the healing and the connection that I have been wanting for many years. You said that, ” God doesn’t offer us a plan. He may have a plan, but we don’t get to know the plan. That wouldn’t require any faith.” I need to trust God’s plan and have the faith to wait and be still and not try to control my circumstances. Thank you, Bonnie for this very timely message. Happy Thanksgiving! I am still waiting for you to visit So Cal and speak here. God bless you, my sister in Christ. Please pray for me. Thank you!!!
LACEY SPIGNER says
Thank you. This is beautiful & so true to my heart. Happy Thanksgiving.
Lynn Bowman says
Thank you, Bonnie for your beautiful words! It simply amazes me how God is using you and your beautiful words and you sharing your heart to speak to me and my heart. He’s just awesome like that! I’ve been walking blindly through these days leading up to Thanksgiving; focusing too much on the tasks ahead instead being still and being thankful. Thank you for reminding me to take the time and to rest in God. In Him, I am so thankful! My cup overflows!
Peace and Blessings to you and your family!
Ashley Morris says
It’s hard to focus on feeling thankful wholeheartedly. 5 years ago our daughter was born stillborn at the tail end of my pregnancy. We have another daughter who just turned 4. Definitely something to be grateful for. In June of this year I lost my dad. This past Thursday I lost my mom. We have another daughter coming in about two weeks. However since I am so late in the pregnancy I cannot fly home. After our first baby died it felt like I was waiting for something else bad to happen.
I realized I had started to get Over that feeling then both my parents died. I don’t want to lose this baby or my own life. As silly as it may be to think that way, I do
Bonnie, thank you so much for this post. I really needed to hear this tonight. The lines: “Be loved. By the one who sees you. All of you.” really resonate with me, reminding me that he sees and understands it all, even the emotions I can’t wrap my head around. Thank you so very much.
This is what I really need today. Your words really touched me as I face dealing with my husband’s heart procedure next month. I’m so scared, so very worried. It will also be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my father. Since we not in contact with out son whose life is totally out of control, I feel out of control and any help from anyone. I am trying to take time for Jesus and He will be there for me.
THANK YOU Bonnie! In a dark pit right now. My family falling apart and I feel useless and too small and a coward in the midst of it all. Thank you for speaking truth into this situation, I hear God’s voice through you. And even though I feel no peace, I will trust that He is here and that He will stay.
Thank you, I needed to read those words this evening. When everything is crowding in and overwhelming me it’s hard to trust God’s plan, but to be reminded that he sees the scars inflicted by the troubles of life and leads me with his love brings new strength to walk his way tomorrow.
Carol Marie Weiss says
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and one hundred thousand thank-yous.
This speaks so deeply
To my soul
I praise Jesus for this writing
I pray for you Bonnie
For Jesus to continue to pour
His Living Water
May His love, wisdom , grace and mercy
Continue as your foundation
And The Lord bless us all in our families
being together with thankfulness!
Sandy Renaud says
Your writing is amazing and spills over with the love of the Lord!! What you write speaks volumes to my heart in such an incredibly tender way!!! God is truly using you to be his voice to other longing souls. He spoke to me so clearly through this wonderful ‘devotional’ today. And I so badly needed to hear these very words you wrote so eloquently. Thank you dear Bonnie. You are a wonderful gal !!!
I pray the Lord’s abundant blessings on your life.
Oh Bonnie how your words stir in my heart. Everyday I have my quiet time with Him, but in reading this I want to steal away right now and JUST BE WITH HIM. Not to get an answer, make a request or cry but to just bask in His presence. Thank you for the gentle nudge in His direction.
Nancy Ruegg says
“Find the beauty…meet with God.” Oh, yes. There will be so much beauty to enjoy the next few weeks. As I revel in the lights, listen to the carols, breathe in the season’s scents, etc., may I lean in close to Jesus, my constant Companion, and speak my heart to him. And then may I listen to his whispers of love. You’re right, Bonnie, moments of spiritual whitespace during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season will surely give us rest for our souls.
Holley Gerth says
Love you and your words, friend!! XO
Thank you Bonnie! Lately I have felt very confused about God. I had a close experience with Him as a young child and then a few years later it was totally blown apart. As I was pondering last night I asked, ” God who are You?”. Felt led to go to the experience as a child and start from there. I feel like I am starting to get more clarity. Also had the courage to do something that I needed to do for a long time to take care of me. Due to your post. I have peace but please pray as I discover who God really is.
Your beautiful words made me cry. I felt Jesus’ wonderful and wild love inside my heart, felt His goodness hugging my whole being. Thanks, & God bless you!
This time of year is so raw for me…it is rippled with significant loss. I try to embrace the joy for our children but find in the quiet moments that it is so full of heartache. The loss of my father, 11/14/88, 1 month before my 14th birthday and 25 years to the day the loss of another significant man in my life, my incredible father-in-law on 11/14/13 (which was completely unexpected). Then the day before Thanksgiving in 2009, we were told my momma had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and she lasted 69 days. It’s tough…I am not sure that I will ever understand His plan. I know He hears me and wants to heal me but I can’t get past the constant sting that comes with this season.
I loved this post and my faith has not wavered despite my lack of understanding…I am so incredibly grateful for my salvation so that one day we will be reunited. ~gretchen
Annie Flanagan says
Hi I can related to the emptyness when it comes to the lost of family. But we have to trust God even more now. I lost four brothers back to back, and lost my mother in 2006. and most of my family lives thousands of miles away. Belive me it hurts and my heart goes out to you. Lastly just stay in the Lord He will get you through it all. BE BLESSED IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.
Mary McCauley says
As always Bonnie touched my heart with her words. I really needed this as I move into Thanksgiving, with it expectations and family issues and the tiredness of life wearing on me. Thank you God for Bonnie and for this blog that is so encouraging. Bless her and keep her surrounded by your love and grace. Amen
Annie Flanagan says
Thank you so much for the encourage words it has really lifted up my Spirit. I needed that I thank God for you and I pray that your Thanksgiving is the most blessed……..
Annie Flanagan says
It is a blessing to hear such Encouraging Spiritual words this is what has blessed me…………… Meet With Just You And GOD. God bless you and family, And Happy Thanksgiving.
Lord, let Your Love grow wild in me, that I may know your Peace and can share your Joy!
As we approach this day set aside for THANKS.GIVING use me to show Your Grace, give Your Mercy and by doing so, draw this family, these friends closer to you. May they see YOU in all I do,
all I say. To you, my Hope and my Redeemer, be all the Glory! AMEN.
De Anna says
Thank you for words beautifully and well articulated… My mind a swirl and body paralyzed to move on decisions, too. I appreciate your heart of honesty and raw reality… You are right… HE is the SOMEONE we need…I need. Blessings to you for Thanksgiving.
Jyothi Rhea says
I am so grateful. I pray that I can be the blessing to others that so many have been for me. The lady in the grocery store that offered to hold the baby so I could unpack my cart! The friend’s son that took time to discuss some heavy questions on my heart. The teenage girls that offered to keep me company and help with both my little boys while my husband is away. Those at church that give of themselves so I can study and learn God’s Word. My husband, mom, neighbors and dear friends that lift me up when I am falling. He has given me so very much. A community that is more precious than any gift I could ever buy. May I daily, moment to moment, willingly remember to give myself to Him through the giving to others. This was much needed today, not just the reading but the writing it out. Thank you…
Thank you Bonnie for your sweet and encouraging words this morning. They are just the ones I need to break through to a few tears of thanksgiving for all God is and all He has done and all the beautiful people He has brought into my life in one way or another. Have a bonnie good day!
Todah Raba! (Thank You)
With Love, Florence
Beautiful post. So raw and intimate. Thank you for sharing this. Your words blessed me today.
God, I am feeling overwhelmed by all the knocks in life. Even the sweet sounds of life are sounding like noise. I know I need to look into your face but all the noise of life seems to be fogging up the space between You and me. There doesn’t seem to be much in me to offer to anyone else. The day is dark but I know I need to simply believe what you tell me about our relationship is true. You are always for me, you always love me, you will never condemn me, I am fully accepted, and You will never leave me. You see me as beautiful, complete in Christ, and belonging to You. You are always for me, never against me, and always extending grace and mercy to me. I love you Jesus.
Sherrie St. Hilaire says
Oh my, Bonnie! So good. I was breaking up the email log jam in my inbox today and began (past due) reading this post before I knew it’s author. I stopped several sentences in and had to scroll up to see whose words were sliding into my soul. Of course they would be yours. Of course! Your words always get me and I always get your words.
I love it: JESUS DOESN’T LEAD US BY A PLAN…HE LEADS US BY HIS LOVE.
Needed to hear this Sweet Sister.
So beautiful and touching!