She is a gifted writer, who shares her story and her soul. Her voice is pure, calming and inspiring.
At the end of this post I will share a link to an article she wrote, please take the time to read it. She expresses what is in my heart.
The enemy continues to try and quiet my voice…to not share my journey, especially in the midst of this painful time in my marriage.
I sometimes daily battle the urge to appear to have it all together, to offer only what I think people need, what I think it is they want. To offer a false self to them and even to my husband.
Because I’ve always felt this pressure to seem unbroken, especially as a good Christian woman.
But I am finding that in my support groups this isn’t the case. We are all there because we are broken and there is no denying it or hiding it.
Bonnie Gray encourages me with these words:
“It’s hard to write and put our stories out there, but I passionately believe every part of our journey is soul beautiful with Jesus.
It’s our authentic stories that frees people to see that Jesus real, loving, beautiful and alive. Right now through you and me. As is.
The world longs to know God through real people. Your voice. Your story.
Love the world by letting God love us — through our stories.”
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for all of us to not give up, to be courageous, to keep trying, to not let our voices be silenced any longer.
Telling your story is really about finding and using your voice. Be kind to yourself and listen to the parts of your story that want to be told.
I love what Bonnie Gray points out in her article-
“I thought about God — how did He decide what to include, given this is His only written book about Himself? Talk about stress and pressure to pick and choose!
But, God didn’t choose to write a book of rules or formulas. God chose to write a book about real people — His favorite stories of those He loved.
These were real people, all journeying through different human experiences. God did not choose to edit out tragedy, betrayal, and brokenness. He included it all”
And isn’t it true, it is in the midst of these broken, authentic stories that God shows such grace and beauty!
“You are not wanted!!” Have you heard those words?
No one wants to hear those words…..in our workplace, in our job interviews, in our relationships, in our community, or from someone we love deeply and trust.
No matter where the words come from they can influence our decisions and often drive us to be more, to do more, all in order to never hear those words again.
They can cause us to live our lives in fear. When we live fearing to never hear those words again we can find ourselves living as someone who strives to be loved and cherished, not for who we are but for what we can do or who we can become in order to accepted.
And we fear failing….therefore we strive all the harder…..in our parenting, in our friendships that seem to always end up as one way relationships, in our giving more then our 100% in our work place, in seeking approval from those in authority…..why, because we fear not being enough….we fear failing….we fear stopping the roller coaster because our worth is based on what we can do and not who we are.
What would happen to us if we stopped doing and simply offered our authentic, plain selves?
What would happen if we allowed ourselves the grace to be simply who we are instead of offering ourselves to others from that place of wounding- letting the words of not being wanted, or good enough, or pretty enough, or strong enough, or successful enough, or smart enough, or having what it takes define us….what then….
The power of words.
Words that have the power to wound us still….. often making us feel smaller then we already are feeling. Or maybe they make us feel coerced into getting over what we just can’t seem to get over. Words that make us feel more alone…..standing on the outside…..not feeling loved, understood or accepted.
Take a moment to look into the soul of that small child within you who felt the full power of words that wounded. The small child who felt crushed. Lonely. Abandoned. Forgotten. Beat Up. Broken. Humiliated. Take a moment to allow Jesus to speak His WORDS into that tender soul.
What might you hear Him say….
He sees you
He hears you
He knows you
He gathers you to Him
He holds you
He understands you
He is with you always
He is preparing a place for you, just for you
He knows you
He comforts you
He is that place of safety for you
He lifts your head
He looks into your eyes with a love that goes deeper and transcends all words and wounds
He wants you to be real, because He is real
He doesn’t give up on you
And He asks you to not give up on that small child either……
He asks you to risk, risk trusting Him…..trust Him when you find yourself wanting to be yourself yet you are afraid to be loved and known. He asks you let Him love the child within you….will you let Him?
Romans 5:5 (ESV)
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
It’s time for a change….and not just in the design of my blog….but in the design and rhythm of my life.
Have you ever said “I quit”? I have. I have said it quietly while in tears, I’ve shouted it from a place of absolute frustration, I said it in desperate resignation….and I’ve meant it every time…..and yet, too often I find myself right back to the very place where the words buried in my heart once make their way once to the surface.
I quit, it doesn’t sound very Christian does it? But the quitting I am talking about isn’t about weakness and giving up in despair. It’s about strength and choosing to live in truth. It will require the death of illusions….no longer pretending….quitting for me is about choosing.
It involves quitting those things that are damaging to my soul, or to the souls of others, it then frees me to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life.
-quit fearing what others think and choose freedom
-quit faulty thinking and choose to live in reality
and there are more that I desire to unpack as I begin this new journey.
Author Bonnie Gray, in her book: Finding Spiritual Whitespace says the following:
“I believed my faith buried my hurt in the past, but I was using faith to hide from the past . . . What’s worked for me since I was a child – staying strong, reading more Scripture, praying more fervently, exerting more self-discipline, applying greater optimism – isn’t going to solve this problem. Jesus has been whispering one phrase into my heart – follow the current downstream. I’ve rowed my boat upstream for so long, I didn’t know if I could stop.”
Whitespace….I like that word.
Finding spiritual whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us. It’s the opposite. It’s getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces — in order to nurture our soul.
For the last year I found myself in a place where I ran out of words. I no longer had anything to say and God felt so far away. I gave up reading….both books and the Word to a degree.
Even though I knew I ought to pray, praying felt like another check box that left me feeling guilty.
Life is complicated isn’t it?
This past year I have looked at my everyday life, both at work and home, and I have felt overwhelmed with dilemmas, conflicting desires and needs, which left me feeling discouraged.
Ironically, when we’re most stressed, we often deprive ourselves of what we need most: God’s goodness.
Somehow, we’ve learned we deserve to rest only after we solve our problems…..
But the truth is that it is just the opposite.
We need God’s tender, loving care and we need to give ourselves permission to receive and enjoy it.
My friends, in this day and age, rest is radical.
It takes the walls down; allowing us to become real, authentic, human, and spiritual.
Bonnie Gray again says:
“We become real, vulnerable, open with our weaknesses, not just our strengths.
Rest brings us closer to each other, to strangers who become friends and to God because our hearts are tender and vulnerable.
I want to bring this message of rest with my whole heart,so I’m letting go of expectations. Saying the harder “no” to expectations, performing, dysfunctional relationships –and saying “yes” to finding spiritual whitespace.”
I am finding myself stressed, overwhelmed and feeling lonely among the chaos of life in our digitized, fast-paced world of wonderful technology — which I love and enjoy –but I know I need a shot of soul rest.
I need slowing down.
I want to write to the rhythm of rest. I want to write out of a heart fully alive, engaged.
You are welcome to journey with me….Let’s see what God will speak to us and through us during this time….