Finding Spiritual Whitespace – Book Review

This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

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It was a little over a year ago that I discovered Bonnie Gray at www.faithbarista.com.  It was a post called, “Walking the Little Girl In You Out Into The World,” and it changed everything for me. That post and her blog assured me that I was not alone.  As I read the comments and others who linked up with her writing prompts, I felt a connection.  It was as if the little girl in me finally found a sandbox in this virtual playground where it was safe to whisper.  The whispers were met with understanding and encouragement.  I could not wait to get my hands on this book and continue the journey to find spiritual whitespace.

There are many ways to describe spiritual whitespace, but this is one of my favorites on page 49:

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.

The tour guide leading this journey to find Spiritual Whitespace is the Faith Barista, Bonnie Gray.  Her beautiful words are authentic and transparent.  She shares memories of brokenness with just enough detail to walk me into my own room of memories.  As she describes each scene I can’t help but feel the pain as if I am right there with her.   Each chapter has writing prompts and questions for journaling that probe deep.  It’s here where I realize much of the pain I am feeling is my own.  Each chapter also offers helpful ideas to find whitespace, and prompts to confide in Jesus.

The subtitle of the book says “Awakening Your Soul To Rest.” Rest.  It is not something that is popular in the fast paced world we live in today.  Everyone wants everything yesterday.  Who needs rest when there is so much to do and so much to prove?  Everything is instant and quick.  This is a new rest – I like how she describes it on page 22:

The creative act of spiritual rest is found in places of brokenness.  When we step into whitespace, we are no longer holding on to our old ways of coping managing and doing.  We are only holding on to Jesus.

He’s there.  Even though I don’t want to go there.

In the whitespaces.

Our soul awakens,

To rest.

With him.

Bonnie paints a picture of rest that makes it look not only appealing, but necessary for survival.  This rest isn’t about taking a nap.  This rest is about healing broken pieces, and opening up to Jesus about what makes it hard for you to sleep.  This rest is rest for your soul.

Her powerful brave words whisper,  “You are not alone.  Me too.”  “Me too” means I understand. It doesn’t mean we have the same story or share the same history.  We share brokenness. Kindreds. We also share a beautiful healer – Jesus.

Spiritual Whitespace is a journey to discover the authentic you.  (pg. 80).

BookArt8_beloved-300x300-1 There is so much we can do to airbrush the picture of our life we portray to others.   We want to be accepted.  We want to be loved.  We want to be cherished.   There is rest in being real.  There is rest in slowing down to remember what brings you joy.  For me, it may be stopping to watch a sunset, walking in nature, or painting on a blank canvas.  There is a pause to discover what you missed.  There is rest in pulling back the mask and knowing you are deeply loved ~ the beloved ~ by Jesus, as is.  You may have developed skills to multi-task on an empty tank, but is this really who God created you to be?  If you are reaching out to others, and not pausing for you, read this book. If you are giving, and doing, and signing up to give and do more, then please read this book. Here you will learn to slow down and receive.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a book for everyone.  You will find healing encouragement if you have ever been wounded.  You will be encouraged to embrace Jesus in your pain, and you will find Him with open arms.  You will discover many ways to find Spiritual Whitespace.  You will learn new ways encourage others and be better listeners.  You will find freedom, and the freedom to rest, {as is} in Jesus.

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Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith Barista.com who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this guidebook and invite you to read it too.  You can get a copy HERE.   

I did receive a free copy of this book to review, and my opinions are my own.  However, I have enjoyed this book so much I bought copies for several friends and encouraged them to read it and buy copies for their friends.  I even bought the kindle version to carry with me in my pocketbook… just in case.  

A Path to Rest

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I thought I was breathing.  I exhaled.  My soul was taking in nourishment.  Deep cleansing nourishment.  I started dreaming.

and then…

Last Thursday I woke up and felt a deep dark heaviness surround me.  I grabbed colored pencils to take to work with me that morning because I wanted to draw what it felt like to show my counselor.  Having just returned from Mexico where many of the roads were cobblestone …I had planed to draw a narrow path of bright cobblestone rocks, and along the path would be birds, rainbows, flowers ….and as I walked along this path I had a pink umbrella covering me and all of these beautiful things were under the umbrella and the path was shimmery sparkle, but all that surrounded this narrow path was a foggy darkness.  A Heavy Darkness, and it was pressing in on the path.   That was what it felt like that morning.

I took the colored pencils to work but was so busy I never did anything with them. I headed to my appointment and on the drive there as I was switching channels, I heard this song for the first time  – “Human”, by Christina Perri.  It hit a nerve.  A very raw nerve.

“I can hold my breath.”

That is the first line in the song.  Then the chorus, “But, I’m only human, and I bleed when I fall down.” and later…  “I can turn it on.  Be a good machine.  I can hold the weight of worlds if that is what you need, be your everything.  I can do it!  I can do it!!”

Hearing this song was overwhelming.  Music does that to me.  It screams the things I dare to utter.

I made it up the steps holding emotion and opened the door to this on the wall.  I was all alone in the waiting room.  I stood there and took a picture.  It was my vision.  This narrow bright path surrounded by a foggy darkness.

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I tried to explain it to her even though I am not sure I even understand it all myself.  I feel shielded and protected and loved by God.  I feel like He is carrying me.

But I am so afraid.

So much fear.  I don’t want to be afraid.  I struggle to even say what I am afraid of but the fear is intense and its surrounding that path.   When I left and was headed home, a huge storm came through and it was pouring so hard that traffic had almost stopped completely on the interstate.  All you could see was flashing lights in front of you.  It was loud and intense on the outside …but I was dry, covered, protected.  Safe inside.

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I was encouraged after the session and later posted verses with the path picture on Instagram to remind me of His goodness along that path.  Yes, I am only human.  But HE is my Lord. He guides me and protects me.  He leads me in the way that time has proven true (Psalm 139:24)

I don’t have to hold my breath anymore.    On this path with Him, there is fresh air for me to breathe.  Air that smells like cotton candy.  Air that reaches my depleted spaces to replenish and restore.

~Fear~

On Sunday, we had a “Nail it to the Cross” service at church from Colossians 2:7-14.  I took my paper and I nailed FEAR to that cross.  I have seen His Power and His Might and His Provision firsthand and I know I don’t have to be afraid.  The human in me knows that I will be afraid.  But, I am surrendering it to Him.  I took my fear and then pounded it with that nail and with each pound it reverberated my insides.

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I wish I could tell you that I am not afraid now.  I’d be lying.  I am afraid, but I am breathing.  This bright narrow path limits me.  It pauses me to rest.  To remove distractions and obstacles.  To move carefully and to move slow.  In fact, on Monday the book arrived.  I waited until everyone was in bed and then I opened it.  I held it, flipped it open and read.  I sat quietly and stared.  I read some more.  My husband looked over at me and said,  “What are you doing?  It’s been two hours?”   I had only read a few pages, but I was breathing.  Deep.  Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

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Jeremiah 6:16

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.

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