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.  

Broken, as is.

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!  The writing prompt today is: to share a special Bible verse currently touching your heart with rest and comfort?

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Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, who call on Him in truth.

“As is.”  Two of my favorite words in the book “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”, and every time I read it I feel like I am taking a deep breath of fresh air in a smoky room, especially on page 70:

There is a place here and now that Jesus has been preparing for the little girl in me.  That place is my heart, where Jesus has been doing deep, healing work – to accept her as she is.  To let her know there is a place in this world for her.

Because Jesus understands her.

Because Jesus loves her.  As is.

As is….

yes, but what about______?

As is….

Page 145:  Jesus is the companion with the courage to walk with us in the quiet…  He will meet you in a way that lets you know He is near you.  He will take your hand in His.

Sometimes, this quiet can be a lonely place.  It can be a place where isolation and desperation wait in the shadows.  The walls are dark.  The door is boarded up without a door knob.  Not many will enter.

This quiet is like a dark tunnel of memories that will lead to the hopeful bright light and plush beauty.

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With each step into the dark tunnel,  I stop..  I hesitate.

My shoulders cringe forward, and I sink.  My breathing slows and my heart literally pounds in my chest.  I step again.  My eyes are closed.  Jesus is with me.  He has my hand and he leans in to remind me he is near.  My rigid stance softens as He whispers “truth”.

Truth, as is, with pain.

Truth, as is, with fear.

Truth, as is, with shame.

Locking up this part of me separates Jesus from the part of me that needs Him most.

The broken me, as is.

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, who call on Him in truth.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

A letter to the little girl.

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!  The writing prompt today is to write a letter to your younger self.  

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Dear little girl,

You were unexpected, but you were not a mistake.  You were chosen.  You were created with joy by Jesus before anyone even knew you existed.  Chosen isn’t a feeling, it is a fact.  God chose you.

You are so brave.  I know you don’t feel like you are, but you are really brave.  You are so strong, and life is so heavy.  It feels like you are carrying it all by yourself, but Jesus is with you.  It’s just hard to see him in the heavy but he is there.

You are smart.  Sometimes, you can’t remember where you put your shoes, or what was just said to you, but it’s not because you are not smart.  It’s because you have a lot on your mind.  Your brain is already working overtime just to make sense of your world.

You are so little.  You are just a child.  A tiny child who feels grown up already, but you are really just a little girl.  A little girl with limited information trying to make sense of an adult world.  An adult world that makes you so afraid.   A world that puts heavy responsibility, blame and lies on you.  It’s not your fault.

Cartoons and animation are hard for you and they always will be. It is like watching a silent film in another language.  You can’t hear it or even read their lips.  Life is not a cartoon.  It is real.  People are real and much easier to watch if they make you laugh or scare the wits out of you.

You will never like Barbie’s or Dolls and that is ok. Your favorite thing to do is ride your four-wheeler – alone for hours – on trails in the woods as fast as it will go for miles and miles.   You love to laugh and chew noisy gum.  And pop bubbles.   It’s funny because you do it on purpose –  even when it is just you and there is no one else to annoy with it.  You will still do that when you are older…to the point that you annoy yourself and spit out the gum.

You don’t really enjoy piano lessons and dance, but keep at it.  It is helping you more than you will ever know.  Your love for music and songs will sustain you in some hard stuff.  While you don’t dare write anything down – you can write out lyrics to songs.  Your notebooks full of song lyrics help you to tell stories you can’t put words to, so keep writing, even when your fingers hurt!

God loves you so much.  He seems really scary, but He is not.  You are so afraid of Him and you think He is mad at you, but He is not mad at you.  He loves you and holds your hand a lot.  He wants you to know He loves you.  You can’t understand it now and it will be hard for you to understand when you get older, but he will be relentless in teaching it to you.  He loves you more than you can ever imagine.  The Fear you have heard about is real, but it is for the Big People.  He wants you to come to Him…you don’t have to be afraid.  Keep praying the prayers and rededicating your life to Him. He opens his arms to embrace you each time.  He understands.  One day you will understand.  You will be sure.

And that song you love to sing and play on the piano?  “He’s still working on me.”  Keep singing it because guess what?  He still is. He loves you.  I love you too.

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In the mirror of His word

Reflections that I see

Makes me wonder why He never gave up on me

But He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray

Remember He’s the potter, I’m the clay.

He’s still working on me.

We are the clay, and you are the potter.  We all are formed by your hand.  Isaiah 64:8  NLT

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

{New} Tears

 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!

BookArt7_Jesuswhispers-300x300I turned down the wrong aisle in the grocery store.  I found myself waiting in the center of the aisle for the lady on her cell phone to move her cart.  As I waited, staring at the cookies, my eyes caught a glimpse of familiar.  Heart stopping familiar.  Something that would normally send me chin up, saying excuse me and moving on, but this time I lingered.  I stood in the cookie aisle and I cried as I remembered.

Clean up on aisle 9 …. tears are spilling.

He knows.  He is right there with me.

Psalm 56:8  (NLT) You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

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I have not seen these cookies since elementary school, and I even looked for them years ago, but could not find them.  These were not exactly like the ones we used as these were missing chocolate chips.  So I zipped over to the baking aisle (still crying) and I put the mini-chips in my cart, and then rushed to the frozen aisle for a big tub of whipped cream.  Wiping the tears from my cheeks, I headed to the register and forgot the orange juice and bread.

These cookies were part of one of my favorite desserts when I was a little girl, but they are also associated with much pain.  Pain that has been worked through in counseling.  These memories have been discussed and processed, but just seeing the cookies took me back to tracing in a classroom window and it reminded me of shame, and desperate attempts to appear okay.

I pulled in the driveway, and cried some more and then unloaded the bags.

After dinner, we started making the dessert. The kids took turns dipping the cookies in milk, and lining the bottom of the pan.  Then we sprinkled with chocolate chips, covered with cool whip, layered again and again, and then put it in the freezer.

We were laughing and we were sampling the blend of all three ingredients.  We were a little messy, and I let even let my youngest lick the spoon (a lot). We were making a new dessert and new memories together, with her… the little girl in me, as is.

Revelation 21:4 (NLT) He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

What is Spiritual Whitespace?  There are many ways to describe spiritual whitespace, but one of my many favorite quotes from the book is on page 221 :

The world calls us to hide our stressed-out selves.  But Jesus calls us to a radical new rest:  Draw near.  As is. 

Jesus invites us into a new relationship to set our hearts free.

Jesus wanted us to bring him what’s real and worrisome as well as what’s simple and beautiful.  A child brings all parts of herself to Jesus.  She can’t help it.  That’s just the way she is.

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.

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Join us on this journey to find #spiritualwhitespace.  Let your soul find rest.  Watch the trailer below to see more about the book and Bonnie’s story: