Monday, 23 June 2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace: The Review

Gray_FindingWhitespace_3DFinding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray at http://www.faithbarista.comBookArt7_Jesuswhispers

Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith, a lovely blog on spiritual topics themed to all things coffee: quirky and imaginative. She has written the book Finding Spiritual Whitespace about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest, which garnered Publisher’s Weekly starred review. You can get a copy HERE. I have just finished it, but this is not a book to read quickly: quite the contrary.
I need to start over. I need to re-read - especially the pages, the many many places,  I have pencilled in notes and underlinings and reminders to stop. and think. and revisit. 
Bonnie's book is a journey she has taken involving revisiting painful events in her life. She bravely shares the messiness, the pain and the subsequent healing of memories buried so deep that she didn't know they were there. 

But her body did. She carried those hurtful words and experiences for four decades before she realised how they were affecting her. She became so broken, afflicted by post-traumatic stress disorder, that she could no longer function normally. In the hurt and pain, she rediscovered Jesus' spirit deep within her.

This book, however, isn't just show and tell. Bonnie speaks as friend, inviting the reader in to discover healing and wholeness with her. She speaks of reawakening the soul through stillness and rest and discovering Jesus in new and deeper ways. Facing questions of desire and loss; feelings of desolation; going beyond the obvious.

Bonnie writes tenderly from many different perspectives as she draws us into discovering Jesus in fresh new ways. She encourages the reader to take time to rest; to listen for Jesus' voice; to rediscover innate creativity; and above all, to revisit painful memories in the loving companionship of the Spirit of God. This is not self-indulgent, but healthy. We all need to face those things we have buried long before, learning to cope, to live with shame and hurt that has been buried but affects us without our realising it.

Words cannot do justice to this gem of a book. I found myself sinking in, like drinking a frothy cappuccino through the cream to find the strength of the coffee beneath. This book IS strong: its words offer hope and healing and an invitation to a deeper, more intimate spiritual life.

Beautiful, poetic words. Words to retain, words to inspire, words to encourage. A gift and a jewel from a brave heart.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Whitespace. Stillness. Listening.

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. Bonnie has sent me a copy of her book to review. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

For reasons that I don't wish to explain in detail,  I find myself tripping over/falling into space and silence and stillness wherever I turn.

Bonnie Gray's 'Finding Spiritual Whitespace' has been the greatest place to start, but I have been 'encouraged' by emotional meltdown and comments in sermons about being overwhelmed and numb and... oh, all the things Bonnie explains in her book. The knowledge that it is only with Jesus that deep deep hidden wounds are healed into wholeness.
This search for relationship with and the presence of God in my life meets me at every turn.

Today it was through Lisa Burgess as she talks about:  "’s his presence we crave, even when we don’t know it. And it’s in his presence we’re most loved, even though we can’t see him.
“Just the privilege of fellowship with God is infinitely more than any thing that God could give. When he gives himself he is giving more than anything else in the universe.”- Frank Laubach
But how can we tap into that fellowship with God, especially in the everyday moments?
It’s a concept that’s intrigued me for years. I’m not alone in this quest. Not now. Not ever. Whether straight from scripture, from a monk in the 1600s, from a missionary in 1930, or from a friend in 2014, there’s much to learn about being more mindful of God in the now, of intentionally grasping God’s hand in this moment, in this thing.
I find motivation every few years when I reread Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God. And now I’m finding it also in finally reading Frank Laubach’s Letters by a Modern Mystic....
...Enjoying God’s presence is knowing that in this hour, this situation, this relationship, we are never alone.
“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139:9-10 "
I love Beverley's comment on Lisa's post: Occasionally when i think that God has forgotten me and is no longer listening to my anguished prayers, he speaks! He speaks through the mouths and actions of others, the gentle breeze to cool the heat of the day, the smell of a wild rose, almost forgotten. When we feel forgotten all we have to do is wait and God will always arrive.
I have sat with those who are passing from this life to the next and the one thing they all want is one more…touch, hug, kiss, minute, moment…morning. So many people that i have nursed in these moments have waited for the morning to arrive before they have found the courage to leave.

And so, as I study Sally Clarkson and Angela Peritt's book You Are Loved with Good Morning Girls, I am learning that I AM loved by Jesus. That prayer and Bible study and good works are all well and good, but that it is in his presence that I am fulfilled.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

And so I look for Him in everyday life and to Him in the quiet and listen, listen for His voice in the silence and the stillness of my heart.
Cartoon - Have you found Jesus? - Look closely.PS: another form of stillness is going for a walk: notes on seeking quiet every day as a way of refreshing the brain. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Finding spiritual whitespace

Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray at http://www.faithbarista.comfindingspiritualwhitespace_book21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace
It is a long time since I wrote here. A time of business and absorption in all manner of things... good things, God things but not time with God.

So it's not a coincidence that Bonnie Gray's book has come out as I embark on a new Good Morning Girls study: You Are Loved.

I needed to set aside the time to know this:

"Christ went to great lengths to demonstrate His love for us….he died on a cross.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”- Romans 5:8
Christ’s death is proof of His unconquerable love for us. He went to such great lengths to demonstrate His love so that we will be secure in knowing we are loved by Him.
“A person who feels loved, lives with relief that they do not have to perform. They live with joy to know they are acceptable as they are. They live with hope because they are not alone.”- Sally Clarkson, You Are Loved
You are not alone.
You are loved."
week 1 memory verse
We can know this in the quiet, in the rest, in the whitespace times...what does 'whitespace' mean? Ask read Bonnie!