On “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”

{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!}FindingWhitespace_alt3D

Me: “I am too afraid of unleashing the emotions that go along with my reaction to this book. I am afraid that as I start writing, the dam is going to break and the tears are going to pour….”

P: “That’s ok love. This is entirely normal when you are dealing with something so emotionally powerful.”

The dialogue above is a text message exchange between my husband and me, discussing Bonnie Gray’s book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace. To say Bonnie’s book is “emotionally powerful” is incredibly accurate. Not only that, I would go so far as to say this book is full of eye-opening truths that every person needs to hear read.

I have always known that I am fairly skilled at avoidance, but not until reading this book did I realize just how much I have honed this skill. When my copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace arrived, I was naively giddy about its content. Little did I know, Bonnie’s personal story was about to impact my soul, my story in so many beautiful ways. Coincidentally, the book arrived on my birthday. Looking back on that now, I could not think of a more perfect way to begin my twenty-seventh year.

From the first chapter to the very end, I felt as though Bonnie was speaking directly to me. Debilitating panic attacks? Check. Depression? Sadly, yes. Feelings of abandonment? Again, yes. During her time healing from the open wounds of her childhood, Bonnie discovers “spiritual whitespace,” which she defines as “places to enjoy soul rest with God” (p. 13), and “a journey to discover the authentic you” (p. 80).

Bonnie’s idea of “spiritual whitespace”–in essence, soul rest–is something everyone should consider adhering to in order to keep from just “getting by”, just “being okay.” As I read Bonnie’s words, I found years of repressed memories from my childhood floating up to the surface and staring me square in the face. In addition to the journaling prompts at the end of each chapter, Bonnie’s raw vulnerability encouraged me to mull over my long-avoided memories and provided the strength to gradually process my repressed past. With the focus here being on Bonnie’s story, not on mine, I will refrain from sharing details of these memories.

I am still in the process of finding “spiritual whitespace” myself, but what I have learned thus far is that this journey is well worth it. I strongly encourage all of you to embark on the path to find spiritual whitespace and soul rest for yourselves.

I will leave you with some food for thought: “Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus” (p. 76). Emotionally powerful? I definitely think so.

FSW God uses broken pieces

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.

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{Confide}

 

FSW BookArt7_Jesuswhispers

 

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!

Jesus is calling me to confide in Him by pushing through with my reading of “Finding Spiritual Whitespace.” I am on chapter 8, “Insomnia,” and I have not been able to continue on because the book is resonating with my past so much. Bonnie Gray’s words have brought a multitude of past experiences and memories to the forefront of my mind. Today I am confiding in Him by quietly reflecting on those memories that have been repressed for so long. I know I have lots of healing to do, and Bonnie’s words have been the impetus for allowing that healing to finally take place. As I begin this process of healing, I am afraid and apprehensive. However, I know I have been hurting too long and need to allow myself to move forward from this pain. How blessed I am to have the guidance of God and Finding Spiritual Whitespace as I move forth on this journey.

 

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.

On Soul Rest and Spiritual Whitespace

As some of you may have noticed, I am currently on vacation in Arizona with P. He is here on business; I am here on business and pleasure. (P and I make sure to keep business and pleasure expenses separate; I assure you it’s all quite ethical.)

You see, I have been called to embark on a journey to discover “spiritual whitespace,” a concept on which author Bonnie Gray elaborates beautifully in her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace. So when I say “I am here on business,” I mean I am here on spiritual business taking time to rest my soul.

In the coming weeks, I will be reading Bonnie’s work of art, her story of how she discovered spiritual whitespace. I will also be writing posts about my journey to find spiritual whitespace, and posts on the book itself. I hope you will follow along and that you will be encouraged to seek spiritual whitespace for yourself.

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

Note: please visit Bonnie Gray at FaithBarista.com and click on the badge above to read others’ posts on spiritual whitespace. This post is written in affiliation with the book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

Intentionality

Intentionality. Intentionality. Intentionality.

Is it just me, or does it feel like “intentionality” is the unofficial buzzword for 2014? It seems to be everywhere! I am almost to the point where I am sick of hearing it; the word just feels so…vapid. (Personally, I prefer the word “deliberate,” but that’s just me.)

I was having an internal dialogue…with myself… (1. Redundant, I know, and 2. yes, I actually have internal dialogues…several times a day. Hey, I never claimed to be normal!)

Anyway, I was having this back-and-forth debate inside my head just now when I realized: wait a minute. Maybe I am hearing and seeing this word over and over and over because God wants me to pay attention to it. AHA! Perhaps He has been trying to get my attention so I would focus on the meaning of “intentionality” this entire time! (Dear Heavenly Father: the lightbulb has finally turned on. You know how thick my skull can be! I apologize for taking so long.)

All of that elaboration just to say this: I am decidedly going to sit and think about how I can begin living my life with–you guessed it!–intentionality. My hope is that focusing on being intentional will help me work towards achieving my current goals and desires.

This is guaranteed to be an interesting ride. I hope you will stick with me through the ups and downs! What are you doing to live intentionally?

Answered: An Opportunity to Help

If I had to choose the most important lesson my mother has taught me, it is to have compassion for those less fortunate. Growing up, the act of giving back to the community was demonstrated so clearly by my parents. When I was much younger, before my brothers were born, my mom would convince me to part with toys I had moved on from by saying, “you will feel a genuine sense of happiness when you give to those who have less than we do.” The elementary-aged me was skeptical, but went along with letting go of my toys and clothes that no longer fit. In middle school, Mom and I joined National Charity League, a mother-daughter philanthropic organization, which I had the pleasure of serving in until graduating from high school. As the years have passed, Mom’s words have rung true: helping others makes my heart so happy in a way that nothing else does.

For a number of months now, I have been wanting to volunteer at an organization in the city. Ideally, I would find an organization that will allow me to use my native Spanish to somehow help the large Hispanic population in Chicago. What I am embarrassed to admit is that, despite having expressed my intention to volunteer to several different people, I have not started researching potential volunteer positions in earnest.

As God would have it, yesterday I received communication from a client I worked with during my time as a paralegal. This lady is near and dear to my heart; she and her husband are Mexican immigrants with three school-aged daughters. After addressing matters of business, we would oftentimes continue to chat, sharing small bits of our personal lives here and there. She has hosted my husband and I for a meal at her home. Recently, she has come to mind more times than I would like to admit; each time I put off contacting her, which led to a sense of mounting guilt for continuing to not act on my urge to reach out. When I heard from her yesterday, I knew it was time to rekindle our friendship. We caught each other up on recent happenings in our lives, then she shared the biggest news of all: her seventeen year-old daughter is currently pregnant, in her third trimester. It was all I could do to choke back the tears–I know this family does not have much, and now, adding a mouth to feed and a young mother… After she uttered the words, all I could think was, “this is it, this is my opportunity to help. Thank you, God.” We hung up and I immediately began making a mental list of all the items families with newborns need, and what small amount we could afford to chip in to purchase items on this elaborate list.

I poured my heart out to P about this last night, as tears also poured from my eyes. What a change of perspective! Despite my compromised health, God has given P and me blessings beyond measure. P is wonderful and of course encouraged my philanthropic spirit while gently reminding me that we remain a one-income household–we can give, but there are financial limits. We have decided to help in small ways, within our current constraints.

This morning I began my service to this family by saying a prayer for them and the baby on the way. My heart is filled with joy.