Move beyond Coping and Surviving to a Rejuvenating Place of Soul Rest
How many of us find ourselves exhausted, running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows exactly what that's like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, Bonnie's plans suddenly went off script. Her life shattered into a debilitating journey through anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. But as she struggled to make sense of it all, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.
Spiritual whitespace makes roomroom in one's heart for a deep relationship with God, room in one's life for rest, room in one's soul for rejuvenation. With soul-stirring vulnerability and heartbreaking honesty, Bonnie takes readers on a personal journey to feed their souls and uncover the deeper story of rest. Lyrical writing draws readers into Gray's intimate journey through overwhelming stress to find God in a broken story and celebrate the beauty of faith.
Guided by biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, Gray shows readers how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith. She also offers practical steps and insights for making spiritual whitespace a reality, right in the midst of the stress-frayed stories in every season of life.
"We live in a culture that brags and boasts about being busy. Into that reality steps Bonnie with a new idea. Whitespace is an important concept and Bonnie has captured it perfectly. If you're exhausted with being exhausted, read this book. If you feel too busy to read this book, then that's probably the best sign of all that you need it."from the foreword by Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of Stuff Christians Like
|Publisher:||Baker Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life. She is a featured contributor for DaySpring (in)courage and her work is also nationally syndicated on Crosswalk.com. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons, and blogs about her fascination with the challenge of keeping faith hot and fresh in the daily grind at www.faithbarista.com
Read an Excerpt
finding spiritual whitespace
Awakening Your Soul to Rest
By Bonnie Gray
RevellCopyright © 2014 Bonnie Gray
All rights reserved.
All great and precious things are lonely. John Steinbeck
I was a little girl, standing in the middle of the broken driveway sloping down into the busy street. I can still see the cracks splitting the cement into an odd-shaped honeycomb, crawling like varicose veins marring the ground beneath my feet.
I stood there, heart pounding in my ears, hot tears flooding my eyes. I cried with my mouth open, stuck in a silent howl unable to make its way out of my body. I knew I had to stop before I could turn around, walk up the steps, open the screen door, and go back into the house.
There was no one to comfort me. No one to tell me why he wouldn't be coming back. There was no one to hold me after my Daddy left. Not that day. Not that night. Nor any year after that.
And that is how I learned to take care of me.
I am very good at surviving. I am an expert at figuring out how to do things right and do them well. I am not afraid of working hard, swallowing whatever might get me down, and pushing through.
I am a good thinker.
What I'm trying to say is I don't want to be that little girl, frozen in the driveway.
So, I manage. I cope and I please.
I can do capable: set goals, check lists, and construct new plans. But deep inside, where no one can see, where I seldom go myself, I feel restless.
My heart feels lonely.
I don't really see it as loneliness. Most of the time, I don't know what is wrong. So I tell myself nothing is wrong.
That I'm fine.
But I'm really not.
Because, you see, I feel numb.
I find myself there whenever I'm stressed. I step into another space of being that is separated from my heart. On the outside, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing. Being with others and getting things done.
I wait until the numb feeling passes somehow.
When I was younger, I'd occupy this space of numbness by keeping busy, being extra social, or finding well-meaning, purposeful activities. But as I grew older, I found myself heading in the opposite direction more frequently and for longer stretches of time: withdrawing. Being alone by myself, mostly.
Some days, after working hard all day, I was simply exhausted. I'd ease the numbness by passing time, staying up late "chain reading," watching television, surfing the net, or whatever it took to distract me from feeling.
But since walking into PTSD, my old ways of coping aren't working. Stress, worry, and anxiety have wrapped around me like a cut-out landscape painted around my waking days and sleepless nights.
Life has gone on pause deep inside me, where my heart spins restless.
Even though on the outside you'd never know. Because I step through the paces in everyday life and rise to the challenges of the daily grind.
But the truth is, I'm not free inside.
What I need—and what I don't have—is soul rest.
It took writing a book to wake my heart up and ignite my soul again.
Journey Off Script
If you ask me how I'm finding soul rest, it hasn't come the way I once learned. I haven't been able to spend alone time with God the way I used to as a little girl. Then, I'd set aside time to sit at my desk, open my Bible, take out my notebook, underline it with the headings—who, what, when, where, and why—and start diving in. When I prepared Bible studies as a ministry leader, I'd exegete passages of Scripture and come up with closing application questions.
No, I haven't been able to find rest for my soul in ways tried and true in the past. I can't even fall asleep, much less breathe freely, without a heavy feeling clamped around my chest, against a pounding heart. I can't even focus, much less memorize Scripture or pray like they taught us in Sunday school: praise, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
No, my journey of faith has gone off script—into my soul's whitespaces.
I no longer have the luxury of writing about spiritual rest behind the safety of studies, numbers, anecdotes, and experts' advice. I've never felt so desperate. For a lot of this journey, I have felt
guilty, unable to shake off my anxieties, ashamed, tossing through insomnia-filled nights, fearful of how others would judge me, and trapped because I didn't know what to do.
My greatest fear was failing to find the freedom I believed came from walking with Jesus. It seemed that fear was coming true, as I found my heart and body gripped by panic and anxiety.
I never would have guessed in a thousand years my journey to rest would be paved with so much anguish. But the journey of the soul is one that Jesus is deeply and intimately familiar with.
I know this because Jesus has been living this journey with me.
You see, Jesus has been meeting with me in the desolate places.
They're the last places on earth you'd look to find soulful rest. These were the places within me I ran from, hard and fast, the places where stress and anxiety overtake us. They rob us of our moments, abduct us from where we are. But surprisingly they are locations for whitespace.
Desolation is where Jesus went to meet with God. It's where Jesus chose to retreat. It isn't where we'd expect the Son of God to do his quiet time. It's the last place we'd think someone so connected to God the Father would go.
Yet Jesus sought out desolate places. When crowds pressed in around him for healing, Jesus was in touch with his needy soul. He withdrew.
Words written by those closest to Jesus give us a glimpse into his private world. Luke, a physician whose writing voice is punctuated by accuracy and specificity, tells us:
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely [desolate] places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)
I often drive to the mountains when I'm feeling lonely. I like to go in the morning when the sun hangs low, restless as it climbs out from behind the horizon. The ground is still soft, hidden under the frost of a winter's night. The hills lay bare, except for tree limbs stretching out like the arms of a child sleeping, tousled out from under her grandma's quilt.
I wonder what it'd be like to see Jesus walking up ahead, all by himself, quiet and slow. Would he walk like me, looking down at the ground, or would he look up into the distance, feeling the dirt stir as he paces through the morning air?
Eremos. It's the Greek word for lonely.
It means wilderness: desolate, solitary, lonely, uninhabited.
Deserted by others.
Deprived of the aid and protection of others, especially of friends, acquaintances, and kindred.
The wilderness. Where I'm exposed, unsure, and undecided. Where I am stressed and anxious. No one to help and so very much alone.
This is where Jesus found me.
And this is the place from which I'm writing to you today.
Enjoying time with God and finding soul rest isn't a matter of self-discipline, of trying harder or setting your clock to wake up fifteen minutes earlier. If it was a matter of simply willing yourself to do quiet time, I know you would have done it. You always have.
The journey of faith has brought you to a different place now. When your heart is troubled, your body weary, or your mind consumed with dilemmas and uncertainty, your soul is longing for something more than checking another box off a list.
Jesus may have led you to a place like the one I am standing in right now, hungering for rest. We've never traveled this far, this deep into our spiritual journey. Your soul wants to wake up, so it can rest.
He's calling us to find a new place of rest that goes beyond our ability to create it.
We can't make it happen.
In the same way the wind blows the first cherry blossoms from their stems in spring, Jesus wants to come into our hearts and release us to rest.
To be free again.
And to be loved.
This is what I call making room for spiritual whitespace.
In art, whitespace is often referred to as "negative space." It's the space on the page absent of marks or images. We might consider the space as "blank," but to the artist, whitespace holds beauty. It is the key element of design that gives balance to a composition, transforming a cluttered collection of objects into an aesthetic expression of what we do see.
Whitespace is anything but nothing. It is as important as the content being presented. When it is used, whitespace makes art come alive, injecting atmosphere and emotional depth, and creating movement in images that might otherwise appear static, disconnected, or flat. It is the breathing room the viewer needs in order to experience what's being presented and find meaning in it, whether it's a painting or a photograph.
Whitespace signifies space for a story.
It makes me wonder: Where are the whitespaces in my life?
So much of my stress has been driven by fear of empty spaces. I've skimmed over the deeper questions of desire and loss and made a life pretending they weren't there.
I did it to focus on the present rather than deal with the past. I thought that was a good thing, because this kept me strong. But the parts of me that once felt alive and free have slowly receded.
My soul isn't designed to be cluttered. It longs for space to taste beauty. To breathe. It's always wanted what God intended for me.
My soul was designed for spiritual rest: spiritual whitespace.
Making room for spiritual whitespace takes us on a journey to awaken our hearts to God again.
To investigate. To ask ourselves: Where is the attraction that once drew me into the safety, pleasure, and freedom of being with Jesus? And how can I find those places—those whitespaces in me—again?
Making room for whitespace means taking the journey to confide in Jesus the way we would if he were standing right here in front of us.
When we make room for spiritual whitespace, we create space in our hearts,
a blank space for Jesus to write on, a white canvas for him to paint onto, an intimate silence he can speak into, a cool, dark night sky to light a song or lyric within, an open field for him to walk through, an intimate café corner for him to whisper into, and an empty seat in the window of your soul, so he can lean in and wrap his arms around you as you both watch lightning crawl across the sky.
Finding your whitespace is daring to discover the places in your heart that are virgin, tender, soft, untraveled, wounded, or broken—so Jesus can make those places yours and his.
He is whispering—
I am here.
In between the cracks, where you've left yourself standing there.
In the whitespaces.
I'm still here with you. As is.
It's not easy following Jesus into the whitespaces of the soul. I have wallpapered over many things, believing faith enabled me to move past them. But there comes a time when it takes more faith to fall apart with Jesus than to stay strong enough to stop it from happening.
The time came for me to go beyond wallpapered memories, because Jesus walks the desolate places. And this is where my journey to find God and soul rest began.
* * *
Pull Up a Chair—Share
Picture Jesus withdrawing often to lonely places. What thoughts or feelings does this image stir in you?
Where are you on the journey to find rest—surviving, numbing, or awakening?
A Whitespace Prompt—Try This
Sometimes, we carry preconceived notions about connecting with Jesus. Trying to figure out how to spend time with God may be the last thing on our minds when we are stressed. But Jesus can enter into whatever space we find ourselves. As is.
Read through this list and notice which image reflects your heart's desire for whitespace most closely today.
a blank page
a white canvas
a quiet silence
a cool, dark night
an open field
an intimate corner of a café
an empty seat in front of a window
... [add your personal image]
What attracts you to this image? Notice how these images release you from the burden of creating rest with Jesus—opening your heart to experience rest with him. Rest is not something we engineer, but something we invite.
A Soul Conversation—Confide in Him
Tell Jesus how you are feeling right now in this moment. Lost, numb, tired, frustrated, or angry? Maybe your feelings are more subtle—content yet unsettled? Talk to Jesus now, friend to friend. Imagine him slipping away from everyone and everything else just to be alone with you right now.
Excerpted from finding spiritual whitespace by Bonnie Gray. Copyright © 2014 Bonnie Gray. Excerpted by permission of Revell.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Jon Aeuff 9
Part 1 A Soul's Beginning
1 Desolate Places 25
2 Wallpapered Memories 35
3 The Toy Store 43
4 Cut Up 53
Part 2 Whitespace Is Extravagance: Rest Is Choosing
5 The Screen Door 63
6 The Basement 73
7 The Pink Outfit 82
Part 3 Whitespace Is Movement: Rest Is Freedom
8 Insomnia 93
9 Clutter 103
10 The Bookcase 113
11 Pastry 121
12 The Phone Call 129
Part 4 Whitespace Signifies Importance: Rest Is Intimacy
13 The Walk 141
14 The Hallway 149
15 Alone with You 159
16 A Love Note 167
17 Solitude 174
18 The Wild Things 181
Part 5 Whitespace Signifies Relationship: Rest Is a Living Journey
19 Torn 191
20 Daddy 196
21 Lost and Found 206
22 Your Whitespace Story 216
Part 6 The Whitespace Challenge: Rest Is an Awakening
23 A New Ambition 227
24 A Menu 233
25 Serving It Up 243
26 Whitespace Killers and Triggers 250
A Note from the Author 262
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Absolutely loved this book. So many of us find it challenging to go to the Lord when our life is in chaos, but that is when God wants us to come to him. Find him in that restful whitespace that only he can give when our earthly family lets us down whether by choice or not. Bonnie's formative years were absolutely heartbreaking and as a little girl she sought out her whitespace, but somewhere as she got older it was more difficult for her and her loss of that little girl also meant a loss of that safe place where she could go and share her story disappeared. Her loss manifested in physical symptoms that she didn't recognize and took months for doctors to figure out in order to treat her. This may have not been the book that Bonnie Gray set out to write, but it is definitely what the Lord intended. Bonnie tells us that we all have a story and we all need to tell it. We may not all feel the need to share with millions, but going to the Lord and finding our spiritual whitespace allows us to do so. Then we can find rest in him. Lori
Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a beautiful, heart wrenching story about one woman's journey to rest through PTSD. As someone who has struggled with anxiety I could relate. As someone who survived her parent's divorce I could relate. As a woman trying to make sense of my past I could relate. As someone longing to understand the fullness of God's love for me I could relate. I found this book incredibly relatable and also incredibly hopeful. Because as I saw the hope and trust and faith in Bonnie's story I was more able to see it in mine.
I wasn't confident that I needed Spiritual Whitespace when I picked up this book but I was surprisingly wrong. Reading this book agreed with my soul from the moment I opened its pages. So many of Bonnie Gray's words resonated with me on a journey of rest I believed I was already pursuing. At the heart of this book, I unexpectedly found myself awakened to my innermost self along with some clutter I was pretending didn't exist. The author of this book cultivates an environment that encourages us to stop the rat race and find true soul rest. "Whitespace is a movement to make the radical choice to leave the louder clamoring voices, in order to follow the one, quite voice inside." Whether rest is something your soul desperately needs or rest is something you confidently believe to be implemented in your life, this book is a must read! Although I thought rest was something I pursued at every moment possible, Spiritual Whitespace has awakened my soul to new rest where I invite God into every area of my life, unguarded.
At first glance, Finding Spiritual Whitespace looks as if it's a beautiful book of soliloquys to calm your soul and induce a peaceful state. However, behind the beautiful cover we meet Bonnie as a little girl. A little girl whose childhood was full of turbulence and turmoil. As she share these stories from her childhood, I couldn't help but feel present in that moment in time with her. It felt as if I were there watching it all take place. This little girl grew into a beautiful, successful wife and mother. Until one day, she begins to write a story. This story triggers painful memories of her past . As a result, anxiety, insomnia, and a diagnosis of PTSD seem to be her fate. But God. He shows up in an amazing way and helps her walk through these sometimes debilitating moments of anxiety. With the help of her therapist, Dr. P and the unconditional love of an understanding husband, she fights on and uncovers memories from her childhood that are necessary to work through in order to heal. As I read I felt a bond with her. Alsmost as if we were old friends sharing our stories in the corner booth of a coffee shop. I absolutely love her transparent vulnerability. She sugar coats nothing as it's all raw emotion. I felt like she was sharing things that I've wanted to share but am too afraid to let anyone see that side of me. I truly enjoyed the thoughts to ponder and journaling prompts at the end of each chapter. They really show you how to a acheive your own personal whitespace..I honestly had never really pondered whitespace up until now. There are so many ways to create your own, and the best part is, you don't always have to block out hours of time to do it (unless you can and you want to). I highly recommend this book to anyone that feels like they are burning the candle at both ends and not allowing time to decompress. Also, anyone that's gone through any kind of tramatic experiences whether as a child or adult. This book will not solve all of your problms but it will surely help you find your peace in your storm. A special thank you to Revell publishing for providing me a free copy of this amazing book to review.
Whitespace, what is she referring to? It's the space on a page left unmarked. -- When a writer writes, when think it is so easy for them. It should be right? Sometimes no. Bonnie suffers from PTSD, and it gripped her so tightly, that she was unable to continue. Why? That was her question. Why God? Bonnie's story was so just completely sad, I want to give her a big hug and tell her our God is so amazing to bring her to where she is today and He has so many amazing ways He is going to use her, wow. I can't even begin to imagine. I really think this book will be useful for so many people. At the end the Whitespace Challenge is so neat. DO IT!!! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Finding Spiritual Whitespace is not a self-help book. It is a book of self-discovery. In it, Bonnie Gray shares heart-wrenching memoirs, soul-touching discoveries, mindful messages, and practical suggestions for re-looking at our relationship with Christ, ourselves, and the rest of the world. Although Bonnie's story is personal, by sharing it so beautifully and boldly, she serves as a source of encouragement to others, whether we have endured similar trials or have had entirely different life experiences. She reminds us that it's okay not to be perfect. By uncovering and revealing our broken pieces--things in our past that we may have buried, swept under the rug, or wallpapered over--we can become more real, more connected, more complete. We can find soul rest. Some may read straight through the book and never make connections to their own life, as it is an easy read and Bonnie's story is captivating and tugs at your heart strings. Others may take it chapter by chapter, pausing at the end to spend time answering the thought-provoking questions and actually carrying out the Whitespace Prompts. What you get out of this book will depend on how deep you are willing to go and how honest you are willing to be with yourself. If you're ready to find your own voice, discover your personal spiritual whitespace, and write and live your own story, pick up this book. Finding Spiritual Whitespace guides readers in many different ways on our personal journeys, and points us to the One who can help us find rest, joy, and our true selves. Bonnie's words remind us that He is already walking beside us, and He loves us for who we are right where we are.
Do you find yourself often worn out from your busy life? Are you struggling just to keep up, and often feeling like you are failing at that? There is hope for regaining the peace that your life needs. Bonnie Gray has written an achingly beautiful book that will guide you as you make space for spiritual whitespace. "Spiritual whitespace makes room in our hearts for a more intimate relationship with God, rest, and soul rejuvenation." I couldn't wait to begin this book, because I knew that I needed to work on rest. Yet I had no idea how very much I would REALLY need to read this book. Bonnie's writing is raw in its vulnerability, and somehow her very honest words touch something deep inside her readers. They challenge us to unlock ourselves from our self-imposed prisons, ones that we never meant to create, but somehow do not know how to get beyond. I have only recently heard of Bonnie Gray, and so I knew nothing really about her before getting this book. Yet reading this was like finding a sister of the soul. Our stories are very different and yet her story spoke to hidden places in me, in ways that I could never have anticipated. She reaches to you right in the midst of your messy life, and offers reassurance and practical steps to move from where you are to true soul rest. This book is not written as a list of things to do. Instead Bonnie shares her story in such a way that you are drawn in, and may even feel as she did. Her story involves PTSD and childhood trauma, and really pulls at the heartstrings. While I have loved and hated reading this book, I want to warn future readers that if you have any areas in your life that you have not yet dealt with, be prepared that you will find healing for that while reading this. I loved the book, but I did not always love or even like having to take a look into why some of it affected me the way that it did. I thought that I had dealt with some of this in the past...yet as I read, I found that there were some places that I had kept closed off and had not allowed to heal properly. At the end of every chapter are areas to allow you to go deeper with you own search for spiritual whitespace. The first section invites you to share with Jesus, and with others if you choose. The second section "A whitespace prompt" gives you a chance to try this for yourself. The third section prompts you to confide in Jesus. However the real meaning of the story is about rest. Some of the prompts were not easy for me, and there was some that I actually couldn't seem to do this time as I read it, I trust that in time God will help. But Bonnie's heart is not that you would find yourself frustrated by this, but that you would allow yourself grace and simply sit and marinate with Jesus and find what works for you. I have read of many lives that have been changed by reading this book, and I know that I will need to read it more than once. I'll be honest, I am a few chapters from being finished, but that is because I have needed to stop and savor parts of it, and to allow myself to journal through it and process the feelings that came up. I am already seeing some changes in my own life as a result of this book. I am learning how to release the expectations of what rest and spiritual whitespace "should" look like and simply make room for Jesus to meet me "As Is". This book has a beautiful cover that invites rest, but it is also a tad deceitful in the fact that it hides within its pages words that will pierce you to the core. Inviting you to open the parts of yourself that you didn't even know that you had closed off, or the parts that you thought could never be changed and shows you the freedom that is possible. Be aware that as you begin this journey to spiritual whitespace that you may find yourself busier than before, or you may find that you become undone as you process the message in its pages. It will be well worth the journey!! This book was received for free from Revell Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
We we live in a world that says busier is better, multi-tasking equals maturity, and you can rest when you're dead. We're also told to leave the past behind, sponge away our bad memories, and be decorously positive even if it's fake. Imagine Bonnie Gray, a Christ-follower, wife, mother, and blogger at FaithBarista . com. Imagine beginning a book about the need for whitespace in our lives, about making room for spiritual beauty, rest and peace. You would think that writing such a book would be a restful experience right there, but it wasn't. When Bonnie began writing, the worst panic attacks she had never even thought of came along with the words, and along with the attacks came old memories. When this book came from Revell for review, I gave it to my Mother first. She has had panic attacks, and when she (rarely) reveals her experience implicit question linger: "Why would YOU have panic attacks? You're all grown up, you've got your own family. You're not a returned soldier, you're a Stay at Home Mom. You don't deserve to have PTSD. So you had a bad childhood? Too bad! Focus on the happy memories. Parental alcoholism and feelings of abandonment, well, that's just how it was done Back Then. That's no reason to wig-out on us now." It has taken Mom years to come to this conclusion: If you tell me to forget the past, you're telling me that God wasn't there with me in those times. And you're telling me that some part's of me and my life are too broken for God to repair. That's kind of what Bonnie learned... It's Ok to admit you are wounded, as long as you give the wounds to Jesus and let Him carry you when the journey to healing is hard. Mom loved following Bonnie's story, because this isn't a self-help book, it's a book of personal sharing. This story is inspiring because Bonnie is honest, and it deeply impacted my mother. When she gave me back a much-dogeared volume and a glowing endorsement, I knew we had acquired a keeper. What if what we all really need is rest, right now, in the present? What if we need to learn how to rest right in the middle of our grateful and messy and laughing and aching and broken and hopeful lives, right here in whatever this is? I think I'm going to give copies of Finding Spiritual Whitespace to family members. Thank you Revell Reads Blog Program for giving me my copy.
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest By: Bonnie Gray I have to start off saying when joining the group to read this book I had no clue where it was going. What is whitespace? I am glad I agreed to read it. I saw pictures of myself in this book. Some aspects of my life the same some different. I'm not going to say what the Whitespace is this book is a book needs to be read by all. I read this book in one night. It is a book you will not put down. How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? I know I feel that way sometimes. I try giving my problems with the Lord. I know I get anxiety attacks. I wish I would of had this in 1997 when I had a break down. I do not remember much at all of that year. The anxiety's was beating me. This book would of helped me. I suggest of you have any troubles get this book find your Spiritual Whitespace. Bonnie Gray knows what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, she saw her plans shatter into a journey through painful memories and anxiety. In her search for answers, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace. I like how the book was set up in different parts. The discussion of the topic then , Pull up Chair and Share, A Whitespace Prompt, and then A Soul Conversation- Confide in Him. Places we can be a part of and relate with. Great book get it! Must read !!
Bonnie Gray in her new book, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” published by Revell helps us Awakening Your Soul to Rest. From the Back Cover: Move beyond Surviving to a Rejuvenating Place of Soul Rest How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, she saw her plans shatter into a journey through painful memories and anxiety. In her search for answers, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace. Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest. Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty. With heartbreaking honesty, Bonnie guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, this book shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith–right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives. You may not realize it but we all use whitespace daily. Whenever we type a letter the margins at the sides and top and bottom are whitespace. Look at an ad in a magazine or newspaper or even a movie poster and there should be a border around the edges. If it is not there then the ad fits all the way to the edge and our eye finds it a bit chaotic and doesn’t know where to rest. That is the situation in our lives for most of us there is no whitespace so therefore there is no rest. We grab the whiteboard of our lives and our marker pen and begin to fill it up with activity and we do not stop. We are a busy people. However even God took a day off from work and even blessed it. Bonnie Gray needed the whitespace and she found it. Now she shares it with all of us in Six Parts. At the end of each chapter she provides Pull Up A Chair–Share, A Whitespace Prompt–Try This and A Soul Conversation–Confide In Him. I think we all need this book as we all need to find that place of rest in Him or whitespace. This is a book that you just might refer to over and over again when you forget what you learned. It is a great gift to give to friends and family so that they will have this resource to use over and over as well. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I live life so fragmented, so out to the edge. I can't do things as well as I want to because I want to do everything and there's just not time. I rush around trying to get out of the house then drop something and have to stop to clean it up, so in the end I would have gotten ready faster if had I gone slower. It doesn't make sense to me, go slow in order to move forward faster. It doesn't make sense in my day to day life and it doesn't make sense in my relationship with God. But time is one of God's creations and I'm living in it and have to abide by the rules he made it with, not the 'rules' that make sense to me. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is one woman's journey to find space in her life for rest. But it doesn't come easy for her. She wrote 10 chapters of the book before breaking down, her past coming back as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and halting her efforts. "Sometimes we can't rest until we look at why our hearts feel torn." She didn't want to work through her past, she wanted to ignore it. She found that she couldn't write the book as she originally planned so what results is a beautiful picture of how God takes broken things and makes them beautiful. Each chapter allows for reflection and discussion questions if a group was going through this together. I found it difficult to pause at each chapter because I was so curious about the details of her story. She had a 'cliffhanger' of sorts on many chapters and it made me want to skip the reflection and see what happened next. I found her suggestions for carving out spiritual whitespace to be so important for a busy woman today. We have to force ourselves to go against the cultural current that says our worth is based what we do and how much we can get done. We have to intentionally stop and be 'unproductive' so that we can have a more balanced and healthy life. We have to go slower in order to move forward or else we will have to go back and do things over again. Some quotes from the book really stuck with me: "In art, whitespace is often referred to as 'negative space.' It's the space on the page absent of marks or images...It is the key element of design that gives balance to a composition, transforming a cluttered collection of objects into an aesthetic expression of what we do see." "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. It's getting away from the lie that spiritual rest is something we have to work hard at in order to get closer to God." "We've been taught our feelings are not reliable, so we throw them to the wayside. Trouble is, there is a part of ourselves we throw to the side too. Sometimes the harder path to rest is following your heart and holding on to nothing but Jesus."
FINDING SPIRITUAL WHITESPACE by Bonnie Gray is a “Must Read” for women (and men), of all ages! An inspiring book, one you will want to refer to frequently, as you begin your journey—to finding your soul’s much needed, spiritual whitespace—a place to rest in order to find balance and beauty. Move beyond surviving. Make room for you. For God. For rest. First, prior to relaying my thoughts about this beautifully written book, would encourage readers to visit the author’s website and blog: Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for the daily grind. I loved everything about this informative, well laid out, and stunning website! . You will learn more about Bonnie Gray, the author—her story, about the book, an interactive community link up, how to create your whitespace—enjoy, write, and share; goodies and tools, stories from other readers, challenges, and one of my favorites—the moving video, which automatically reduces your stress, upon viewing—inviting you to step into this peaceful and tranquil world of whitespace. Take me there now! Intrigued, was anxious to learn more, by reading this thought-provoking book. An invaluable tool for us as women, as we try and balance our busy work and personal lives. A beautiful written story of discovery (a journey to create space in our hearts and for God, so we can live a better story today). Some of our stories are happy and some not. God uses broken pieces to make something beautiful. A space on a page left untouched. Our souls need whitespace and rest. Intimacy with God, in the secret place where you can dream dreams and be yourself. God is an artist and we are his works of art. Every woman’s story – to slow down, to feed your soul, to feel more deeply connected to your own heart and others—as we take the journey to uncover the stories deep within our souls. God uses spiritual whitespace the same way an artist uses whitespace in imbue artwork with an incredible aesthetic quality-whether it be painting, the still of a photography, or a well architected home. God uses white space in our lives to reawaken our souls with rest. With raw honesty and emotion, Bonnie guides readers to discover a better life for yourself. One that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking tidbits, she demonstrates how to create space in your everyday for God right in the midst of our stressful lives. Healing is the journey through places of misery. I found myself bookmarking almost every page, as packed with inspiring quotes and references for self-discovery, as the author openly shares her struggles and joy to finding her whitespace. FINDING YOUR WHITESPACE is a gem, and one you will treasure and share with friends and loved ones. Thank you Bonnie for sharing your journey, your courage, and talent to help others discover their much deserved whitespace! Looking forward to connecting on your blog. A special thank you to Revell and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
There I was, innocently minding my own business and reviewing a few books for Revell Group when out of the blue I was gobsmacked by God. He did it with this sweet-covered little book that looks completely harmless. It’s dainty little flowers and cup of what you just know is chamomile tea, sits there looking nothing like the earth-shattering, mind-blowing and life-changing soul surgery it contains. The book is called Finding Spiritual Whitespace. Its simple message is summed up in the word rest. Such a simple word, but one that is wielded with the force of a velveteen scalpel by Bonnie Gray. Every chapter pierced places in my soul that I forgot were there, or that I thought were neatly in the past. Thankfully the velveteen part comes in with the gentility of Bonnie and her way of making tough things seem so doable. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the exposed parts, I instead found a place of hope - a place of rest. She faithfully brings you back to Jesus over and over and shows you His arms of grace. Her surgical skill with words brings an incredible yearning to know the rest she is finding on her journey and to know more deeply the Giver of that Rest. I found this book to be challenging and healing all at the same time. If something in you reaches out at the word rest, I say run to the nearest bookstore or computer and get yourself a copy today! The Great Physician and His assistant Bonnie Gray is waiting to help your healing begin. I want to thank Revell Group who gave me this book in exchange for an honest review.
As I have mentioned before I am pretty picky about non-fiction books because I really engage with stories and non-fiction isn’t stories….usually. But every once in a while an author will come along who can write so beautifully and smoothly that my heart is once again wrecked for Jesus. That is exactly what Bonnie Gray has done with Finding Spiritual Whitespace. This book was not what I expected at all, it was far better. I requested to review this book because I need to find whitespace in my life. So I expected this book to be a list of things you can do to make that happen. This book is not a list. This book is the baring of one woman’s soul to reveal our need for spiritual whitespace. Bonnie shares her story within the pages of this book. Her story is one of heartache and denial. Of lost dreams and stolen innocence. Bonnie shared so many things that touched me but on p. 116 she writes as she looks back on her abuse: “It hadn’t bothered me since I was ten years old. Every now and then , it crossed my mind if I heard something in the news or saw a scene in a movie. But I never dwelt on it. Jesus already brought me through it. I’m already a victor in Christ, right?” Denial. I lived in that for thirty years, just as Bonnie wrote. On p. 157 Bonnie is talking about her lost dreams, she writes, “Sometimes we can guard our hearts so capably and well it takes the tenderness o f pain to awaken them back to life. So they can say yes to God and let Him back in.” Yep, that was me. Until I dealt with my past abuse I guarded my heart against my dream of writing. This isn’t a book you might think you are gaining a lot from as you read, but as you reflect and ponder you will gain a deeper understanding of the places in your life you have neglected and what Jesus is calling you to now. Highly recommended for any woman who wants to go deeper. It might be painful but it will be beautiful. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I know I'm not the only one who has thought that perhaps life would be easier if we kept our hearts sheltered. The world around us certainly provides the opportunity to stay so busy that we don't have to listen to the rumblings in our spirit, reminding us that we're hungry for more. More of what God can provide if we slow down and allow Him entry to all those places we have kept hidden. Bonnie Gray's wonderful new book is part memoir, part workbook and part poetry. It holds up a mirror for those brave enough to grab the hand of Jesus and take a long, slow look. As much as you might find yourself captivated by the flow of the words and anxious to read quickly, don't. This book is meant to be savoured and worked with, not eaten in a few short gulps. Like allowing a chocolate to melt on your tongue, move slowly and allow a conversation to develop and deepen between yourself and the Lover of your soul. In knowing Him more, you will also find your truest self and in these pages, Bonnie blazes a trail to lead the way. I received a complimentary copy to review. My opinions, as always, are my own.
Ms. Gray struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and this book chronicles her journey to restoration. In her quest for recovery and to make sense of her journey, she creates the concept of “spiritual whitespace.” She uses her own personal stories, examples, Bible verses and exercises to share this journey and lead the reader to discovering her own spiritual whitespace. I applaud the author for her courage and perseverance in writing this book. It sounds like she had to deal with a multitude of negative memories. Each chapter had the same format, starting with a story about her past. This was the part I liked best because I could sympathize with her feelings. The author’s descriptions were very creative and generated an accurate mental image. For example, “Stars scattered like cookie crumbs in Oreo ice cream, twinkling like an endless Lite-Brite. I thought her use of scripture was impressive and she hones in on an intimate relationship with Jesus. I thought her writing was clear but what were less clear were the concepts she was trying to convey. In the beginning of the book she defined whitespace as the following: “It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest.” Although she explained the concept of whitespace in relation to art, I found the concept confusing and it seemed to be somewhat fluid and took on different forms. Therefore, I failed to fully comprehend her train of thought. As I read the book, I formulated my own definition of whitespace. Here is my interpretation of whitespace: those things that rejuvenate our souls creating rest that allows the other aspects of our lives to flourish, so we can function more efficiently and creatively. It was toward the end of the book that Ms. Gray explains where the idea of whitespace came from and writes a better definition of what it is. I think knowing this information earlier in the book would have made me appreciate the book more. This would be helpful to someone looking for a book to aid in reflection and pondering events from your past. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for an honest review.
I Walk in crying (im only four)
Rosepaw and Colepaw need mentors. Anias is Rosepaws mentor. Dragontooth is Colepaws mentor.