Some books are fun to read during the hot months of summer, those books that are quick, easy, and don’t require much thought. The stories flow fast and furious until they are done. Then the stories melt away, much like an ice cream cone on a hot, sticky day.
The book I’m going to blog about today is most definitely NOT one of those books, not at all. I picked up Finding Spiritual Whitespace, by Bonnie Gray. Then I put it down. I picked it up. I put it down. The tug of war was real. I would read a little bit and have to put it down for awhile. It seemed like I would be happy to do anything else, but read that book. I finally had to read it in small chunks because I required time to process what I was reading, to mull the words over, to think about what the words meant to me personally.
You might be wondering why I was putting myself through this? Why read a book if it is that difficult? The words ripped hard at my heart. Good books are like that. The books that mean something, the books that cause change, are usually not going to be the easiest to read but, they are the most necessary. When an author connects with his/her readers, so much so that they need to highlight and underline the parts that ring true, the parts that scream, the parts that are sometimes so difficult to fit together…..it is then that they know their story has become real to others.
I’ve known Bonnie for about three or four years through her Faith Barista blog. I’ve followed her as she has written this book, I know the struggles she has had watching her life flow out onto paper. She and I are from such different worlds, and yet not. Her writing about her journey to find soul rest is sometimes hard to read because it is so raw. Life was not easy, not for her, not for any of us. We all live in a broken world. So many times our past wraps us up, suffocates who we really are. We insulate ourselves from the words. We pretend that we are fine, because it somehow seems easier that way.
Life is hard and it can hurt, and we have all been there.
Bonnie, in her open and eloquent writing, reminds us that it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus wants each of us, just as we are. He wants the soul weary, those of us that have journeyed long and hard. Those that have been cut down by words, seared by emotion, scarred by decisions that might have been out of our control…. We can find soul rest in Him, and through Him, and because of Him.
I have been touched by Bonnie’s courage to be real, to tell it like it is. One of my favorite parts of her book is found on page 89. “This journey of joy is a recovery of the joy-wounded us. And Jesus is the one who can take our hand and guide us through this terrain. He can give us the rest of joy. We can sample how joy feels for our souls. Joy is organic. It changes through different seasons. So let’s give ourselves permission to try new things. See how they fit.”
The first time I read that I realized I was holding my breath, and then the air leaked out slowly, and I thought to myself, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”.
Friends, are you longing for rest, but don’t know how it is even possible in your fast paced, stressed out life? Take some time to find your 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.” (p.20)