Broken … but Loved As Is

As the slender needle slipped into my wrist, I felt an electric jolt travel through my palm and up into my thumb.

“Feel that?” the doctor asked?

“Mmmhmm.” I got out through clenched teeth.

I thought you weren’t supposed to feel the needles going in with acupuncture. At least that’s what I had read and what I had heard others say. I discovered for myself that this proved to be true more so for my back, but not so much for my hand and forearm.

Acupuncture Treatment

I was at the acupuncturist’s office because my carpal tunnel and arthritis in my right hand/wrist had started getting worse. Numbness had begun affecting my thumb and two fingers while working on the computer during the day, and numbness in my whole hand had started waking me up at night. I was also experiencing pain in my palm with various movements throughout the day.

The cortisone shots that the hand specialist had given me had worn off after only a month. The last shot I got from my orthopedic doctor had helped for a good six months. On top of that, my fibromyalgia was flaring up again (my shoulders and lower ribs felt tender and bruised). I knew it was time to try something else to alleviate the pains I was experiencing. So I thought I’d give acupuncture a shot.

Although, technically speaking, Chinese Medicine doesn’t treat “conditions,” it treats “patterns,” the doctor thought that she could help with my carpal tunnel. And the brochure said that acupuncture could help with arthritis and fibromyalgia as well. However, after half a dozen visits, I didn’t feel like it was making any difference, so I have decided not to go back. I plan to talk to my regular doctor as well as the hand specialist within the next couple of weeks to determine a new course of action. It’s possible that surgery might be on the agenda in the near future, but I don’t even know what my other options are at this point, so I will need their input to make that decision.


So … besides sharing a specific experience in my life, why am I writing this? How is it connected to the topic of spiritual whitespace that I have been writing about lately? Well, in Chapter 8 of Bonnie Gray’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, she shares her experience with insomnia. Some of her thoughts and words resonate with me and I think they might be useful for others who are currently experiencing various health issues as well.

Xxxxxx [insert your specific issue here] “is a soul’s journey to find rest. Self-care is one movement in that journey to make room for whitespace and fill it with rest. Self-care is a step of faith to take care of our body and soul.”

Sometimes we feel guilty or selfish focusing on ourselves; sometimes doing so requires us to make major life changes; sometimes we find that we have to ask others for help on our path toward healing.

“Every movement that gives your body a chance to heal gives your soul room to breathe. Prioritizing self-care is an act of faith to tune your heart with God.”

Nurture Your Voice

“When we care for our well-being, our hearts become tender. We become moveable. God can prompt us. Without whitespace, we become emotionally disconnected. …  Because the focus of God’s heart has always been your heart, self-care is really a soul’s journey to fully receive his love.

Here are some of the things I have discovered while reading this book and/or through my own personal journey:

  • I need to be kind to my body.  I need to begin taking my supplements more regularly again. I need to nourish my body with better foods. And I need to get back to exercising, even if it is just stretching and walking at first. (Bart tries to remind me of this, but ladies, you know how it makes you feel when your husband does this. Not good.) I found out about a yoga class that meets twice a week at the library; I am going to try to go to this, starting Monday.
  • I need to take time for friends and fun. Sharing our stories with others and allowing them to share theirs with us brings us deeper connections and friendships.  Surface friendships may help you get through the day, but “in-the skin” friends (those who can handle the weak, tired, or troubled you) help you get through life. Luckily, I have been able to make more time for friends and fun lately. So, I’m already on the right path there.

Reach for Joy

  • I need to remember to ask for help. I’m a pretty self-sufficient person most of the time. I enjoy helping others, but I don’t always feel like asking for help myself. Especially with my hand in a more sensitive state at the moment, I need to quit trying to act like there’s nothing wrong with it. Until I get more feedback from the doctors on what will help or hurt it, I have to stop lifting, turning, and gripping things as if there’s nothing wrong. I don’t want to make the problem worse. (Don’t worry Mrs. Avis, if I end up needing your help, I will call and ask you to come up.) 🙂 [ And thank you Bart for steam-cleaning the living room rug tonight.]
  • I need to seek the expertise of professionals and the will of God. Sometimes I try so hard to figure things out on my own when I really don’t have the knowledge or background to do so. I also forget to seek God’s answer and/or lack the patience to wait on a response. I read somewhere that sometimes God invites us into an encounter with Him and other times He waits for us to extend the invitation. I need to remember to ask and then to be still enough to allow God to speak to my heart. I am working on this, and will also be calling my primary care doctor this next week to get in to see him and consult with him.

“Even in the storm … God is alive and faithful to make something beautiful out of us. We don’t need to understand how it will happen, how he can carry us through … It doesn’t matter. … God won’t abandon us. … He’s carrying us in his arms, no matter how bruised or broken we feel. He’s planting beautiful seed for our journey … That seed is Jesus. Alive in us.”

Every time we invite Jesus directly into our situation, whenever we allow the seed of rest to grow in our lives and hope to triumph over despair, we are caring for our hearts and bodies and creating spiritual whitespace: space for self-care … space to be loved. As is.

BookArt4_brokenbeauty-300x300

“Hope is secure when it is aligned with God’s desires,
which are revealed in the Bible. However, our expectations
are often based on wishes, feelings, and personal preferences—
we yearn for job promotions, good health, or quick solutions
to problems. Such desires can be strong, but we have no
sure promise from God that they’re part of His will for us.
… Ask Him to clarify and direct your desires to coincide with His way.
Then rest in His goodness and keep your hope in Him.
(Dr. Charles Stanley)

Bonnie Gray is the writer behind FaithBarista.com. She wrote about her own heart-breaking but inspiring journey to find rest in Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. I have found so many nuggets of insight and words of wisdom in this book. I invite you to read it and join me on the journey to rest.

You can get your own copy HERE.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 10: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Quiet doesn’t always mean silence. Quiet is a desire. A listening of the soul. To be available – vulnerable – asking – sharing questions – doubts – wants – needs.

Quiet is making room to receive.

Quiet moments can come when you least expect them.  They are fleeting glimpses – taps on your shoulder – to let you know God is whispering to you –

I am near.

I love you.

I am thinking of you.

Sharing more words today from Bonnie Gray’s blog post (Day10 of her 21 Days of Rest blog tour). Read more on the quest for rest by following the link to her blog or by picking up her book: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

Fully Receive

Awakening our hearts … making room to fully receive … definitely some ideas to think about as we all attempt to get through our to-do lists and jam-packed schedules.

Why is it that we find it so hard to allow ourselves some time for quiet … stillness … peace … refreshment?

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass
under the trees  on a summer’s day, listening to
the murmur of water, or watching the clouds
float across the blue sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life

Clouds

If you’re also reading Bonnie’s book, please share some of your favorite lines or you own discoveries. How is the book speaking to you? How are you making time for quiet and rest?

“The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

 

Day 7: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

“Sometimes solitude is the only place you can
go to feel safe enough to fall apart.”
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest,
by Bonnie Gray

There is a big difference between being lonely and enjoying solitude. I work from home, so I spend a lot of time by myself. And I’m okay with that (most of the time). But I do recall many times in my past when I felt all aloneeven when surrounded by other people. I think this often occurs when we are suffering silently with an issue that we don’t feel we can share with others. Maybe it’s too painful or perhaps when we compare our problems to those of others, they seem so unworthy or insignificant. Especially for those of us who are nurturers, we tend to push our own problems aside or shove them down so deep that we “erase” them. Sometimes they stay down or hidden, and we never actually deal with past emotional traumas. Other times, they force their way to the surface when we least expect it.

That’s what happened to Bonnie Gray, the FaithBarista.com blogger and newly published author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace. In Bonnie’s Day 7 blog tour post (part of her book launch) she writes a letter to her lonely seven-year-old self (whom she “re-encountered” with the help of a therapist while experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). I love these words from her letter:

There is someone who collects every drop of your
tears who sits by you at bedside every night. He
knows you find it hard to sleep and it breaks his
heart you cannot feel the touch of his hand on yours.

That someone is Jesus.

And He isn’t going to let these hard years, these
hard moments pass by unnoticed. Unspoken.
Unacknowledged.

It will be painful when you finally realize just how
loved you are, because in order to be found, you
will have to realize you have been lost.

It’s okay. Because this is how you will know that
you are known.
This someone named Jesus will take all your broken pieces.

And He will make something new and beautiful.

Solitude

Sometimes we need a special kind of solitude or spiritual whitespace to walk with God and have a real soul conversation with Jesus.

In her book and on her blog post, Bonnie suggests that we write a letter to our younger selves as part of a self-discovery and healing processWhat would we say to her, knowing what we know now? Another one of Bonnie’s readers, Laura, posted a very beautiful and touching letter to her six-year-old self that serves as a strong reminder of the power that parents, or other loved ones, can have over building up or tearing down children. If you know the childhood rhyme: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” I’m sure you recognize it as a falsehood. Because words are powerful things. And they can hurt. So remember to speak them with care over your children … or to anyone, really.

If you are still carrying around old wounds and battle scars from your past, take time to acknowledge that inner child—who she was, what she experienced, and how she felt. You’ll find Bonnie’s book to be a very helpful resource during this process. Even though her own story unfolds throughout the book, each chapter provides journaling prompts, so you can figure out what may be keeping you from spiritual rest and work on exploring, embracing, and enhancing your own story.

Letting Go

“When we think about spending time with God, we often beat ourselves up for not spending enough time. The guilt kills intimacy of the heart. Whitespace doesn’t keep track of the amount of time. Time doesn’t exist in whitespace. Spiritual whitespace takes place in the eternity of our hearts.”

Remember, God’s presence in our lives and in our hearts is what’s important.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done
from beginning to end.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

Bonnie reading from her book in California at a book launch party (photo by Janine Crum)

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

AHA Moments

I recently finished my first read through Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonne Gray, but will be continuing to work with the book and will still be adding photos and quotes in the days ahead. Meanwhile, I have started another book AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything by Kyle Idleman, which I am reading as part of a neighborhood group study that starts next week. So, as I uncover personal revelations, “aha” moments, or other words or elements that intrigue me, you will be seeing some posts from that book on my blog as well. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Tonight, just to kick things off, I’m posting a little something that describes “AHA” as used in this book.

A God-Given Moment

The author makes some interesting points in the first chapter using The Parable of the Prodigal Son that I will write about later. Let me know if you have already read this book and what you think. Or, if you plan to read it, I hope you’ll follow along with me and share your thoughts.

Meanwhile, have a blessed evening (or day, depending on when you are reading this). 🙂

 

Day 6: 21 Days of Rest

I have been reading a book about rest for the past month, and even though a lighter work schedule has given me time away from my desk, the “doer” in me has continued to find a way to fill up my schedule. I have been making promises and setting up self-imposed deadlines for projects that really don’t need to be completed by a specific date/time. So, I was delighted to read Bonnie Gray’s post this morning “The Clock Is Not My Shepherd,” where she shared her decision to change her 21 Days of Rest blog tour. She says,

“I am so excited to continue sharing 21 Days of Rest and Whitespace Challenges.

But, these will not be consecutive 21 Days.

These will be 21 Days written with the rhythm of rest. I will write to you out of a heart fully alive, engaged.

Because Faith Barista is about making a quiet space for you and me, I want to always return to my own heart to live and write from a journey of rest myself.”

Rest


Read more about and/or purchase the book here.So, in keeping with the spirit and intention of the book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, and the Faith Barista’s words, I will also be giving the perfectionist in me permission to move away from self-imposed deadlines and toward living a journey of rest. I will add blog tour posts as they coincide with Bonnie’s posts so that others may continue to enjoy her words and my photography. And I may write other posts on various days of the month, but quite likely, there will be days with no posts at all. The rhythm of my life, slowing down to allow me to breathe, will set the pace.

Meanwhile, here is my Day 6 blog tour contribution, containing my photo and Bonnie’s words. Feel free to share it.

Acceptance and Rest

Also, check out this rewrite of Psalm 23, “The Clock Is My Dictator” by Marcia Hornok, which appeared on the Faith Barista’s Day 6 blog. This was the first time I had seen it, although it has been around for years. I think many of you will relate to it. I know I did.

The clock is my dictator

I shall not rest.

It makes me lie down
only when exhausted.

It leads me to deep depression.
It hounds my soul.

It leads me in circles of frenzy
for activity’s sake.

Even though I run
frantically from task to task,
I will never get it all done.

For my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval,
they drive me.

They demand performance from me
beyond the limits of my schedule.

They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-basket overflows.

Surely fatigue and time pressure
shall follow me all the days of my life.

by Marcia Hornok
(1990, In Discipleship Journal)

Let’s give up the quest to reach the end of the “to do” list, and accept that it will never happen. Instead, think about maintaining a more realistic schedule and reaching for physical and spiritual rest along the way. If you’d like to participate in this faith journey that I’m on and connect with the Whitespace Community, click here.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 5: 21 Days of Rest

Whispers, etched in pain but spoken with truth, hope, and encouragement …

Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, offers these things to readers of her book Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Follow Bonnie on a journey of the soul through the broken places of your past (painful memories you may have buried or tried to erase) to spiritual whitespace, where we can rest together with Jesus.

“Jesus wants us to know there is no place we can find ourselves where his presence cannot reach us.”

Join me this June as I post some of my own photos enhanced by some of my favorite quotes from this thought-provoking, heart-touching book. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.)

Finding Your Whitespace

 You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 5 blog post here.

“Am I the beloved?

This is a complicated question for my heart.

But what good is truth if I am not living it, experiencing it in my story?

Jesus didn’t love us simply with his mind far away in heaven.

Jesus became rest for us. As a person. Not as some idea or concept.

Spiritual whitespace is not an ideal concept of rest.  Spiritual whitespace is making space to engage our heart with a Person.  Jesus.”

 

Somewhere along the way, we stopped valuing the idea of rest. We lost sight of the fact that it’s a critical part of creativity … our health and … our faith. … If you’re tired of being tired, 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.” Jon Acuff, NYT bestselling author of Stuff Christians Like  (From the foreword for Finding Spiritual Whitespace)

 findingspiritualwhitespace_book-194x300

Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook: Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. Click on the link (the title of the book or the image above) to order.

Join the 21 Days of Rest blog tour by sharing stories and photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 4: 21 Days of Rest

Join me on a journey this June to seek rest. I will be posting some of my own photos enhanced by some of my favorite quotes from Bonnie Gray’s book — Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. I hope you enjoy them. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.) #spiritualwhitespace

Created for Beauty

 

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 4 blog post here. “I want to make room in my life to be His canvas, that He can fill with beautiful, mysterious things that reflect the unique me He designed. …

God as artist lavishes time on his most beautiful creations in nature.

How can you and I be any less?

God made our hearts hungry.  For beauty. Dreams. Intimacy with Him. Friendships. Quiet. Rest.

God made our souls long for all these things — that take time.

We are not projects for God. We are poeima of God.

We need spiritual whitespace.

 

Check out these TWO special book launch giveaways! — GIVEAWAY #1:  {35 Winners} Times of Refreshing Journal from DaySpring and GIVEAWAY #2: {15 Winners} A Gold Connected Hearts Necklace by Lisa Leonard PLUS Times of Refreshing Journal Gift Set Giveaway from DaySpring. You must enter by Friday (6/6) so go check it out.

Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook: Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which released yesterday! Click on the link (the title of the book or the image below) to order.

 

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Join the 21 Days of Rest blog tour by sharing photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 3: 21 Days of Rest

Join me on a journey this June to seek rest. I will be posting some of my own photos enhanced by some of my favorite quotes from Bonnie Gray’s book — Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest. I hope they bless you and speak to your heart and/or intrigue you to check out the book for yourself. (Feel free to Pin or share my images.)

God's Artwork

 

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 3 blog post here. She explains a little bit on how her book came about during her own personal quest for soul rest, and she is celebrating her book launch by offering TWO giveaways! — GIVEAWAY #1:  {35 Winners} Times of Refreshing Journal from DaySpring and GIVEAWAY #2: {15 Winners} A Gold Connected Hearts Necklace by Lisa Leonard PLUS Times of Refreshing Journal Gift Set Giveaway from DaySpring. You must enter by Friday (6/6) so go check it out.

God knows that many of us tend to overdo it and allow ourselves to become worn out, exhausted, and weary. He encourages us to seek rest, especially in our times of weakness:

“The Lord is the everlasting God …
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. …
those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

“The next time you feel too tired or frustrated to go on, remember this: Our God is not exhaustible. Instead, He is faithful to provide a supply of endless divine strength to those who are willing to wait for His perfect timing. In all things, He gives exactly what we need for the moment at hand.” Chuck Swindoll (inTouch.org)

Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook: Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which released TODAY! Click on the link (the title of the book or the image below) to order.

 

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Join the 21 Days of Rest blog tour by sharing photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 2: 21 Days of Rest

Join me this month as I post some of my own photos enhanced by my favorite quotes from Bonnie Gray’s book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

Reawaken Our Souls

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 2 blog post here. “The truth is this: who you are–your heart–is more important to God than any thing you can (or cannot) do for Him. … When you choose a quiet moment over producing or performing, you step into a beautiful space of receiving all you want to give to those you love—beauty, joy, intimacy, laughter, presence.”

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place
and get some rest.”
Mark 6:31

 Take this journey with me and find your own rest using this beautifully written guidebook. Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest, which releases Tuesday, June 3rd.

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you,
and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14

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Join in by sharing photos of your own  moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest — using the hashtag: #spiritualwhitespace

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Day 1: 21 Days of Rest

This post is part of the “21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour,” which I am grateful to be a part of.

Join me this month as I post some of my favorite quotes from Bonnie’s book along with my personal photos.

Spiritual Whitespace

You’ll find Bonnie’s Day 1 blog post here. “Instead of fighting to stay strong, let a quiet moment invite you to confide in Jesus.”

Bonnie Gray is the writer behind Faith Barista.com who wrote a book about her inspiring, heart-breaking journey to find rest. I’m taking the journey to find rest through this beautifully written guidebook and invite you to read it too. Bonnie’s book Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest releases Tuesday, June 3rd.

Join in by sharing photos of your own #spiritualwhitespace moments — on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace