Whispers of Rest: A Book Review

“Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NLT

I sat down at my desk to reply to comments from last week’s post. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t write. Anxiety and worry churned and thrashed within my spirit like stormy waves crashing against the shore. Knocking the wind out of my sails. Triggers of past abuse and pain for abused souls weighted me down and overwhelmed me.  I gotta get out of here!

I left my computer, grabbed my camera, and drove to one of my favorite walks along a bike trail.

Voices in my head added to the storm inside. So loud and persistent. Voices of inadequacy, worthlessness, and condemnation. God, I can’t take this anymore!

As I started out on the path, a butterfly circled me, flew further away, then returned to my side. I couldn’t get a clear picture, so I just stood and soaked in the refreshing sight of a beautiful swallowtail fluttering God’s peace into my heart.

Only a few feet away were Canadian Geese with their little ones.

Wow, God! Thank You! I just started walking, and He already showed me His love. Birds remind me of His faithful and loving care over us. And butterflies remind me of being freed to fly in Christ Jesus. Freed from the cocoon of abuse that so tightly held my wings together. Peace filled my heart, and the negative voices and heavy burdens of my heart slid away.

As I walked to a bridge over the river, I scanned the woods carefully, looking for deer. Nothing. As I returned, I felt disappointed. God, I really wanted to see a deer today… At the same time, I had to thank Him for already showing me so much and speaking peace to my heart.

Then suddenly, there they were. Three of them! Thank You, God! 

In Bonnie Gray’s new book – Whispers of Rest – she encourages us to take time for what brings us joy. Walking in nature is mine. I can’t begin to count how many times God’s creation has refreshed my soul. It always reminds me that God is still in control in all the messiness of life.

Whispers of Rest is a 40-Day spiritual journey that guides us to a place of rest where we can more deeply experience the Savior’s presence in our everyday life, invites us to come away to a quiet place and surrender our hearts to Him, and encourages us to embrace our identity in Christ Jesus and live as His beloved.

“God’s whispers of rest guide us to
a beautiful destination of hope,
an anchor for the soul in a stress-filled world.
Our destination for this journey isn’t something, but Someone.”
– Bonnie Gray

 Each day includes God’s Story, God’s Whispers to Us, a Prayer, questions to prompt us to reflect on and journal our stories, tips to practice, a challenge, and soul care tips.

One of my favorite practice tips is the One Word Prayer, a suggestion Timothy Keller shares in his book Prayer. This practice is used throughout the book. It’s to reflect on a word or phrase that draws our attention, and then to use it as a prayer prompt to spark a conversation with God. As we think of the word, we ask ourselves what feelings, questions, or thoughts emerge. Then share them with Jesus.

Already on Day 1, I knew this book was for me. The first quote that connected with my heart was:

“Don’t listen to those voices.
Step closer to the One Voice who knows you.”
– Bonnie Gray

I struggle a lot with those negative voices, and I long to let them go and follow that One Voice. This book nurtures my soul as it points to Jesus and His unfailing love for us. He loves us so much that He wants us to nurture ourselves. And He doesn’t want us to condemn ourselves or feel selfish about it. (That’s really a tough one for me.)

I believe you will not be disappointed when you read this book. In this busy world, we can so easily push aside the necessary soul care we need each day. But we need vitamins for our spirits even more than for our bodies.

“Come away with Me by yourselves
to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
Mark 6:31

by Kari Jobe

“Come, and rest here
Come, and lay your burdens down
Come, and rest here
There is refuge for you now…”

It’s OK to Step Out Inadequate and Afraid


“Grandma, you have a picture of God on your computer?”

My grandson saw a picture of Jesus on my screen saver stretching out His hands to invite us. It’s so hard for us as adults to understand, so how can a 7-year-old understand we can’t “see” God, but Jesus is still truly God who came down for us as a man?

As we further discussed how God is everywhere, another grandson said something that stilled my tossed-with-tempest heart, “He is always right beside us. Grandma, He is even sitting in your chair, and you are on His lap. And He pats your head.”

“From the lips of children and infants
You, Lord, have called forth Your praise.”
Matthew 21:16

Little does my grandson know how I long to truly believe it in my heart that God holds me so gently and lovingly. That He encourages me with a pat – Keep going, My beloved child. I have you safe in My arms.

As I look back to the beginning of the year when I selected “My One Word for 2014” as “trust,” I think God is leading me step by step, however so tiny they are, to learn to trust Him more. To believe He has only pure, holy, and grace-filled intentions towards me.

On January 7, 2014, I wrote in my Writing Journal:

Recently I found a blog called “Faith Barista.” What Bonnie Gray writes often resonates in my heart. She bares her soul – her true self. She doesn’t hesitate to talk about the pain in her heart, though she admits she struggles to do so. Her writings give me hope. It’s like she understands my heart. She dares to do what I often don’t. Too easily I hide behind a mask and a sign saying, “I’m fine.” I put on such a strong front for everyone instead of allowing myself to feel pain or admit I’m hurting. I wonder if it’s because it was when I told my pain to a minister, he devastated me. It’s hard for me to share my hurts now and it’s hard for me to ask for help.

Yesterday I was moved to tears when I read Bonnie’s Just One Word: Giving Voice to Your Soul, Even When You Have Very Little, especially when I came to “Is there a desire God’s placed on your heart, but you’ve not dared to move — because you feel your ability to meet that passion was too ‘little’?” As she further talked about how we can become frozen in our inadequacies, she wrote, “We can become so analytical about problem solving and overwhelmed by our conflicting emotions, we no longer feel.  We numb ourselves from our wounds and our desires.”

When I admitted to Bonnie how I am sometimes so ready to delete my post about my one word for 2014, and that sometimes I just want to give up blogging weekly posts, she responded, “Dear Trudy, I feel the same way you do. I had been planning to post this last week, but felt so reticent. It’s never too late for us to step out “inadequate”. Jesus makes us adequate. I’m also learning God can use others (like you) to help me become real to Him and to myself. We can embrace each by inviting each other into our heart spaces. And it starts by sharing ourselves as is. Don’t give up. You are worth expressing.”

I long so badly to become real to God and to myself, but fear keeps holding me back. Sometimes I think I’m almost there, but then I regress back into a shell again. It’s easier to hide myself. I long to invite others into my heart space, but sometimes when I take that risk I feel so afraid and vulnerable. I long to allow the creative child in me to burst forth. I feel so stilted and frozen. I long to trust and not be afraid. Like in the post I wrote at Bonnie’s prompt – “What Is Your One Word for 2014?”

Jesus, I’m so afraid to be open and honest. I’m so afraid of getting rejected or condemned. I know in my head there is no condemnation in You, but it seems so far from my heart. Please let this be the year for me to step out in faith and trust You wholeheartedly. To believe in Your adequacy, Your powerful and sufficient grace, and to believe in the gifts You have given me. Please give me power to be who You created me to be. Help me to believe I’m worth expressing. Please push me forward to take risks. Please help me to open my heart to You and Your will for me. I want so badly to trust You, but I’m always holding back a part of me. Help me! Jesus, I need You more than life itself, but I’m so afraid I am again and again shutting the door to Your help. You know how frozen I am, Lord Jesus. I numb myself from my wounds, and I also numb myself from my desires. I don’t allow myself to really feel. I have a God-sized dream, Lord, and I need Your power. Please give me the courage to move forward to share more of my heart and writings with other hurting souls. I have wasted so much time, Lord. But I’m so afraid of being hurt again. And I’m so afraid of hurting others, even if I tell the truth in love. Rejection and condemnation hurt so deeply, but You know that in truth, Jesus. No one has been through as much as You have. And it’s because of Your sacrifice that there is powerful hope for hurting souls like me.

Since that day, my life and heart have journeyed through more healing. I have a long road to travel yet, but now I feel Jesus is not only with me, but He truly desires to be with me. To take my hand and lead me.

I’m never a waste of His precious time or in His way.

He accepts me just as I am, no matter how broken.

No matter how inadequate. No matter how afraid.

Crack by crack, I am allowing myself to open up my heart more fully and freely to Him. To trust Him with my vulnerability.

To trust Him as a loving Daddy who cherishes me and will never hurt me with His words or actions.

A Daddy who will always protect me and will catch me when I fall.

I’m beginning to trust just a little that my story is worth expressing, because it is His story in me and in my life.

That God has given me gifts with a unique purpose no one else on this earth can fulfill.

That through His grace I can make a positive difference in this world of hurting people.

Do I always believe this in my heart? No, sometimes it regresses to just my mind again. And sometimes I still clunk to the bottom of the pit of despair when I doubt His faithful character and can’t grasp His promises. But I realize more now that I don’t have to make myself more adequate, less afraid, or more cheerful to be accepted and even welcomed by Jesus.

You see…

Jesus knows.

Jesus cares.

Jesus understands.

It’s ok not to be ok.

It’s ok to step out inadequate,



Even upset with His plans.

Because no matter what,

His love towards us will never falter,

His acceptance of us will never waver.

His grace within us will never diminish.

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:14-16


If I had to pick two books I read so far this year that especially encouraged me to believe Jesus wants us to come just as we are with all our brokenness and vulnerability, no matter how inadequate or afraid we feel, they would have to be:



GodsheartforyouFinding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest

by Bonnie Gray

God’s Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman

by Holley Gerth


Praying we will step out inadequate and afraid,
and open our hearts to the God of all grace,


21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace