My One Word for 2021

When I decided to choose a One Word for the year, I thought of “listen” as I wanted to pay attention more to what God is telling me and also to listen better to the pain behind the words of hurting hearts.

But lately God so often whispers in my heart, “Just rest, My child.” To rest in Him and His plan. To rest in Him concerning the hurts and burdens of others, also of my own. To rest in His power to comfort, to heal, and to revive. And I reasoned that in order to “listen” to Him, I do need to “rest.”

I still had some niggling doubts though, and I struggled with starting a blog post concerning it. But this morning God impressed on my heart that the word to focus on is “GRACE.”

While I still feel called to “listen” more attentively and I still know I need to “rest” spiritually, mentally, and physically, I need GRACE, that unmerited favor of God in Christ Jesus who has suffered and died for me and now lives forever for me. I need that unshakable foundation of God’s GRACE, or all my intentions and efforts will crumble.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:6-9

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9

So this year I want to focus more on GRACE – to dive into the depths of its meaning. And I am convinced God wants me to allow His grace to permeate my being so that it will influence my heart and life to see every person, including myself, through God’s grace-filled lens and to turn a grace-filled ear to hurting hearts.

And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”

Restless Until We Rest in Jesus

woman and Jesus

Do you ever feel restless in your soul? Restless for rest in Jesus? Like you know it’s Jesus you need but still you keep trying so many ways to fill up the lack you feel with so many different things? Nothing helps, and you know who can help, but you’re afraid to trust… He will reject me, too, just like people do. He doesn’t have time for someone like me. I’m too unclean. Will He really care and love me just as I am?

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week of a certain woman (Mark 5:25-34, Luke 8:43-48). We’re not told her name. We just know she was broken and very sick. She had already hemorrhaged blood for twelve long years! She spent all the money she had on physicians, but not one could help her. She just became sicker, weaker, more hopeless.

Isn’t that so like us? We will try everything else first for healing in our souls, but we don’t dare to trust our souls to Jesus. Like this woman, we come to the end of ourselves, desolate, and desperate.

Then she heard Jesus came back to Galilee. He is here! Her only hope left! The restlessness in her soul would not let her be still. She had to get to Jesus, her only Rest, her only Hope, her only Healer.

Other people who wanted to see Jesus perform more miracles pushed and shoved to get near to Him. But this woman didn’t seek Him to see more miracles. She desperately needed a miracle for herself. She was despised, rejected, cast out as unclean, and she needed a Savior.

I can imagine her emaciated body stumbling weakly along, perhaps even crawling, pushing herself beyond her strength, pressing on and squeezing herself between so many people as she thought to herself, “If I can just touch even the hem of His garment, I will be healed.”

There! As her desperate emptiness touched the edge of His cloak, she immediately felt the blood stop flowing. She felt renewed, restored, whole. What a sigh of relief as she gave all her soul to Jesus, resting in Him and His love. She became whole not only physically, but her emotional brokenness healed, and spiritually her sins were washed away by the cleansing blood of Jesus.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked gently. He gazed around, searching the hearts of those nearby. No one admitted it.

His disciples said, “But Jesus, how can You ask that? Just look at this crowd pressing around You.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from Me.”

Jesus continued looking at the people around Him. But why did Jesus ask when He knows all things? He knew exactly who it was, but He wanted her to come forward. To freely pour out all her brokenness with no shame. To confess her absolute need of His healing. To glorify Him with her praise of His unexpected, unconditional, miraculous healing of her body and soul.

Oh, what now? She knew she could no longer go unnoticed. She knew she could no longer keep silent. She knew she must fall down at His feet with her heart wide open, holding nothing back. As she trembled at His feet, she told Him the whole truth.

“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over,” Jesus gently replied. And the soothing balm of His love and grace refreshed her.

All this was happening in front of the crowd. People who cast her aside as not worthy of their notice, their attention, their love. But Jesus unashamedly included her and pulled her into belonging. He healed all her brokenness. He even marked her as His precious daughter, and He loved her with all His heart.

Do you feel broken? In your body, your emotions, your mind, your spirit, your very soul? Jesus cares for restless, broken, burdened souls. He can and will heal. He is always ready and willing and has already paid the price.

Jesus Whispers:

Come, My dear child,
Touch My garment.

Let your brokenness be turned to beauty,
Your emptiness filled with My fullness,
Your captivity be released to freedom.

Come, My precious child,
Rest your restless soul in Me.

cutecolorsanibear14

“I Need You, Jesus, to Come to My Rescue”
by Hillsong

Praying our restless hearts will find rest in Jesus!
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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Journey of Rest: It’s Time to Stop Running

rest

“Rest became a battle to run away from the things that break me
– instead of allowing the brokenness to bring me to Him.”
– Bonnie Gray

That’s me. Running away. Fighting against the remembering. Spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere but empty and exhausted. But I don’t want to live like this anymore. This numbness, this shutting off my feelings because it hurts too much. This putting on a strong front and saying, “I’m fine.” This letting the words and actions of others give me my identity. This robotic living controlled by what was or is expected of me.

As I write this, steady rain is falling straight down in a peaceful rhythm, replenishing, refreshing, brightening the dependent earth. As I sit and watch, I listen and let the sounds soothe my soul. I breathe in the freshly laundered air, begging God to fill me with the rain of His Holy Spirit. To breathe life into my soul. To break the shackles from my soul and set me free.

Please, Dear God,
May Your Holy Spirit flood my soul,
Wash away all my self-sufficiency,
All the lies about who I am,
Whatever keeps me from resting in You.

I don’t want to be strong anymore,
I want to relinquish all control,
The control I let people hold over me,
The control of wanting my own way,
Not trusting Your plan for my life.

I don’t want to run away anymore,
I want to embrace the vulnerability,
To find the real child in me
You created me to be,
To lean into You trusting and unafraid.

I want to open the doors of my heart,
To journey with You,
To layer by layer
Expose to Your healing rain
Those deep places of pain.

Please break away
These embedded shackles
That trap me –
This shame that poisons my perspective,
This fear that freezes my faith,
This unfounded guilt that eats me alive.

I want to be free, Lord,
To feel, to want, to need,
To allow myself to be loved,
To love myself as You desire,
To nurture my depleted soul,
To open my heart to the power of Your love.

justrestAre these the longings of your soul, too? Do you need rest? Then come on a journey with us to find it. Bonnie Gray’s new book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest – has come out this week and is packed with so many insights that I have to read it slowly, trying to process one revelation at a time. It is already changing my life. It has shaken up beliefs that have been instilled into me. This idea of doing God more service if I forget about me and concentrate on encouraging and nurturing others. This doing and not just being. I always feel selfish when I take time to nurture myself, not realizing God wants me to take care of myself – to nurture myself in His bottomless fountain of love and security. I’m beginning to understand why it’s not selfish, because it is only through accepting and nurturing myself as the precious beloved of Jesus who wants me to bare my entire vulnerability to Him for healing that I will be able to nurture others with reckless abandon with the same love Jesus gives.

True rest is not running away from all our vulnerability, brokenness, and hurting emotions. It is leaning into Jesus, allowing Him to love us fully and freely. To go to Him just as we are, not trying to be strong, but raw with all our pain, shame, and fear, not trying to minimize any of it. Baring our hearts to Him, letting Him cut away the cancer in our souls, and wash and restore us with His healing balm of grace and love. 

“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.”
– Bonnie Gray

“Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked used to make art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest, to bring out all the beautiful colors and images. You and I are God’s artwork. We need space to rest, so we can live a beautiful story.

I’ve written this memoir-driven guidebook — with chapter by chapter journaling prompts and group discussions questions so you can:

~ move beyond surviving to find rejuvenating rest

~ uncover the you God made: explore what feeds your soul

~ discover practical ideas to create space in your heart and schedule to rest

~ understand how your personal story shapes how easy or hard it is to receive self-care and soul care.

~ be inspired with hope, peace and encouragement”

– Bonnie Gray

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Joining Up With


A Soft Gentle Voice