The excitement and anticipation leading up to Refine was an emotional high I would liken to that feeling of eager, terrifying anticipation one feels before giving birth, or (for those of you without ovaries) launching a book, or setting off on a grand adventure. The thrill of the unknown and the my own human fear of failure launched me into what remains one of the most amazing, indescribable experiences of my life so far.
I say all of this not to continue to toot the beautiful, golden trumpet of Refine, but to say that coming home from such an experience left me feeling completely exhausted and frayed. I knew I needed to find some whitespace to process everything that had just unfolded.
I thought I only needed to unpack the event itself, but as I sit here all these weeks after, with only a couple of published posts since my return, I’ve discovered that I’m processing the events of the last several months–clear back to last May, when I first announced the retreat. It was a more intensive season of preparation than I realized at the time. It’s only here, on the other side, that I am beginning to see what God brought me through.
Finding Spiritual Whitespace
I signed up to review a copy of Bonnie Gray’s new book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace just after returning home. I have followed Bonnie Gray in the blog world for a couple of years and knew bits and pieces of her story, and after a couple of major setbacks, I was thrilled to see her book had finally made it to publication.
I did not anticipate the beauty that would unfold within its pages. God knew I needed Bonnie’s book right at this specific time in my life, on the downside of a tremendously taxing and emotional season.
I didn’t know I needed it, but He did.
I slipped into a season of rest out of desperation and have discovered it is just as Bonnie says, “God uses whitespace in our lives to reawaken our souls with rest.” Bonnie says that “Spiritual whitespace makes room–room in our hearts for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, room in our lives for rest, room in our souls for rejuvenation.”
In the hushed days since Refine, I have found my soul rejuvenated, I have felt the budding of restoration and am learning again, to listen for God’s whispers to my heart.
You may still be wondering, what exactly is Spiritual Whitespace?
“Finding spiritual whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us. I’t 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.”
For me, so many of my whitespace moments have looked busy, as I have been working in my art journal or reading stacks of books. But these activities have fed me, and have enabled me to hear God better. The art journaling isn’t a distraction for me, but rather a time of listening for God, and translating what I hear into images. Bonnie’s book, like some of the others I have read in the last few weeks, ministered to my spirit and encouraged me in this season of slowing down. Her book, my trusty companion in the process.
“This new world of whitespace can feel disorienting–doing things that yield no use to anyone other than being God’s cherished daughter.”
Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a beautiful invitation to step out of the frenzied moments, into an intimate, tender connection with God. Bonnie invites us to turn over the messy moments, the doubting, questioning, struggling-ugly of our pasts to Jesus, to be rejuvenated. By the generous, and delicate sharing of her own painful story, Bonnie reveals the glorious mystery of how God restores us to Himself through rest, and without effort on our part. Bonnie holds our hands as we hand over the broken dreams of our hearts, as we offer up our wounded memories and choose joy and awaken our souls to rest.
*I received a copy of Bonnie’s book from Revell, for the purpose of my review. I love this book.