Everyone has a story.
All of us were once little boys and girls. We all have memories.
Some happy. Some not.
Some we share. Yet, many more lay hidden in the secret pages of our heart.
So that we can be strong. So that we can be happy. So that we can be free.
That’s what I thought, until one day, I stood at the cusp of a childhood dream about to come true.
I was going to write a book.
But as my pen hit the paper to capture those moments, they all came alive.
My memories were no longer stories I once told myself.
And I began reliving them.
Unexpected. Painful memories.
Just a Visit
I was seven years tall.
I didn’t want to be afraid. It was supposed to be simple. Just a visit.
On the weekends, my father would come see my sister and me. After the divorce.
I was supposed to climb into the car with the cracking vinyl seats, into the car with the peeling rooftop — of my daddy’s olive green Nova. It smelled like old, dirty ashtrays, as I slid in the back. It smelled sad and lonely. But, I didn’t say anything.
I kept quiet as my little sister with chubby wrists and cherub-rose cheeks toddled in to sit beside me. I felt small and awkward, my hands on my lap and shoulders hunched over as my daddy turned around and smiled a little too widely, his eyes begging for me to smile back.
But, I didn’t know what to do. Because my momma said nothing about this visit. Other than I better not take anything from him. I better not come home with anything, other than what I left with that morning.
Which was nothing.
As we rode across town, across the train tracks, up and over the metal buildings and smokestacks of the old Del Monte cannery in Sunnyvale, everything stood eerily silent. It was Saturday morning and everyone and everything was still in bed. The streets rolled by empty, as I looked out the window and wondered where we were heading.
I still remember how big the Kay Bee toy store looked as my father tried to hold my hand walking through the parking lot. The square letters spelling K-a-y-B-e-e were suspended kid-tousled happy on the signage way up high.
Even though my little sister couldn’t read, she didn’t need to. She was getting excited, her little feet hurrying ahead.
But, I knew better. Nothing ever came simple for me.
That day at the toy store ended up just as I had feared. Not simple.
Who I Could Be
The journey of rest has been the same. Not simple.
How do you rest when life is less than perfect — with stress marring the daily journey?
I’ve tried to find rest by making a safe place for myself, by putting myself to the side.
By problem solving.
By being strong.
I wrestle my anxieties into action plans and check lists to shield myself from vulnerability. I was thankful, sincerely trusting God in what I could do — but missing out on who I could be — by trusting Him to rest.
Here I was, all grown up, mom of two beautiful boys, married to a loving husband. Yet, I somehow came to believe incorrectly that if I had faith in God, stress, doubt and pain couldn’t touch me.
Awaken Your Heart
It’s so much easier to take care of everyone, to tend to problems and everything else. It’s easier to be strong and not need or feel.
This is how I’ve lived my life. Fine and functioning.
But, deep inside, where no one knew — where I seldom ventured myself — I was weary. I longed for rest.
Sometimes the deeper journey of faith is found by following your heart to rest.
Putting our hearts first — letting Jesus love us — is a deep, intimate journey of resting with him.
Make room for you.
Feed your soul.
As much as I longed for all this, I didn’t know how. Until Jesus took me on a journey of faith to awaken my heart. To be real. To be known. To rest.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the day at the toy store would be our last visit together. My daddy and I.
As I journeyed through stories long forgotten, God was using all my broken pieces to make something beautiful.
God transformed my brokenness into a story of discovery.
A story of rest. To find the things I somehow lost along the way.
Intimacy with God.
In that secret place where I dream dreams. Where I can just be me.
In my search for answers, I made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.
White space is used in art and design. It’s the space on a page left unmarked.
It’s not blank – it breathes beauty. It gives the eye a place to rest.
Without it, clutter takes over the page.
Just as beautiful art needs white space, our souls need spiritiual whitespace. We need rest.
God, after all, is an Artist and we are his work of art.
My story is really everyone’s story. Everyone long to find a place to breathe –
to dream dreams,
to slow down,
feed their soul,
and be free.
To feel more deeply connected to God. And others.
Make Room For Your Story
Learning to make room for yourself to rest requires risk. It’s vulnerable to say, I can’t do it all. I need rest.
I eventually went on to complete writing my book about my journey to find rest.
As I uncovered my story, I am finding kindreds on this journey of rest. I realize I’m not so alone anymore.
I think of Jesus. How He made room for you and me.
By living a beautiful, broken story of love. He told this story. By living it.
Sometimes the hardest stories to tell are the most beautiful.
Our stories are the greatest, most beautiful gifts we can offer: ourselves.
Take the journey of spiritual whitespace.
Uncover the stories deep in our souls, to create space in our hearts and in our schedules.
For beauty. For rest. For God.
So we can live a better story.
Today’s post was written by Bonnie Gray and is shared from the following website : https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/bonnie-gray/make-room-for-your-story-for-god-and-for-rest.html
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