Saturday, June 21, 2014

Finding Spiritual Whitespace Book Review

This post is part of the  “Finding Spiritual Whitespace Blog Tour” which I am a part of, along with a group of soulful, journeying kindreds. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!  

When I first signed up to be part of Bonnie Gray's Finding Spritiual Whitespace Book Review group, I was like certainly I can read a book and review it.  I would love to help out a fellow blogger and spread her gift of writing to the world.  I never imagined that it would set me on a journey of finding rest and closeness with my Lord and Savior.  

"Finding Spiritual Whitespace" is a wonderful reminder of living a restful and quiet life alongside The Lord.  Bonnie reminds us what Paul instructed the Thessalonians almost 2000 years ago:

"And in fact, you do love all God's family throughout Macedonia.  Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you." 

1 Thessalonians 4:10-11 (emphasis mine)

Is my ambition to lead a quiet life?  Not yet it certainly isn't, but I'm going to get there!  I want to live a life pleasing to The Lord and one area that could use work is spending time with Him.  

Throughout the memoir-driven book, Bonnie takes the reader on a journey to reaching a place of rest with God.  She even includes prompts to journal or pray through.  We take time to rest our bodies at night when we sleep but why don't we take time to rest our souls in the presence of God??? It doesn't have to be a great chunk of time or even a rigid regiment.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is: "Taking Care of yourself nurtures the voice God placed in you" (97, Gray).  

For me the most whitepace and rest I have with The Lord is when I run.  For years I never ran with music and slowly God has shown me that we can use that time catching up and strengthening our relationship.  Even reading the book, the time during my runs has an even greater impact as I imagine Jesus right there: His strong arms, strengthened from the weight of carrying us, pumping alongside me.  

So many times in her life,  Bonnie imagined Jesus right there with her, holding her.  The imagery and words she uses creates a beautiful image of Our Savior holding one of His hurting children.  Then I thought, why not remind myself that He is there with me every second of each day.

The book is chalk full of wonderful nuggets of wisdom and scripture.  The weave Bonnie has woven, is a beautiful picture of God's Grace and Love.  With the crazy and hectic world we are living in, we need to take the time and rest our souls.  This book is the perfect starting place to aid us in the journey.  

If you are overwhelmed with your past, present or future, READ THIS BOOK!!! It can help you find a starting point to become more restful, instead of restless!  We can all begin to follow the instructions Paul left about leading a quiet life!

So will you take the Whitespace Challenge with me?  Find time and perhaps even new and different ways to spend time with The Lord to give your soul the rest it deserves. 

Watch the trailer for the book!!

With Love,

p.s. Layla and Phineas both liked to accompany me during my readings!

Layla, my golden retriever pup

Phineas, my kitty

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Our Brokenness #SheSharesTruth

Over the last 17 days, I have been studying the Book of Nehemiah with the #SheReadsTruth Community.  
Little Layla helping me!

If you haven't read Nehemiah lately, you should check it out because it's rich with God's Grace (as is all of the Bible!).  It starts out with Nehemiah leaving his job as a cup bearer to the king to return to his home (Jerusalem) once he hears news of the destroyed city.  He plans to rebuild the wall with the help of His Lord.  All the people came together and built the wall in record time: 52 days.  Here is the lovely map included in the Nehemiah Study Pack.  The wall wasn't small! 

Beautiful watercolor of the wall!

The people worked together to build and defend at the same time.  Many surrounding nations were afraid of the strength of the Israelite Nation and more importantly afraid of the works of their God.  Nehemiah stood strong in the face of the enemies threatening to attack.  He defended God's plan and saw it till the end.  Which convicted me so much!  How often do we want to give up or leave something because the enemy is attacking us, but we know God wants us to stay there??  In the end we need to stand firm in God's plan, see it to the end and give HIM  all the Glory once the task is accomplished!! 

The Joy of the Lord was their strength to accomplish the task!

After the wall was completed the Israelite people re-dedicated their lives to God.  If you have read any portion of the Old Testament, you might have seen a glimpse of the brokenness of the Israelite Nation.  When God freed them for their slavery in Egypt, they wondered in the desert for 40 years, grumbling all the while God was providing them food, shelter, and guidance.  The original generation wasn't even allowed to enter the Holy Land because they were ungrateful.  God was faithful throughout all their rebellion and arrogance.  As He is with us!

So Nehemiah led the people to renew their covenant with God, and become His Chosen People once again, following all commandments.  The people fervently agreed and on the outside looked like a new nation!  Ohhhhh how things can go soooo differently.  Nehemiah left the people once they established a new city and people to live within the walls.  He returned a few years later only to find every commandment they re-instated to be broken!!! WOW.  These are God's Chosen People in the Most Holy City on EARTH and they fall short.  

How much more can relate then?  Have you felt gun-ho one day to follow God and His plan only to fall short a few days or even hours later?  I certainly have.  I know that I would be right along with those people because the enemy sneaks in.  This cycle of rededication and falling short would have continued until today if God wouldn't have sent His Son to save us.  

The Book of Nehemiah ends with broken people because it points to the fact that we aren't whole without Jesus.  We would never have been able to please God with the brokenness of human nature inside of us.  Whether we like it or not, sin surrounds our heart.  Unless we protect our heart and ACTIVELY try to rid ourselves of sin, it will consume us.  

So repent of your sins, and renew your obedience with The Lord.  This should be done daily, I am most certain of it because we will fall short.  BUT there is HOPE.  God will forgive us:

"But you are a forgiving God, gracious, and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Therefor you did not desert them." 
Nehemiah 9.17b

How awesome of a God do we serve, always ready to take us back and give us new life in Christ!!  I would love to hear your thoughts about Nehemiah from any ladies who have been studying with #SheReadsTruth!

With Love,

ps I got my swag from the #SheReadsTruth Kickstarter fundraiser!  Rocking the Tee with my beautiful prints in the background.