Bonnie Gray is author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul To Rest, garnering starred review praise from Publisher's Weekly, named as one of PW's top 6 notable new religion authors. Bonnie is a featured contributor at (in)courage and her writing is nationally syndicated, spotlighted by Relevant Magazine, Catalyst Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Christianity Today. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie has been a missionary, ministry entrepreneur and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. Bonnie serves up shots of faith for the daily grind on her blog Faith Barista.com. Bonnie lives in Northern California with her husband Eric and their two sons.
"See, I am doing something new. Now it springs forth.
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness.
Rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19
Something happens when you find yourself lying on your bed unable to fall asleep. Not just for one or two nights. Sometimes, life enters seasons of uncertainty and trials that keep you up and your heart restless.
Life may not unfold the way you thought it would. You try hard to remember who you once were, searching your heart for glimmers of what it was that made you once feel alive. Young, innocent, refreshed.
Jesus understands and sees that longing in us. To find a way. To feel safe and held again.
As sunlight first warms you in the morning, Jesus draws near to whisper --
I am here. Making a way. For you. With you.
And you begin to cry. Because you miss the nearness of God's tender touch.
Something Beautiful and True
I found myself in too many restless, sleepless moments, for a long season during my journey to find rest in Spiritual Whitespace. But, as I laid there, I found in that pit of darkness something beautiful and true. I found I could remember goodness. And it told me that it was in me once. It told me that it had to still be in me now, even though I felt wounded.
I chose in that moment to believe that goodness was my faith, still breathing in me. The fact that I longed for goodness and hungered for it told me that nothing -- not even my woundedness -- could destroy and rob me of those memories.
That Goodness had a name. It was God's Holy Spirit, alive in me.
And that remembrance and longing for it was the movement of God's fingers soothing my heart. They were hands of Someone who understood how being wounded led Him to remember all that captured His heart. One dark day.
A Deeper Wounding
The darkest moments Jesus found Himself -- as I think about Him this week -- are found in three words -- spoken after Pilate washed his hands, released Barabbas, and had Jesus flogged with a 'cat of nine tails'.
It was a whip divided into several strips, each containing shards of broken pottery at their ends, enabling them to cut skin and tear flesh from bone. Most Roman prisoners didn’t live through these beatings due to shock and loss of blood.
Third-century historian Eusebius described the process in grotesque detail by saying, ‘The sufferer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure."
Jesus somehow although crippled by such physical torture survived -- and had to endure even a deeper wounding. I was drawn to this moment made up of three words found at the close of this scene.
...Then he released Barabbas to them.
But he had Jesus flogged,
and handed him over to be crucified.” Matt. 24:26
Handed. Him. Over.
Jesus was handed over. I can hear Jesus crying, not out of fear, but out of physical -- and emotional pain. He was abandoned. Completely given up by everyone.
Make A Way
Life for Jesus would never be without the scars of betrayal. His story could never be untainted by betrayal, loneliness and rejection. But, Jesus choose it all because behind the brokenness, Jesus carried the memory of why He was willing to live this story that was unravelling in a very bad way. Jesus carried live, beautiful memories --
of how He made you and me in the secret place.
The warmth of our first breath caressing his heart.
He carried the sunshine of our smiles.
Jesus endured all the woundedness and devastation his body and his soul could carry.
Because in His woundedness, Jesus remembered you and me.
There is no place we can find ourselves, where Jesus will not go. Jesus gives us a home -- with him. In us. His love makes a way.
God can make a way. For you.
Listen. God's Words For Us
For every moment we wonder what lies ahead, Jesus's tender voice reaches out to us --
I love you. I won't leave you.
Lean in. I will make a way for you.
I am here. With you.
Even in our woundedness, Jesus still loves you. And me. Passionately. Irrevocably. Shamelessly. Undeniably completely.
When I realized life was never going to be the same for me again, I stopped wishing to be rescued.
I began to desperately pray for courage instead. To lean in. To move towards the longing I still carried of beauty. Of goodness. That desire became my silent prayer to God.
No matter how whisper-thin, imperfect or insignificant our movements forward might be, God will make away for us. Today. No further than just the one step He's calling you to take. Today.
As you move forward with just one step today, we surrender ourselves to the One who has been handed over -- until His last breath made a way -- to you and me. You and I don't ever have to be handed over and lost in the brokenness of life. Jesus puts his hand in ours, to draw us towards Him. So He can carry us. All the way.
God can make a way to us. With us. No matter where the journey of life takes us, we become the living stories of what it means to be cherished and beloved by Jesus.
Don't let anyone or the hardness of the journey convince you otherwise. Life will never be the same. Let's follow this journey through.
Lean in. Be you. Be the Beloved.
Pray. Our #OneWordLent Prayer Today
Give me courage to lean in.
To take just the one step you're inviting me to take. Today.
To trust you'll make a roadway in the wilderness.
Even rivers in the desert.
Even though I can't see how or when, I surrender myself to your love.
In this very moment. Today.
What’s Your One Word?
Take a moment to be present in this moment. What is one word that speaks to you in today’s verse?
"See, I am doing something new. Now it springs forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness. Rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19
What is one thing God is inviting you to step into today with Him? What one word in today's scripture speaks to you?
What one word speaks to you in today's scripture? Pull up a chair. And share a comment.
* Who can you share today's encouragement with?
For more encouragement, get a copy of Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.
Bonnie Gray blogs at Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith in the daily grind. She has been named Top 6 Notable New Religion Authors by Publisher's Weekly and writes for DaySpring (in)courage, Revelant Magazine, spotlighted by Christianity Today and Catalyst Leadership. A UCLA graduate, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.
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