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.
One of my favorite comfort foods is fried rice. If you've never made this Asian fave, think of it as pasta for Chinese people. It's versatile. You can whip it up in a skillet, pan, wok, or whatever. The key is sauteing each ingredient separately and then combining it all at the end. One advantage that fried rice has over it's Italian cousin may be this -- the ingredients that make up the best fried rice are leftovers: day old rice, frozen veges and diced sausage. In other words, nothing is wasted. Stuff usually considered second class citizens in your fridge are thrown together to conduct a symphony that makes your taste buds sing. At a time when everyone is busy cooking up their new year resolutions, I'm opening up my soul and I find left-overs. I'm excited about this new chapter in my life, but those fragments of failed attempts, insecurities and old thought patterns seem to clutter up the pages. What can I do?
I don't have a 10 step plan to share with you, but I can offer you a story that somehow answered my heart's query. A little boy who had only two fish and five loaves of bread handed his lunch over to Jesus. Jesus gave thanks for them, broke them into tiny pieces, and served 5,000 hungry people with them. There were left overs that day too. As I look down at the broken pieces that I've carried into the new year, I have to be honest. It's hard for me to imagine Jesus giving thanks for the scattering of efforts and my lack of consistency. It's even harder for me to picture anyone being fed by my words. But I also have to say, whenever I dare to lift my head and look into Jesus' eyes, I see Him steadily looking at me with kindness. I feel His hands placed around mine and I hear Him say,
"Bonnie. I love you. Give all these things to me."
I gather my mustard-seed-sized faith -- so tiny, it's only whisper thin -- and offer up what I have. Here it is, Lord. Help me believe.
If you're feeling hesitant to go for the blessings God's put on your heart this year, don't hold yourself back because of history or shortcomings in your view. Jesus isn't looking for perfect people. He's eager to show us that He can make something beautiful out of our lives this year. Give God your broken pieces. Dare to share your journey through the hard places, along with the good. In Jesus' hands, we can place ourselves as is. He accepts us, gives thanks for us, and blesses what is broken to feed the people around us: friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and even strangers.
"Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.." The Message
"Who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us - who was raised to life for us! - is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us." The Message
I'm throwing these promises into the mix of doubts, and I'm stepping out with just one word for 2013. I'm focused on who I'm becoming, to give me confidence in the doing. As for fried rice, I wish I could invite you all over and serve you a bowl. Then, you'd be totally convinced I'm not spinning a tale, when I tell you this dish is the best.
~~~~~ How is God encouraging you in the new year?
Bonnie Gray is an inspiring Christian writer and blogger, offering encouragement to keep faith fresh in the daily grind. Her writing springs from the belief that the beauty of faith often takes place when life goes off script. Bonnie is the Founder of faithbarista.com and featured writer for Hallmark subsidiary DaySpring's (in)courage. Bonnie is currently working on her debut book, to be published by Revell Books. Bonnie is a native Californian living in the heart of Silicon Valley with her best friend Hubby, wrangling their two heaven-sent boys on the homestead.
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