Bonnie Gray is the soulful author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured on Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons. Visit Bonnie at www.thebonniegray.com and connect with her @thebonniegray on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
I just won't write.
That's what I told my therapist Dr. P a month ago.
It wasn't the first time I made this declaration. I just wanted all the panic attacks, flashbacks, sleepless nights and pain-in-my muscles from re-living traumatic experiences to go away.
If writing is what triggered pandora's box of memories and these completely overwhelming feelings of distress, then the most logical thing to do is to stop writing.
Perfect. It's decided. I told myself.
What difference does it make if I shut down the blog and just said goodbye?
In the big picture, it won't really matter whether I ever write a single word again.
I didn't start blogging until three years ago anyhow.
I'm not published in print. I had just one radio interview for an article I wrote once. I think I blabbed on too long. It never aired.
I'll just be a blip on the radar. The people who've read my blog will just sigh and say, "What happened to Bonnie? Oh, well. Too bad."
Writing was good when it once brought me joy, when it came easy and it flowed. Now, it's too hard. Too painful.
But, the truth of the matter is. I'd give anything to avoid being the post-traumatic-stress PTS girl.
I've been willing to be --
the kid who came from a divorced family,
the missionary who traveled halfway around the world to share the Gospel, who got burned by the wrong people with bad motives,
the dutiful child in a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship,
the 30-something single gal who could not fall in love.
Yet, here I was, about to finish the manuscript to my first book, married blissfully happy, with two gorgeous kids -- and it's now god decides to spring post-traumatic stress pts on me.
Really, God. Now?
Why couldn't you have waited three months later -- after I turned in my book to the publisher? I could've made my original deadline.
Why not bring me through this half a year earlier -- before I signed on the dotted line of my contract -- and told everyone about it?
Wouldn't it have been way easier to work through this when I was single, before I became a mom with laundry to battle, groceries to buy, and two boys who need to be tickled, loved, taught, washed and put to bed?
And my sweet husband. He never signed up for this when he married me. I don't think I would've even allowed him to put a ring on my finger, if I even had an inkling. Less people impacted by this, the better.
I choke out this cry through a flashback in my therapy session. I don't want this.
I can't go back and change anything anyways. Why are you showing me this now? Why make me suffer twice in one lifetime?
I can't help but ask why.
Even though I know all the Sunday School answers.
So, when the time came for the year to draw to an end, I wondered what in the world would god tell me is my one word for 2013.
We had arrived at the end of my session.
Dr. P, my Christian therapist who is an world-leading expert in treating post-traumatic stress, tells me.
Ask Jesus. What does He think?
It doesn't make sense. I tell Dr. P.
I shake my head and say it again. It doesn't make sense.
In the past few weeks, the one phrase I hear, whenever I am still -- when my heart is gripped in pounding alert, overwhelmed by the sadness or overcome by anxiety and fear -- I hear this:
"You are my beloved --
My daughter --
in whom I am well pleased."
Every time my body becomes flushed with hot flashes, engulfing the bed where I seek rest -- even when I walk in the beauty of morning prayer -- I feel the surge of emotions push up from my chest. And I cry.
Then I hear the one word.
Beloved... My beloved.
This is disorienting. The Matthew 3:17 speaking to Jesus in the Gospels are these very words. Why would God say this to me -- now?
Is God calling you to something that feels too hard?
Are you struggling to understand how to walk the everyday, while holding a world of dreams in one hand and the reality of circumstances in the other?
Is there something you desire or fear that is so painful, you don't know if you should hold on tighter or let it go entirely? You may be tempted to think, as I have.
I'll do whatever it takes to avoid the hardness the journey -- even if it means denying myself the permission --
or to grieve.
If you are desperate for a timetable, yet afraid of what it might mean -- listen to this one word as Jesus whispers it to you tenderly.
This is what I am choosing to hear, as I write to you in the dark, with Jesus holding my hand.
I am asking for the courage to trust there are no mistakes in His timing.
I'm choosing to embrace this very chapter He has allowed to take shape in my story today.
I will not turn away.
You can try to stop writing. Dr. P offers.
But, I don't think you can.
When you write, you are at home with Jesus. You in Jesus. Jesus in you.
I've been thinking.
Maybe PTS isn't who I really am.
Maybe it's just what I'm walking through.
Maybe "Beloved" is who I am.
This is why I am still writing, even though it hurts my heart and body each line I attempt.
I choose to be obedient. To follow my heart's homecoming.
I choose to write as the Beloved.
Even if it means writing broken.
As I am.
What is your One Word for 2013?
Pull up a chair. Give voice to what God's placed on your heart. click to comment and read each other's thoughts.
** Psst...If you have a blog and you wrote a post about your one word, please share the url to your post in the comments below on crosswalk. Visit with each other and as you do, leave a comment and say hi. We can encourage each other with our words.
** Another way to blog by faith: I host a weekly blog link-up on my blog faith barista, called thursday faith jams. Every week, I serve up a topic of faith as a writing prompt. You write and link up. We blog together, to encourage each other. click here to read what readers have already contributed. Join in and add your link!
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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Photo credit: chaotic_truth via Photobucket.