Lean In. God Will Make A Way || Wk #4 Lent

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Good Morning Friend,

Most of us want to run away from the past. But, what if God just wanted to embrace your past with you? In his arms, our past becomes a place of healing. We can be free to find what can comfort us and also move AWAY from whatever isn’t healing to our souls. We are no longer trying to please others or fear what others can say about us. We are beloved.

I used to think having faith meant putting the past behind me. But, now, I understand when Paul was asking us to forget the past, Paul was referring to his past as a Pharisee, to stop self-sufficiency and emphasizing how things appeared! God uniquely loves us and we can love others and share our stories!

Today’s devotional is one of my favorites about healing our past. It’s so beautiful to see how Jesus makes a way for us!

If you’re following along with me reading the book Whispers of Rest, we just finished Week #4: Healing the Beloved. This week, read Week 5: Daring as the Beloved.

And if you ordered the extra resources in my Soul Care Package, be sure to enjoy to this week’s new Podcast & Teaching Video #5: Daring as the Beloved, with beautiful music and scripture reflection.

Open your heart. Let God whisper of rest touch you with His gentle Voice of love.Before we reflect, here are some reminders:

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#1:  Watch a *new* FB Live tomorrow Monday Wk #5: Brokenness & Being Known: Whispers of Rest Lent ” 4/8 9:00am PST
Go to our FB Group to watch it here. Replay available.

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#2:  Watch the replay for Lent Week #4 Soul Care Video : Choose as the Beloved (Healing as the Beloved) . Watch Week #4 Video here. Comment as you watch on replay. (if you missed the Intro Video, start here.)

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#3: Get a copy of Whispers of Rest to read along. This Lenten Retreat is most powerful if you read along with my 40-day book, using the hands-on soul care tips, Scripture, stories, scientific studies & prayers that helped me spark joy & experience God’s peace during a stressful time in my life. So get Whispers of Rest, if you don’t have one yet. (read reviews readers posted here!) 

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#4: Get the Whispers of Rest Soul Care Resources Package! *NEW!* I’d love to encourage you daily! For extra resources to refresh your soul and take better care of yourself, I created this powerful DAILY companion resource to Whispers of Rest. I’m SO excited to announce it ! a beautiful NEW 40day Soul Care Guide eBook called “You’re Worth Loving”, 6 teaching videos, 6 prayer podcasts, Scripture coloring pages – and access to a Self-Paced Online Book Club! Click here to get the Whispers of Rest Soul Care Resources Package!

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4. 😉Are you Following me on Instagram and Facebook Yet? 
I love sharing encouraging quotes & photos to cheer and remind you how important it is practice soul care and hear God’s loving whispers of rest. I’ll help you by sharing what encourages me with you! So:
Click here to follow me on Instagram @thebonniegray right now.
Click here follow me on Facebook @thebonniegray right now!

Now, take a deep breath. Relax as we step into our Lent Reflection…

Our Lent Focus: Make A Way

Jesus whispers,
Lean into Me. I will make a way for you.

“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 

“The longing itself is evidence that what you are longing for really exists.” Karen Blixen

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 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 Whispers of Rest For You

For every moment we wonder what lies ahead, Jesus’s tender voice reaches out to us  —

Beloved,

There is no place you’ll find yourself, where I will not go with you.

When you wonder what lies ahead,
you can rest.

Even in your wounded-ness,
I will never leave you.

I am doing something new.
Love makes a way.
Lean into me. 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.

Close Your Eyes: Imagine Leaning Into Jesus

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.

Imagine Jesus at the moment He stood there, waiting for the people to choose him or Barabbus. When He was — handed over.

Now think on a moment on your journey: Is there a situation you’re facing where you’re feeling handed over to face too?

Now imagine Jesus standing there with you, as you face it all – with His hand in yours. Imagine Him looking into your eyes with understanding- of what it feels like to be handed over.

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.

Our Whispers of Rest Prayer Today

Lord Jesus,

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, as you step into Jesus memory of being handed over and 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

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What is one thing God is inviting you to step into today with Him?

What one word in today’s scripture speaks to you?

Pull up a chair. Click to comment on the blog. Or go here to our FB Group to share your Ah-Ha Moment.

* Who can you share today’s encouragement with?

For more encouragement, get a copy of my soul care devotional Whispers of Rest.o

For more encouragement, get my memoir driven book,Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.

Soul Care Challenge
(excerpted from Whispers of Rest)

Take a 30-minute nap. Rejuvenate your body and soul with rest. As you do, you’re putting God’s love for you into action, coming alive in a new way of living.

The Research behind It: Taking a Nap is Healing

Reviewing the day with Jesus brings rest, preparing
us for sleep. But during our Gethsemane moments,
sleep can be troubled. We need seven to nine hours of sleep a
night. Research shows lack of sleep affects our mood, height-
ening irritability, anxiety, and depression. Taking a nap makes
a difference.

Research also shows a thirty-minute nap reduces stress
and boosts the immune system, reversing the effects of occa-
sional sleep deprivation. Participants restricted to sleep-
ing only two hours showed elevated stress hormones and a
decrease in immunity proteins. But after a nap, all markers
returned to normal.

A nap improves mood and boosts memory, performance,
and attention. So on demanding days, take a nap. Rejuvenate
yourself with the healing benefits of rest.

Dear Jesus,

You see my friend and
you see the intimate ways she needs you.
You hear her hard questions
and you don’t turn away.

Help my friend to see
that her past is a place to honor
and to lift as a place of beauty because

There you are, faithfully loving her,
grieving, but also standing firm proudly. 

You’ve changed the past into a place of honor
because it proves you love my friend.

She can lean into you
and your arms of love will protect her
and crown her with beauty.

My friend is your beloved.

And her past is a place you gently
but also firmly place your healing hands to care for her. 

Free her heart to see the new path you’re making for her.
Roadway in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

Where once there was barrenness today,
as she reads the devotional and prays,
may you Holy Spirit touch her with a new insight,
so she knows you are making a way with her.
In her and for her!

I thank you for how much you love my friend.
She is yours! And you are hers!

In your name, Amen.

How can you allow Jesus to love you, comfort you, or refresh you on your journey this week?

Give yourself permission to do this week’s daily soul care challenges in Whispers of Rest and take time to do practical things to return calm and refresh your soul this week, sweet friend. You’re worth it.

Pull up a chair. Click to comment. This is a quiet place to rest awhile. And stay.

* Who can you share today’s encouragement with?

Share with friends and your small group!

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Do you know a friend who would love some rest and refreshment? Share this blog post with her. She can sign up for the newsletter here. And you can read Whispers of Rest together! Let’s gather as many women to enjoy this journey!

 



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