This week, the first day of Spring arrived Wednesday! It isn’t by coincidence that the journey to Easter during Lent happens in Springtime. I think God uses the beauty of the trees budding and flowers waking up to blossom to let us know that something beautiful happens even in the barrenness of winter. He remembers us. He loves us.
I’m so excited to share today’s Lent Devotional Reflection for Week #2 with you, as see and hear see Jesus whisper, Let me STAY and Hold You Today.
First, I want to remind you to:
#1: Watch a *new* FB Live tomorrow Monday “Week #3: (Need Someone) Whispers of Rest Lent Retreat” 3/25 9:00am PST
Go to our FB Group to watch it here. Replay available.
#2: Watch the replay for Lent Week #2 Soul Care Video : Choose as the Beloved (STAY) . Watch Week #2 Video here. Comment as you watch on replay. (if you missed the Intro Video, start here.)
#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!)
#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!
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 to combat the negative and toxic effects of social media. I’ll help you combat by sharing what encourages me with you! So:
Click here to follow me on Instagram @thebonniegray right now.
Click here ollow me on Facebook @thebonniegray right now!
Now, take a deep breath. Relax as we step into our Lent Reflection…
Our One Word Lent Focus: STAY
Stay and let me hold you today.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1
During my season through anxiety, I was very sensitive to loud music . But since my breakthrough in therapy a couple years ago, I got an idea. I had always wanted to go to a Gungor concert and they were in San Francisco one week.
So I texted our babysitter and found myself standing next to Eric on one side and some twenty-something girls with summer in their eyes on the other. We had an hour left to kill.
I found out both girls were seminary students. “So, what’re you studying…? What’s next?”
You might think people who look happy and perfect wouldn’t have hard stories to share. But, they do.
The blond-haired girl with blue eyes tells me, half-yelling across the drone of concert goers, “I’m not really sure what God wants me to do. I’ve told Him I’ll do whatever He wants me to do.”
She pauses. “But, I feel like I’ve been wandering.“
Not So Different
Blue-eyed Girl tells me she’s been hurt. She’s run into dead ends when she thought God had been opening doors.
All of a sudden, it seemed to me there was no one else in the room. Except me and her unspoken story.
The old me, pre-PTSD me, would’ve given her some cheerful advice. Safe words.
But, now I see everything differently.
When the world we live in doesn’t match the dreams we thought God put on our hearts — don’t we all feel a little lost?
When we step out and try to be ourselves — and offer something authentic and real — and find out someone doesn’t think it’s good enough — don’t we all wonder who would stay?
And when we have to face something hard — but we don’t know how long the journey will take — and we want to give up — but we can’t go back either– don’t we wonder why God is silent?
We ask, “Is there any other way?”
Any Other Way
These are the same words Jesus found himself whispering in a garden one night in Gethsemane into thick silence. While wave upon wave of questions poured out of Him.
And the dilemma of turning left or right was both as painful as it was unwanted.
There was no way out.
Is there any other way? Jesus asked.
Jesus could have chosen to pray by himself and hide this inner struggle.
Jesus had often prayed alone.
And yet, on the worst night of his life, Jesus tells us he needed someone to hold onto the hard moment. Jesus needed someone to stay.
Stay With Me
Jesus didn’t have a timetable, to know how long the journey of the cross would take. How long the beatings would last. How long he’d have to drag the cross inch by inch, with lashes bleeding cut deep in his back. He didn’t know how he would feel yanked around in chains, from one place to another, in sleep deprivation.
He had never, ever experienced the feel of spit on his face while He shivered in the cold alone.
The overwhelming anxiety of the unknown, but the certain pain and fear of what was to come brought Jesus to his knees. Right where you and I sometimes have to go, when we don’t know what to do.
Overwhelmed, anxiety ridden, Jesus turned to those closest to him.
Jesus became vulnerable and let his disciples see him, as desperation filled the pit of his stomach.
Jesus confided in them. Jesus stumbled right up to the edge of Himself.
Then he said to [Peter, James and John],
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. ‘Stay here…with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this.” Matthew 26:31-39
Jesus asked someone to stay with Him that night.
Jesus needed someone to stay.
In the Middle
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was so overwhelmed with anguish that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Could Jesus have been experiencing panic attacks? If you’ve ever had one, you might never see that night in Gethsemane the same way ever again.
This was how Jesus spent His final moments of solitude. The calm before the storm.
Stay here… with me. He asked.
Jesus is intimate and familiar with the pain of a journey unresolved — right in the middle of it.
Yet, unlike me, Jesus did not yield to temptation.
Jesus, instead, yielded to the journey.
Completely. For You. And Me.
We don’t have to be alone anymore — even when we fail to yield.
Especially in the moments when we want to, but we don’t know how.
Jesus suffered for us. So He can stay. Jesus can suffer with us, in the middle of it all. With you and me.
In our wandering, we are never truly lost.
Having Someone to hold on to. Changes everything. Having Someone love you in the waiting — in the suffering. Changes you. You become the Beloved.
The Best Gift
I looked into Blue-eyed Girl and said, “You know, I think we’re all wanderers in this life. We’re all on a journey. Maybe wandering is living out faith.
Maybe the best gift we can offer to others wandering in this world without hope is to walk as a wanderer with them — except with hope. Maybe being willing to wander with Jesus is one of the sweetest gift we surrender with him.“
Blue-Eyed Girl gave me a big hug. “Thank you,” she smiled, as she squeezed my hand.
Our #OneWordLent Prayer Today
Today, when you wonder will anyone stay, Jesus whispers—
I’ve wandered willingly into darkness one night long ago,
So you don’t have to walk alone anymore.
Don’t be afraid.
I call you by name. I call you mine.
Stay and let me hold you today.
I am that Someone. I will stay.
Let me hold onto you. Let me stay.
I call you beautiful.
I call you mine. Today.
Rather than trying to avoid the journey ahead, however hard, let Jesus hold you and let His love give you courage to walk the journey ahead.
We don’t have to be alone anymore—even when we fail
to yield. Especially in the moments when we want to, but we
don’t know how. Jesus suffered for us, so that he can stay with
us, in the middle of it all. God’s presence is healing.
Give Yourself Permission: Honor your Gethsemane moment. Grieve what’s hard. Don’t suffer alone. Confide in someone to stay with you in a hard moment. Begin with Jesus. Then share with a friend or two as Jesus did. Let love heal your heart.
Soul Care Challenge
In last week’s Lent Week #2 Soul Care Video, I shared more than 6 different ways to do soul care, based on scientific research so that you can give God space to return your body, emotions and wellbeing to a healthy place – so you can allow God to love you.
I gave you 6 practical Soul Care Challenges that are 6 different types of TLC – Tender Loving Care.
Listed below are the 6 categories of Soul Care Challenges that I talked about in the Week #2 Soul Care Video. Which of kind of TLC out of 6 types of soul care do you need most today? Share why.
1. Physical touch
3. Eating better
4. Physical Rest—space to unplug and get away
5. Emotional Rest—safety to be honest and understood Spiritual 6. Encouragement—Soul-searching guidance and direction
Go here to our FB Group to share your Ah-Ha Moment.
Be ever so gently right now to my friend,
as you gently touch her heart
to be made new with you this week.
I ask that your Holy Spirit breathe new hope,
healing, and encouragement –
As she consider what you may be making new in her.
Give her heart freedom to see you turn brokenness
into beauty – not by erasing it from her story
but by transforming it into an intimate place of love.
That you for the powerful love you will
be sharing your most vulnerable moments
with her – so she can draw close to you
That there is nothing that
you can’t turn into beauty _ and nothing, no matter
what winter or challenge my friend has endured
that you cannot share with her.
Because you are her beloved. And I know
you’ll heal her in that place of remembering, just as you did for me.
In your name, Amen.
How can you allow Jesus to love you, comfort you, or refresh you on your journey this week?
What one word speaks to you in today’s verse?
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!
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!