Whispers of Rest

Rest. It is so much more than a nap or a good night’s sleep. 
In Bonnie Gray’s new 40 day devotional, I’m learning about the ways God calls us to be still and relax in his love. Whispers of Rest has come into my life when I’ve been recovering from a hysterectomy. For the last few weeks, I’ve felt no where near worthy to be God’s beloved. From the way my emotions have flip flopped every other day to wanting to nothing at all, or completely running away, I’ve watched God gently meet me in this journey of being his Beloved. Hearing him say, over and over, “It’s okay. Embrace my grace.” through friends and family.

This journey takes through 6 parts of being God’s beloved, with a word or phrase to center the day on. There is personal stories from Bonnie, Scripture, God’s words to you, questions to help you through your own story, prayer, Beloved Challenges, and trail notes of research found about the challenges, and more.


One of the things I’ve been loving most is the different ways to pray. On Day 4 we are invited to come write a letter to Jesus. This helped me so much in letting go of a lot of anger and sadness I’ve been feeling lately, laying it out before in something different than a poem. A challenge that follows the prayer is to write a letter to someone we love about how much we appreciate them. As I wrote this letter to a friend, part of me struggled to get the focus off of me, what I should say, how long it needed to be, but as I sat there with my thoughts in the quiet, I noticed a shift inside. A shift from what I feel I lack to the gift this friend has been to me in a time when I’ve experienced a lot of grief. It was good to focus on how God has provided me laughter through when I’ve struggled to believe I could anymore.


Other prayers such as making song lyrics as prayer and kneeling to pray have been helpful in getting me away from rambling on. It’s helped me be still for a few minutes (hard for my brain), and listen in the silence with God. Some of my other favorite challenges so far have been drinking chai tea and listening to favorite worship music for 10 minutes (hello, Ellie Holcomb!). I get excited everyday to see what the next prayer practice and challenge will be.

Trail notes I’ve found really interesting:

  • flowers are a natural mood booster
  • coffee helps fight depression while tea lowers anxiety. 
  • vitamin c helps us come back from stressful situations faster. 

I don’t think I’m going to be able to look au flowers, chai tea, or tangelos the same.  Learning all these facts has been fun.
I’m only a little more than half way through this book, but I have loved watching God show up for me through this book. I can’t wait to see what happens when I finish. I pray he meets you in this book, too.


Let’s rest and be still for a spell.

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at tears within me.

God,

I’ve lost my mind. Really. Can someone be this emotional? I never said I wanted a child. Well, with Michael I did. Not for right reasons though. I was so overcome with the fact he thought I could write or that I could raise someone. A baby. I am one, you know? My emotions are all over the place. I can’t stop touching the incision, the place where there will be a scar. God, I should trust you with this healing. I am afraid of what’s on the other side. I want to be held now, so tightly. I want to be told everything will be alright and weep wh

FMF: should.

So, I’m trying something new: writing letters to God in actual paragraphs. This is as close as I got in 5 minutes. I don’t think it’s that bad. I honestly thought it would be a poem. I’m so used to breaking up my words that putting them together is weird and almost foreign.  

Everything feels that way. This letter is about my recovery of healing from a hysterectomy. I’ve wanted to write about this for awhile, but have felt afraid. I don’t how to articulate the sorrow, the way I saw God show me His face. The compassion of the nurses and the way I learned as much as I want to talk, so does everyone else. There was a night nurse I learned this from. We all long to be heard.

She fed me jello and lingered with me when other patients needed her. We talked (well, I don’t know how much talking I did with my medicine loopiness) about books and TV. She told me about buzz lightyear and woody. I immediately smiled when she said she got her nephew a pull string Woody. Her smile was glorious. What I felt in my heart to be heard, noticed and seen, I saw in her eyes. 

It showed me how when God wants to spend time with us even in very difficult circumstances, it isn’t a “hey, do this for me, would you?” It’s more, hey, I wouldn’t mind if you asked me questions and I share my heart with you. I don’t always want you to do something. I want to be with you. And you with me.

All I’ve thought about since coming home from the hospital is, how does a woman leave her children to go take care of others who may or may not acknowledge her? And do it with such joy, patience and kindness at 12 AM, 2 AM…? It was Jesus right before me as I was weak and sad and alone, but when He spoke, something quieted. I just wanted to stay there with the ginger ale and the jello, the smile.

Presence changes everything, especially when you’re still enough to appreciate not only the receiving, but the giving of ears to listen too.

I could go on, but it will make me cry most likely too. Learning a lot about myself lately. Like this:

 

And this:


I’m on the launch team for this new devotional book from Bonnie & ughh, so good. There’s probably going to be more graphics and rambles until I review later this month, so look out for those. ☺️

All this aside, the fact that I’ve been afraid to write here and this came out clearly shows the lie I’ve been believing I’m not a writer with no purpose is just that: a lie. Oh Lord, let Your light and love be my trust. My hope. All these new things that feel risky, You will continue to light the way and keep my feet from slipping. You will uphold me with Your unfailing love. Support me. And when my emotions swirl and spill before You, may Your comforts delight me. Thank You for healing me today.

by the trinity 

In the morning,

I sit at the table 

& eat a chocolate cake

donut. The three chairs 

around me are empty–

Abba, I imagine You across,

with open hands & a smile.

I think You are asking me to

open my hands or give them 

to You. Receive. Jesus is to my 

left, Holy Spirit to my right. He 

wants to grab my hand, to pray

with me. They are quiet, heads 

bowed. I’m held tightly 

fmf: eat.

This poem is a little different in the way I felt I was experiencing this again. The calm. The way I felt like the Holy Spirit really reached out and held my hand, the right, weaker one of the two. The way Abba sat across and smiled with a knowing glance that said, you can open up. You can receive all I want to give you. 

God is moving me into new places it feels like. With my writing. (This was really, REALLY difficult to write. The memories were foggy, but the ache of how Jesus loved me was overwhelming. So overwhelming. With taking to Him about how I’m feeling without trying to hide. And with friends. Letting my heart come out, still unsure if I’m loved.

And then there is this reminder from Tim Tebow’s new book, Shaken, that hit me like a ton of bricks last night:

I can’t help but feel God is bringing something new, despite all the chaos and anger and sadness, things I can’t let go of. I can’t see the future and the fact things are always foggy is beginning to wear on my soul. I want to be in moments. I don’t know how to do that without assuming sadness/anger is all there is to hold. I know it’s not true, but sigh.

God, you make all things new. Beautiful in their time and joy. Laughter. Depth. Hope. Love. Please oh please show me this true. That is joy coming around the bend and I can soak it in. Because I want to stay with you, but I also don’t want to deny that what you’ve been bringing lately isn’t from you. You know, like the butterflies that keep me thinking we’re going to fly soon. Or Juno, who keeps plopping herself down in my lap. Or all these other things, one in particular that is so overwhelming it doesn’t seem real yet. Please show me this doesn’t have to be so hard to take. Please. In Jesus name, amen.

***

I realize this commentary has nothing to do with food. Soul is on a little of an overload lately. Thankful God lets me write and cry and get angsty. 🙂

something light?

I’d like to park myself

in a chair, but I am already

there. Here. Watching the 

Sun come in & out, brighten

& fade out–Lord, I am over-

whelmed by goodness, Yours

alone. It is as heavy as the sorrow I’ve 

held, like a stone 

cold I have grown used to but 

oh, could You roll it away now,

give me something new to hold,

something warm, 
fmf: park.

I’m parked at the kitchen table, trying to work on a guest post about a miracle God has done in my life. And while looking up some info today, I keep thinking, God, you really did save my life! That could have been so much worse and I already didn’t know what was wrong..at least I don’t remember being told. I just remember the pain. The ache. The unknown. But you were there THE WHOLE TIME! Through all that delirium…Smiling and telling me to eat and washing my body. Telling me to sleep, it will be alright. And I didn’t know, but through that time & this valley, you’ve been show me what I can’t get out of my head since I read it the other day: 

Lord, I don’t get it, but I’m going to get to that point where I’ll simply be able to accept this. I won’t have to fight your invite, but smile and say, alright. You can whisper, bring me smiles and laughter, any way to show me your love is true. 

You’re hilarious, really. You make me want to laugh and cry all at the same time.

Your banner for me is love. 

To delight in God.

Being apart of the launch team, I’ve had the opportunity to read this book early… but I’m not even to the 20th story yet.

Breathing Eden is a collection of 40 stories/prayers of 40 fictional women who are desperately seeking God, and God’s responses. The stories touch on depression, marriage, healing, desire, etc.

I never expected to connect with almost every woman so far and have God’s responses back personally touch me. Some of my favorite quotes from God and as part of a prayer from a story, inspired me to make graphics that helped me see God in a tangible way.

I love how after each story, there is a space to write a prayer in response to God, questions to go deeper, a trust exercise, and prayer. This book is not one you can rush through, but one I’ve found you can need to take day by day and let God delight in you.


Watch as you delight in him more, too. If you subscribe to Loop devotionals, this will be like having them everyday until you finish the book!

om home?

You collect my tears in

a bottle. Maybe it’s green,

as the jealousy You have for

me. I wonder today, if You put

some of Your own tears in this

bottle to overflow, so that I may 

know how wide You love me. Abba, You 

are on my side, this 

I know. & my enemies will run 

when I call to You for help, but I 

do not know what to say anymore except, whee did I go?

where have all my dreams flown & why do I feel so far away fr

fmf: collect.

So this week, a book was published with stories from five minute friday. This has been a tough thing for me. Because when I joined the community, I wasn’t really looking to write more. Circumstances were so rough and I was confused and hurting. But a friend was like, here, you should try this. (May not have been exact words but eh it’s okay.) I’ve watched it carry me from a move, to my grandma passing away, to another move, and a move back over the summer. And maybe the shock is that I’ve stayed with it for almost two years now, or the community really feels like family, or the fact that seeing my name as Julia Sparrows here instead of my real last name when I published my own book shortly after joining fmf, was the most hilarious thing. Like a gift from God, who must really like to laugh, watch me laugh, and knows that this is so much sweeter among people than on my own.

This community has taught me the power of encouragement & love. I hope you see that if you check the book out. 🙂