When is the last time you wrote a letter to God? What would you ask of him — what would you say?
Many times when I’m overwhelmed, it’s hard to know what to say to God or how to even begin.
I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about things and sometimes, when I can’t think things through, I get quiet inside. Knotted up, I push through my day and just get things done.
These are the times I reach for a notebook — or even a piece of paper. If I’m in my car, waiting to pick up TJ or CJ from school, I might even grab that week’s church bulletin that I stuffed in the side of the car door . And I’d start scrawling.
Something happens when I write a letter to God. I start, “Dear God…” Before I know it, I’m writing him a letter and I can’t stop the words from flowing.
Sometimes, the letter is very short. It’s more like a note.
Sometimes, it’s long winded. I have to stop, fold my paper into my purse and walk to the classroom to greet my son with a big hug. Later that night, when the two kiddos are tucked into their beds, I take a long hot shower to wash away the day. My feet, bare and cool against the floor, make their way back downstairs, to retrieve my prayer-in-progress. I pick up my pen and continue the conversation on paper, beginning where I last paused mid-sentence.
Last week, I shared a letter I wrote to my younger self.
This week, I’m writing a letter to God. I’m writing it to Jesus, sitting down tonight this Wednesday evening — after a rough weekend of anxiety flareups, as I attempted to return to writing my manuscript.
I don’t know if I can do this. Speaking in my new voice — my full voice. I don’t want to talk about things that I’ve kept quiet about. What if no one thinks it’s any good? What if people buy this book and after a reading few chapters, shut it with indignation. They might want their money back.
I would be rejected. And I don’t think I’d be able to handle that.
I feel conflicted between what I want to do — and what would happen if I did do it.
How can I dare to let the whispers of my soul speak fully in the open, when I’m just coming to terms with it myself?
I’m scared I’m neither here. Nor there.
I can’t go back to the way I was, but I’m uncertain if who I’m becoming is good enough.
But, now you’re asking me to trust you, to step out in the world this way.
You are asking me to walk out into the big, wide world — broken — for all to see.
How can I do this, when it’s easier to make safety my home?
My answer — though faint but steady, deep from within my spirit where it aches — is this:
My hunger to walk out in faith tomorrow — with you — is greater than my need for safety today.
I need to hear your voice louder than any other, Jesus.
I need to hear you say my name.
Say my name.
Over and over again.
When I hear you calling me, my soul is calmed and my tears have a place to run to.
When I hear your voice speaking my name, I know that you know.
I feel your strong arms around me and I remember who I really am. Yours.
Turn to me and fix your gaze upon me, so I can really look into your eyes.
Say my name, Jesus. Then I can tell you my pain.
Say my name. Then, I can dare to dream again.
Say my name. So, I can only hear your voice — and no one else’s.
Say my name. So I can follow you ahead.
Tell me that there is no other — to hurt me or shame me.
Be here. With me.
Yours and yours only,
“My sheep recognize my voice;
I know them, and they follow me…
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
No one will snatch them away from me,
for my Father has given them to me,
and he is more powerful than anyone else.
So no one can take them from me.”
~ Jesus, John 10:27-29
Is Jesus calling you to step out and follow Him a new way too?
If you were to write a letter to God, what would you ask of him — what would you say?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. I’m so glad you’re here.
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — LINK UP IN THE FAITH JAM
HTML Code for the badge:
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays
I serve up a topic of faith, you write a post and link up (or simply comment).
Please place the Faith Jam Badge in your post. It’s a welcome sign for our community. Grab the HTML Code above. Thanks!
It’s a jam session. Visit the post before yours, drop a comment & make a faith friend. We blog together to encourage each other.
TO LINK UP: Click the blue button below: “Add Your Link” (Subscribers: click here to get there directly).
*Today’s 8/23/12 Writing Prompt: “Write a letter to God”
*Next Thursday’s 8/30/12 Writing Prompt: “God will make a way.”
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real. Click here to learn more.
** Don’t miss! ** If you are new to Faith Barista, I’d like welcome you here.Click to subscribe by email and get each post in this series served up hot and fresh directly in your mailbox.
Photo credit: Photobucket.com
You are brave, Bonnie, and seeing your courage makes me rely more on God myself. We all need to hear him say our names. And he does.
Please keep writing from your full self. It’s beautiful in its brokenness. Love you.
Thank you for being here with me — and encouraging me to keep writing from my full self. I loved reading your letter about grace, Lisa. I felt close to God’s heart as you shared your full voice with us.
This writing is obedience and He will bless you for it, Bonnie. He’s there with you. And He will certainly use all of this in a remarkably beautiful way. He already is!
Grateful for how God uses your words to touch mine, Amy!
Hi, this is the first time I you blog / site see. I’m so surprised! So I placed your blog in my blogroll.
About writing to God, I have a concentration disorder and writing is my way of praying. I write my prayers in a cahier. Warm greetings from Holland
Warm greetings to you in Holland! Your words shared here touch us here. May God bless you as He protects you in healing, Jedidja.
He is faithful! He will say your name, embrace you, and equip you to do all that He has called you to do. I am standing with you in His promises.
Thanks so much, Melissa! I’m so glad you wrote & shared your letter with us. Standing with you too.
Bonnie, you said, “I can’t go back to the way I was, but I’m uncertain if who I’m becoming is good enough.”.
I understand that so well. It is a powerful heart cry, isn’t it? We CAN’T go back to where we were and we are unsure of where Abba is taking us. I remember so well inviting God, or more like accepting God’s invitation to allow Him to remove the walls of refuge and safety I had built to hide inside and protect my heart. That has been a long process because there are always more hidden walls. But some years ago, I remember literally wailing (I am not a natural wailer..its way too exposing) “I want my walls back this is WAY too hard God.”
but of course, I didn’t really mean it because more than walls I wanted God. Besides that God literally spoke to me many times and asked me (reminded me too) whose protection did I want, mine or His? Did I want self-made strongholds or did I want to run to THE STRONGHOLD?
Then there is the second part of your statement. I KNOW, understand that heart cry as well. “Will I be good enough?” Abba’s reply to that is simply, what do you mean? I am your “goodness” (righteousness). You already have my love and has been teaching me that my identity comes from what Abba says about me, and who Abba says I am….not what any man-person thinks or says, and that includes myself. Fear of God vs fear of man. That is STILL something so very hard for me. In fact writing to you just I get the thought, who do u think u are, writing to her? LOL see?
Anyhow thank you for sharing your heart…I will write a letter later, but it scares me to do so because in some way I do not even WANT to know, what is hidden in my heart. Your posts remind me of myself but also of the goodness of God for me and toward me.
Joan, it’s so wonderful how God speaks to us through each other’s stories — right was we’re living them.
“My hunger to walk out in faith tomorrow — with you – is greater than my need for safety today.”
So glad you’re here, Nicole! *hugs*
Oh Bonnie, Your new voice is beautiful and full of courage. Telling God all the doubts and fears takes courage. It takes courage to share it with all of us also. Keep it up and I will be continuing to pray for you. I have been learning my new voice as well the past several years. I love you friend. Hugs and tears as I read this today. You said so many of the same things I have said to God this last year.
We’re sisters in Christ, aren’t we, Katie? 🙂 Speaking the same language of healing as daughters of the King. *hugs*
It is amazing how God loves us and cares about everything that touches us. I loved reading your letter to God. As you open up your heart to Him and to us, I know I for one love you even more Bonnie. That vulnerability is very precious and not to be taken lightly. Keep sharing from your heart. I know that you will bless many with your book. And satan doesn’t want you to write it. So write on sister …
Blessings and love,
Debbie, it’s so special how we’ve got to know each other even deeper through sharing our stories in full voice. I know you’re with me in so much of this — as you’ve journeyed along similar paths. Thank you for encouraging me. I’m right there with you, too, as you keep living from your full voice too, walking into the unknown with The One who knows you.
What I Know-My Letter to God
It’s a happy day for me today, I’m sure You know! I kind of feel like I’ve been given a pass to go and enjoy my life and pursue my dreams. After all we’ve been through, that’s no small thing, is it Papa?? There were so many days I wasted in self pity, doubting Your goodness and cutting myself off from your enabling grace. I was so isolated and lost in the grief of all I had lost and I felt so powerless to find my way out. It amazes me how my deliverance had nothing to do with me figuring it out or getting it right, it had only to do with Your love and faithfulness toward me. That changed everything about my world and how i experienced living my life, even the things that make no sense.
I know freedom came when I stopped asking why and started to say I trust. I know Your hand of mercy came and rescued me from my own bitterness and taught me to say Thank You. I know Your blessings have overtaken me in way I could never have imagined and the only reason why is that You are Good and I am loved. I know that death, disease, loss and suffering are never big enough to separate us, that good is waiting for me and Your restoration is a tangible thing. I know the biggest thing in my life that makes no sense is that You love me and gave Your Son for me. For Me.
Now, I just want my life to say THANK YOU, every day. I know I’ve been given much, even though I once thought I’d lost more. I know that in You, nothing is lost and that the ones who went before me, too soon, are a bigger part of my future than they ever were of my past. I know that you bring beauty from ashes and you leave gifts in unexpected places. I know that the world can shift on a perfect summer day and knock a son off a motorcycle and that You were waiting in the hospital room before we got there. I know You carried him through those torturous 3 months of brain injury and meningitis and spoke to him in dark moments about his unborn daughter and his undiagnosed step father. I know that the daughter he named before he died, the one we didn’t even know was a girl until he told us from a semi-comatose state, is a gift to me that I unwrap every day when I see his smile, spunk and toed in walk. I know you sent her to save me from the grief of losing him and to keep me here after all the grief that would follow. I know that You held my hand the day You took the hand of my husband and walked him over to Your side and that You had blessings untold for me even from that day. I know that all the pain and suffering, tears and anguish that he felt during his 18 months of Lymphoma treatment vanished the second he saw You. I know that because You showed me. I know that cancer can come knocking the third time after 7 years and You will sustain me and give me hope and a heart of gratitude in the midst of it.I know that all my days are numbered and in Your hands You will keep me until I have fulfilled them. I know that all these things can fill a book that will bring hope and we will write it together, soon!
So today, with a good report from my doctor and a calendar full of busy blessings, I’m sending my little ‘gift’ back to start the 2nd grade after a summer of fun and travel. I’m sending my heart out to the sisters I don’t know yet and the future You have prepared for me in love. Today I just ask that You would keep me grounded in Your love and gratitude, that I would see You in every moment and take nothing for granted. If I had one glimpse of heaven, I would love to see my son looking down on his daughter and all the beauty You made from the ashes left behind. That would be my one request. But even in the not seeing…I KNOW.
Oh, Jeanne. So many difficult paths you have walked with your son, your granddaughter and your husband — and each of those places, you’re opening your heart to God. Thank you for sharing your letter — your tender heart with us.
As I am walking this road myself – of brokenness and transformation all the same time displaying it to the world to see – you have encouraged and spoke my heart’s words exactly (the last 2 posts especially).
Thank you for ministering to me in Romania where I was born raised and live, even we never met….Thanks to you and Holley Gerth! In a Christian world and Christian blogosphere where personal updates on cooking and homemaking are rulers – and where different strange theological doctrines are stated – your courage to share your most intimate hurtful and valuable lessons DO make a difference (THE difference) and IS in my opinion the most important reason to blog – to minister to people, otherwise unknown, through your own lessons, the spiritual truths and victory of life.
That is especially important since there are so very few people even in church communities that are willing to open up and share their life lessons. Thank you that you are willing to do that (wherever you are) and thank you for doing it on your blog so that even people on different continents do have access to them.
After the brokenness, God will restore, heal, redeem and transform everything!
Loving prayers for you,
Dear Helen, it touches my heart deeply to know that God has brought a sister in Romania to cross paths here — as we make this journey through brokenness to healing. May God word of encouragement reach you, as your words has reached me. Right where you are. Thank you for being here together in this community.
My journals are dedicated to God. In other words, when I write, I am writing to Him. So you might say, I have pages of letters, some are numbered “gifts” (Ann Voskamp “1000 Gifts”), but mostly what I am thinking and feeling is addressed to Him. I don’t bother with writing “dear”. I just write and capitalize the Y in You.
But in reality, I cannot imagine anyone putting down your book or even remotely demanding any money back, so kick that fear to the curb, Bonnie. As we read your posts, imagine thousands of prayers for you gently floating up to Heaven where Jesus hears them. Breathe and smile.
I’m breathing and smiling, Christine as I soak in your encouragement. And may God continue to flow out of your pen & may you feel His pleasure each time you do, friend!
God is calling me out into this world…exposed, vulnerable, broken. Thank you for this post. If you can I can too. Much love. M
Thank you for being here, Melanie. You can. You can. *hugs* Much love…
Bonnie, your God-given gift of words is such a blessing to me. So many Thursdays when I read this blog, you put into beautiful words what I feel but am unable to articulate. Today, it was “I can’t go back to the way I was, but I’m uncertain if who I’m becoming is good enough.” Tears began to flow as I read those words. At 56 years of age, I’ve gone back to school. There are days I feel like I’m in junior high all over again….not a good thing. As I continue to read your words, God’s peace rolls over me. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us. You are on a rough part of the road right now, but it really helps your fellow travelers who are on a rough patch, too. Thank you!
Kay, we’re standing with you – cheering you on! So amazing to hear how God is leading you to step out on a new chapter, while meeting you with His peace on this journey. What a difference it makes to know we are not alone! 🙂
I too am being called to speak with my full voice, and it’s scary. Part of what I have to talk about is marital abuse, and he and his current wife live less than ten miles away. I still hurt even though I was totally freed in 2004, and I hate opening up that chapter, but as I wrote out my testimony recently, the Lord said to include it…I want to keep it private or share it only with people I give counsel to or receive counsel from, but the Lord says it is time…even though he’s still walking among the Christian community. Walking in faith can be hard…
Barb, I’m praying for you right now. May He give you the courage you need as you walk through this journey.
so very very refreshing! i too am in a very vulnerable stage of life.
but i have found freedom in being real about my past and my brokeness.
loving your blog…your words are helping so many – don’t let satan rob you of that.
I thank God for journey you’ve traveled so far with him — such that you can be present to encourage me and be present with us here, Lauren. Let’s keep going… 😉
I understand this, Bonnie: “I tend to spend a lot of time thinking about things and sometimes, when I can’t think things through, I get quiet inside.” Praying for you right now and your journey. Thank you for so openly sharing. Thanking Him for His guidance and love.
Caroline, I am so glad I finally got a chance to read your letter. So, so beautiful. All of you. It’s a cry of our hearts too. Help me see… yes, so deeply true. Thank you.
this weekend I passed up another teaching opportunity. This time it is 1.5 hours away from my hometown, the same English teaching instruction I left, although not the same place, in 2009. And, it is led by a Christian administrator. Everything in my head said that I needed to do this. But, my heart didn’t have the faith to step in that direction. Amazingly enough, the principal saw that, and he went through a process for 2 days allowing me to see what was really in my heart, as I was so close to settling again. The deal is…God is calling me to the unknown in this season, and it’s a touch walk, with no real security in the natural, only in Jesus. And, yet…I had the substance of my faith…there…in the nothing and unknown. The principal knew that. And, let me breakthrough to know it for myself. I know now I’m an evangelist, speaker, writer, singer. Not so much the English teacher who went the steady, stable, secure way to be normal and have a job. God wants me to trust Him for the impossible…right now with nothing. Crazy? Yes!!! But, that’s how God gets the glory! 🙂 That’s what I wanted to encourage you with, as well. Find His Voice in you, and write, speak, sing. Tell the Truth in Love. You won’t ever be disappointed when it’s His Presence and Voice that leads…no matter how impossible it looks. Blessings! 🙂 Your sister in Christ, Christine Jeremiah 29:11.
Dear Christine, it must have been so hard to want something and see yourself also walk away from it — and then, the joy of seeing Jesus lead you back to it with His voice! Thank you for encouraging me in sharing this part of your journey. with love…
I used to write letters to God in my journals all the time. I do not know why it is so hard today, but I am enjoying your letter and the others here in the faith jam.
Sometimes, the hardest letters to write are the silent ones we’re living. Jesus reads those too. And I’m so, so grateful we’re together in that space with you today, Kristine. Thank you for being here, sharing our roses & our thorns… enjoy your Friday night dinner and sharing, friend. 😉 Much love…
Great challenge, Bonnie!! I’ll tackle it in my blog later tonight…
I’m so blessed to see you “up and running” again!! I’m still praying, trusting God to bring your new voice to it’s most beautiful sounds…
Be blessed Sister!!
Always a blessing to hear how God is at work in your life, Marina! Enjoy the weekend…
Yes, I feel God is asking me to go in a new direction for Him…to take a step of faith
and just do it…BUT, at this moment I’m not exactly sure what that direction is.
I like writing…I can express myself so much better through my words…I really do need to
start a letter to God journal….again….
thanks for your blog…..
It’s amazing how God stirs us and prods us from the heart … to lead us to step out. Sounds like on the journey of faith — stepping into the unknown with the One who knows. 🙂 I’m smiling as I think of your journey with words and writing, Angie.
Bonnie, I’m not sure how long this link will be up, but I just saw the most beautiful photo of a lion gazing into the eyes of a very young one( on yahoo headlines at http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/lion-cubs-first-meeting-dad-captured-camera-194456247–abc-news-topstories.html.) it reminded me of our Father’s tender heart for each of us, for you, calling your name. Thought it might speak His heart into you to look at this photo…
Dear Pam, Thank you for sharing this link with me. You were right. It did speak deeply to me. I’m going to share it on Facebook & Twitter now. So blessed to have your heart with me, sweet friend.
Thank you for posting that letter. It was EXACTLY what I needed to read today.
I’m doing my best to always trust in God but whenever there’s a ripple on the lake ….well you know the rest.
I just received my Redeemed “I am His” pendant the other day. I touch it many many times a day to remind me that I’m just that – His. Since there is no human in my life to wrap his arms around me or to tell me I’m his this pendant reminds me that I’m HIS and that’s all that matters. A ripple formed this morning and I asked a dear friend for prayers that I can continue to trust. Not 3 hours later I read your letter. How amazing that was!
I hope you continue to encourage us and may you receive many blessings.
I love wearing jewelry that reminds me of Him and me too. The one you have is so pretty and inspiring! And I love hearing your heart speak among the ripples Jeannie. *hugs* 🙂
I do believe he’s calling me to speak in a new way…to walk in a new way.
It is amazing how God uses us all to write so that it also speaks to another’s heart as well.
Thanks for the link up!!
Brooke, it’s been so refreshing and fun hearing your heart speak — as you share your writing with us. It’s real and it’s in the now — I’m holding my breath with you, whispering prayers as you await what’s ahead. Thank you for writing and jamming together!
[…] shadow missions and Ann talking about obeying God’s voice in the face of fears, and Bonnie writing bold and scared at the same time, You’re at work behind it all telling me something… Thank […]
It’s been a challenging few months. But, God is faithful. So many of my connected friends are experiencing the same changes as I am. So wonderful to go through it together, but here from God first. Love it!
Jeri, it sounds like we’re walking through the dessert with dreams and hopes of the springs during this same part of the faith journey. Your photos are beautiful and so is your heart. I love getting to know your full voice. All of you. XOXO with love…
[…] Joining Bonnie this week writing to our God […]
This has been a totally amazing morning. Only by the grace of God did I end up reading “Letter to God”! Your article was enough for me to ask God how He got you to write what I have been feeling. Then reading the replies and seeing the depth of His love toward me as each person has spoken. My God! I am standing just on the other side of the door of the past, like a Kindergartner on their 1st day. I can’t go back. There is nothing there. My husband has been gone for two and a half years now. With the prayers of the righteous I have work through my grief. The church I’ve attended has very little life left and I have been called onto the mission field. Anxiety fills my life at this moment and knowing that God told us to be anxious for nothing adds to my worries. Going within and closing the world out of my home has proven to be a very safe place for me, but I know better. Jesus is my protector and my provider. I must put on my new clothes “the garment of praise” and get ready. I love writing but I write with a disability which stops me from writing letter from my heart. I will stand and wait for Jesus to lead me into this valley awaiting me. I am safe in his arm and under the shadow of the almighty. I will pick up my new journal this day and write. Thank you all and God bless you.
Dear Theresa, may God continue to guide you one step at a time ahead to a community of faith and to ministry. God bless you!
Thank you for your example of bravery and courage. May the Lord embolden you in His Spirit to lean into Him and His sufficiency for the call He has given you.
Tinuviel, I just read your letter & I am praying for you right now. Lord Jesus, I lift my sister up and ask you to be near to her in every way and give wisdom to the doctors who are working with her. Be her peace in the deepest way – in her body, her heart and spirit. In your name, Amen.
He does know our name and he knows our frame and that we must lean on him to stand tall. He is with us – AND HE was with YOU when you experienced pain in the past. When you return there, look for Jesus for he is there too, now listen to what He tells you!
There is the healing in his words of truth.
Oh I thank him for everything he has done for me
A little late to the jam…starting my letter and had to walk away…this stuff is hard to live out loud and in public…
Taking courage from you and all that have walked here!
Your letter is beautiful. Everyday, the Lord says our name…. Are we listening and willing to follow in all of our brokeness? We will never be “good enough.” Christ’s Blood speaks to that. But, we are undeniably loved and forgiven. You spoke of rejection….Well, He was rejected, also–but His love is all encompassing–a balm to our wounds–we only need Him and His love. Take care. I will visit, again, soon. I love the writing from your soul. ~Cynthia
I often write to God but today I wanted to respond to you. I want to assure you that the more broken pieces you show the world a strange and wonderful thing happens – people relate – people heal – people love you – people share with you. We have all been broken at one time or another.
Just this last weekend I was bonding with new friends and the conversation came up that it is so good to be in a support group together so that we can see that we are not alone. That everyone struggles and often with the same issues. We are missing real community in this day and age and being together sharing real problems helps us all to heal.
Keep up the good work! You are moving ahead. God will never lead you were He cannot keep you.
Wow.. Bonnie, on August 21st, I had breast cancer surgery & the cancer was spread further than expected. I certainly do not understand this new journey I will be taking with the Lord; but I know that He understands – just as He understands You. My surgeon calls this a bend in the road. God calls each of us to lift one another up through life. I have had a poem called Bend in the Road that I have had many years. I believe this is applicable to each of us.
A BEND IN THE ROAD
Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads
And we view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And He knows that it’s only a bend-
The road will go on and get smoother
And after we’ve stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load
And have faith in a brighter tomorrow,
You’ve just come to a bend in the road.
I missed the link up
Bonnie, I just discovered your blog off of (in)courage. Your words are so sweet to me. I also struggle from anxiety. I have to cling to Him every day of my life and am learning to rely on His strength and truth to pull me through each day. It is so hard. But your words comfort me because they let me know that I am not alone. It brings me a certain peace when I read something another woman wrote, and it sounds as if it came out of my own heart. Thank you so much for sharing. God is using your struggles and pain for good in the lives of others, including mine. Keep up the lovely writing!
Wow, this is a really interesting idea. I’ve never thought of writing a letter to God before, but I do really enjoy having conversations out loud with him. This seems to be the same thing but in spoken form instead of written. I may also try writing a letter to Him at some point. Thanks for the great post!
Really, really wonderful to read and receive this. Could not write my letter…but I prayed it. It is comforting to know that God knows my hurts and wounds. He is a trusted Source that I really need to hear say my name…. 🙂
Dear Jesus, thank you for the letter that is writing within Lisa to you. May she hear your whisper of her name. Again and again. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If I were to write a letter to God, and I think I want to, I would want to talk to him about how my past sins trouble me and my doubts about myself. I would cry out for help. I have a major fear when it comes to salvation. There is a terrible thought in my head that won’t leave me alone. It says to me, ” What if I love God ( which I do), but it turns out I was never meant to be saved?”. I am so scared. I am a very frightened sinner who just wants to be forgiven and loved by God. I long to hear what he has to say about this problem of mine. It brings me to tears.