“Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” Saint Augustine
Hi Sweet Friend,
You don’t have to wait until you’re completely new
To be you.
You don’t have to wait until you are free of doubt
To step into the light. To be seen.
You don’t have to try so hard
To understand everything.
What no one sees, God whispers—
You are beautiful to me.
“Behold, I am making all things new . . . in you.”
inspired by Revelation 21:5
As love heals our hearts, Jesus calls us to a new way of living. A new way of being.
He invites us to make changes that match with our new identity—as the Beloved. He invites us to walk by faith. God’s creative work of renewal isn’t driven by what you can do for others or even do for God. This renewal happens in who you are becoming.
If we only walked the road we understood and could guarantee, we would never go where Jesus wants to take us. We would never be changed. We would walk by sight instead.
Today on Easter, as you prepare to step out into new beginnings, to dare to live the life of the Beloved in reality, you may find what I’ve experienced: we can easily go from inspired to discouraged.
Jesus won’t leave us in the middle of our journeys. Jesus invites us to enter into a scene from the Easter story, in today’s devotional below.
It’s the story of two friends who felt just like us – and the beautiful and powerful way Jesus made them new – is how He will make us new today too!
Today’s devotional below is perfect for celebrating Easter, to conclude our 6-week Soul Care Lent Retreat. Let’s step into this story of how God makes us new!
If you’re reading along with me in the book Whispers of Rest, we finished Wk 6: Shine as the Beloved! I hope you enjoy the last chapter to Shine as God’s Treasure. It’s my favorite story of Jesus in the Scriptures (and psst.. it’s why I love the beach!).
Remember: If you have the extra resources in my Soul Care Package, enjoy this week’s new Podcast & Teaching Video #6: Shine as the Beloved. All videos were filmed in my favorite nature spots in the mountains, beach, a creek – to bring you God’s peace with beautiful music and scripture!
The Soul Care Package extra resources will help you daily be encouraged to draw closer to God and take better care of you!
Open your heart. Let God whisper of rest touch you with His gentle Voice of love.Before we reflect, here are some reminders:
#1: Thank you for joining me for our 6 week Lent Soul Care Retreat! Replay for videos will be available only until the end of April . I hope you’ve enjoyed this Lent series. Let me know. Send me a message or post comment in our FB Group 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 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 Easter Lent Focus: NEW
What no one sees, Jesus whispers,
You are beautiful to me. I am making all things new
“Behold, I am making all things new . . . in you.”
inspired by revelation 21:5
You don’t have to wait until you’re completely new. To be you.
You don’t have to wait until you are free of doubt. In order to step into the light. To be seen.
You don’t have to try so hard. To understand everything.
These are the words I whispered to myself.
God’s calling us to a new way of living. He invites us to walk by faith.
When we hold onto Jesus’ hands, uncertainty isn’t something to be avoided, but a sure sign that we’re walking by faith — towards what our hearts really long to be.
Even if we may feel unsure or afraid, faith tells us we are actually pointed in the right direction.
A new way of living — as the beloved.
If we only walked the road we understood and could guarantee, we would never go where Jesus wants to take us. As the Beloved. His beloved.
We would be walking by sight instead.
As I prepare to step out into some new beginnings, to dare to actually be God’s beloved, I find that I can go from inspired to discouraged easily.
Jesus always shows me just one next step. But, I become discouraged if I stop and try to figure out how things are going to end up — where one step today will lead. That’s when a simple idea suddenly becomes overwrought with worry and then, those worries choke the joy out of the idea.
And I end up doing nothing at all.
Because when we actually step out to be who God’s created us to be, we become vulnerable to the critical voices that once kept us safe — but left us unchange. To avoid hurt or uncertainty.
But, I’m learning to follow Jesus with my heart. And because this is a new journey, it’s okay to feel insecure and doubt because it only means I’m living in a new way.
This new way of living as the Beloved may feel disorienting and even can cause us to feel anxious —
I don’t understand how.
I can’t do this.
This is too hard.
When I pray these private words, sometimes only silence echoes back.
So much is happening outside of my control. Panic can set in. Panic happens when you fear life will change for the worse.
But, despair happens when you fear nothing will ever change. When you feel — you — will never change.
And that’s how I can easily retreat back to my old ways of staying safe and not trying anything new — as the Beloved.
Let’s not retreat anymore, friends.
As I pictured myself walking on the same long, dusty road I’ve walked all these years: putting my heart to the side, I whispered to Jesus —
I’ve come so far. I don’t want to give up. But, I don’t know what to do.
Jesus won’t leave us in the middle of our journeys.
As I whisper this prayer, a scene from the Easter story emerged in my heart.
The Journey Back
Two friends were walking with their backs bent, their hearts broken, and their hopes for tomorrow dashed to pieces.
Their hope had died on a cross.
And now, they were walking back to where they journeyed so far. They were returning to life as they knew it. They had lost all hope life could be different. That they could change.
They were walking in the opposite direction of where they once found hope.
So much so that they did not recognize who was walking with them.
These two friends from Emmaus spent the whole journey back by talking about how everything was ruined, wrong and lost.
Meanwhile a quiet stranger they met on the road patiently listened to the whole story, from start to finish, in all it’s exhausting play-by-play detail.
He didn’t interrupt. He didn’t judge. He didn’t say, “What’s wrong with you? It’s me! Can’t you see?”
No, instead Jesus asked them questions. He wanted to hear more.
Oh? What happened? Tell me more…
Jesus was curious. He wanted to hear all about their despair.
Close Your Eyes. Imagine Yourself with Jesus In This Story.
Jesus tells us through this scene from the Easter story:
That silence you hear as you pour out your heart?
It’s me. I’m listening. To you. Walking with you.
Even as your heart’s running in the opposite direction of hope, I am with you.
When we are clouded by our doubts, it’s hard to recognize Jesus’ presence. It’s okay, because Jesus is walking with us the same way He walked with the two friends.
“And they approached the village where they were going, He acted as though He were going farther.
They urged him, saying,
‘Stay with us,
for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.’
So he went in to stay with them.
When he had reclined at the table with them,
He took the bread and breaking it,
He began giving it to them.
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him . . .
They said to one another,
‘Were not our hearts burning within us
while he was speaking to us on the road?’”
Jesus broke bread with them—right in the midst of their place of retreat. By the time they had finished confiding in him, they recognized that the quiet stranger who walked beside them was actually their friend. Jesus. Jesus is showing us that he is with us on the road.
Listen. God’s Whispers of Rest to You
You can be new. We’ve come so far together.
Tell me all your doubts and questions.
I want to hear all about them. Tell me more.
I won’t give up on you.
I am making all things new—in you. I love you.
Hearts burning. It’s what you feel when God’s whispers touch your heart. Our pounding heartbeats are resting against His strong and loving embrace. I’m stepping out to be me. And so you can you.
Putting off the old, putting on the new. You and I can do both. We can be happy, joy filled, celebrating the resurrection of the new me Jesus is bringing back to life. In the same moment, we can also carry sorrow, imperfection, and insecurity—even despair—because both the old and the new are found in his embrace. Because in this journey of faith, both the old and the new are moving into the light.
It’s the Living Way. This faith of real flesh and bone. Spirit and soul. Jesus in you and me.
Pray. A Prayer for Today: God, Make All Things New!
“Behold, I am making all things new . . . in you.”
inspired by revelation 21:5
I don’t want to wait until I’m perfect
to spread my wings.
I don’t want to wait until there is no more sorrow,
to celebrate the moments of joy you want to give to me.
Give me courage
to step out in a new way—
to say yes to whatever you have for me today. and say no to the old ways.
Thank you for making all things new in me. Amen.
Jesus loves you completely. Unconditionally. Irrevocably. Again and again.
Let Easter come alive in you today. Let’s get up and do what our two friends from Emmaus did.
They headed back to Jerusalem. Back to hope. They returned to tell everyone what happened on their journey. To tell everyone how Jesus walked with them.
How they recognized Him. This time, they were changed. They were new.
It’s time for us to do the same, friends. It’s time for us to do the same. Let’s walk as new people. Beloved. Today.
How is Jesus calling you to step out and be new?
Soul Care Challenge
(excerpted from Whispers of Rest)
Make Plans for a Fun Weekend. Try something new. Or enjoy a favorite pleasure.
Read a good book, enjoy dinner with a friend or a date night, see a movie, play minigolf with the kids, knit, or bake some muffins. Jesus is making all things new.
The Research behind It: Plan Your Weekend and Enjoy More Joy
The two friends from Emmaus were changed after enjoying a meal with Jesus. When a big issue looms over you, plan something enjoyable for the weekend, know- ing Jesus is with you. Simply making plans revitalizes you with what psychologists call anticipatory joy.
Research at the University of London showed that when people made plans to enjoy something later—it didn’t have to be large or significant—they experienced high levels of well- being by anticipating the experience before anything hap- pened. One study found that people merely thinking about watching their favorite movies raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. Another showed that planning a vacation brought peak happiness during the weeks leading up to the actual vacation. So don’t want until your troubles are over. Make plans to refill your soul with joy or peace as is. Today.
For more encouragement, get a copy of my soul care devotional Whispers of Rest.o
Enjoy reading about my journey to heal and find rest in my memoir driven book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.
Encourage my friend
to spread her wings today
just as she is.
Free her heart to see she doesn’t have to wait until
her life is perfect in order to celebrate the moments of joy
you give just to her.
Your gifts of joy might appear ordinary to others,
but because you are with her,
those moments are intimate, beauty and special.
Give my friend a growing freedom to make fun plans
for herself to enjoy – to share with others or by herself.
There can be both sorrow & joy.
Give her courage to step out in new ways
– to say yes to whatever you have for her today.
And say no to the old ways.
Thank you for making all things new in her.
In Jesus’ 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!
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!