Do you ever wish you were someone else or lived another life? Faith dares us to be who God made us to be, right where we are.
Last weekend, I arranged a special surprise date for Hubby. It was his 40th birthday and I wanted to make it especially memorable.
Since we became parents five years ago, we hadn’t seen the Golden Gate Bridge by night. I made reservations, table for two with a view. I originally made our reservations for seven o’clock. We’d finish early and walk out for a nice stroll.
Aahh… It would have been perfect.
Two days before the day, I called the restaurant, just to confirm.
There was no reservation for the Grays. At all.
My perfect plan for the evening — foiled.
There was only one reservation left.
By my best guestimate, food would probably arrive at the table around nine o’clock.
Great. We’ll both be comatose by then.
What I Had Forgotten
To kill time, I ended up switching gears, renting bikes to pedal across the bridge as a pre-dinner excursion. It turned out hilariously unforgettable. I crashed a few times skidding downhill and almost ran some pedestrians off the sidewalk taking video of Hubby riding in front of the Marina. We snacked on some Cliff bars and bananas. We made it without incident by the time we were seated. But, we were ready to eat a cow.
As we settled into our spot, I looked out into the San Francisco horizon. The sky was slowly melting into a soothing pool of pastels.
The sun was setting.
It had been so long since I had been out at night in the city, I had forgotten the skyline was most beautiful then. I had forgotten that in the summer, the sun sets later.
The Point of Decision
The evening canvas began to dim and the bridge lit up in the darkness until dots of color burned into the sky, like Lite Bright pegs all aglow.
The room we sat in nestled a fireplace, quietly crackling, flames washing the room with a warm, amber glow.
As I breathed in the beauty, I remembered how I once believed I was lost in the night of my soul.
How when I searched for answers and direction, I didn’t understand why God left me in the dark for so long…
How I was only left with my faith…
In that moment of nothingness, I realized I was already in possession of the most beautiful gift from God.
Would I willingly surrender and offer Him the gift of faith?
You and I come to this point of decision each and every day.
Where Beauty Glows
When the proverbial sun sets and it seems too late —
When we bump into the darkness of the unknown…
When our feelings don’t match the truth we know in our heads…
When our fears about what others think of us weigh heavier than we’d like…
When we stand at the crossroads of our circumstances, our dreams and our today…
Beauty glows there.
In the darkness, when we reach for God’s hand, let us remember we are not begging for our lives or our story. We have a Savior who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
Jesus will not abandon His own story. In You.
Jesus invites us to look for the light He has placed in each of us.
His light is in you.
As I prayed that one whitespace weekend, asking God to show me the way ahead, a passage of Scripture I had known long ago surfaced in my thoughts —
“For this reason I remind you
to kindle afresh the gift of God
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:6,7
The original word for kindle afresh in Greek is translated —
Pur means FIRE
Ana means UP
Zoe means LIFE
Jesus is the Life Giver.
He has given you and me life-giving gifts.
No matter how things appear, God’s gift of light in you cannot be extinguished.
In fact, it is said of Jesus: A flickering wick, He will not snuff out.
What are the gifts God has put in you since the beginning?
Think back to your childhood — or when you first came to know Jesus — what is it that makes your heart sing and your face shine?
Spiritual gifting is not evidenced by size or external results. His gifts in us are exercised by faith.
Dare to be who God made you. Embrace the story God has allowed to take shape in your life.
What is it that breathes beauty for you?
What brings you joy?
Rekindle His light within you.
Fire up His gift in you.
Find a way to nurture it. Don’t neglect it.
Whatever is beautiful, move towards it. Even in darkness. Jesus is with you there.
If you dared — by faith —
* What gift is God calling you to “kindle afresh”?
* What is it that breathes beauty or joy for you?
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As I brainstormed ways to rekindle God’s life in me that whitespace weekend, the idea for Faith Barista was born. Next week, we celebrate Faith Barista Blog’s Birthday! I’m so grateful for you, faith friends to share the journey. Thank you for the generosity of your time, comments, blog posts and your unspoken stories of faith. You’ve strengthened and encouraged my heart more than you know!
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Let’s encourage each other. Add your voice. Swap our stories.
This Thursday’s Topic 7/28:
How are you finding beauty in everyday life?
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link” or just comment directly.
Next Thurday’s Topic 8/4:
Whitespace topic: Share a moment you felt close to God recently.
Approach it any way you feel inspired!
Only required ingredient: keep it real. Thanks for serving your personal brews!
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Grab the HTML Code For Faith Barista Jam Badge
HTML Code For the Faith Jam Faith Fresh Badge
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!
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What a sweet post Bonnie! I can only envision the bike ride on the bridge. Did you say you were taking video while riding? That would be fun to see.
Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us how important the gift of faith is in our lives.
Bless you today!
It would be “fun”, Beth, except it records mostly laughing and not much else! 🙂 Was happy to see your post pop up in the jam – looking forward to it!
Happy birthday to Hubby! I enjoy your posr very much, I love your approach to life, have a great weekend!
Thanks so much, Katie! Have a good one too, friend!
This post of yours has uplifted me SO much and my heart skipped a beat or two at times just reading your words, I could envision & feel a little of what you felt! In your heart as you wrote, beautiful words. Yes, I dare to hope again and have faith that the promises God has spoken over me & over my life will surely come to pass in his own timing and his own ways and I am SURE that He never changes & He is faithful & true. Thank you for this beautiful uplifting post. Happy B day to hubby. I am sure that was memorable and unforgettable to both of you.
Adaykis! Envision warm hug across the net… to you!
Thank you for sharing this story, Bonnie. It encouraged me.
You’ve encouraged me, Mary!
I enjoyed reading your post very much, for many reasons. I love the transition of the piece, the thoughtfulness behind it. I will be thinking about it, for sure! Thank you!
Appreciate your company this a.m., PJ!
I love how God works out his plan even better than our own plans. Your date with your husband sounds fabulous. What a wonderful wife you must be! And so faith-filled. That encourages me each week.
So glad that God gave you the vision and heart and skills to make Faith Barista come to life. He blesses many through this spot on the web, including me! Thanks, Bonnie!
It was “fabulous”! It was great doing something out of the ordinary and surprising him with it. Our hubbies work hard; it was nice to do something fun for him (I think). LOL 🙂 Lisa, your company has been a treat for me here every week – You bless me!
You inspire me, Bonnie . . . To drink in God’s love and provision ~~ to think deeply about His Word and what He desires for us ~~ and to share with others the gifts He has given me. I thank God for you. You are someone I look forward to sponging time with every week and on into eternity.
That is the most beautiful thought, Carol! An eternity all together – sponging time without a care in the world. 🙂
Wow! Bonnie thank you for such a wonderful confirmation of God’s love. I think that you are beginning to echo in my mind. As you read my words you may be hearing your heart with mine.
I love, love, love the story at the beginning…it’s the little ways that God blesses us that makes my heart flutter. Have a great day!
Keep sharing who you are, as you are, friend! Thank you Jesus for Jackie!
My heart sings for joy in the light of HIs mercy and grace. God showed me that each time I fail, instead of wallowing in guilt and shame, I should look at it as yet another chance to dance in the beauty of his overwhelming grace toward me. Instead of focusing on my failures and beating myself up over it, I can instead sing out that His patience never runs out on me. I can’t wait to blog about it!
Diane, you’re so poetic! Can’t wait to read about it, as you have time to share!
Bonnie, this was beautiful and inspiring I write and yet I struggle with calling myself a writer. This was very encouraging to me today. Bless you for how you use your gifts to bless others.
You.are.a.writer. The gift for words from God in you cannot be extinguished! Keep writing, Kris – it shines God’s beauty in you!
This was a beautiful post and so sweet how things turned out for you and how you in turn make it into such a great and faith filled post. Thanks for sharing
Thank you, April for always blessing us with the most beautiful slices of you, as is. You make me smile.
I love to read your posts Bonnie they fill me with hope. I also love to read what other people’s comments. On the 8th dec 2009 my niece Danielle aged 21 died in a car accident. Six weeks before she had been organizing my Dad’s 80th birthday party and taking care of my Mum and then she was gone. God told me to prove my faith and just get out of bed every day, go to work every day, let my own children, who are a similar age lives their lives, teach an adult Sunday school class on the life of the Saviour Jesus Christ and then bear testimony just last Sunday that we will live again. We will live again, we will be together forever. I felt those words i was saying with my whole being and i knew it was true. Nothing tests our faith like death, nothing, expected or not, nothing until we have been there do we not truely understand no do we truely believe in the resurrection, well i didn’t, until now.
Bev, we can never be prepared for what life has us walk through, but your story encourages our hearts. Faith is there to carry us through. And God is real. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your niece and God’s light in her. May God continue to give you comfort whenever you remember her life.
Thank you, Bonnie. I am at a place in my life where my kids are moving on with their lives and God is rekindling a dream that I gave up due to children and our transient lifestyle. While excited, there is fear and uncertainty. Yet, ‘His gifts in us are exercised by faith’. This was a beautiful post and just what I needed.
Thank you, Shanda, for sharing from right where you are at — at this crossroad. It’s encouraging to hear how God leads us through all seasons of faith.
Bonnie, what a wonderful post! You made a decision to seek after that beauty, when you thought your plan had failed. But God’s plan never fails. And I think you had a better time. I laughed out loud at the thought of you trying to video tape while riding your bike. I am really enjoying this series. I hope I can get my post up soon!
Ooohh… You know, I can’t wait to sip your faith jam brew. Yum!
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[…] Share and Enjoy: […]
Oh my…Bonnie…your story also reminds me of the old adage: “life happens while you are making other plans” and everyday God has ways of reminding us that His plan can be much different than they one we are planning…lol For the most part I try to just ride the waves of life and in my old age, I’ve learned to “go with the flow” in lieu of against it as I use to. But there are still times…like vacations or date nights…were my dreams and wishes start out as plans that turn into expectations and sometimes dissapointments. What can I say…I’m a slower learner or just stubborn when I want my way…lol
Hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for hosting. Fondly, Roberta
You always say it better than I do. And you’re one of the people I don’t hate for it, I think because your heart totally sets me free.
I linked up today, Bonnie, can you believe it?
Your words are beautiful. It is amazing when He speaks, the power behind His words. I know He has been speaking to me for sometime about stepping out in faith in a certain area in my life. It has been my dream to write for most of my life. As a matter of fact, since I was in the 2nd grade. I am 33 years old now, a stay at home mom of three boys, and I want to write. He has been speaking over and over to me about being who He made me to be. I know He wants to bring glory to Himself through my writing. Your words :
Dare to be who God made you. Embrace the story God has allowed to take shape in your life.
What is it that breathes beauty for you? What brings you joy? Rekindle His light within you. Fire up His gift in you.
Find a way to nurture it. Don’t neglect it.
are powerful and timely in my life. Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiration.
Oh, I fell in love with my husband in San Francisco! My daughter just spent a month dancing there this summer and that amazing city captured her heart! But, I haven’t ridden a bike across the bridge — that’s still on my list! An inspirational sight-to-insight post. What a loving God we have. I’m so glad he hasn’t given up on me to use the gifting that he’s put in me. The spiritual muscles we exercise when being used by him invigorate our souls and brings positive change to others’ lives. *fire up life* God’s word is cannot be plumbed! It is a gold vein to the heart of God. I love this truth in the Greek.
Bonnie, you are my writing teacher! One thing that gives me joy is writing, saying yes to that, actually sitting down and typing out the joy-thought inspired by a prompt, or by a random picture or thought in my head! This month, July, I started blogging to join the Jam community, and it has given me such joy. Thank you!
Thank you for questions too! What breathes beauty, brings joy? I like to create with my hands: baking, crocheting (but while watching a movie, or riding: haven’t affirmed the gift and the “waste of time” it takes to sit and do it without something else going on), sewing (when I can get to it? a projext small enough to finish once started), going to the beach, reading a great book (aloud to my daughter, while snuggling), and what I just realized this morning: having a coffee date with a friend. I joy in teaching my daughter and seeing the beauty of her love bloom for something she’s learning. It doesn’t fit into a neat package, but I am finding joy, and just as you said that God took care of the timing of your evening (good that you called to reconfirm the reservation!) I often see him at work behind the scenes, in fact, I need him so much, and that gives me great joy.
Again, thank you, Bonnie!
Oh wow! I was in a hurry this morning when I linked up with you and didn’t get to read your post ’til NOW and…I’m blown away by how good God is. First, the “Point of Decision” was something we talked about at my home fellowship last night. And second, you talked about beauty in faith! I’d already written my post yesterday, and the beauty I’ve been seeing in scripture has been faith, then to find you writing about it too, well, that just makes it that much more beautiful. Really, love this about Him. There’s so much good stuff in this post, I’m sharing it. Thanks Bonnie!
Great story and message, Bonnie. What’s funny is when my plans don’t quite work out, I either get upset, sulk, and feel sorry for myself or I adapt and move on. The former is obviously no fun for anyone, and the latter holds so much joy. I’ve actually had the time of my life before when my plans fell through and I had to go with the flow. What does that tell me about following the Father? I have to let Him lead and not superimpose my plans on His or I’ll be disappointed when I don’t adapt and flow. Thanks Bonnie.
Bonnie, I love how you encourage me to fire up my gift and remind me that God does that in me. I have my part to live and He does his part.
The questions you have me asking of when I was a child or when I first came to know Christ has a freshness rising up in me right now.
Thank You. I’ll be pondering this all day as I take my pauses to be refreshed.
My heart wants many things. But………… when you ask what makes my heart soar ………… it is God. It has always been God. Mechtild of Magdeburg said, and I’m paraphrasing, Why do I hold on to the copper coins so tightly when I can trade them for pure gold?’ If I could only answer that question. Loved this post Bonnie. You always make me think. Deborah
Bonnie, so sweet. I’m glad you and the hubby had a beautiful time! …My faith needs a shot of freshness. God has been diligently leading me to use the gifts and talents He’s given me every day, even in a job does not require those gifts. I dream of sitting with women over coffee sharing life- Offering hope and redemption from the Word to those hurting, discipling women to go deeper in Christ, and being an encouragement to those who simply need a “shot of faith”. I’m passionate about so many things that connect with the heartstrings of women. My love for writing is growing rapidly as well. I need connection. Love reading your heart, Bonnie!
[…] am linking up today with Bonnie for Faith Barista Jam. Link up a post, or leave your comments here and let me know how God is opening up your eyes to […]
Wow Bonnie, I hadn’t read your post until I had finished mine and put up my very late link on your Jam. We both wrote about the beauty of the Bay and San Francisco and embracing the story God is writing in us, in just the place He has us. Very different posts, but so similar in theme! I love when this happens!! Thank you for always being such an encourager!
I love this, Bonnie. And the way you went with the flow and were surprised by beauty and joy.
We honeymooned in San Francisco 40 years ago in December. What wonderful memories. But, I do remember thinking, “That bridge isn’t gold. It’s ORANGE!”
I’ve learned to find beauty in orange. 🙂
It’s me again. I just linked up a post from earlier in the week. 🙂
About 2 years ago I participated in my first bible study. I felt lost. I have always thought “some thing was missing within me”. I didn’t feel “my purpose in life”.
I am married, have 3 kids, a part time job etc…but still felt a bit empty.
Well, its been 2 years…feeling not so empty at times but overall, still searching for my “drive” …”purpose”…for that some thing to “fire me up” I guess. Maybe I am just missing God’s purpose for me. Maybe being a mom~wife~ is it.
But, why doesn’t it feel like its enough some times?
It is my birthday today and I just finished reading your post. This last year has been NOT what I was praying for and your post is a gift and faithful reminder that God never left my side. 2 Timothy 1:6,7-is my birthday verse to begin this next trip around the Son! Thank you!
Standing in the middle of a lush green wilderness, a gentle rain falling around us, softening our steps, kindled us fresh. Wellllll…..at least until the heavens tore open a dumped a geyser on us, then we barely escaped a lightening bolt. I guess what I am saying….I felt very small, alive, and in awe of the power of God.
This is the question I have always wondered but in the busyness of everyday, has put in the back burner for quite some time .. what does God want me to do? I do not yet have an answer but in my quiett moments with Him, he just reminds me to be the best at what I’m doing and to be like His light to the people around me …
Your post reminded me about it and now I;m excited to go talk to HIm 🙂
Bonnie, I loved “seeing” you on your bikes. Perfect! (Did you really take video while riding a bike?! You are not only multitalented but daring!)
Thanks so much for this reminder, especially since too often I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to have the gifts that *other* people have instead of thinking about what God has given *me*.
Bonnie! This post is so encouraging and couldn’t come at a better time. Thank you so much for following your heart, and, in doing so, bringing so much faith encouragement to so many different people. This post is now in my book marks 🙂 Recently, God has been teaching me quite a bit about restoration, regeneration, and redemption. He’s been helping me see that He makes all things new and brings to life what was dead, brings back what was lost, and rekindles dying flames. He’s been teaching me precisely to DARE to be who He created me and discern the dreams He’s put in my heart. He’s re-defining my identity and sealing it with His Spirit. THANK YOU! Thank you for reaffirming the words God’s been speaking over me, lately 🙂
I loved your date with your husband. It sounded beautiful and fun. I’ve been a flickering wick when all I had was God’s word to cling to. Now faith’s beauty comes through His grace to me and my extended family. Thank the lord He gives us a place to serve and loving people to serve with.
Very inspirational post, Bonnie! This is something everyone can identify with. Oftentimes, we just need to take a step back (along with a deep breath) and suddenly, we can look at a situation through a different prism and appreciate it for what it is.
[…] You and I have a part in this growing art: to nurture our interests and rekindle our giftings. […]
I love this post! I’m leading a Bible study and this is our week to talk about gifts and talents and our own ways of expressing God’s love. This is a perfect post. Thanks!
I have been going thru your site and reading older topics. I came across this one and tears started welling up. I have gone thru so many things but it feels like God isn’t listening when I cry out to him to use me. The gifting I had been given I felt was no longer the gift I should have. I couldn’t handle the pain of rejection when someone would totally and adamantly reject what God was telling them. So I stopped giving words to people. I told God I didn’t want this gift and how did he do it when He was on this earth? Simple. He had faith that one day his words would be heard by that person and accepted. The gift of faith that God has placed in me is the best gift of all. I just KNOW that God will take care of all my problems and I just KNOW that God will use me again when HE sees fit. Thank you for these words. I really needed them.