I was going to do the one thing I’ve always wanted to do.
I was going to write a book.
A childhood dream was about to come true.
Instead, the act of writing plummeted me down a rabbit hole, free falling through a disorienting chasm of uncontrollable anxiety and painful memories.
What has always been my refuge became a trigger to the deepest wounds in my soul.
Why would God take away the one thing that’s given me comfort and joy during the most terrible season in my life?
Writing has been the one place of safety for me as a little girl.
I didn’t have to be good at it.
I didn’t even have to think about it.
I just wrote.
No one could hurt me. And no one could tell me what to say or how to say it.
I wrote from my heart.
I did it the way a baby always seems to find the cradle in your neck.
Writing was home.
A Long Time Ago
I stopped writing that way a long time ago.
Between being a little girl and growing up. I’d start back up again. Every now and then.
When I was really, really happy.
Or when I was really, really troubled.
Or whenever I sensed something deep or big was happening.
A spattering of entries in my journal read like tremors registering on the richter scale of my soul.
But, there were pages missing from the timeline of my heart.
There were deserts of silence.
Sure I wrote plenty for work. During the years in my career as a high tech professional. For ministry. Bible studies, training material.
I was writing about stuff. Valuable. Purposeful.
But, I wasn’t writing from my heart.
I had lost my voice.
Setting My Heart Free
Yet, it didn’t matter how much time would pass between entries. I’d always pack my journal, along with my toothbrush and camera, if I went on vacation, retreat or conference somewhere.
Somehow my heart has always intuitively known. It’s important to be ready. To capture the moments — my heart wanted to speak.
God is leading me back to where I left her.
The little girl.
God has kept her safe.
Even though life had buried her away.
Looking back, I now know God did not take away my writing.
God was setting my heart free.
God is touching my heart once again — breaking it out into the open — through writing.
Here with you.
It is beyond a shadow of a doubt.
If you had not been here.
If you had not accepted me, as is.
If you had not shared your stories here in community — out in the open — in the comments you courageously post — and in the blog posts you’ve shared in the Faith Jams — I would have stopped writing last year, when I fell uncontrollably into panic and anxiety.
I would have walked away.
I needed to write my way back this way.
So I can heal.
So I could find home again.
Let’s Journey Together
Now, writing to express my heart is how I journey with Jesus.
Will you join me — and share your journey of faith with me?
Let’s take care of our souls. Let’s write.
Every Thursday, I serve up writing prompt to explore topics of faith and swap some stories in a weekly Blog Link-up called Faith Jams.
You’ll let the topic soak in your heart, then publish your post the following Thursday and link up to share it with us. If you don’t have a blog, just write directly in the comments.
Then pull up a chair. Visit the person’s post/comment before yours. Read & say hi with a comment.
Place the Faith Jam badge in your post, so we can find each other & invite others.
Together, we can travel this journey of faith less alone, more present and alive, encouraged and understood.
I know we will be changed by doing so.
Because that is how I am writing to you today.
How is God moving you to express your heart?
How has writing been part of that journey?
Pull up a chair. Click to comment. Then, take a peek at next week’s writing prompt below… along with something special just for us.)
** Here Is Next Thursday’s 11/14 Writing Prompt! **
Next Thursday’s writing prompt is found in this photo.
I can’t wait to sip the different brews you’ll be sharing next week! Like a jam session in jazz, it’s all improv.
So, just write from where you are. And let your heart speak.
Write from that quiet place inside you.
You are among friends. So, share your voice. As is.
That’s where Jesus feels at home. With the real you.
**Let’s Celebrate! A Lisa Leonard Jewelry Giveaway 11/14/13**
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Faith Jam, friends. Words have been such an important of healing for my soul.
Let’s celebrate next week’s Faith Barista Bar’s opening — with a soulful words imprinted on Lisa Leonard Jewelry Giveaway!
Next Thursday 11/14, I will be giving away jewelry from the Lisa Leonard Faith Collection to TWO (2) Faith Barista readers.
Which jewelry pieces? YOU will get to pick the one that speaks to your faith journey (click to view).
To enter, link up your post or simply share a comment next week.
** 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
Yay!! I’m so excited to see you back! What an answer to prayer!! I’ll write on my blog later… But I’m just so glad you are back!
(heart pounding) Me too, Marina! It’s surreal. Being back together again this way. Glad you’re here, Marina!
I have been reading about your experiences for some time. While I would be possibly be interested in exploring the Thursday writing time, I am unsure of how to begin. Badges. Writing prompts. Well, I’m not a blogger, so am embarrassed to say that I am lost and don’t know where to start.
Also, was wondering, in this process if emails are listed with Thursday notations.
Thank you for whatever help you can provide. If not, I will continue to read. 🙂 Note: I did try to post this via your ‘contact’ window, but it would not send, telling me to use another source, so am writing in this manner.
Hi Sam!The writing prompt is a word or phrase I’ll share with the community that we can all reflect on. You can absolutely write your thoughts directly as a comment (like you did today). To write a blog and share it by linking up, here are some more details: https://www.thebonniegray.com/join-faith-barista-jam-thursdays/ At the bottom of that page, you can click on previous Faith Jams we’ve done and see examples of this. Lastly, feel free to enjoy reading, knowing we are connecting in our hearts beyond words. I’m so grateful you’re here. BTW, there is no expectation to write every week. Just join as your heart feels prompted, friend. 😉
How exciting to read your story and idea! Ready to JAM!
Faith you inspire me. You are a blessing and thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am excited to do the faitj jams. I have never done them and so I am ttaking a leap to write.
Taking a leap with me, then Tammy! (closing eyes… reaching out my hand… let’s jump in together and feel the splash!)
I do not blog but I am a faithful reader of your blog. Found it sometime in the past year as you shared some things you have been facing. I get so excited when I see an email with your recent post. I love the content but more importantly, I know that you have felt good enough to write and to share—something that you enjoy doing. It encourages me to see you get back to something you love and that it took so much for you to do it. I say…”yay, she did it…she’s feeling better!”
As I said, I don’t blog or anything close. I am just one of those people who follow along as a reader. I do enjoy journaling at times and I am going to use the prompts you offer to do just that-to write in my journal. So while you may never see my writing and no one in the world will be sitting in front of a computer screen reading what I write, know that you have made and impact on me. Know that my family and those in my life are affected by the lessons I will learn from writing along in my journal.
I am praying that you will continue to feel better each day!
Dear Jennie, You are much closer to me than you may think, friend. We are both connecting as we journal quietly as our pen hits the paper. We are sharing our journey through the pages of our individual journals — our every day lives. We are connecting through our hearts. Journeying together. Whispers across any boundaries. Through the Holy Spirit. So glad you shared, because reflecting on these prompts don’t have to be shared publicly in order to be heard. Thank you for being part of this safe space for me to explore the faith journey. My heart is happy if I can be a part of your journaling space — as we explore different topics.
I do not have a blog, but really feel the Lord leading me to write. I have not been open to share like this. Bonnie you have inspired me, the setting your heart free really speaks to me. I will ponder the heart this week and see were the Holy Spirit leads me. I feel afraid, but letting go, writing or commenting I believe will help the healing.
Oh, Bonnie ~
So wonderful to hear from you. I have been thinking about you lately and here you are!
Thanks for opening up Faith Jam again as I love the challenge. I may not always post my writings on the subjects, but I do write from my heart (in my journal).
Sending you hugs and smiles.
Hi Dorothy — there is absolutely no expectations to join every week. Join as your heart feels inspired. We are both connecting as we journal quietly on paper or in our every day lives without words. We are connecting through our hearts. Journeying together. So glad you shared, because reflecting on these prompts don’t have to be shared publicly in order to be heard. Love you friend!
You have been on my heart and mind this past year and I am so glad to see your words on the screen again. Looking forward to jamming with you again.
Kristine!! YES. 🙂 xoxo
Genuine, authentic writing is anything but easy and I only write in my personal journals! I have been journaling for 25 years and still I am challenged to write about my journey honestly…oh boy… I guess that’s why I so appreciate your transparency and vulnerability. Thank you! I appreciate you.
The discipline to write every day, once a week or month is a huge calling and one that we should all be practicing. I love that you challenge us and yourself to write once a week. I love that you give us some help with a prompt just like the Father prompts us in life to write, speak, teach, listen and pray. Thank you for engaging this pen of the ready writers where words come together heralding life and God in it.
Can we say excitement?? I was so happy to see you in my inbox today! Waiting for the prompt, wondering, is this it?? 🙂 I too love to write but usually draw a blank as I fear people will not be interested. So it takes forever to choose a story. Unless I have a prompt! I am so happy that you are back and that we can write together. I don’t know how I will stack up to the other writers but I am learning (!!) that does not matter. We please God by just by having the faith and letting lose! If it is about God we CANNOT go wrong. 🙂 Funny thing is? I woke up with a post in my heart today for the very first time!! I could not wait to get to the computer! God is Love and I am loving this!! & You!
Love to all of God’s writers out there,
I do not have a blog, I feel the leading of the Holy Spirit to share my faith journey. Bonnie you have been such a blessing and inspiration. I feel unsure about writing, but know that when I do share there seems to be a release. I find comfort in knowing the faith journey is not ment to experienced alone. This will also allow me to exam my own heart as the Lord has begun a healong work in me.
And God gave you the journey so that you could glorify Him in the living through and victories. Because your story is inspiring, whether you feel that or not, it is. It lets people like me know, be fully assured, that we can walk through the hard things, the things that completely take our breath and we don’t see the next step, because God is there. It isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. And we will stumble on that journey, but we will make it. Thank you for being open and vulnerable. Thank you for walking that hard road, because by doing so, you have been a trailblazer for the rest of us who really need to walk it as well.
I’m excited to express my feelings-
Hi Bonnie…..I cant believe (I really can) that this weeks topic is “Be Yourself”. With others, I too, don’t write but I do journal. Our LORD’S been speaking to my heart about speaking to others about HIM. Well, I have been trying with my immediate family, who are unbelievers, to no avail. Needless to say, I’ve been on my knees asking for forgiveness, crying out to the LORD for fear of making HIM out to be worse. In HIS unending Love, HE has shown me to be myself, the person HE made me to be. Our FATHER has put certain people in our lives for us to minister to because HE made us unique and has given us certain gifts. Maybe people you can reach, I cant, and vice a versa. So, to be yourself, the beautiful person GOD made you to be is a gift not only to Our LORD but to certain others who GOD can use us to touch.
I am Also following you quitly fr.o.m. A safe place. You toutch people at a far distans. I live in Sweden. Started following you just around you panik atacks. I hade simulur problems at that time so I fully understand the hopelessnes. I do write some in Swedish, poems and stuff. But English Isent my nativ launguage. So I might not say so mutch here. But I want you to Know that Thrue the Hard Times’ it Was like fresh air to me every time I recived your post. Thank you !
I don’t know where to start. I have felt that I need to write a blog or webpage or something but I didn’t know where to start. All the research I found was so confusing. So this is a wonderful start. Thanks. I printed out the last email that you sent. The one you have on this page. It had a lot of meaning in it for me and I want to share it with another beautiful woman I know who is also going thru depression. I will tell her about this place and see if she wants to write as well. Thanks again.
I love reading your words Bonnie! You have bared your soul to us here and it’s very refreshing and humbling. I don’t have a blog but I do occasionally comment. I keep a notebook with me at all times….just in case. I have found that God can speak through the ordinary and the extraordinary and sometimes I need to capture those moments on paper to have for the future. Those little nuggets really come in handy during the rough times and I want to leave something behind for my children. It’s a way to share my heart and my love for God with them.
Peace and blessings to you!
God moved me to a new site this year, http://trippingthroughfaith.com where I am having to be more open and honest about my struggles in life. It’s scary, but also cathartic.
I’ve enjoyed reading about your journey and prayed God be with you and nurture health to return. Emotional traumas are so painful and scary. It is so exciting to know that our being here listening has helped you. How sad it would have been not to have heard your voice. You have blessed us all. God bless and keep you growing and healing. 😀
Oh, I so wanted to comment earlier! I was on my cell phone and all was too small to manage. But I read your post with great delight- because you, dear Bonnie are missed. And I will look forward to joining you next week. In His Grace, with joy in this journey…Dawn
I believe that God led me to your blog long ago so that I would know that there are others like me who have struggled with the past… who love to write… but sometimes it gets so overwhelming from the pain of the past that it is like being frozen. I see through your journey that God is freeing you and I am hoping that God will free me too. I would like to try to write on Thursdays but I don’t know how to blog or what a badge is. I guess I will just comment and see what happens.
Bonnie! I am so thankful for you and for your courage to keep writing. Praying the Lord will allow me to link up with you next week!
I am so excited that you are starting the Faith Jams back up again Bonnie! And the Lisa Leonard design that speaks the most to my faith journey is the bracelet that says “let you light shine”.
In your brokenness, you allowed God to use you in ways you may not yet realize. Thank you for being so real. You bless me.
Blessings and love,
Wow! I was so delighted to see that you were taking the next step and opening this back up…
Each step of your walk over the past year has been one that I have clung to, cheered on, and even wiped away tears as I related to.
As stated above Thank you for being real…
In doing so, you have encouraged me to open myself up and explore (sometimes with much trepidation) !!
Life us unbelievably hard right now, yet at the same time I can have eyes to see that God is working something wonderful in the process.
I look forward to joining you next Thursday!
Hi. The Lord bless you as you continue to encourage the people you meet each day either online or in your daily life. The Lord strengthen you for the journey and protect you from the evil one.
The Lord bless you with joy and peace.May He encourage you each day with more ideas and words of encouragement as you brew your cups of faith to share with the world at large.
I’m glad I discovered your blog today. I was inspired by what you wrote – but it’s too early so I will post it next week.
God be with you,
How beautiful! I am praising the Lord for His faithfulness and restorative freedom! I rejoice with you! I’d welcome you back with a big hug, but the truth is, you never left our friend’s embrace, so I hope you can feel the love wrapped around you already. God is good. <3
Bonnie – I am so glad to know you have turned a corner with your writing! Just this week I have made my own return to my private journal after an absence of several years and have found such sweet release and a strengthening bond with my Savior. I do not blog, but will consider writing a bit in the comments. Looking forward to reading here more frequently as the Faith Jams begin again 🙂
So touching reading all the comments above. I look forward to sharing over the coming weeks.
Hi, Bonnie, and others!
Bonnie, I’m not sure how I found you–maybe by articles/blogs that were reposted in Crosswalk.com. But somewhere along the way your transparency, and your journey grabbed hold of me and my heart. There were similarities in our experiences, as children, and now as adults. While your blog entries sometimes express the cry to God I have barely uttered, other times it is the cry I need to speak but haven’t, or can’t yet. Othertimes the healing of my own path is echoed in yours, affirming for me the ways of our Healer. Sometimes, I see Faith Barrista in my inbox and know I can’t just then allow myself to read it because I can’t loose myself in what will be stirred up, because I have other places I need to be, to carry on in life just then. I save it–but have not yet read all I’ve saved.
So, reading, thinking, “Be yourself” as the topic can be hard–as lots of stuff is sometimes. Lots of times I’ve not been able to “be myself” in my lifetime. I’ve needed to be the diligent, obedient daughter, or the daughter that complied and didn’t make waves to stir trouble in others. Or the wife that put every other ahead of self–denied self into oblivion, then had to find herself again when no longer a wife. The mother who was the only caregiver, nurturer, provider for children, working hard to avoid repeating history, so therefore unable to consider myself, what I yearned for, needed, wanted. Just do what is needed and keep at it! And at it! And at it! Then I was the middle-aged woman, alone, needing to make a way and a future for old age sustanance. Trying, trying, slipping and falling. So much I hungered for–mostly to not be alone in the flesh with no one to talk over the day’s events and trials and joys–when there were some. I journaled sometimes. It was the only time and place i let the hurts flow and the anger out. It was the only “safe place” to do that. Perhaps because that was my only outlet, sometimes the journalling just took me down lower and lower like water gushing down a drain. So there are times, I’m afraid to write “the real me.” Afraid to look harder at the feelings, the worries, the hardness of grieving, when it seems like there is more grief than anything else in my life. Still, there HAS been some healing and looking at hard facts and realizations of my life. Lots of repentance. Acknowledgement of a measure of grace and even blessings, even if I feel more stuck in the “uck.”
A handful of years ago, it had seemed that I’d finally come out of the muck and the mire into bright Sonshine and wholeness, with great trust in, and love for, my Healer and Restorer. Full of love and strength and confidence I let Him lead me into a mission placement to utilize all my hard history in ministry and to witness to others I might stand beside, and encourage in their tough paths. I gave and gave, and then got tired and then decieved and broken again. Returning to my once safeplace, I’d lost my own support systems and encouragers. I’ve questioned lots of things in my faith, my God, my journey. My struggle now to live is as hard, maybe harder, than in the years I had young ones depending on me alone–with God we hoped. Back then I had hope for better times, easier times ahead. Now, I see that is not likely in this life and that is hard to face or accept. Now the anger is back, bigger. But I hide it from all but God because it is so unacceptable to those around me, as is the pain of the hurts and losses of a lifetime. I motor through each day, seeing infinitessimal changes of healing once again, having a hard time being thankful for anyof it because it is so small and I have much less time left for it all to add up to make a difference. I’m tired of being broken. I’m tired of feeling so alone with a God that seems so distant, like every other important relationship of childhood and adulthood. Questioning without solid answers. For a while, I knew better who I was, and Whose I was. While I may still be the same person, I’m less sure of what I once knew. Less confident. More afraid. But for this moment I will not hide the real me, and risk to share.
I am new here, your story is strikingly similar to mine.
I am haunted with a desire to pick up my notebook and write,
I too carry my pen and notebook with me wherever I go, and have not written in it for a while.
I saw the writing prompt and i think Father wants me here.
Would love to take part and see where this leads.
Oh how I love how you write…echoes of my own heart. I have been journaling since the early 1980’s. I write because there is no one to listen to my heart except my Father. Healing and the ability to live alive are the reasons I write words on paper…
[…] is excitement in my heart this morning as I write this. Bonnie Gray from Faith Barista is bringing back her Thursday’s Faith Jam writing […]
I’m So Excited To Start ThIs Journey Here!! 🙂
So glad you’re here, Bonnie!
Hi! I’m not sure how I stumbled across your blog but I absolutely love it! Thank you for being so open in your posts…you’ve really touched my heart. Many blessings to you!
[…] so good to see Bonnie Gray back online and blogging again… serving up steamy mugs of coffee (make mine herb tea please!) […]