Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest
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on June 2, 2014
I grew up in a home where we did things--cleaned our rooms, swept the floors, did the dishes, worked in the garden, did our homework, practiced music lessons. Sometimes, I felt that if I wasn't doing something all of the time, I was "lazy." Except at night--then we could watch TV or play board games. . . . Rest was what we did when the work was finished, and sometimes, it wasn't finished until we went to bed.

Yes, I am one of those people pleasers who measures her worth by how much she has accomplished, and I never measure up.

When I accepted the invitation to join Bonnie Gray's launch team for "Finding Spiritual Whitespace," I didn't know what to expect from her book and from her story. While I'm supposed to be giving Bonnie the gift of reading and reviewing her book, she has given me a greater gift--the gift to rest, the gift to be who God created me to be, and even more than than that, the gift to figure out who that person is.

Like Bonnie, I have PTSD as a result of losing my home in a house fire and from the resulting burns from that fire; I get panic attacks, too, when I'm in situations that are beyond my control, often triggered by the presence of fire and flame. I am slowly learning how to deal with these situations. Bonnie has given us permission to live with those conditions, to accept them as part of who we are now because of who we were then.

I found that even though Bonnie has given journaling prompts at the end of every chapter, I did not want to stop reading to do the writing. I was caught up in her story of childhood trauma and recovery. I wanted to hold the little girl Bonnie and tell her that she was so very loved all the way to the end of the book. As I read, I began looking at my own life to find some white space for soul rest as well. And by the time I reached the chapters on creativity and the menu for creating soul rest and whitespace moments, I knew what I needed to do. I began using my camera and my writing as whitespace moments, to disconnect from everything else and find those moments of peace.

Bonnie's book is not "feel good theology" or "armchair psychiatry." It is an invitation to come closer to Jesus, to let Him embrace you where you are. Even if you don't do all the journaling at the end of the chapters, I guarantee you will look at rest in Jesus very differently.
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on June 6, 2014
I had a hard time getting into this book, "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" by Bonnie Gray. I liked the writing; she has a beautiful, laid-back style. I just couldn't relate. Gray has come from a hard childhood - parents divorced when she was young, her dad left and never tried to communicate with her or her sister, her mom was verbally abusive and seems like a really tough woman.

picture via Amazon
"Finding Spiritual Whitespace" is kind of set up like a study. There are questions at the end of each chapter and usually they pertain to your past. Examples: When have you felt cut up? What is your earliest memory of being happy? Sad? What kind of music did you enjoy listening to as a child?

Oh goodness, I just don't have that many memories. Honestly. Gray found that she had memories stored in her that were causing post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks. I just don't remember much. It's kind of a joke in my family. And especially vivid memories - those are lost on me.

What I really appreciated about this book was the Whitespace Challenge. Throughout the telling of her coming through PTSD and those challenges, Gray shared with us a sort of new way to spend time with God. Not a scheduled, sit down with a Bible, journal, and some nice calming music quiet time. But learning to invite God into the "whitespace" of your day.

I love this idea. I stress a lot about doing things "right" - prayer, meditation, memorization, Bible study. A lot of things that are good things but things I don't believe God wants us to stress over! But there are a million voices telling me the "right" way to do things. And I'm so Type A people pleaser that I hate to disappoint or do it "wrong." So I love that Gray has opened my eyes to the realization (in my heart because I've known this in my head for a long time) that there is no one right way to spend time with God.

Sometimes it may be with a journal and Bible in a nice cozy chair. Sometimes it may be in the bathtub just talking to Him. It can be outside, inside. Daytime, nighttime, midmorning! I believe it can be while I'm washing dishes or folding laundry or watching tv (sometimes, not all the time). God does not belong in a box. He can speak to us whenever, wherever, however He desires.

I am taking time this week to really listen to God to hear Him speak to me a word. Just one. One word giving me direction, encouragement, discernment, peace, something from Him. I may hear this word as I go and watch the Waltons or while I'm playing with my kids or while I'm cooking supper or while I'm on the phone with my husband. I still plan to spend time in His Word but to not put my time with him in a box of "I must spend X minutes or else I'm a super failure."

I'm tired of being a Christian failure and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I plan to give myself as much grace as He has given me because I am not my own.
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on May 30, 2014
There are times when you sit down to read a book and it completely grips you. Bonnie's book did that for me. Her story of childhood trauma stirs the emotions. Her battle with panic attacks demonstrates her bravery. Bonnie doesn't leave the story there. She goes on to talk of her journey to find rest or "spiritual whitespace". How can we make time to rest? To take care of ourselves? To spend time with God so that He can renew us? Through spiritual whitespace. By leaving some of our time blank for God to fill.

Not only is her story gripping, her book is practical. She lays out how to rest. The book contains journaling prompts and suggestions for activities to find whitespace in your life. There is quite a creative collection of ideas. I found the prompts to be healing when I sat down to write. I haven't done all of them, but the one that I did do were eye-opening. The suggested activities range from enjoying the outdoors to creating a memory journal to spending time with an old friend.

I read a ton of books each year. You could say I devour them, but Bonnie's book now holds a special place on my shelf. It helped me to go through some healing and learn how to take time to rest. I would have to say that so far this year it has been the top read for me. If you are struggling with healing or finding peace or experiencing stress, Bonnie's book is not to be missed!!
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on June 5, 2014
I have been reading Bonnie Gray’s book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace: awakening your soul to rest, a book about choosing to let God in, a book about choosing to let Him guide our time, our memories, our choices throughout the day. It’s a book about surrendering, in all the possible ways. It’s a book about a little girl’s heart that was broken and healed again when she let herself be guided into moments with her Father, especially moments in her past that He longed to heal and rewrite.

Bonnie’s story is stunningly beautiful and heartbreaking and glorious. All of this. She is raw and vulnerable and so amazingly brave in how she shares the details of her life that brought such wounding to her heart, as a little girl–this wounding that she carried with her until less than two years ago, when the weight of her wounds led to her experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

God doesn’t want to leave us in the same place. He comes for the brokenhearted, resurrecting the hearts of His daughters who, as little girls, suffered. He knows His daughters, while even grown, still suffer: He knows when the wounds of the past are too great. He knows when the memories have been pushed down, tucked away, not surrendered to and rewritten by Jesus.
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on June 3, 2014
There I was, innocently minding my own business and reviewing a few books for Revell Group when out of the blue I was gobsmacked by God. He did it with this sweet-covered little book that looks completely harmless. It’s dainty little flowers and cup of what you just know is chamomile tea, sits there looking nothing like the earth-shattering, mind-blowing and life-changing soul surgery it contains. The book is called Finding Spiritual Whitespace.

Its simple message is summed up in the word rest. Such a simple word, but one that is wielded with the force of a velveteen scalpel by Bonnie Gray. Every chapter pierced places in my soul that I forgot were there, or that I thought were neatly in the past. Thankfully the velveteen part comes in with the gentility of Bonnie and her way of making tough things seem so doable. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the exposed parts, I instead found a place of hope - a place of rest. She faithfully brings you back to Jesus over and over and shows you His arms of grace.

Her surgical skill with words brings an incredible yearning to know the rest she is finding on her journey and to know more deeply the Giver of that Rest. I found this book to be challenging and healing all at the same time. If something in you reaches out at the word rest, I say run to the nearest bookstore or computer and get yourself a copy today! The Great Physician and His assistant Bonnie Gray is waiting to help your healing begin.

I want to thank Revell Group who gave me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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on June 4, 2014
"How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God?" This question from the back cover of "Finding Spiritual Whitespace" by Bonnie Gray intrigued me enough to read it. But the book was not what I was expecting. Primarily a vehicle for her story, though fascinating, was not what most people are looking for in a book about finding relief from the fast pace of our culture today. Her diagnosis of PTSD and her rehashing of her father's betrayal and a search for peace of mind filled the majority of the book.
If you are only seeking answers to the above question and are not suffering from panic attacks stemming from PTSD, you only need to read Part 6, "The Whitespace Challenge". There are some helpful exercises at the conclusion of the previous chapters you may be interested in checking out as well. The book was an okay read. She does have a fascinating way of telling her story; however, I believe that she overdid it for the purposes of writing the book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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on May 28, 2014
Bonnie absolutely NAILS it with this book!! Her {courage} in going to the deepest, darkest places of her life, and allowing the healing touch of Jesus to saturate her every fiber is astounding! Her {gentleness} while encouraging her readers to go to the deepest, untouched places of their heart, is incredible. Her {passion}, for sharing God's truth regarding rest is relentless, as she points her readers to Christ every step of the journey. This book is like water to the weary soul: quenching the deepest desire for more rest & more Jesus. Finding Spiritual Whitespace is a 'must' for every reader's library, just don't leave it sitting on the shelf-pick it up & soak it up!!
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on June 15, 2016
If you're just looking for good advice from another person's personal experince, then this book will be just fine- just like every other touted "christian" help book. However, if you're like me and are tired of personal stories and secular advice given under the guise of a Christian and biblical perspective, then don't bother with this book. Bonnie's book is well-written, and the message of book is good, but still falls short of true biblical guidance (like most books in this category). Personal experiences and testimonies can be helpful, to a point, but focusing on (and starting with) personal experience rather than sound biblical teaching is a dangerous and slippery slope. Start with the bible, study, pray, and know the voice of your shepherd - not the voices of the world (however well-intentioned they may be).
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on June 14, 2014
Bonnie Gray reminds us all that we need to take of the "joy-wounded stranger" inside each of us. The efficient, time-driven parts of us need to care for the piece of our souls that needs rest and restoration. Too often we plow ahead ignoring the wounded part of us that is laying by the side of the road.

Whitespace is the space on the page left blank--purposely left blank to give meaning to the rest of the words or art share that page. Gray tells us that our lives need whitespace too. We need blank spaces in our calendars, in our days, in our hours--to rest, reflect, and make room for Jesus.

We all need to stop and care for the "joy-wounded strangers" inside of us. To care for the parts of us that are wounded. To provide relief and rest for the pieces of our souls that are worn thin through stress or busyness. And this book is a great start. I love Gray's honesty in finding whitespace in her own life and the prompts she gives to help the reader find her own.

An inspiring book that I well refer to again and again.
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on May 15, 2014
About the Book:

Move beyond Coping and Surviving to a Rejuvenating Place of Soul Rest
How many of us find ourselves exhausted, running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows exactly what that's like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, Bonnie's plans suddenly went off script. Her life shattered into a debilitating journey through anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. But as she struggled to make sense of it all, she made an important discovery: we all need "spiritual whitespace."

About the Author:

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind faithbarista.com, serving up shots of faith for the daily grind. Her work is featured on DaySpring (in)courage and nationally syndicated on Crosswalk.com. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

My Review:

To start this book off on the right note, you have to first come into the realization what "spiritual whitespace" is. Spiritual Whitespace makes room in our hearts for a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, room in our lives for rest, room in our souls for rejuvenation. To me spiritual whitespace would be comparable to just "being", being in the moment of peace, quiet, and reflection. We need times like these to help us face our problems and daily tasks with a renewed sense of well being.

The author upon writing this book, wasn't completely aware of the need she would have for this very idea in her own life. And all too suddenly she was to embark on a journey that was somewhat life altering to the point of literal trauma that she had refused to face. So this book is a very real story of restoration for the author and for us. She also has provided two different types of prompts to get you actively involved in the process of living and letting go.

**Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Revell.
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