When Your Soul Cries Out for Rest
by Jo Ann Fore
June 15th, 2016

The smell of the buttered-rum candle floats through the air. On my couch, the oversized pillows prop me sideways while the light tan throw and a plethora of books cover me.

Gnarled leaves hold tight to the proud branches of the heroic oak tree standing outside my living room window. The stark winter landscape had long replaced the glory of the autumn foliage in the woods bordering my home. The leathery oak, a barren reflection of its once imposing stature, seemingly lifeless.

Lifeless. Much like I was feeling, watching the days pass as I battled to regain my health.

It was a mere two months before; in this same spot I’d watched the falling leaves dot the sky. The flittering brushstrokes of citrus orange and cranberry red had moved my thoughts to hot cocoa, watering  my hopes that I would return to normal.

But fall was now winter, and the cocoa on the table didn’t hold the news I’d hoped for.

The oak mocked me. For all her scars, for all her perceived lifelessness, she had seen it coming—she was prepared in advance and today she stood strong under the simple knowing that her leaves would once again rustle in the wind.

It was a natural process, the beautiful but long summer days that had drained the oak and those intentional days following that she spent preparing for the inevitable winter day of parchedness—the one where water was scarce and the elements brutal but where the oak would draw from her stored reserves.

Stored reserves. If only I had some.  If only I could stop clingly tightly to my gnarledness.

Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.

It was here He met me, Jesus with his scandalous invitation, one that made my heart beat faster at the mere thought of walking away from the lie of the daily routine, the lie that said I couldn’t stop, couldn’t rest, couldn’t exhale.

I imagine you’ve felt it too? That longing for rest deep in your soul? Can we really move beyond surviving into the fullness of rest?

We can.  I am. And I, along with Bonnie Gray, invite you to join us. And it might not look exactly like you’ve thought.

Finding spiritual whitespace isn’t about carving out an hour of time to escape the things that stress us. It’s the opposite. It’s getting away from everything we do to distract ourselves from all the hidden pieces — in order to nurture our soul.
~Bonnie Gray

I’m writing today alongside a group of beautiful kindred spirits, those of us desperate for the very thing we somehow run the hardest from are journaling the journey with Bonnie’s 21 Days of Rest. {Join us?}. Bonnie has beautifully corralled our longings into something she calls spiritual whitespace, and her passionate and poetic words made it into a book that releases today, finding spiritual whitespace: awakening your soul to rest. 

I’ve carried this book heart-close these last two weeks, lingering over Bonnie’s breathtakingly honest words. She gets it, how when hope runs thin, it’s harder to fathom that greater things wait, hard to believe that God is still guiding, directing, calling us to rest.  She shares authentic, how it was her brokenness that drew her into the gentle leading of Jesus, to this new place of rest. And in that authentic sharing, she extends an invitation that pierces the heart.

It’s time to restore our souls—to care for what’s tender, what’s broken, and what’s fragile. As we do, like leaves turning crimson and golden, falling fresh onto the ground at dusk in the fall, we will discover what is beautiful: who we truly are when our souls rest with Jesus and Jesus is at rest in us.
~Bonnie Gray

I’m on a journey for this rest, this spiritual whitespace, and I so hope you will join us.

Known as “The HOPE Coach,” Jo Ann Fore is a popular blogger and certified Life Coach. She is passionate about leading women into full, free lives of purpose and joy.

More of Jo Ann Fore: www.JoAnnFore.com