About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Bonnie, I absolutely agree! I’ve found this freedom, and I’ve lived in the space of the *should’s*–looking for a rule book on how to be the perfect mother. Once I found the freedom to live as me, I realized that this is my worship…even if I’m eating goldfish and grapes while my son plays (I love that!), I can be free to be me! Sometimes it means I say “no” to my son when he asks me to play, and I refuse to respond to any guilt that asks me what if this is the last time he asks, because there are times when I say yes and there are times when I say no, and at that moment saying no is the right choice for me–I have to live in this freedom and receive peace…and this way of living, it’s what teaches our children the most, anyhow!!! Right on, my friend, right on!

    Rich blessings as you continue to live in freedom, sweet Bonnie!

    • “to live in this freedom and receive peace…and this way of living, it’s what teaches our children the most…”

      That is beautiful, Amy! That is what we can pass on to our sons! That is more precious than anything. Loved hearing your sweet voice of encouragement, friend!

  2. Though not yet a mother, I do have my own list – the perfect wife list. I could probably benefit from a little time spent thinking more intentionally about what it is that brings me joy and peace in this role and focus on doing that!

    • Joy and peace — intentional! I love the sound of that, Kristen! As women, we’re so good at nurturing others, we’ve got to remember to pour that love on ourselves, too!

  3. Awesome devotion My Friend :). My boys are 20 & 17 and I’ve learned sooo much about how important it is to spend time listening to them. Enjoy life with your kids because it passes by soo very quickly :). Thanks for being used of God to speak to us today!!! Love, Stacey

    • Aw. That’s so touching, Stacey! Two young men, still boys in your heart forever. *sniff* *sniff*. I love imagining my boys growing up and all of us enjoying each other’s company.

  4. Thanks for this post. I know I have my own, unwritten lists of expectations I have of myself and others. What a timely reminder to walk by faith, in joy and peace.

    • Yes, those lists are always waiting in the wings for us. 😉 When I get focused on those lists, I literally whip out a piece of paper and start jotting down ideas that bring joy and peace. Then, I pick one to do. I would be fun to see your joy and peace list, Alexandra. 🙂 Go and enjoy, friend!

  5. Oh, this really spoke to me today. My “list” went out the window along with so many of my dreams when my marriage fell apart. Now I’m living in a reality so far from what I expected and desired…yet I’m finding such freedom and joy in the lack of expectations. It’s a bit scandalous and shocking to tell the truth.

    I think I’ll get a bit more intentional and make a list of what I enjoy and strive for those things. Thank you, thank you!

  6. I hope the goldfish you are eating are crackers!

    I don’t have an official list, but sometimes one seems to want to run through my head and it would be the perfect Christian list, and that list always makes me come up short!

    I wish it came more naturally to just enjoy that freedom of being who God uniquely made us to be, and not compare ourselves to others in any of our roles.

    • Yes, the goldfish are crackers! 🙂 I used to have a perfect Christian list, but then I found out it was made up by others, and not Jesus. Being with others who believed and practiced grace definitely made a difference helping me believe it for myself. But, it is definitely an ongoing journey .. that I’m happy to be facing in the right direction of joy and peace!

  7. Fabulous! We mommas are so good at being hard on ourselves and comparing ourselves to others. We think God wants us to be so perfect in our parenting (and we want to give our kids the best). But our imperfections in parenting and life don’t surprise him at all. He knows all to well our limitations as human beings. What I’ve learned through many years of parenting, is that when we trust God, he fills the gaps and makes all things good. So here’s to tearing up those lists! Thanks for this post!

    • I’ve never been so hard on myself until I became a mommy! I love the choice bits of wisdom you shared here, Lisa – I want to see God filling in the gaps and making all things good! Zip… tearing up those lists! 🙂

  8. Thank you for candid viewpoint on our perfectionisms that don’t allow us to enjoy our families! I have a scrap booking pile i’ve been carrying around for 3 years now – promising I’ll make time, I’ll make time – empty! We set the bar for ourselves and our children way too high! Thank God for grace!

    • Alba, I hear you! I cleaned out my drawer and now they are filled with books and cards — which are things that I love reading and writing to friends.. and even started writing notes to my boys. Everyone is different. Find out what your thing is and start filling that drawer with that! 🙂

  9. Wow, friend. This is good advice in so many ways… the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, the perfect {fill in the blank}

    I think i have a few lists of my own that need a match taken to them…

    • Perfect is boring, really. Because it’s not real. Sara, I love you how you always see beauty in the imperfection and always encouraging us with who you are! *hugs*

  10. So needed to hear this. I battle with this daily. Comparing myself with other moms, always thinking I don’t measure up. Wondering how they always seem to have it together, living in neat houses, cooking terrific meals, everything in its place and all deadlines easily met, with nothing ever lost. Can’t ever seem to get caught up and have enough time to enjoy my two precious blessings. Then I spend time at the end of the day beating myself up for things I didn’t get finished, and time I lost with my children. I realize how fast they are growing up and don’t want to miss a minute of it, but feel like it is my duty to keep things in order too. I think we as women are our own worst enemy. Thanks for speaking from your heart, you really touched mine.

  11. Hi Bonnie,

    Thanks for the liberating post. The parenting challenge I struggle with is in trying to define and mold my son into a person of my expectation and in the process loose joy of parenting and failing to enjoy my child. For the most part of it, I do things out of “guilt” all in an attempt to be a good mum. I know I need to let go of this and instead learn to see and nurture the Lord given potential in my son. So, yes I should burn my expectation of what motherhood should be and allow myself to free fall into pool of parenting by grace! Thanks for the timely reminder!

  12. Millionaire Matchmaker is a total GUILTY PLEASURE for me! It ranks right up there with Dog the Bounty Hunter (!!) in entertainment/trainwreck vs. actual wisdom very directly communicated.