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...

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  1. Thank you for this solid truth, Bonnie. Learning this new year to trust that joy can only truly be found when in all things, my heart delights in the will of my Father… Bless you, sweet sister.

  2. ‘In the everyday things that no ones sees, that is where God faithfully meets us — because He sees’. So powerful and true. Thank you for sharing.

  3. There is always so much in your posts to glean…the nth dip…we wouldn’t want to stop one dip short would we?
    I believe my soul resolution this year is to be Expectant. Not just to know that Jesus can show up but ‘to look with outstretched neck in eager anticipation’ for His arrival. I am looking for Him as I walk with Him daily, but I am also looking to see how He will show up for my unsaved family members, how He will reveal Himself in ways He hasn’t before. This is the year I believe He will. I don’t want to give up praying one day short either.
    I am creative and I loved your word picture with the staining. Although God can do things instantly, He often takes His time. I have rushed projects and they often don’t come out as good as the ones I take my time on. Love sharing a cup of coffee with you! It really starts my day off right!! God Bless Bonnie!

  4. Friends. Coffee. Daily readings from God’s Word. Words from other bloggers who might be sharing the same journey. And oh, did I mention coffee? The kind with an inch of foam, a drizzle of caramel, and the spike of cafiene? :o) Great blog. (Mmm…I know I spelled that word wrong, but my spell check isn’t working).

  5. I love what you said towards the end…..sometimes it feels good to just bask in the joy that is just plain fun! I don’t think I take enough time to do that, and I need to.

  6. I’m mindful of this whole concept “joy”….It’s a work in progress for me…being attuned to God’s joy in the everyday that surrounds me. I’ve shared a story on the joy filled moment (small one) my daughter and I experienced the other night via http://www.thepaperbagprincesses.blogspot.com, “Moon Chasers”.

    Thanks again for being such an inspiration and a writing catalyst Bonnie! Hope the book writing is coming along.

  7. Bonnie I love the idea of “Joy Staining” – what a beautiful picture! And this…”Expressing Joy — in bold and care-free quantities – is a big part of taking on this identity. ”

    I am on that joy journey too! I so want to be known for Joy, don’t you? God is doing a work in me. Praying that I am patient enough to let that ‘stain’ dry and deepen my character.

    Blessings!

    • Aw, Stacey! I can still feel your infectious smile and the joy that comes from a heart spilling over with words! Love locking arms with you on this joy journey, friend! 🙂

  8. It’s a rare place where the comments are as inspiring as the article… i love this place. I’m finding “joy” in the journey so thanks for the reminder to keep “painting”.

    • Isn’t it so true!? We are a community of joy — sharing ourselves, AS IS. What joy there is in each other, bobbing our heads in the everyday journey of faith with one another!

  9. We feel the same about trips to the hardware store! Thanks for sharing what you learned.

    “Delight” was my word last year. It’s amazing how much remains for me to learn. Thanks for extending my journey through yours.

    (Sara Frankl offered image files of all her readers’ “one words” in 2011. If I can find the file for “delight” on my computer, I’ll email it to you. I printed it out to tack around the house as a reminder and found that helpful.)

    May God give you joy and fun in whatever He sends today.

  10. This fits perfectly with what I am teaching in bible study today. I am going to quote you “at the end of the year, my life is not about what I have done, but who I have become”!

    THANKS!

  11. Great thoughts. I’m reading a SoulPrints by Mark Batterson right now and your quote sounded much like something he said. “The goal is not accomplishing the dream God has given you..the primary issue is who you become in the process” It’s all about the lessons along the road.

  12. Not to spoil your joy, because we all want things just perfect for our children and we want them to last as they change through the years… but for their first bed… keep the stain light to medium… the digs and scratches won’t show so much because the wood won’t be in too much contrast to the stain… or always keep an extra can or two of that stain (from the same lot) on hand to touch up over the years. Better yet just clear coat it with several coats of varnish. Either as is or after the staining. The hard part, as it is in the Christian life is in the waiting… waiting for the coats to dry… waiting for the varnish or clear coat to dry completely so it is not sticky. Also having lots of air in the room and just the right temperature range makes it go better. Kids destroy furniture. Having real hard wood is great… but they will destroy even that… girls and boys both. So by the time they are in their tweens you will probably want to replace it anyway unless you like severly distressed furniture. Even then you will probably want to strip and sand and re-stain or paint the furniture. Nothing of this earth lasts forever.

  13. 2012 is a year of courage for me. Stop trying to try so hard, be right, good and responsible.
    To breath…. Let the Lord speak to me and move forward

  14. Knowing that God has plans for me..to big for me to even realize right now. My soul resolution is to do a devotion daily with my hubby and to encourage each other daily as we struggle with work, older parents, etc.

    New this year–I’m listening to Christian music more and working out. These two things combined help keep my attitude in check and make me a better person and Christian.

    Wonderful encouraging post!

  15. Knowing that God has plans for me..to big for me to realize now. My soul resolution is to do a daily devotion with my hubby and encourage each other in work, older parents.

    I’m listening to Christian music more and working out. These two things help my attitude and thus make me a better person and Christian.

    Thanks for an encouraging post!

  16. Thanks for your thoughts on “JOY”. Bonnie ♫
    For most of my adult life, my desire has also been to give joy to the sooo deserving heart of God ♫♪♥
    This year “I live to glorify You” is what the Holy Spirit has been impressing on my heart, to meditate on and to live out in my day to day life/moments.
    Rejoice my sister ☼
    (~_~)

  17. I decided to take the challenge. Silly me, I thought I would have some word like “comfort” or “peace” that would, to me, create a walk-in-the-park kind of year…
    Feel free to stop by my place to read about the word I have claimed for 2012:
    faithful.

    • That’s where I’m at for this year too, Mandy. Faithful… in the little things, the bigger things… everything even when things feel wound up in such a way I can’t see the light through them. God is faithful. How can we be any less?? May your year be full of reminders of His faithfulness as you live out this soul resolution!

  18. Loved this post! Even though I FEEL joy as a 6-months pregnant full-time working mother of a rambunctious toddler…I ABSOLUTLEY have trouble expressing my inner joy! This is something that I will add to my character reformation of 2012. I believe that showing joy is an incredibly important characteristic to have as a Christian. It is our oppurtunity to allow someone to look at us and think, “MAN, I’ll have whatever SHE’S got!”

    I too was called for character reformation verses a specific, annual “DOING” goal.

    I feel that God is calling me to be PATIENT this year.

    See more here! 🙂
    http://perceptionsandpassions.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-new-years-goal-patience.html

  19. I step out in joy only by grace, Bonnie. How else can we do it? We do need to remember the source of our joy, don’t we. There is endless hope in the nth time–God’s time. It is always the right time.
    Stepping out in “boldness’ is my soul resolution. Joy in the journey toward being bold for Christ–even if I don’t feel like it!
    Wonderful post. Thanks for the thoughts. Have a joy-filled day!

  20. I love the idea of making a soul resolution. What an amazing way to honor Christ. Joy is definitely one we are struggle with in today’s fast paced society. I like to think that through Christ I can find the joy in any situation…sometimes it just takes me a little longer than others. But that’s okay, the point is that we are all trying to see God’s way.

  21. Wow, this is a lot to reflect on. First of all, God is totally speaking, because I just was studying the Isaiah 62:4 verse yesterday – looking up synonyms and definitions to really understand it. I even fee like its a verse that I am to meditate on this week. Thank you so much for this post. Thank you Abba.
    The word that came to mind when thinking of this year was “Quality” – and while talking with a friend about being fearless; the phrase, “enjoying quality fearlessly” came to my heart. I’ve been thinking of small ways to do that each day. Last night I went to bed thinking about joy too – drawing me to Philippians. Wow God is really present to my heart’s thoughts! I enjoy listening to uplifting music. I enjoy being around joyous people. I find joy in creating things. I find joy in being around nature; I also find joy in pampering situations – sit down tea; a quiet book store. Pretty wallpaper 🙂 !
    I have more to think about. Thank you again for this post!
    Angie

  22. Hello Bonnie!
    Well, what I thought was going to be my soul resolution, is not what HE is bringing fruit in…after a “winter blue day” the need for JOY cried out of my heart – and into the ears of dear friends that lifted me in prayer. NOW, weeks later, I’m still getting uplifting bits of JOY sprinkled around me, and I crave more and more.
    Winter blues are no more – but the craving still remains. It may be a part of His bigger PLAN for my year, but for now I’m relishing the joy that He’s sending my way…

    <3
    grace and peace…
    marina

  23. Wow! Thanks so much! Such truth…
    We are all on this journey… seeking for the Joy. Even in the hard, dirty, grimey days in life. Even when we don’t realize we’re searching for it…
    Because it is this. This that we were created to know. at all times.
    We have such a good Father… and I’m so thankful that He doesn’t want us to miss out in all this Joy.

    I would like to quote our dear sister Ann…

    “The holy grail of joy’s not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of wondrous now, joy might be-unbelievaby-possible! The only place we need see before we die, is this place of seeing God, here and now.”

    “So then as long as thanks is possible… then joy is always possible.”

    thank you so much, sister! May we all learn to walk out this life of faith in seeing and experiencing the Joy of God Himself.

  24. As you step out new this year — on your faith journey — you may be tempted like I’ve been thinking, “Who am I kidding?”

    Before you throw in the towel —

    ~ Remember who inspires your new beginning — God.

    ~ Keep dipping!

    *remember who inspires your new beginning! I truly needed this today. I’m going to print this out and keep it as a reminder the next time I have a day like today–filled with distractions and mess-ups!!! Thank You!!

  25. This year I feel Him saying “Sanctified” I feel like I’ve been called out of my regular circles, to step into new territory. That is scary for a woman who likes her schedule and lists to check off. But I’be got my spritual boots on and I’m stepping out!

  26. Bonnie, I love what you wrote:
    “Soul resolutions are not about what I’m doing, but who I’m becoming in Christ.”

    How true your words are! It’s more important as to who I’m becoming in Christ that what I do. Our character and growth are so important to Him.

    I wrote my joy post a day late but didn’t want to miss out on this one either. May you have a joyful day.

    blessings and love,
    Debbie

  27. I feel like my soul just gained space to breathe through your words. Your 5 steps are life-breathing! It’s so great to be reminded that I don’t have to be perfect immediately!

    That is one of my soul resolutions this year – to learn how to REST in God without worrying or striving or performing or pleasing! I want to find joy in the peace of His rest 🙂 I also want to embrace authenticity and substance in my walk with the Lord.

    I am encouraged to step out in joy because I know that when I find joy, I find God because His presence is the SOURCE of joy!

  28. My soul resolution is “create in me a pure heart, O God, & renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (ps. 51). I have been struggling to get back into writing for the sake of myself, my family & my God-ordained purpose. Your post encourages me to keep at it, especially as I learn & yearn to become more the woman God intended me to be. Thanks, & see you soon