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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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Bonnie,
    Though it hurts to hear about your suffering, I am grateful to hear someone so gracefully an eloquently put into words the struggle I have faced/face as well.

    I can see how God is usin the fear to guide me away from old dreams and towards new dreams. Just like you. My dreams are of creating. Of the creations being valuable. Of letting others and myself just be. Please, keep walking the path, Bonnie. You are a light for me.

  2. Bonnie, I am fighting my way towards freedom with you. Many blessings to you as you share your story in real life. Thank you for sharing it here.

  3. Bonnie,
    Thank you, as always, for writing from your true artist heart. We all are, as you said, on a journey of healing. I have battled ocd and anxiety most of my life and my writing lets me express what’s truly on my heart. It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time, but God has blessed my efforts. Please don’t ever stop writing…the world needs your “realness”!!

    • Hi Bev! I just read your post to Bonnie’s article and then visited your blog. What caught my eye is your comment about battling ocd and anxiety most of your life – as have I. And your post about your dad – my dad was so much like him. Never could say “the words” and I’ve struggled (also with some therapy) to understand all of that. I’d love to connect with you – I do not have a blog (yet) but you can reply to my email address if you wish.

  4. Bonnie, you are such a treasure – your writing is incredibly special for it’s utter sincerity. I LOVE it. I too am a ‘writer,’ well, one who writes only for myself. I’ve been called for years to write more, and was thinking the other day how I’d like to give myself over to being CREATIVE for its own sake. It’s such an amazing feeling to let it flow when I give myself permission to do that. No more excuses.
    Thank you for sharing of yourself, and bless you always,

  5. Oh Bonnie….so good to read your words and hear about your journey. So many things rang true with me. A book lives in me also and oh, the courage it would take to let it out. I will follow you and cheer you on and hope in the process I learn how to do it myself. Bless you sister in Christ!

  6. Oh wow Bonnie, your words speak to me. I love when you wrote:

    “Maybe faith is taking me beyond any points I can come up with – to free His story in me.”

    Although I love people and spending time with them, I also need quiet alone time. Lately I’m realizing that I’m getting a bit carried along with what others expect from me. I am always so quick to try to please. But the older I get, the more I realize I cannot waste more time not getting in touch with the direction God has for me. And that requires me to spend more solitary time with Him in His Word and prayer. I want to also …free His story in me.

    Thank you for this. I continue to pray for you as you journey through this challenging but life changing time for you.

    Blessings and love,

  7. Hi Bonnie!

    I soo loved this! There is an artistic life, I believe, buried in me that I lacked confidence to admit was there and never felt free to express. But God has set me on this journey of discovering things I never knew were in me, it started slow but picked up at the beginning of the year, and it’s amazing, most times scary but amazing too 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing, it has really blessed and encouraged me!!!

  8. Bonnie, what you share is amazing. Raw and Beautiful. And I needed it once again. Your heart is soooooooo special. And I thank you for continuing to push forward, to allow His work through you to this world that is so broken and yet beautiful. Thank you for your yes. however tentative. however it comes. Without judgment, I say. Wow! You give me courage.

  9. We are all on our own healing journey as you stated. I think it takes courage to go where Jesus beckons….down those dark unknown paths in us that bring us out into the light. Sometimes it is hard to remember we are going through, not taking up residence. I write too and would love to put it into print if God so desires.
    So good to read your words again. Praying for you tonight!

  10. What a lovely devotion. I have struggled with Clinical Depression. But, have often thought it may really be Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome because of the events of my life. ~I totally get you.~ Your heart is as lovely as the Lord who lives in you. Misunderstood by many- but always beautiful. ~ Marilyn

  11. Oh Dear Jesus give us all the courage to live out the story You desire to write.

    Thank You for your words Bonnie, I am very new to this community of diff bloggers, but I love the words you write. When I read them I can clearly hear the heart song Jesus is singing over me.
    I have started painting again this last year while going though a very rough time. I love how He has helped me create beautiful works during that time. Really I think it is to show me even the rough times are made beautiful when we will rest in His arms.

  12. I would never have figured you with PTSD. You seem so self sure…You have it together. I guess you are now more real to me. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck with your presentation.

  13. Thank you for your encouraging words! It’s good to see you progressing beyond your wounds. It gives me lots to think about. I have been getting a quiet urge to get back to something creative. Maybe I’ll find some time soon. Take care…God bless!

  14. Bonnie.

    Today is the day you and I were to meet via this wonderful thing we call internet. Your post has touched a chord in my heart, my mind and my life that no doubt means you were sent to bring your message to me today (amongst others).

    I too have been going through a journey with PTSD over the last year (with a few more ongoing sessions). And I too, have felt a closer relationship with God all along the way.

    As my health recovers throughout this year I find myself going through necessary life changes that not only have closed some doors (with sadness) but also brings the possibilities of new exciting creative adventures (when I’m all healed)!

    I look forward to following your blog and your path of recovery, creativity and faith.

    I thank God for bringing you into my life today. Bless you.

  15. Bonnie,
    You are one of the bravest women I know. I know you don’t always think so….but, I see it in you.

  16. Just praying for your beautiful life. It is a crazy walk this Jesus takes us on with all the twists and turns. But keep clinging to the hem of Him. He has great plans for you in His Kingdom. So many need to hear what He is teaching you.


  17. Bonnie – I’ve read your words for the past several months with tears, prayers, and gratitude…but without comment…until now. Thank you for openly and honestly sharing your journey with PTSD. It’s such a lonely, frightening, exhausting, out of control, disorienting place to be. I’ve just experienced one of the most fragile weeks of my own journey and have wondered if there will ever be any forward movement. (It all seems to be going backward at the moment – devolving.) Your post today has given me hope that I won’t always be where I am right now and a reminder that what the little girl in me needs and yearns for is patience and love – from her adult self and from others. After a childhood of going it alone, taking care of myself, learning to not need or trust anyone else, this is foreign ground. Risky, The scripture you shared – “cared for by us” – huge! Thank you so much. Continued prayers for your journey, for your time sharing in your artist’s meeting, and as your words find their home in your new book.

  18. Wonderful, wonderful words. You express a vulnerability that lives within me that I often struggle to put into words. Is this an area that I even want to drum up again? And for what purpose? You have ben called by the Spirit and may He continue to lead and guide you.

  19. Don’t you just love His whispered invitations? Those quiet words that say: “Come, walk with Me beyond-your-comfort-zone…..Let Me show you what We can do Together…..”?

    I’ve never regretted answering in the affirmative.
    I’m always surprised (and blessed) by what unfolds…..rarely does it fall into the “conventional” category……..
    Unfailingly He takes who-I-am and uses this quirky lil self in new and unforeseen ways……..that often take my breath away.

    May He continue to Bless you on your journey as you risk shining in new ways! I like your sparkle, grin.

  20. You are doing great Bonnie! This is where I find the “He works in mysterious ways” quote to show up the most. In the creative. In the “moving-past-my-own-fears-to-share-the-hard-things-I’ve-experienced-with-someone-else” and it has ALWAYS been a blessing. My hurts have become someone else’s healing and in that I find healing too…. The 12 step meetings, the church groups, the support groups, the abuse groups. I gained something at each and every one of them whenever I stepped out in Faith and shared my story so that someone else could heal from theirs. It works.

  21. Prayers for you Bonnie as you open yourself in a new way to the family of God!
    I am walking in a new position for the Body of Christ, one that has me sharing intimate details as I try to “work out my own salvation”. God has called me to openly share with my little sector of His Kingdom, in hopes that they would come to know Jesus can free them from what has them bound.
    God bless us all as we journey forward with Christ.

  22. This sentence spoke to me above all the rest …”Maybe faith is taking me beyond any points I can come up with – to free His story in me.” Thank you ! …for helping me see His story in me needs to be set free ! You’ve greatly impacted my own writing and helped make me more vulnerable and honest as I share the real skin I’m in.

  23. Dear Bonnie,
    Reading your words is sweet oil to my heart. I know we were made to live in community, and at the same time the wounds from community are still so raw. I am in a safer place now, but the fear of interacting and being known again is terrifying.

    I have such a strong urge to create, to write and to release, but feel an almost physical block in my throat when I try. My head goes entirely blank and I am stuck in hard cement.

    Your posts always, and I truly mean always, speak to me. This time these words spoke encouragement to me.
    “Looking at the broken pieces that seem to fall out of us now and then.
    Picking them up.
    And placing them out on the open canvas of our lives.
    Not because they make sense. But, because they are real.
    They are a part of us.
    Because those are the places where Jesus is alive in us.”

    Please pray for me to relax into Him and let Him release and untangle to knotted jumble of my for His praise. More than anything I long to bring Him honor.

    Thank you.

  24. Don’t ever stop writing Bonnie. Yours is a gift, from the heart of Him who knows you. Each time I read one of your posts I am SO encouraged, and I thank my God for sisters like you who are opening their hearts and allowing His love to spill onto the page for all of us who are thirsty! You are an instrument of His Peace 🙂

  25. Beautiful, Bonnie. The word “community” has been on my heart this whole year. We’ve moved and I’ve felt a mix of the feelings you described in this post. I pray that any panic you have is replaced with God’s peace. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Thank you Bonnie,
    I love that you are prepared to share your past.
    This knowledge is helpful to me, as I am writing a book, have been for a number of years, but not published yet.
    Now I know why, I have not reached that part of me which feels safe sharing the difficult things.
    So thank you again for sharing that you are doing this.

  27. I’m so proud of you! I know it is frightening and freeing at the same time, this journey that is uniquely yours. Your journey is your gifting and He gives us every good and perfect thing, our Father of lights (James 1:17). Perfect is a hard word and I don’t think He means for it to be defined as we attempt to define it. Complete, whole ….I think that’s what He wants for us and offers us in Christ. Apart from Christ we are indeed a yucky mess. Thank God He doesn’t leave us there, although the enemy would have us believe otherwise.

    You may be encouraged by a book by Janet Elsheimer, The Creative Call. It has touched me and I look forward to practicing my art, serving Him through my art, whatever my art may be. He’s leading me down the path to my Think Ye Creative Garden and I will follow Him and look forward to meeting Him there.

    God bless you on your path. He will light the next step and you can trust it will lead you one step at a time to His perfect will.

  28. I’ll be praying for you. I just can’t wait to hear what happens at the meeting. I reckon to tell someone other than a close friend is the beginning of freedom!

  29. I understand. I went through the same thing 10 years ago. God is faithful. You will come through to the other side to joy again. So sorry that you are having to face it again. God knows that your heart is ready to really heal. Lean in close to Him. I, so badly, needed to hear these words from someone who understood this deep wound. There was no one that I knew that had to walk this particular path of deep healing. I look forward to your posts daily. I will be lifting you up in prayer.

  30. Bonnie,
    You story sounds so similar to my own. Thank you for your authenticity. I’m positive God wants me to share my story of the deep depression I went through. I’m taking baby steps in that direction.

  31. Hello Bonnie,
    Thank you once again for your healing words to me and so many others. I recently was asked to be on a team for Cursillo (retreat weekend) and I was given an assigment to give testimony. I was so anxiety ridden thinking about this, especially where I had to talk about tramatic events in my life and how through my faith in Jesus, I was able to come through. I have never spoken to a group (approx 80 women) and never thought I could pull it off. I had to trust that the Holy Spirit would give me the words and strength I needed to pull it off. Someone mentioned to me “If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it.” Alot of the women there related to my story and it amazed me that my life events could have such a positive effect on anyone. I started out “I can do all things through Him who strenghtens me” Phil 4:13 and ended “Therefore if anyone is in Christ He is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” 2 Cor 5:17 Keep the Faith Bonnie, you are blessed.

  32. Love you, Bonnie! May the LORD bless and keep you writing and healing in the Name of Jesus!

  33. I also have PTSD as part of my GAD and MDD. All these initials just to talk about pain. I have been pouring my pain out in my art journal and posting them to my blog. I also write everyday but that really is just for me – not a book or anything.

  34. How exciting, Bonnie!! I can’t wait to hear how it goes tonight!! Sounds like its just one more step in His direction for you! Praying for you now! 🙂

  35. Bonnie, I am stunned…as I read your words today I felt like I was looking into a mirror. Actually, I felt a lot of relief…I get the whole “sitting in back parking lots” thing for sure. I am dealing with the same issue, PTSD…your post gives me lots of hope! I agree, venturing out creatively can stir up a lot of emotions….I could use some prayer in this regard! I think the opposition comes because our truest self/our heart surfaces in our creativity. Creativity has a way of getting to the soul. It can’t be controlled and it really makes people uncomfortable (ourselves included). Some times creative expressions can say for me what I find difficult in any other capacity. Thank for being so vulnerable…we definitely have a kinship! I am so encouraged to know that the creative expression itself is a healing agent…God is a paradox…mysterious in every way…

  36. Bonnie,
    You have come such a long way since you first began sharing with us that you were suffering from PTSD, I hope you can see it too, your steps of healing seem to be growing larger every time you share more of the journey. And for the days it may seem you aren’t making any progress, please know that you are and you are encouraging so many others along the way!

    Blessings to you all the way!

  37. I so love your heart & your honesty with yourself & others, carrying the presence of God with you. Thank God for His grace & mercy when we sin & make bad decisions in response to hurt.
    I want to share part of my story with you – but not so you would feel sorry for me but that you would see how beautiful, glorious & faithful our God is. I hope some of you may capture the light you can see at the end of the tunnel for yourself. As you know, healing doesn’t usually happen overnight, but look for the good God is going to make out of it. Ask for God’s grace to endure. (I rarely ask for patience b/c it comes with its bundle of troubles-LOL)
    In the past, I had often felt weak b/c of the severe depression & anxiety that would overwhelm me – I felt so crippled & bound up inside feeling no one understood me. Comments from others reinforced how low I felt about myself; especially from “Christians”? who threw the Bible at me with condemnation & told me to move on & pull myself up by the boot straps. (Later, I discovered God wasn’t who they painted Him to be but is full of mercy & grace.)
    I found I didn’t want to be around others. But it was a catch 22 b/c the depression got worse when I was alone. I was a mess. The depression & anxiety started in my childhood b/c I was so afraid of my father. I literally would hide behind my mother’s “skirt”. In kindergarten & 1st grade, I don’t know how I learned anything b/c I cried most all of the time. My mom was frequently called by the school& would blame her for my behavior. Finally, in second grade, my teacher “took a liking” to me & pulled me a bit out of my shell. When I became a teenager, I would be so afraid to go across the street to get the mail for fear anyone would see me – I had horrible acne & was ridiculed for it by my family (except my mom), at school & in my church.
    As I got older, I realized that I was strong instead of weak order to deal with it b/c of the amount of courage it took just to put one foot in front of the other to move forward. I was hospitalized once for anorexia & once for beating my head with a brush. I had suicidal thoughts but I really didn’t want to die, I just wanted things to change & I didn’t know how. As a child I could blame what happened to me on my family & others. But as an adult, I had to start taking responsibility for the decisions I’ve made in reaction to the hurt. As I did, the Lord began to heal me & show me my need to forgive. As I let go, I began to experience freedom. The creativity & talent God had created in me began to be released from the prison I had built to cope with my childhood. I have marveled at who God created me to be. As the walls have come tumbling down, the fear goes away, freeing me to grow in the abilities He has given me.
    I’ve found that I can encourage others who are going through things I’ve gone through. What the little twerp meant for evil, God has turned it into good.
    I’m thankful God will continue to do the work He has begun in me & you until we see Him face-to-face. What a glorious hope to have!
    B/c of God’s work in me, I can breathe a sigh of relief to not worry about when the next panic attack or severe bouts of depression will hit me. I’m not saying I’m perfect & don’t struggle with it from time to time, but it’s not the crippling kind & doesn’t last long. I have learned ways to rise above it & catch it on the front end but only with God’s divine help-I give Him all the credit and glory. Those who knew me when I was younger don’t even recognize me now. They have to do a double-take.

  38. Bonnie, I so admire your courage, honesty, and humility. God is going to bless your steps of faith because those are traits he especially appreciates!

  39. Bonnie,

    Thank you for your honesty & openness. It is refreshing to know others are going through trials and it helps to know I can pray for them.

    Perhaps someone who reads your book will be helped, if even, in a small way. Thank you for allowing Christ to lead your life!!

  40. Just as you weren’t sure what to say that night, I’m not sure what words to use now. Starting with I hear so much of my story woven into yours. And I know how difficult sharing that pain and uncertainty must be. I haven’t shared mine, but I have been feeling the nudge to do so. You’ve given me a boost of courage to do so. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to read this re-written book! 🙂

  41. Bonnie, what you write truly belongs right here, in this space, at (in)courage. Your words bring healing and awareness and permission to feel these feelings as well as encouragement to keep moving forward, in faith. Thank you for bravely taking those writing steps and taking us along with you on the journey.

  42. It is like your words are my words today. I guess that too is the whisper of Jesus. He never ceases to amaze me when He speaks through those unexpected situations. But I don’t think I could have reached this point if it hadn’t happened. I don’t think I would be able to start this new journey without an end to the old one. Neither would I have gone searching for inspiration and found Faith Barista when I really needed the encouragement. Thanks for sharing.

  43. I’ve been searching for something for the past year and I find it at times and then it slips right out of my hands because I haven’t had a name for it. I’ve felt that if I had a name for it that I could hold onto it. And tonight I read your words and they are beautiful and I drink them in. And I see they are beautiful. And I realize that it’s “beauty” I’m seeking, It’s beauty that I want to spread and I don’t know how yet. But what joy I have in knowing that He has given me a name for it. Thank you for sharing your heart thru your writing. It’s honest and genuine and truly Spirit led.

  44. OH wow Bonnie! I am excited for you, yet I so understand all the fears in sharing yourself, your new self with others, in a group you do not know. BUT if it is anything at all like my recovery group, you will find others for support. I know it is for artist and writers, but it can still be encouraging.

    I have told my story up in front of the group, several times. I have learned to be real and share from the heart like you have with your writing. I am ever so grateful to you and “meeting” you when I did, your blogs kept me going. Know dear friend you are in my prayers. I get it. I really do.

    I have stopped most of my writing this year, only blogging here and there, due to my own PTSD, depression and anxiety. I just am struggling with words online, so I have kept it private in my journal. I want to get back to writing on my blog, but it has been hit or miss lately.

    I love you friend. Our journeys are the same yet different. Prayers.

  45. Bonnie, your wprds speak to my heartright where I am every single time. Writing has always been my therapy and healing but lately I feel stuck. I know God has placed a book on my heart to share pieces of my story but it is so scary. I think that is why I am stuck. because the part of the story I am writing next is the most painful and hardest to put in words. I know that reliving those memories will be hard but also healing. I just struggle with the pain of it being still so fresh. But the way you share your story right in the midst of it gives me hope and courage to move forward. Tomorrow? I am going to sit down in front of my computer screen, open up my boom, and see what words come…

  46. I’m new to (in) courage and the whole community here. Please know your story has touched me and I’m praying for you and cheering you on!

  47. Beautiful. And the verse is one I have just recently been using. I love the picture of us being a LETTER OF HIS! Praying for peace for you through the journey.

  48. Bonnie; Thank you for putting into words where I am right now. Yes, God is calling me to share what I have done in hiding and yes, there is an artistic life begging to be expressed! And yes, I have been hiding out in the back parking lot and yes, I have been waiting to get better because exposure is too much for me to handle. It is amazing how God will take our deepest pain and longings and make them work together for good, not just for ourselves, but for others as well. As I continue this journey towards boldness and courage, I will hold your message close as a reminder that I am not alone.

    Be strong and encouraged.


  49. Your story continues to touch me…
    I’m so glad you are giving sound to it…voicing words of being real and becoming healed…
    It was especially encouraging to read the end–that you went inside…ah…the relief of taking that step and being.there.inside.

  50. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of what further down the road looks like. I switched off and hid away all my creativity and beauty for a couple years, and I’m stumbling toward trying to find it again – and sometimes never wanting to see it again because it hurts too much. But, like you said, “Jesus remembers.” He isn’t letting me leave it inside to rot. I’ve tried to take it out a few times in the past months, but it feels like I have been rejected each time I have. I need a safe community in which to open this box, because I’ll never make it if I try to do it alone. I’m encouraged by your story, and so honoured that you would share it with us.

  51. I just felt like I was reading “my words, my thoughts, my feelings” on paper. Thank you so much for sharing. This has really helped me see myself at a different angle and how I need to get out of the how more, write more -even if it hurts, and life more.
    This was much needed…esp. after resigning from my job last night – a job that has been sucking the life out of me; one that I thought was “the answer”. HE is the only answer. Please pray that God leads me to a job…financially and mentally I am a “ship-wrecked” just waiting to sail out to sea.
    Truly His and Truly waiting on HIM,

  52. Bonnie, I so admire your courage to keep pressing on and opening your journey to us. Your writing just gets better and better as you accept this new kind of brokenness. You are doing so beautifully on this ugly, messy path. Don’t give up. May the Lord speak to and through you in this gathering and bless your socks off for following His lead so far out of your comfort zone.

  53. God led me to share this with our group this morning, and He gave one of us the opportunity to read through all of them today. Then we read some together. I see our group opening up to Community. We read that line in an earlier post about Hiding Alone that good Community replaces bad community….and that is what God is doing in our midst….He is healing our bad community with some good community….and posts like this encourages Good Community!!! Pretty cool since I attend and work at Community Christian School and Community Bible Church! Thanks for the post to encourage me to look for the hidden Artist inside me!!!! God bless you!!

  54. May the Lord bless you and keep you in peace! I’m comforted to know that others stumble too and I don’t need to be ashamed for what I struggle with. I battled suicidal and God put me free. I’m on the road to help others while deal with my own issues.

  55. I appreciate your courage and that you shared your words with ME. And that’s what it felt like…just for me. And that is also how I feel my relationship with the Lord is becoming…just for me.
    I am learning to come to terms that it is ok to be broken. To be walking wounded. I don’t have to get ‘pretty’ and ‘perfect’ before I can be seen. God sees how I am, loves me how I am and I am trying to do the same. Isn’t that what He really wants for us?
    Thank you for sharing and letting me share.

  56. See how freed up I am? Still desiring to be anon. Had PTSD as a 4 yr old. It was never recognized as such or addressed since this was many decades ago, So the PTSD expressed it self in fear and other dysfunctions. Socially I was in turtle mode most of my life, making adeptness delays in peopled,expressive areas. The child in me chose tenaciously to hide, which is to say the creative, playful exploratory side of my self was under the door mat. All of you know how this leads to a one legged approach to “walking” and a shadowy view of others. Now the Lord has freed me of so many core issues and has been rebuilding me from the inside out. Remember ” from the inside out. “Key antidote to discouragement.During this process, I could feel the child in me banging on my walls, demanding to be let out,but my trust levels need more growth. (And that child wasn’t being entirely honest, either. I suspect she clamored while standing near an escape route. But it was hopeful to me because I knew she (me – may as well own her) was still alive,)

    Recently, encouragement , via people I really respect, that my certain skill was creative and I should pursue the growth. I feel the Lord has been giving encouragement as well, giving me ideas. So okay. I do not have grandiose visions, thank God, because I do know I (having alot of experience with myself) would have to deal with the wrong kind of pride, absorbing all the credit for myself. BUT! I want His plans for His gift in me; I don’t want to cheat His purposes, or myself for the explosion of love for Him. IT WILL BE ANOTHER RELEASE FOR MY CHILD HEART. I stumbled upon this offering in your web site and was astounded. I felt another nudge from the Lord
    I have learned at least 2 things from my life’s experience.
    1.) True healing comes from the Lord and the people He has trained know how to pray believing what He died for. Receiving His revelatory guidance to places in me that had not forgiven others. Deliverance.
    Revelation of His true self. Salvation in a thousand scores.
    2.) Healing is sometimes a slower-than-we-want- PROCESS.
    This is something we all know. Sigh. Occasionally our healing seasons seem to disappear. Where? How? Disappearing is an illusion only. Because of our need to trust Him and His need to be trusted. But healing still moves on.


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