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. I am about to start planning for an inner city school with the Atlanta Dream Center. I am planning with the hopes of opening a school in Fall 2017. This is the dream of my heart and it is exciting and terrifying all at the same time. I definitely hear voices that say, “Who do you think you are? There are already enough schools, etc.” But I want to step out and dream with the Lord for the kids in this area. Please pray for me as I start on this new adventure.

    • We answer back with you, “Amber is God’s beloved! And she is the only one who can build this school with the seed God planted in her! God’s words will not return void!” You go, sister! When I was little, I grew up disadvantaged and did not even know how I could go to college, until one mentor took me aside to tell me I could do it. Only *ONE* person during my teenage years did that. I would have never gone to college, but God used his words. Can you imagine how many lives you will change, even if it is ONE person? Dear Lord Jesus, I pray right now for your Holy Spirit to continue to nurture and reassure Amber of your whispers. Continue to whisper to your beloved. Thank you for her heart and her love for these children in Atlanta through the touch of your dream on her heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen

  2. Ohhhhh, how I love this post! Wrote a long prayer in my journal about this very this early this morning. Thank you! Blessings~~~~~

      • Yeah, my handwriting is terrible, but I can almost write as fast as I can pray. That’s how my mind works, I guess. Been writing my prayers for years. xo

  3. Thank you for this post!! I completely agree/empathize/understand about replaying your mistakes in your head! I don’t know why I also fall down that rabbit hole, but I do. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that will haunt me the most – the unkind word that I said that I think the person overheard, that time I stole money by not putting in the right number on the fruit in the self-checkout machine. It’s really hard to forgive ourselves, even when we know that we would quickly and easily extend grace to our friends for similar misdeeds. Sometimes I am thankful for it – unlike many in this world, I always know that I am a sinner and that I need a savior. I know all of my misdeeds. But other times I wish I could let go, as well. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Wow. Yeah, I’m still in high school, but I so get what you’re saying. I worry about stupid things too. I want everything to be perfect so I have no regrets, but then I can’t be perfect and I do have regrets. It seems like I’m ALWAYS doing something wrong, and I try to pretend it really isn’t wrong, but it still rolls around in my head. Anyway, I’m getting to a point where I need to just surrender to Him because I am miserable, but then my pride holds me back. I overthink things, and it all gets mixed up, and I just want to cry. I find it so hard to just be me with anyone. I don’t want others to think I’m stupid.

      • Dear Musical Ragamuffin, I completely relate to everything you said! I am only a bit older than you and I too struggle with all these same things! I try to pray about it as often as possible but of course it is a challenge. At the very least, this struggle shows that we care so much about God and about doing the right thing, and of course that is good. I will keep you in my prayers.

      • Musical Ragamuffin, your post touched me. High School years are some of the hardest. But believe it or not, we can do things that are very wrong even when we we get older! The answer is the same – forgive ourselves, ask God for forgiveness and accept His forgiveness, and let it go. After all, are we a better judge than He is? If He forgives us, who are we to question it? 😉 This helps me through my own actions that hurt someone else. God Bless, and I hope you find friends that will allow you to just be you. Mary

  4. Beautiful post! “Don’t wait until you’re no longer broken.” I love this statement. I’ve come to realize that it’s in my brokenness that God hears my cries & allows me to grow. His grace is sufficient. Grace is God’s unmerited favor, & I always want to walk in His favor. So, as I rest in God’s grace one of my desires is to open an indignant clinic for low income families. It’s one of my heart’s desires, & with God’s guidance I pray that it’ll come to fruition.

    • @levada:disqus this is SO needed!! praise God for your courage to share this dream here with us.. dear Jesus, continue to speak and reassure Graham that she is your beloved – her WHOLE story – every part of it beautiful in you… may that love flow out as she explores this seed you’ve planted her in to share what she’s received with others a a clinic for low income families! water it and guide her. in Jesus’ name. Amen!

  5. Awesome!!! Thank you! I have been hearing very similar thoughts from the Lord. May His grace take you to even higher places in Him. Enjoy!

  6. I’ve written and am editing a devotional book for SAFE moms (Step/Adoptive/Foster/Every other nonbiological), with a second book already well started. We can find excellent how-to books for helping out children, but very little is out there for the mom who feels overwhelmed and like a horrible failure. Yes, their dreams have been crushed and they need to hear their dream wasn’t a mistake, they are not failures, and they will make it.

    Thanks for sharing, Bonnie, that are dreams are from God. They will be attacked one way or another by the enemy of dreams, but we must push through and follow those dreams.

    • Cheri! please post a link here for us so that kindreds here can check out your book — such a beautiful seed and dream God’s put on your heart for SAFE moms. I was not STep/Adoptive/Foster child, but I grew up in a difficult childhood and my heart just goes out to these precious ones Jesus loves so much. You are loving Jesus with every book you write. Dear Jesus, you said if we do for the little ones, we are doing for you. Reassure Cheri and continue to pour your words to her onto the page. And continue to light the dream in her heart from you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  7. Great Post, thank you! I am wanting to go into private practice as a counselor, I’m scared and question being good enough all of the time. This post reminds me that “The seed in you isn’t there by accident” I need to trust in God that what he has placed in me is all for his glory.

    • @pajo68:disqus thank you Pam, for sharing this sweet gentle dream – so beautiful. Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for Pam’s dream and for her courage to share this seed you’ve planted in her heart. Reassure her with your gentle, continuing whispers that she is worthy because she is your beloved. To express her care for others as she has received it from you. Give her courage to water and nurture this seed. In your name, Amen.

  8. “One of the reasons it’s hard to let go of our guilty feelings is that it FEELS SAFE…We WON’T HAVE REGRETS, we tell ourselves. But, the LONGING God placed in us DOESN’T GO AWAY.”

    This is one of the Enemy’s lies – “guilt is a safe place.” Guilt is not a safe place because we do have regrets when the longings God places in our hearts tug at our heartstrings. Thank you for this message that reminds us Satan is trying to steal our joy when he speaks those negative thoughts into our minds. Thank you, also, for the encouraging words to help us fight back and not allow Satan to have his way with us. I’m right there with the rest of you in this area. Regretting things I didn’t do, and feeling it’s too late now (I’m older, two of my girls are not fully grown but at ages where I don’t have full control over them, etc.).

    God is on the throne! He is in control no matter how much it looks like Satan has the upper hand! AMEN!! My prayer is that we all will allow ourselves to trust in God’s Perfect Will for our lives as we follow the longings He places on our hearts. Let us feel His Holy Spirit fill us with His Peace and direct our paths in the ways (longings of our hearts) He wants us to go. Blessings!

  9. Bonnie, thank you for responding to God’s urge to write this post and share your experiences. Reading this felt like listening to God speak directly to me about everything I want to do but am afraid or hesitant about. Words to express the importance of this post is so needed,but I offer a Thank You from the brokenness yet hopefulness of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • @La@disqus_wJliJeTihW:disqus thank you for sharing, sweet kindred. “Brokeness yet hopefulness of my heart” – what poetry — this very place you share with us is where Jesus is and I’m so blessed to now He’s placed his whispers on your heart. Lord Jesus, reassure LaToya that even as she is afraid, you place your hand into hears and you will walk with her as she follows the whispers you’ve put in her heart. Continue to nurture the seeds you’ve planted her in and whisper again she is Beloved. Again and again in your arms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  10. Thank you for your encouraging words. I struggled with guilty feelings, even after I repented. I applied Romans 8:1 and Isaiah 6 when the Seraph said :Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” I still had a gnawing feeling that engulfed me with darkness and guilt. My pastor made a statement that changed my life forever and set me free He said, “When we sin against God it leaves a spiritual wound, even after confession. The feeling is healing of that spiritual wound, not guilt.” We as women need to know that we stand righteous before God because of Christ. Thanks again for your words of grace.

    • @cherrilynnbisbano:disqus Wow. thank you for sharing the words that have and continue to heal your heart, Cherrilynn! Lord Jesus, continue to reassure Cherrylnn of your love and continue to whisper that she is your beloved. Just as she is. Thank you for her courage to share her journey. In your name, Amen.

  11. This. Oh my, yes. “One of the reasons it’s hard to let go of our guilty feelings is that it feels safe. No one can hurt us if we don’t do anything. We can’t be rejected, if we never attempt to blossom.

    We won’t have regrets, we tell ourselves. But, the longing God placed in us doesn’t go away.”

    His Spirit compels us — which is the only explanation I have had lately for why I keep planting those “seeds” He is sowing in my heart. Seeds to write // to encourage other women // to just be faithful with the little.

    And to be content.

    Seeds that seem they.will.never crack open and sprout. And you *know* they are filled with so much Goodness — because why else do you keep returning — to what feels like rejection most days?

    But deep down, in that very same place where those seeds are sitting // patiently being watered by the Gardener, there is a still small whisper — the same as yours, Bonnie — “Dare to be you. Be the Beloved. Rest.”

    Because, yeah // No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, the things He has in store for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes ❤️

    • What a wonderful writer expressing you the soul, you are @jodiefrye:disqus! Lord Jesus, continue to water the seeds you planted in Jodie – beautiful and beloved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  12. I am inconsistent in my time with God, even though I know it spending time with God brings such life to me. Now, when I think about it, all I feel is guilty about not doing it yesterday. So I don’t. I’ve become afraid to come into God’s presence. Angela

    • @doglovecan:disqus God is not keeping a score sheet… He LOVES YOU and is already with you, right now. Loving you irrevocably. Just rest with him, just as you are. He understands you completely and holds you in his arms. Just look into his gaze and see the love and completely understanding of all that holds your heart. Lord Jesus, whisper gently to your sweet Angela and let her feel your touch. Reassure her of your unconditional love right now. In Your Name, Amen.

  13. I dream of starting a blog some day, but fear holds me back. Also, I have no idea how to get started, but it seems like God has placed this on my heart and He brings it to the surface often.

    • Thank you Bonnie for such a beautiful post! I always love sharing your journey with you! You are such an inspiration! I too am in a moment of stepping out in spite of past regret and it is very tough but definitely worth it!

      • Thanks, Barbara! Dear Lord Jesus, touch Barbara in a special way with your whispers and your presence. Reassure her she is your beloved. Just as she is. Past, present and future, all loved in your arms. In your name, Amen.

        • Wow, Bonnie, thank you so much for this beautiful prayer! I really appreciate it!

  14. This is a fantastic post! We are not alone, we go through so many of the same scenarios. I wrote a poem the other day. I found myself questioning a line…You (Jesus) put me on a pedestal and threw my cross away Yet, I had a peace about it, we cling to Jesus at the old rugged cross and He’s not there, He’s risen and has freed us. It is not disrespectful to Him at rest on the throne and a beloved bride before Him. I lived in Atlanta, I pray for Jesus to bless those who working to bring children to Him. I also like the sound of that SAFE book, mothers are never failures with Jesus beside them.

    • @disqus_axnEkREhjA:disqus beautiful words from your soul! thanks for sharing this poetry of love from your heart. you ARE a poet! Yes, I just asked her to post a link to that SAFE book. 😉 Lord Jesus, continue to bless Rebecca and water the seeds of love you’ve planted in her heart. Whisper your words of love to her heart. She is your beloved. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  15. Bonnie – I agree with what so many have already said. I’ll just repeat a heartfelt “thank you”. Also, I can’t get it out of my head and right now this is overshadowing all else you wrote – will you please post your initial photo with the book when it first came? The one of you in the mountains, short skirt, ballet flats and all! Don’t allow the enemy to steal that joy any longer. We’re near the anniversary of your book release – that can be the “excuse”, not that you need one :-).

    Thank you for your vulnerability and obedience in sharing. Something I want to start again and embrace is to get back into is blogging. So many changes this year and I need to get the words out. But it’s been so long and seems frivolous.

  16. Bonnie, I love how you are so open and vulnerable. It is so refreshing and encouraging to me. I will turn 60 in a few months and I am just now beginning to discover who I am with God. I love this scripture “It is for freedom Christ has set us free…” I was born on the 4th of July and felt God did that to remind me that because of Jesus, in Him and through Him, I am and I can, experience His Beautiful Freedom. Thank you for writing, sharing, praying and living out the truth and beauty of God.

    Blessings,
    Linda

  17. ‘We can’t be rejected, if we never attempt to blossom’. This encompasses my years of self-sabotage in a nutshell. The thing? Rejection came no matter whether I ‘blossomed’ or not so all that self-sabotage did nothing for me except to make the lies I was believing to be truth. But with faith in God and taking baby steps on shaky knees, I am trusting him as I ‘blossom’ and as each petal unfurls I am offering the beauty of it up to him. Thank-you for these words.

  18. I want to write….That is the seed that was planted years ago in my heart and is just beginning to germinate. And the voice comes telling me I have nothing to share…who cares?….no one will want to read what I write…I don’t have an English degree…on and on. Thank you, Bonnie, for reminding me that my voice matters to Him and that is really all that needs to matter to me.

  19. I have waited and talked myself out of so many things in life. I have regretfully missed out on SO much! I am taking a leap to become a Revelation Wellness fitness instructor. Bringing God to the center of fitness, becoming whole in Him and not measuring ourselves by body image or a number on a scale. I’ve never taught fitness and am so scared, but this time my excitement seems to be outweighing my fear. That being said, I haven’t talked to many to tell them about it because I keep thinking no one will want to join in, or support me in it… And I need the support! I’m trying to rest in Him and not my voices… But it’s a challenge for sure.

  20. Wow, I needed this. I have been feeling like God has been nudging me to start a women’s ministry bible study at my church but I question so many things. “Is it really God telling me to do this or do I just want to do it” “Am I good enough, or do I know enough?” The church is so big and I am a somewhat shy type personality so I have struggled with the nudge but after reading your post I feel so much better!! Thank you!

  21. Thank you, Bonnie, for these encouraging words: “The seed in you isn’t there by accident. You were made to bring beautiful things into this world.” In my case, I pray that the seed to write (again, after many years in the classroom) is not self-generated but Spirit-generated. And I pray that my words magnify his beauty–his splendor, grace, and love–to inspire and encourage others. The desire to bring beautiful things into this world that also bring glory to God is a powerful motivator, isn’t it!

  22. I cannot even tell you how much this post reflects me! I have been dicovering that I have been living a life of guilt and fear and I so long for freedom! To “dare to be me”! To “move beyond coping and surviving”! This post I felt was just for me! I didnt know anyone else felt this way or heard those condeming “voices” of shame and discouragement! Thank you thank you, for being real! This has encouraged me and given me hope! By the way I’ve just branched out and started a few voice lessons which has been a life long dream!♡ Blessings!

  23. Bonnie,
    How true that we can’t be rejected if we never attempt to blossom. In some ways, guilt and fear are safe places to be. Ever since stepping out to start Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc., the enemy has had a target on my back. I hear those voices too – Who do you think you are to be doing this? You don’t have what it takes….and on and on. No, I may not have what it takes, but my Heavenly Father who empowers me does. I keep coming back to that when the enemy is prowling after me.
    Wonderful post Bonnie…blessings and REST to you,
    Bev xx

  24. Thank you; I needed to read this beautiful blog this morning, and intend to share it with my teen Aspie daughter, and my adult daughter, as well. Again, thank you so much!

  25. Wow! The Lord has been whispering this reminder to me over and over again these past few months. My husband and I have decided that I should quit my job to homeschool my kids, something we have been working towards for years. Sometimes the thoughts in my mind and the voices of friends and family cause doubt to creep in. I’ve had people tell me I’m kissing my career goodbye, it’s not fair to my kids because of the lack of socialization, and it’s not smart for my family’s finances. I have had to really train my thinking to only hear the gentle whisperings of the Holy Spirit, instead of letting His voice be drowned out by the negative shouts all around. Thanks for the reminder!!

  26. Wow! What a great reminder. God has been whispering this message to me over and over again. My husband and I have decided that I will quit my job to home school my kids. I’ve heard a lot of negativity from people and I have to remind myself to focus on the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit guiding my family down this road.

  27. I love manning’s quote. have you seen the pamphlet by Keller entitled: Self-Forgetfulness – so great, provocative, convicting and healing. Thank you for your thoughtful prose and encouragement. I’ve been asking God to help me lose myself in Him. I’m afraid I don’t get lost often enough. (:

  28. Thank You for letting God’s dream shine through you onto so many, and ME. The many that here those little voices of ,” How dare you to dream”. How do you know if this is for YOU ? Does it really matter if you Finish ? Do you think God really cares about this Project ? So on and so on. Then God , our wonderful father steps in and says You matter to Me. Than backs up the sweet voice inside with the encouraging words from You , Bonnie. My sister in the Lord. Your words made my day , boosted the fire inside to push forward in Grace. Also your courage to share your quirks with us , is a true blessing . Thank you K.T.

  29. Bonnie,
    I have heard those voices for a long time and believed them and live as though they were true. Since watching War Room I rebuke the evil one.
    “The seed in you isn’t there by accident. You were made to bring beautiful things into this world. Just like the One who calls you beloved — the Creator — who placed it there.” I’m out to encourage the world. I want everyone to know how much they are loved and thought of.
    Blessings 🙂

  30. The enemy is quiet and shrewd. It takes my focus away when I least expect –it takes me a drift in it’s currents. But let his discouragement know my wondering will sail in company of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For when my Holy Spirit strives in me it is that I am still kept in God’s almighty power. I can take hold and heed my trust in my God of wonders. Ivie Leiva

  31. We’re going to have our 2nd child this fall and I want to quit my 9-5 job, raise and homeschool my children, and start hand lettering. I’ve always been good at music and have a music degree. However, I have always LOVED to draw and am very creative. I am actually pretty good at it, but feel like I’m running out of time or am out of time (I’ll be 40 by the time this baby is born). I need to somehow help support our family financially and plan to teach private music lessons on the side, but I thought I *might* be able to do art and sell it. I know this is a hard trade to get into. I want to do authentic, original, one-of-a-kind, hand lettering Bible verses and hymns, but don’t know where to start. Our new adventure begins this fall, but my husband and I don’t know how we’ll do it financially if I quit my full-time job. So many doubts and questions….thank you for your prayers!

  32. “Grace means giving ourselves permission to express God’s beauty and rest — in you and me.” Amen! The joy is in the art of the discovery. Great tips that I so badly want to embrace!

  33. To blog again on a consistent basis and to continue working on the book I want my children to have should I decide it should not be published.

  34. Bonnie – I thank you for this timely reminder to not let those feelings that I am not good enough or holy enough stop me from being vulnerable to be creative and enjoy trying new things – trusting that I can see God in the midst and hopefully minister to others through Christ. Thank you for being transparent and authentic – your encouragement brings refreshment!

  35. Bonnie, this brought a tear to my eyes: “Every woman longs to dream, to feed her soul and rest. Everyone longs to move beyond coping and surviving.” Yes.

    I am in a professional position that required 14 years of hard work and sacrifice to get to this point, but my husband and I are now on the cusp of a life change that will put him back into the workforce and remove me, and relocate our family to his home country. Our roles in the family will switch, not only as “breadwinner” but also as primary caregiver for our 3-year-old son.

    On one hand, I welcome the change, as I feel just like the words quoted above say. On the other hand, when I compare myself to colleagues, what I’m about to do is unfathomable. The reminder to not compare to others is timely. I don’t know what my next chapter holds, and haven’t heard that small inner voice about what would bring me joy for decades. I don’t know how to find it and hear it! Perhaps having the time and space in my life to rest will open up my capacity to dream again.

    Thank you for your message, Bonnie, and the stories everyone shared!