Book Review: Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray
I first heard about Bonnie Gray's book, "Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God's Love to Revitalize your Soul" on Facebook in the middle of January this year and was immediately drawn to it because of the title. We live in such a noisy, busy world that 'Whispers of Rest' seemed so inviting to me. I knew I wanted to revitalise my soul with God's love. I was also drawn to it because I felt it fit so well with my Bible verse for the year: "Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 (NLT)
I purposely carved out time during the day to read this forty-day devotional and took my time over it, savouring what I was reading and resting in God's love for me. I bought the book on Kindle and used my journal to record my thoughts as I journeyed through these forty days. (If you buy it as a paperback book it includes space for journaling.)
The book is divided into six parts:
Part 1: Being the Beloved - Embrace your true identity as God's Beloved.
Part 2: Choosing as the Beloved – Reclaim your self-worth.
Part 3: Dreaming as the Beloved – Rejuvenate your passion for life.
Part 4: Healing as the Beloved – Turn brokenness into beauty: Experience a deeper intimacy with Jesus.
Part 5: Daring as the Beloved – Live courageously: be known.
Part 6: Shining as the Beloved – Celebrate your calling: be God's radiant light.
It is based on Bonnie's own experiences and journey with God. There is Scripture to read and reflect on each day. Prayers of encouragement, help for praying using Scripture and instruction on how to pray using Christian practices which have been developed over the years, such as breath prayers and the Examen prayer. Each day is focused on being quiet, listening to God, resting in his presence and speaking with him. There is also a daily challenge to nurture your well-being. For me, this book is not just about your spiritual well-being, but your well-being as a whole. The combination, I believe, makes for a unique book.
Bonnie writes, "Our destination for this journey isn't something but Someone...You will experience Jesus more intimately – and find your spirit and mind renewed with joy and peace, day by day, just as the Scriptures promise."
It is also a great book to go through in community, so I invited a friend to come on the journey with me. We went through the day's reading on our own, and then at some point during the day we would text each other something about what we felt God had given us that day. We also met up as regularly as we could to discuss in more detail the things God was showing/teaching us. It was such a blessing to be able to share together and definitely added to the experience as a whole. The wonderful truth is that God can say one thing to one person, whilst saying something entirely different to another.
At the same time, I signed up to Bonnie's 40-day newsletter which went alongside the book. Receiving a daily email was a great encouragement to me. Something that particularly touched me was that she included a personal prayer for each recipient, using their name to do so.
Bonnie also provided free additional resources to complement the Whispers of Rest journey. These included weekly prayer podcasts, weekly videos, printable journal pages and colouring sheets.
In addition to this (not compulsory), I signed up to the Whispers of Rest Facebook Group. It was wonderful to connect with other women on the journey. As a closed group, only those within the group see what is posted so everything is treated confidentially. Many of the group were from America, a few of us were from the UK and although I had not met any of them face-to-face, there was still a sense of love and unity. The group was a source of huge encouragement and support.
I am so glad I went on this journey and I gained far more from it than I had even hoped for. It's a journey I plan to repeat and I am sure that whenever I return to it, God will have new things to say to me.
I highly recommend Bonnie's book. If you decide to buy her book and give your time to read and engage with it, I believe you will be blessed in your relationship with God as it is a tool which can take you deeper into Jesus (if you allow it to do so), you will be blessed in your relationships with others and be a blessing to them. It will show you that there is an alternative and a much more satisfying way of living to the one that the world offers us.
Will you respond to Jesus' gentle whisper to you?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Why not gather a group of your friends so you can go on this potentially life-changing experience together?
You can buy "Whispers of Rest" from Amazon
You can sign up for Bonnie's free resources, such as her 40-day newsletter and the Facebook Group at http://thebonniegray.com/whispersofrest
If you're in two minds as to whether this book is for you then please check out her website using the link above, where you can learn more about the book and Bonnie.
Bonnie Gray is also the author of Finding Spiritual Whitespace. An inspirational speaker and retreat leader, she has touched thousands of lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer and meditation. Bonnie’s writing is featured in Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She lives in California with her husband and their two sons.