Book Review: Whispers of Rest, by Bonnie Gray
Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table
It's very early on Sunday morning and my husband and I are discussing the things I hope we accomplish today. Our household boxes have not arrived yet, so we sneak out to a coffee shop for breakfast before the church crowds arrive. My goal is to get the main rooms painted before the boxes arrive in two days. My husband tells me "We will need to take some time to rest today..." and I giggle back, "Well, YOU can take a rest, but I have too much to do!"
This is our 7th move in the 7 1/2 years that my husband has been with this company... some have been our initiating, one was God closing a door, one had no job change involved - God just sold our house when it wasn't even on the market! Each time there was a job change, God was so good to sell our home within a month of being listed. He doesn't let that happen all the time with everyone, yet each time we list it I give Him permission to do that again! Each time I'm unprepared to have the packers and movers come, and I'm a little anxious to get things in the new home and make sure everything arrives unbroken. I want to put "our touch" on the house, to make it "ours." Oh, and I want it all done yesterday!
As we wait for our food, my daughter calls (so early!) asking if we are free to meet in Nashville for the day. They live 2 hours to the north of there, and we have just moved to 2 1/2 hours to the south, so it's about half way.
As much as I love my daughter, her husband and their seven children, my heart sinks to my gut and I want to cry out "NO!"
We've just moved in 2 days before, and I've told myself (and my husband and our two other kids) that for the month we will not go anywhere or have anyone over, and I will spend every waking moment painting and repairing this 20 year old, new-to-us house before we unpack and get settled in. I need time to make it "ours."
A month. That's all I want.
I feel God push back.
"Yes." He whispers in His still, small voice.
My heart crumbles as I realize how MY PLAN for this move has just been hijacked, and HIS PLAN is going to unfold. Again.
MY PLAN was to get the house cleaned (because it wasn't clean when we closed on it) and painted before we moved in, to stay a few days or a week in our rental while we do the needed repairs and painting. HIS PLAN was for us to move in on the day of closing, emptying the rental, and cleaning it out first.
That didn't happen either. Again. MY PLAN doesn't seem to ever take shape or amount to much. I'm surprised I try to make a "MY PLAN" at all!
The trip to Nashville was great, with me napping most of the way (because the lists are all made and what else is there to do in the car when you're not driving?). I wasn't aware how tired I was. We spent a few hours over a relaxed lunch, kids giggling and hearts happy. My heart is happy too, as I get to see all of them in one visit, and I'm (mostly) relaxed and not trying to think about the long list of things I still want to do at home.
AND OH, the hugs. The hugs are healing and restoring to this grandkid starved grandma's heart. I have missed my grandkids. All of them.
And... I see my husband rest. THIS is what he needed, and God knew that. How selfish of me to put my agenda ahead of his mental health. I know how important rest is for us, and God knew that we wouldn't really rest until we were removed from the house and all the "to-do's" staring back at us. The moving and transition on top of his *more than* 40 hours a week job has worn him out too. I'm sure I've been a joy to live with during this also. Sigh.
The day is a gift from God.
The trip home is uneventful, and we get a few things done before heading to bed. I know that a little will get accomplished during the week, and we make plans to go deliver some household goods to our other daughter's house the following weekend. Two more grandkids live there, so we may as well spend the weekend, since it's Mother's Day.
Only a little painting gets done during the week. Baby steps.
Then a few grandkids come and stay with us for several days, and our son and his family come and visit for a long weekend. No one is bothered by the boxes, the ugly painted walls, the partially painted walls, or the lack of decor. They don't mind waiting for beds to be made, or towels folded. I'm the only one that's bothered by all the un-done-ness around us.
Life happens, and it's been a month since we moved in. MY PLAN for the month was shot down quick and hard, and HIS PLAN is working out well. His plan involves moments of rest, renewal, times of laughter, and even backgammon over dinner.
I retreat out on the back deck to re-arrange cushions and sneak a peek at the lake. A deep sigh sets in... no, a deep exhale. I'm able to breathe back in and repeat the task (it seems hard to breathe, with all this undone around me). This time I remember a mantra that I learned from a missionary friend years before...
(inhale): "More of You, God."
(exhale): "Less of me."
I hear God whisper again, "We'll get it done. Breathe again. Feel me near you. Release all the stress."
I obey, and take a few more deep breaths, feeling His presence push out the anxiety.
He's going to get it done.
In HIS timing.
I received the invitation to be a part of Bonnie Gray's launch team for Whispers of Rest months ago, before we knew that we'd be moving again. I tend to not want to commit to doing things that involve reading, keeping up with an online group, or even writing a book review, in the middle of a move. That would be crazy! I'm so glad that HIS PLAN was for me to get in on this jewel! It was JUST what I needed in the midst of this crazy season!
If I gave you just a few words to describe Whispers of Rest, these are the words I'd use...
Poetic: I loved the touches of poetry, either through scripture or poems that were written for the book. Even the devotions feel more like creative writing than Bible study.
Peaceful: Rest isn't rest unless it's peaceful, and there's a lot of peacefulness in here! Through every aspect of the book, I was able to feel peace in my spirit take place, leading to a time of rest.
Prayerful: Bonnie does a lovely job of leading us through a guided prayer each day. Again, these are personal, with lots of wiggle room, yet she leads us enough to know how to focus our prayer for that day's exercise.
I really loved this book, and look forward to following along through the Book Club that she's starting up NEXT MONDAY, JUNE 5th. You can learn all about it here!
(I received an advanced copy of Whispers of Rest from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review of the book. This page may contain affiliate marketing links.)