I had so many plans at the beginning of lockdown yet very few of them have come to anything.
One thing I was determined to start again was reading my Bible on a more regular basis, but I haven’t quite managed to it every day yet. Though I have started a creative journal of the Bible verses that have stood out to me when I do manage it. I’ve tried the written method of journalling before and to be honest found it a bit of a chore. If I’m really honest I don’t particularly want my deepest emotions or darkest moments written in a book, not yet at least. What if I left it somewhere, or ever lost it? No that’s not for me at the moment thank you very much! Arty, crafty style journalling appeals much more.
Now, I know art is something I do so it could be argued that I’m just indulging in my passion, but it’s so much more than that when I pick up my Bible journal. It might be just a passage or two I read on any given day, sometimes it’s the ‘verse of the day’ from my Bible App. Whatever it is that stands out I often have a visual image come to mind (from an arty point of view) with, during or after I’ve read something. I might mull that over for while before I paint anything, but all the time this ‘pondering’ is going on, I’m thinking of the that particular word of God and what it means to me. The featured image for this post is the cover of my journal and sums up how, even on my inner dark and lonely days, I feel deep, deep down.
Knowing how difficult I find it to make time to sit and read and, how journalling, even though it’s a good thing to do, can also be difficult, I thought I would share a resource I have found really helpful in giving me ideas to get going.
And you don’t need to a natural artist or creative person to do this!
My good friend Sue from our church told me about this book when she bought it (she knows how much I love my art and crafts) and it’s got some great ideas to get you going. But don’t feel you need to go out and buy anything, you can find some fabulous ideas and free downloads online. Here is a quick flick through:
At the back of the book you get all sorts of helpful bonus pull-outs which you can either cut, colour and stick, or trace directly into your own journal or Bible. There are peel and stick prayer reminders, thankful stickers… the list goes on. For anyone who still struggles to find a particular book of the Bible, there are even peel and stick Book Title tabs. As I said above, there will be lots of these you could find as a download online too though.
The book tells you how to prepare the delicate pages of your Bible if you want to add things directly on the pages that have spoken to you. I still struggle to write in mine which is why I created a separate one. It’s quite large (12″ x 12″) so I won’t lose it 😉. Also, I knew I would want to paint things sometimes so needed the space. These are my first few pages, the last one hasn’t had the verse added yet, but will be from Psalms, 46:10.
The only one of these that visually relates to the verses is the middle one, Psalm 91. But with the others, for me anyway, it wasn’t necessarily that the image related directly to the verse. It was about the time I spent repeating and considering the verse as I decorated the page I was doing. Sometimes the image will have an obvious connection, at other times it will be – for want of a better term – me doodling while I listen to the words and let them soak into my mind, heart and soul. Journalling this way really helps me remember the scripture – I’ve got my own image connected to it. Yellow roses are now likely to always remind me to ‘Be still, and know that I am God’.
My faith gives me a lot of inner strength, comfort and peace. And by the same token, I have days where I struggle with it and I’m weak, uncomfortable and battling and yet, even on those days I have a deep rooted confidence that He is with me.
I hope this encourages you that there are many ways to interact with the Bible and this might be a different and helpful way to for you to engage (or re-engage) with God yourself.
Times are hard, stranger than we’ve known them and may have been (or still are for you) quite fearful, but
Even in these uncertain times there is always something to be Thankful for, something for which we can be truly Grateful and something that reminds us how Blessed we are.
May you have love in your lives and peace in your hearts 💛