Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Introduction to Bible Journaling - Part 1 - My Story

I recently had the privilege of  speaking about Bible journaling in front of over 100 women at my church women's retreat. Since I couldn't take you all with me on the retreat, I want to share some of what I talked about here. The first part of my presentation was my story of how I started Bible journaling so that is what I am going to cover in this first post. Part two will be the practical ways of how you can do Bible journaling, both inside of a Bible and outside of a Bible.

Before I get into my story though, I wanted to give you a brief overview of Bible journaling just in case you are wondering what it is. If you were to look up Bible journaling online you would likely find images with artwork in the margins of a Bible. However, Bible journaling is more than creating art in a Bible. Simply put, it's studying God's Word in a creative way. This CAN be done in a Bible but there are many ways to do Bible journaling. All you need to get started is a writing utensil and a piece of paper.

Before I started Bible journaling, I battled a season of depression. I had lost all of my joy or desire to connect with God. It felt like I had tried for so long to keep it all together that God must have forgotten about me. Of course I now know that my trying was in my own strength which is why I was getting nowhere.

After going through counseling, I felt like I was in a much better place with plenty of tools to help me live a much happier and healthier life. But it still felt like something was missing. I had more of a desire to be in the Word but it still felt like a battle to keep up with it. I had long struggled with thinking that Bible study had to be done a certain way. The trouble was that this way was not enjoyable for me and I was not motivated to stick with it.

When I first discovered Bible journaling, I found many of those gorgeous paintings on the pages of Bibles. I was intrigued but also intimidated. I am a creative person but I don't consider myself artistic in the sense that I can paint beautiful pictures or draw elaborate hand lettered words. For a while I was more of an on-looker but deep down I knew it was something I needed to try.

So I got a journaling bible! However, it sat on the shelf for several months before I finally dove in. I'll never forget that first entry because it opened up a whole new world to me, one that quite literally changed my life! My first few entries were simple, just a few embellishments with some notes but it allowed me to connect my faith with my creativity in a way I had not known was possible.

It was only days after I completed my first entry that my husband was let go from his job. We've been through several seasons of unemployment in the past where I was prone to a lot of anxiety. This time however, I felt an unnatural sense of peace that I knew was from God because of my recent time in the Word. I used that time during his unemployment to pour my heart out to God through several entries in my Bible. From then on I knew that Bible journaling was a special tool and something that I could use to connect with God on a deeper more personal level than I had ever experienced before.

This past year especially has been one of tremendous growth for me, even as I’ve dealt with a long season of infertility and other challenges. But God has been faithful to continue to draw me closer to him. Some days are still hard but I am learning to lean more on him everyday. Suffice it to say, I am not the person I was a year ago and I know Bible journaling had a large role to play in that transformation. I love to study the Word and I have a much deeper relationship with God as a result. Bible study is no longer boring but something I can't wait to do because it's fun! 

See Part 2 - Bible Journaling Methods

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