Last year after I wrote, illustrated and published my little book, Pray More, I was asked to share how I integrate art into my Bible time. About one hundred ladies were there to hear my spiel, but that is only a hundred people. Many of you are new to Bible Journaling (perhaps you have not even jumped in yet and are just curious), while others of you have been doing it a while and are just looking for new ideas or techniques to use. Either way, this is for you…
WHAT. I started illustrating bible verses and prayer in a sketchbook. I did this for over three years and the reason it was in a sketchbook is because was afraid to mess up in a Bible, then I summed up the courage to actually do it on the pages of a Bible – in ink, no less. I bought a Bible, which has wide margins designed to provide a place for note taking (see my post here and here for Journaling Bible reviews). The paper is not special, it is still just thin Bible paper, but has extra space on the edges to write notes or draw. Surprisingly, this thin paper responds really well to watercolor paints, but I still like to experiment with a variety of techniques.
HOW. First, find a verse. Think and pray about it. You can create a prayer or a plea from it, write the verse out from another translation, summarize the passage, or simply write a part of the verse that stands out to you. You can stop with just lettering, or you can add embellishments that range from a simple sticker or stamp to painting the whole page. There really are no rules because the whole point to just to be in The Word.
Some methods for choosing a verse, getting it down on paper and spending time on it is detailed on this handout (free instant download).
How this has impacted my faith journey is what I found transforming. When I write out a verse or a prayer, I frequently trace over my own writing so that I am writing it over and over – a practice that Stephanie Ackerman (@stephanieackerman1), often does on her lettering. I will also paint around what I have written on the page. Both of these methods makes me pay attention and and keeps my focus on the words in front of me.
You know that saying “it is like watching paint dry?” They obviously have not sat down and painted in their Bible. That is when God and I have the best conversations. I sit and reflect, He nudges me to look something up or reveals to me why something went the way it did, He listens to my prayers. When I make a mistake on the pages of this Bible, I am reminded that He did not make us perfect. I sometimes fix the mistakes and remember that He fixes my brokenness. Other times, I leave the mistakes to serve as a reminder that He loves me anyway.
It is actually a really personal thing, so it is important to remember not to compare. In fact, Romans 12:6 reminds us that “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” That being said, inspiration is completely acceptable. So if you need some inspiration, hop over to instagram and search these hashtags: #illustratedfaith #biblejournaling #journalingbible and #journaledjourney. I know there are a lot of other hashtags which lead to some beautiful work, so feel free to share those little gems with me when you come across a new one.