I have had the honor of being asked to speak about my passion for Bible journaling a handful of time at local MOPs groups, women’s events, and church gatherings. Each time I speak, I always take questions at the end, and inevitably they tend to focus around the same few topics. I call them “The 5 W’s of Bible Journaling”. I thought I would share some of my heart and behind-the-scenes process of who, what, when, where, and why I Bible journal.
Who taught you to Bible journal?
The truth is that I taught myself to Bible journal, just like everyone else out there who is trying their hand at it. I discovered Bible journaling on a Sunday afternoon at a small mom’s Bible study that I regularly attended. Another mom in the group had recently received a journaling Bible for Valentine’s Day and brought it to show the rest of the group. While I initially thought that receiving a Bible for Valentine’s Day sounded terribly unromantic, the idea of Bible journaling stuck with me. I headed home, looked up example pages on Pinterest, and soon stumbled on Lindsey Lanning’s YouTube channel “LindseyDecor”. That very next week, my parents watched my small kids for me (bless them!), and I headed to LifeWay to buy my very first Bible journal. And the rest, as they say, is history!
What types of things do you Bible journal?
I journal almost anything and everything. As of right now, my primary resources are devotionals that I am working in, usually from By the Well 4 God or Illustrated Faith. These are fantastic resources because they create in depth devotional content while also providing you with tools and supplies meant specifically for Bible journaling. These devotionals often center around Biblical themes that are tied into an artistic theme as well. There are also many other small companies online that provided digital devotional content, coupled with Bible journaling goodies, that give you a nice jumpstart!Enchanted Tip-in!, What a Powerful Name It Is!, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life”, Enchanted Watercolor Florals, Picky about Printables
I frequently create Bible journal entries based on sermons from church or discussions from a weekly Mom’s Bible Study that I am a member of. I’ve found that journaling sermons has completely changed the way that I engage on Sunday mornings. I no longer sit and passively listen to our pastor as he preaches. I take notes, draw quick sketches, and make every effort to soak in the words he says. After that, I take time to meditate on the message and transfer the points that really stuck with me to my journaling Bible in the form of art. This really helps the sermon cross that “Monday threshold” and take root in my week.Covenant vs. Contract, Words Matter Art Journal Process, Hope is Not a Strategy
Sometimes I am inspired to Bible journal on a specific topic or event, unrelated to any devotional or sermon that I am working through. In those cases, I often find myself googling “Bible verses about _______” and filling in the blank with the general topic that is on my heart. This has been such a fantastic outlet for me to really dive into what the Holy Spirit is whispering to me, when I previously would have dismissed these moments as just a fleeting thought. I’ll look up verses, pray, and then get down to journaling my thoughts and conversations with God!
When do you find the time to Bible journal?
I’ll never forget one very specific Bible journaling talk I gave to a group of moms from my church. After I did my spiel, laying out my heart behind Bible journaling, a very sweet mom who was new to the group raised her hand and asked when I found the time to journal. After I gave her my explanation, she shared that she had 18 month old quadruplets at home as well as a 3 year old and 5 year old, and she just didn’t know when she would find time. My first thought? I had no idea when she would find the time either!
Just like any other activity, I believe there are seasons of life when setting aside time for Bible journaling is easier than other times. If you are up to your elbows in diapers, bottles, cooing babies, and spit-up, it may be very difficult to set aside time to create. But, just because it is difficult doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Once I discovered how much Bible journaling was really allowing me to connect with God and my faith on a whole new level, it became a priority for me. I set aside time several days a week to spend creatively in my Bible, outside of my daily quiet time. The truth is that if something is priority for you, you will make the time. Typically, I journal in the afternoon while my kids are napping and having quiet time. If life gets in the way, sometimes I push my journaling time to the evening when they have gone to bed. That is never ideal for me though, because like so many other moms I know, when it gets to that time of day I am so tired that my heart usually isn’t there and it feels a bit forced. My husband is extremely supportive of my creativity and makes every effort to help me carve out creative time for myself. I am so thankful for that!
The great part about Bible journaling is that it does not have to take up a huge chunk of time. Typically, about 20 minutes is plenty of time to create a gorgeous entry. Yes, some entries are a bit more involved, but I only tackle more complex techniques when I have the time. 20 minutes is generally enough time to me to connect to a passage, add some beautiful elements to a page, and pray over the ways I feel God speaking to me.
Where do you typically like to Bible journal?
I know several Bible journalers who are amazing on-the-go crafters. I, however, am not one of them. I like to be at my desk, with my candle lit, surrounded by my supplies, and listening to worship music. I prefer to set the scene and really settle into my time with God. I am lucky enough to have a guest room that doubles as my craft room. It is my ideal setup for Bible journaling and my happy place in general. I have lots of info on my craft space here:
Why Bible journal when you could just read the Bible?
When I became a mom, God put on my heart that in order to be the best mom and wife I could be, I needed to spend more time with Him. I had a strong desire to study God’s word, learn as much as I possibly could, and then reflect that in my journey as a parent and wife.
The desire was there, but the motivation was not. I would read my bible, but never really felt connected to the Word. Honestly, I often found it dry, difficult to get through, and most of the time just looked at bible study as an item on my To-Do list, something to check off so that I could show others I was playing my role as a Christian mom. But this surface level study was not bringing me closer to God or having an impact on my life in any way. Then, I was introduced to bible journaling.
You see, I’ve always loved crafty things, taking time to make beautiful things, and creating fun projects using my imagination. But, as far as I could see, my passion for crafting had no place in my faith life. Turns out, I was totally wrong. God created us to create. By coloring, drawing, painting, stamping, and using a whole mess of colorful techniques in my bible, God’s words have started leaping off the page for me. There is a huge freedom in allowing myself to be the creative person God made me to be, and using that creativity to express my faith. My motivation to spend time in the Word has increased exponentially, and so has my communication with God on a daily basis.
Here’s what took me by surprise though…as my passion for studying His Word has grown, God has used that passion to influence others. It started with some women in our Wednesday morning bible study noticing how chunky my bible was getting and asking some questions. I posted a few pictures on my social media accounts, and people that I have not spoken to in years started messaging me, asking what it was I was doing to my Bible, and how could they learn more. I’ve even had complete strangers reach out for advice on how to get started on their own bible journals. I’ve had the honor of speaking to groups of women at MOPs, Mom’s Bible study, teenage ignition groups, and other small groups about this passion and have been able to witness first hand the spark that God ignited in them as well. And, most importantly, I’ve had the privilege of seeing my little girl go through my journaling bibles page by page, asking questions and reading the prayers I have written, and I’ve seen her desire to dig deeper into the bible grow as a result.
So, my advice for all of you is to dig deep and find what you are passionate about. Craftiness is not for everyone…I fully realize that I get much more excited about a new set of watercolors than the average person. Maybe your passion is gardening, exercising, cooking, spreadsheets, teaching, music, or any number of other things. When you find your passion, I promise you that you’ll find God right there too. That passion is probably the very tool God is planning to use to shape your life, your faith journey, and quite possibly the lives of those around you.
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife