Over the years I have gone back and forth about the way I approach scripture. The Bible has always been something so familiar, read at church each week and at the start of every school day for most of my education, and somewhere along the way the novelty and splendor of it wore off. I felt like I knew it backwards and forwards, and I was the queen of "sword drills" (races to see who could look up a verse the fastest), but the light over this book dimmed as the years went by.
Writing out the verses has always helped me to memorize them, but I wanted to approach it more intentionally this year as that practice had fallen away quite a while ago. I picked up a journaling Bible several months ago but did little with it, typically using my YouVersion app for reading instead, and it wasn't until stumbling upon Shanna Noel and her hashtag for Illustrated Faith that I decided to dive in.
The perfectionist in me was suuuuuper hesitant. It's what stops my progress on most projects, but I am so glad I put the paint on paper! I use watercolors to paint a page a day and it has been so good for my soul, relieving stress and anxiety, and making the scripture leap off the page. I've found it so much easier to remember the verse when I have a picture to attach to it! Here are a few of my first pages.
I for one have become obsessed with the new weaving trend floating around the internet. They are just GORGEOUS! But they are also expensive, both to buy and to make, and so when I thought about painting one, it made so much sense! I tucked it into the Psalms in one of my favorite chapters:
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth."
Another trend I've seen floating around Instagram and Pinterest are cute little cacti with bright pink blooms, both prints and physical plants. Aren't they cute?! I'd buy them up if I could, but I am terrible at keeping plants alive (I know, I know, it's a cactus, but still... if anyone could kill one, it would be me). So instead I planted it in the book of Micah and wrapped verse 7:7 around it. It doesn't correlate with the verse like the weaving above, but I liked it anyway.
"But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me."
Oh man, I will not soon forget this page. Or ever. During my last week of school Oklahoma got some crazy weather. I'm talking tornado's, hail, and rain GALORE. I was terrified! My plans of driving home to Texas were put on hold until the weather calmed down, but one Friday night I sat nearly paralyzed in fear on my couch watching the radar and the storm raging outside. After an hour of this I decided to take some action, putting on the Bethel Music Pandora station, dropped Peppermint and Stress Away into my diffuser, and started to paint. I stuck that very scary radar smack dab in the middle of 2 Timothy 1.
"For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7
As for the Bible I use, it is a single column ESV journaling Bible with a leather wrap-around cover. Christianbooks.com typically has them for a steal of a deal like this one HERE. I bought a set of watercolors at my campus bookstore and a second set with more colors at Hobby Lobby. Both sets were under $10.00. Really any brushes will do, and I am still in the learning process as far as actually painting goes. But some of what I would consider to be the "imperfect places" are becoming my favorites.
Have you ever tried creative Bible journaling? Writing in the margins?
What is your favorite way to connect with scripture? I'd love to know!