Hello Journalers!

My heart is always happy when I sit down to write a blog post for Illustrated Faith. And although there are now THOUSANDS of us out there – it still feels like I am talking to dear friends. It would be the very best-est day if I could invite you to come hang out in my studio, sharing our love of the Lord and His Word. I wish that I would have the privilege of turning the pages of your Bible so that I could catch a glimpse of what you and the Lord have been up to when you have met on the pages of your Bible. Maybe one day, right?!?!?!

Shanna has challenged us to share what Bible Journaling has meant to me in my walk with the Lord – and what better time to get to share that testimony than the Easter season! Journaling in my Bible may be the thing that has had the biggest impact on my faith journey since the day I accepted Christ as my Savior. Wow – that is a pretty bold statement! But it is true.

I was blessed to have been adopted as an older child into a family that loved Jesus. His presence in my life became just as normal and expected as Saturday morning pancakes, trips to my grandparents’ house and prayer over family dinner. But – I’ve always been able to remember my life BEFORE. Before I had a Mom and a Dad. Before someone was there to tuck me into bed at night. Before I “belonged” to a family. Before I had a precious sister. Before – when there were scary things that go bump in the night…and no one was there to protect me from them. Before – when being an older child meant you probably wouldn’t ever have a family because people wanted babies. Before.

But AFTER! That’s the story I love to tell! After I was adopted, I had a family that engulfed me in love. They taught me to love Jesus and His Word. I had a future and a hope – both here on earth and eternally. And I was an HEIR! It is perhaps one of the very best-est things about being adopted – an adopted child knows what it means to have the course of their life changed when they become part of a family. An heir has an inheritance. ..perhaps not a financial inheritance but an inheritance of belonging. An inheritance of being a part of something bigger than yourself…and if you were not born into a family – you know what it means for a family to choose to make you part of their family…their heir.

That’s what Jesus did for EACH of us, when He saved us through His death on the cross. Titus 3:5-7 says, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being Justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Titus Cross 3

That set me on a life long journey to know my Heavenly Father, Jesus my Savior and the Holy Spirit my comforter.  I studied the Word. I prayed. I’ve read countless books and listened to pastors and speakers share what they know about them. I was curious and was intentional about satisfying that curiosity.

And, to be totally transparent, there have been times when that curiosity waned. I remained in love with them – but I got distracted by life. I got distracted by ministry. I got distracted by sin. I got distracted by thinking I could rely on all the work I put into getting to know them in past years.

And for me, Bible Journaling has brought me back to that feeling of “awe” that I am a child of God…His heir. As I have spent time not just studying, but tarrying in the Word as I seek to meet with Him on the pages of my Bible, I have learned so much more about my inheritance. Some days it is a refreshing of an idea that I have known for years…but on others I learn something so NEW about Him that I can’t help but  find a way to capture it in a tangible way in my Journaling Bible.

And one of my favorite things that Bible Journaling has brought to my walk with the Lord is that the art and the words that I have placed onto the pages of my Bible have the ability to instantly bring back to my present memory the impact they had on me when I first learned them. It renews my mind! That is part of our inheritance…as heirs we have unlimited access to our Father in Heaven…and He loves to remind us that He CHOSE us…and my Journaling Bible has become an interactive love letter from Him to me…and me to Him!

Happy Easter Fellow HEIRS!

  1. Kimberly E. 2 years ago

    Oh Jann…this is a wonderful post!! You are such a sweet, sweet spirit and always so encouraging and uplifting. What a blessing to be adopted into such a loving family AND the added bonus of one that loved and knew Jesus. So special. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Blessings to you as you travel. I wish you a wonderful Easter. He has Risen!! Big hugs to you my sister in Christ!!

    • Jann Gray 2 years ago

      Thank you Kimberly! I am often overwhelmed by how much grace our Heavenly Father bestows upon us…and then I turn around and am overwhelmed with His goodness to give us earthly “brothers and sisters” – some, like yourself, that I have not yet had the joy to meet, to encourage us on our path! Thank you for being part of my inheritance! {{hugs}} and a Blessed Easter!

  2. Christa Sterken 2 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, I always, always appreciate transparency like this!

    • Jann Gray 2 years ago

      Hey Christa…

      So sorry for the delay in responding to you! I thought I had set notices so I would know if anyone posted a comment…but I must have done it wrong! OOPS!

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I feel blessed to be able to share…I am indeed a blessed woman…so very blessed!

      Have a great week!

  3. amy bruce 2 years ago


  4. ruth tacoma 2 years ago

    Beautifully said! I love your heart and your transparency. Many blessings to you from another child who was adopted twice…into an early family & God’s too. :)

  5. Dawn 2 years ago

    Love this post!!! Bible journaling has reminded me of how rich the word is. So much there! Such a worthy pursuit on which to focus my time and attention!!

  6. TracieClaiborne 2 years ago

    Jann – what a wonderful post! It made me cry because you put your heart on this page. Love you! You and Shanna have inspired me to make this a part of my life somehow. I see the joy so many are getting from it and I want that joy too!

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