Hi there, Heather here to share my story of how Illustrated Faith and Bible Journaling has changed my life. Recently, my husband and I were going though some old boxes and I found some old Bibles from when I was a kid. My husband’s first comment was, “You already did this as a kid”. My first thought was, “What made me stop?”.
It wasn’t my parents or even my pastors, I still vividly remember seeing my Dad’s beautiful handwritten notes. I still remember my pastors telling me and encouraging me to underline and make notes in my Bible. So again, “what made me stop?” I loved my Bible and loved being a follower of Jesus when I was a kid. So again, “what made me stop?”
Sadly, it was the influence of my peers. My peers would tell me to stop clicking my pen, and that doodling in my Bible was wrong. My peers made it very clear to me that I’m supposed to treasure my Bible the way they treasured their Bible, the “neat and proper” way.
Fast forward 20 years, and my “pristine” Bible is collecting dust on the bookshelf and my old Bibles that were doodled in, are packed up in a box and moved from apartment to apartment to house, never to be even opened up. Thanks to YouVersion, it was collecting even more dust and not even taken down for Sunday services. My love for the Word was gone and I felt like I was just walking though life, not being able to love God the way he created me, because I wasn’t a “neat and proper” person. I seriously believed the lie that I will never have a close relationship with God because I’m not doing it right. I struggled with Bible studies, I struggled with even listening to the messages on Sundays. I was in robot mode… do the church thing on Sunday and Wednesday, serve my church and volunteer for everything, because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?
Why did I let my peers influence me so much? Why did I think there were rules to loving God’s Word? I will say that the change in mindset wasn’t a quick switch. It took several years of writing in a notebook and then arting in an art journal. It wasn’t until a year ago when Shanna posted her art IN her Bible, on her blog, that I started to let go and feel FREE! I still hesitated and started with just underlining and highlighting. I had 20+ years of influence to let go of, this was not going to be easy.
In the Facebook community, I constantly see that first time worry and I so completely relate to your fear. The fear of messing up, the fear of being a distraction, the fear of what others will think. My first entry was not pretty, it’s really messy. I was sooooo nervous, but I just knew I had to do it. I finally felt free… free from fear and free from the influence of others. I was owning up to my PERSONAL relationship with God and His Word again. I have grown so much since Bible Journaling. I’ve renewed my relationship with Christ. I treasure my Bible again, like I never have before. When my pastor tells the congregation to highlight, underline, draw, or do whatever you need to do to remember the passage, I can smile and shout a little “AMEN”, again.
The biggest thing I’ve learned from all of this is that we are all created uniquely and he loves us the way he created us. I’m not upset about those 20 years, I needed it as a part of my story and testimony. I thank God that I went through that wandering off the path with God time, so that my awakening and sense of urgency was HUGE.
I came across this quote a few weeks ago in a book I’m reading, “You were created for a purpose”. I truly believe that without this being a part of my story, I wouldn’t have the urgency to share how important it is to be IN the Word the way that God created you to be. Bible Journaling has become a part of my purpose. It’s influenced not just my personal relationship with God, but influenced how I live my life. My marriage, motherhood and friendships have grown, my way of homeschooling has changed, my blog/business has changed. I no longer let others influence what I do or don’t do, but let God and his Word influence me. I can now see the purpose that He created me for.
God wants a relationship with you and he created you for a purpose. Let your time in the Word influence you. Love God and love his Word. Document your relationship with God and walk along side Him. He has a lot to tell you! BE FREE!!
Shanna Noel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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