Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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?”.


Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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.

Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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.

Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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.

Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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.

Illustrated Faith - Heather Greenwood's Testimony - letting go of peer influence

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

Supplies Used:
NIV Note-Taker’s Bible | You Are Enough Made Perfect In Him – Devotional and Stamp Set | Beautiful Stamp Set | Hope Stamp Set | With God Stamp Set | Faber-Castell Cobalt Green Big Brush Marker | Tim Holtz Distress Paint – Picked Raspberry, Ripe Persimmon, Abandoned Coral, Mustard Seed, and Cracked Pistachio | KaiserCraft Chase Rainbows Die-Cuts | Uni-Ball Signo 207 Black Pen | Sakura White Gelly Roll Pen

  1. Amen to this! I have always loved doodling and writing in my bible too but since I have been bible journaling God’s word has really expanded for me! Love your bright colours!

  2. Michelle Hotchkiss 7 years ago

    I visited a church a couple years back and was actually surprised that very few people bright their bibles. Even the pastor said “if you have a bible, turn to..”. They projected all the scriptures on an overhead screen, which isn’t a bad thing at all and is very helpful many times, but in this church it replaced people’s personal bibles. People were not using electronic bibles either. I remember thinking that it was very sad that the cornerstone of faith wasn’t a constant presence for the members. Neither did this church provide bibles for use during sermons because it was held in a school gymnasium.

    My favorite pastor (who moved away years ago sadly) always used the overhead projections but strongly encouraged everyone to bring and use their bibles during the services as well as at home. He reminded us it is ultimately our responsibility to make sure we are being taught correctly by himself and other teachers/prewchers and the only way to do that was to read and learn the bible ourselves, otherwise he could teach anything and we would know if it is right or wrong. I had never heard that before but it struck a cord and I totally believe that is true.

    It even knowing that, my bibles sat closed for years, but it was actually a reflection that my heart and mind were also closed. I stopped going to church.

    Bible journaling has been important for opening myself back up. It has been a merciful gift from God.

  3. Cecilia 7 years ago

    Oh my goodness! I can so relate – I am a doodler but to doodle in my Bible?!? Heaven forbid. I’ve struggled with the Word being something I desire. It’s only been recently that I’ve started getting excited about it – I’m doing a scripture memorization and the only way I can do it is to add art. Then I stumbled across this. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get my journaling Bible. I can’t wait to get started! Thanks for sharing your story. I am inspired.

  4. Crystal P. 7 years ago

    I feel like our stories are so similar! My childhood bibles look the same, my grown up bibles I think you could see my creativity begging to get out, I still would use multicolored highlighters and colorful tabs, but always figured it was against the rules or disrespectful to go any further. I just got my first journaling bible a few months and I already feel so much more at peace. I a graphic designer and marketing specialist, so now it all makes sense. God made me this way and it allows me to meditate on His word in a way that I am able to truly express myself. I also just got this awesome book praying with color, it’s essentially where you use doodling, coloring, drawing, whatever, to pray for others. For those of us that aren’t as good with the words. I find it really great to just spend my time thinking of someone, praying for them while I creating a beautiful doodle or drawing, it really allows you to pray I’m a whole new way :)

  5. Cody Doll 7 years ago

    I was a doodler too. I was lucky that I didn’t make friends well so no one could tell me stop. I HAD to doodle or write while listening or I would just sit and get nothing. I love being able to create with the word (no bible journal yet).

  6. Casie 7 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and your amazing art!
    I too worry about what others think and that has limited my willingness to create!

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