Friday, February 20, 2015

Illustrated Faith

I bought a Journaling Bible two years ago after seeing the nice wide margins that allowed for notetaking.  This is the Bible that I have, it is no longer in print but there are a wide variety of journaling Bibles available.

A few months ago I stumbled on Valerie Wieners Instagram account and immediately fell in love with her art.  I was slack-jawed that she added her beautiful art to her Bible!

I am not an artist but I am a good copier and creativity is free, or really cheap, anti-depessant therapy.  I am also a very visual person so the idea of reading God's Word and mulling over what I've read and putting that into pictures was incredibly appealing to me.  So I tried it out.

Then I went back and tried adding some color to some of my existing notes.
Pretty fun!  But the pastels I was getting from my watercolor pencils just wasn't cutting it enough for me.  I unearthed my boys' watercolors and started really digging in.

I soon learned that this art form has a name, or several names, Illustrated Faith or Documented Faith.  I found other Instagram accounts like Stephanie Ackerman, Shanna Noel and Little Bit Funky.

Everybody does it differently.  This is my every day Bible but others have a study Bible and just journal and doodle in their Journaling Bible.  Some ladies use rubber stamps and stickers, others use water colors and Prisma Inks.  Some stick to the journaling margins, others cover their whole page.  

There are websites and Facebook groups and Alaskan cruises!  Oh my!  For me, this is simply my fringe hours with God.  Some of my notes are from Bible studies, sometimes I write another translation, sometimes it's just my own interpretation of what I've read.
I've started carrying a watercolor palette with me and at the coffee shop I ask for a small cup of water and plop myself next to a sunny window. 
Sometimes there is only enough time to get out the colored pens and pencils. 

Other times I'm gifted with more time and I plug in my earbuds and jam out on Pandora.  If you see me at McDonald's in full-on worship mode, don't be surprised if I'm raising my arms - just praising Jesus.
This one was a poor excuse of a hack from Pinterest.  My apologies to the original artist for ruining your picture!

I'm so blessed that God put this in my path and is using this to make the Bible come alive in a whole, new way for me.  His Word is alive and active in me and I'm so enjoying allowing it to bubble up in whatever imperfect, humble way He allows.

If you're interested in this, Valerie, Shanna, and Stephanie all have much more concise and beautiful descriptions than I could possibly add to.  I encourage you to check them out.  But even more than that, I encourage you to just get started.  Yes, you'll mess up (like the time I wrote Esther/Boaz when I meant to write Ruth/Boaz...still trying to come up with a creative way to cover that up), yes your pens might bleed through or dribble on your page, you might smudge your handwriting or misspell a word.  But your Bible is a part of your legacy.  I have my grandmother's and my great-grandmothers Bibles.  They are full of four-leaf clovers and obituaries cut from the newspaper.  I want my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to look back through my Bible and see what spoke to me, where I struggled, what verses I was working on memorizing.  This, to me, is a great legacy to leave.

If you don't want to doodle directly in your Bible, try buying a journal and seeing what images God's Word stirs in your mind.  Above all, don't get caught up in the details.  It's about drawing closer to Him and for HIS glory!