I want to start off by saying He was always there. It was me that was lost, confused, searching. He stood steady waiting for me to find my way, waiting for me to put the world’s expectations aside and find my own way. The way He had created for me, the way that was uniquely mine.
He was waiting for me to find my way back to Him, and this is the story of how I did that.
I wanted to just take a moment and really touch on the heart of what we are all doing here, what this whole “journaling bible” movement is about, and why it has sparked a wildfire in the Christian community. We are here because we are believers, seekers, lovers of the Word of God. We are here because we are creatives, dreamers, and makers. We are here because those two things combined set us on fire, made us excited to see what’s next, excited to dig into the Word, and excited for Him.
I wish I could say since I became a Christian at 16, on the bottom of my apartment steps with my then boyfriend (now husband), that I have always been on fire for Him. I wish I could say that I have always known that personal relationship with Him, but the truth is that would be a lie.
I think as with most Christians we hit a natural ebb and flow in our walk. Sometimes we get to a place of pure love and dedication where we promise to read the Bible more, get more involved, and reach out to those around us. With the hustle and bustle of our lives we often can become watered-down in that dedication. It may be because we are human, but what if it was for a different reason altogether?
What if the whole time we were trying so hard to draw into God we were going about it the wrong way? Let me explain!
When I would attend Christian conferences or small groups, I would see women gobbling up the latest Christian book or reading their Bibles at break, and I looked at them with adoration. I wanted that. I wanted to CRAVE my Bible, I wanted to need that personal connection, to dive in deeper, to learn more. I really wanted that.
The problem is I was doing it the way that I saw them doing it.
Their gifts were to learn through reading a testimony, or talking in a small group. Maybe they learned best by reading the Bible straight through in a year or listening to Christian worship. While all those things helped me learn more about God, they never really pulled me in like illustrating my faith has done.
Since I started using my journaling bible a couple of years ago it’s been completely different.
Now I am using the gifts HE has given me to GLORIFY Him. Through that, I am able to understand what He is teaching me even more. I am able to use all the tools we are given in a personal matter. I can now read the Bible in a way that sticks with me, sinks into my heart, sets me on my path. I am able to hear worship music and see it come to life in living color. I am able to use a devotional in a way that really makes a difference in my everyday life.
Now that I am leaning into the Word, my relationship with Jesus is radically different. I find myself in constant prayer, talking with Him about things I would have never brought to Him before. Now when I pray it’s more like I am picking up in the middle of a conversation rather than reintroducing myself. I feel this intimate relationship with Jesus, one that I had always craved. It was sitting right there in front of me just waiting for me to discover the path that was made for me.
If you find yourself in a similar situation of wanting more from your relationship with God, don’t give up! Keep going! Learn more!
If illustrating your faith is a new idea to you and you want to learn more, I encourage you to grab a journaling bible, sign up for our newsletter, and check out our community on Instagram and Facebook. We would love to have you join us! And if illustrating your faith isn’t for you, that is okay, too. Find your path, for the way God made you to be. It’s perfect and waiting!Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your Bible truly is a work of “heART”! I am a very visual person, as I’m sure you are being an artist. Capturing His Word visually is a great way to enable that Truth to sink deeper. Since I am not an artist, I will often sit and contemplate scripture and create my own “picture” if you will, in my mind. One of my favorite go to images is Jesus, looking lovingly at the helpless lamb (me) that He’s holding in His strong and secure arms. Picturing myself as that tiny helpless lamb brings to life the scripture about Him gathering the lambs in His arms and carrying them close to His heart (Isaiah 40:11). For so many scriptures, I’ve created visual images. Perhaps this is the non-artists way of creative journaling lol. I would love to give your way a try, though, and will have to check it out. Having been a Christian for 42 years, I believe there are always new and creative ways to keep His words alive in my heart. Thank you for sharing this wonderful way!! Love your artwork 🙂
Kelly R Smith says
Thank you for sharing your story (and your photos–GAH! GORgeous!!). The margins of my journaling Bible contain my thoughts, my insights, my prayers–all in neat, uniform print in black ink. My brain can’t wrap around the colors, the mixed media. Our differences only amplify how God’s Word is active and dynamic. We each relate to it so differently but perfectly.
This Bible Journal pictured has sparked in me and I am delighted you have shared it.
Today will be the first time I’ll start to Journal, thank you for this much inspiring idea.
I’m so excited.
Again my thanks,
I have been an avid stamper since 1992 and have loved using this passion for reaching out and lifting others up through cards and notes of encouragement. Recently I had felt a tug to use this medium in a more personal way and in August 2016 I truly believe the Lord led me to your sight! It was such a revelation to my very soul! I even shared this with the ladies of my Book Club. I got one of your planners and started slowly; with journaling in the planner… thoughts and songs that spoke to me (like you challenged us to do) … and I was so amazed at how just by the fact of taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts and capture them on the page…. that time, that experience was locked into my very soul! Illustrating your faith takes your walk to an entirely different dimension … a God dimension…. and it strengthens your heart, spirit and soul down to the core. It stays with you, it equips you, it encourages you, it supports you … through your daily walks and challenges. This is so tangibly real! Thank you for sharing this with the world… for opening our hearts and souls up to such an amazing, inspiring revelation. You are in my prayers. xoxo
What a truly inspiring story……..I too am a more visual person, a sewist, fiber artist. Your description of how you’ve made visual your walk with God speaks wonders to my heart……we all are uniquely our own versions by God. Using those gifts that God gave us to praise and honor him – why not??!!
You’re drawing ability is beautiful gift……thank you!! I am (in)courage to find my own visual path to praise God………….Praise God!!!!!
Michele Morin says
It’s so important and helpful to have a record of our meetings with God, and yours is absolutely stunning!
This is so unique and beautiful! To us who have never heard of this before and me being the OCD person I am ( ha ha!) how do you see the scripture behind the pictures/stickers/ink/etc. I’m just so curious. Is the artwork intended to cover up the words in the bible or do you use a special type of bible that maybe has blank pages (one for reading/one for decorating) or maybe a bible that has duplicate pages…so same page printed twice so say on the left you see the words and the write you doodle over the words themselves. Sorry for all the questions, I just would love to know how it works. This seems like a great idea for folks who express themselves artistically. 🙂
I’ve seen several varieties of these at the LifeWay Christian Book Store in Gentilly, LA by the Baptist Seminary. They all have extra wide margins left blank for you to write/doodle/decorate your way. They’re not cheap — but enticing, yes! Since I take notes in my bibles and love to sketch I think this will be on my next wish list. Your work is beautiful, by the way.
Charlene S. says
I really love the vibrant, eye-catching colors used in your illustration. I’ll admit I have not written in my “makeshift” journal in awhile but I’m curious about the journaling bible you mentioned. I’m going to buy one today so I can begin journaling again! Thanks again for inspiring others through your gift.
Phala Richardson says
I’m crying because this sounds so much like me. My soul is on fire for Christ now each day. I can’t write like some but I pour my emotions out with colors to the Holy Spirit speaking to me as I study . It brings each story and verse alive with purpose and hidden meaning meant just for situations like today’s times. The most beautiful and the more important and the more knowledge there is to gain from the Word the thirstier you become for even more. And there is always something more there just waiting for you. Incredible how many times you can go back over and over again and never get enough of this book . Expressing through art opens my eyes my heart ❤️ and soul like nothing else has in my entire life. I have imprinted more on my heart ❤️ of Gods word through art than I ever did trying by studying. This is ME! Amen
Sarah Geringer says
Hi Shanna! Glad to see your beautiful illustrations. I have to be honest–I grew up in a tradition of not marking in my Bible, so it’s very hard for me to get comfortable with Bible illustration, even though I’m an artist myself. What your post HAS done is inspire me to create art on canvas and in graphics based on Bible verses. I will be happy doing that instead of marking in my Bible.
Robin Dance says
Shanna!! I LOVE seeing your story here. Your words are an offering, drenched in grace and inspiration. What you’ve done here (and through IF) is given others permission to engage the Word in a new way. Wouldn’t our enemy like to stifle creativity and seeking God earnestly in scripture of all places? Of course. But here, you suggest a way to enter into Truth, to release art…and so much more.
Meeting you was a highlight of the Atlanta Market…and I genuinely hope we get to spend time together in the not-too-distant future.
Thank you, Shanna, for sharing your beautiful creations…I agree – whatever inspires me, encourages me, sets my heart to singing about reading and studying God’s word is a wonderful thing! I have seen this advertised on DaySpring emails and ads. It looks like a lot of fun! I have always underlined and made notes in the margins of my bible (Large Print gives you more room! 🙂 – but I don’t understand about painting over the words – can you read through them? As a child, I was told we must never mark or write on hymnals or bibles (notes were okay when I was older), so I guess that stuck with this little Southern Baptist girl! Personally, my daughter & I both do online bible studies and have a daily devotional in our “in boxes”. It’s very special that we do this together – but separately! In the evenings (or on the weekend) it is so wonderful to get together to discuss them – what we thought, what encouraged us, our views and understanding on certain things discussed. Like you said, we all must find what speaks to us – that way we will stay excited, encouraged and in the Word! Be blessed today!
April Noel says
Very, very encouraging! And I have to throw in there that I love your name! 🙂 My husband’s name is Shaun so the similarity caught my attention!
Rebecca L Jones says
I really encourage people to do this especially those who are in need of healing. And so many people enjoy coloring for adults, I put pages on my Pinterest boards. I enjoyed doing the Last Supper. Older people may think its wrong to write in books but this Bible is different, made to be creative and alive with your notes. I still tell children not to write in reading books though.
Kathy Cheek, Devotions from the Heart says
God did not make us all from the same mold and it is always refreshing to see the different ways He draws us into that relationship with Him.
On the subject of Bible reading, my motto is “I will be in my Bible all through the year, even if I don’t make it all the way through in a year.”
I found that slowing it down worked much better for me and it always takes me more than a year. Then, a couple years ago, I slowed down even more when I began to read it out loud to myself. I started in Psalms because the poetry and worship is so beautiful, and I was hooked. Now, I always read it out loud and it seems to speak to me more clearly and helps me to pay attention and not lose sight of what I am reading.
Thank you for sharing your art with us and how you’ve grown in your walk with the Lord.
Faith Douglas says
I think that is exactly what the enemy wants, he love when we compare ourselves with others, so if we do not measure up we tend give up. The enemy known is target audience, he like to use comparison in women’s life. He trick us to think that if we are not a good homemaker, wife’s, mothers, ministry leaders like our neighborhood, we must be incomplete. God said we are complete in him, not in everyone else. I love your article on learning how to know the word the way God want you to , but not like everyone else. I pray that God continue to bless the ink that you use as a tool to show women that we are all unique to God in His own way.
Beth Williams says
What a novel idea to bring the Bible stories to life! I am a note taker. Each sermon or talk that I hear I will write down some important ideas, look them over and read the scriptures to get a good picture of what they were saying. The more we stay in the Word the more we can defeat the enemy with ammunition! I say everyone get creative and read the Bible your way-just read it and digest it!!
Debi Gable says
I find this so very appealing. I have 4 Bibles, but don’t read any of them regularly. I get distracted & hurry to finish the portion of Scripture I’m reading to “get it over with”. The thought of illustrating my faith is pulling at my heartstrings. There is only one problem. I don’t have the money to buy the Bible or the kit. I just know it would make a difference in my life. Please pray for me that God will provide this for me.
Thank you & may God richly bless you.
Is there a difference in the pages of the Bibles offered on the site than any other Bible that makes it better for journaling? I have a single column Bible and I love this idea but I don’t want everything to bleed through the pages. Thanks for posting and for your passion and advice.