This past Christmas Ethan gave me a journaling Bible. I had dropped some serious hints (like sent him the link… Mentioned it in every conversation for months… etc.) but nevertheless I was thrilled to find it under the tree Christmas morning. I don’t usually make New Years resolutions, but I did have a goal in 2015 and a word for the year: dig. To dig deep with Christ every day. To dig into the Word and experience the life that it brings because quite honestly, the end of 2014 was very dry and I was ready to pursue Jesus. So I started planning my daily time with Him. I resisted that notion for a long time because it sounded so non-organic and too structured to be an overflow of the heart. But it has been one of the best possible steps I could have taken in having consistent time with the Father.
I am also a sucker for pretty paper and I know myself well enough to know that the potential to use pretty paper is enough to get my excited about my quiet time. I know that just time in the presence of God is enough reason to draw near, but after going months without consistency I knew anything that would help incentivize couldn’t hurt! I prefer a planner over a phone, a journal over a laptop, and I wanted a paper Bible I could easily carry with me anywhere. That’s where this beauty came into play. This particular Bible is the leather bound ESV journaling Bible by Crossway. It’s a great size, it’s compact, there’s plenty of room for journaling, and I want to carry it with me wherever I go. I love the sizing and spacing – the Bible is about 7 inches wide, 8 inches tall and 1.5 inches thick when it’s all folded up. The leather strap gets softer with each use and it’s so easy to toss in your purse and take with you anywhere. The margins are 2 inches of lined space on either side of the Bible, plenty of room for notes or drawings.
I’m no professional, and my doodles and paintings are not excellent. But I absolutely adore spending time in the Word, envisioning the passage and bringing it to life visually because my brain just clings to that truth as I get to illustrate those verses. At first I was nervous, hesitant even. I don’t want my words to seem more important or prominent that the Word of God. But I love this quote by Shanna on Bible journaling:
I love having fun in my Bible! Some common questions I’ve been asked are about using watercolor on the pages. I use the cheap kind because it’s what I had on hand and I’m very new to the watercolor world. I have some from the $5 section at Michael’s that are a bit chalky and therefore don’t bleed through much. I also have some Crayola ones from Walmart that go on more like paint and bleed through if you aren’t careful! I kind of love the way the pages dry a little crinkly though. And you can still easily write on the backside of the page! This resource page from Illustrated Faith is so very helpful if you don’t know where to start but want to jump in. Check out the amazing resources and checklist for how to begin!I use a simple black ink pen, Pilot G2.05 because they’re my favorite pens ever. And they can be seen on the other side of the page but again, you can still write on both sides!
Another resource I’ve loved using this year is the Life Lived Beautifully journal. I posted about it here, and this journal has enhanced my time with Jesus so much. It guides you through studying the Word with a daily space for gratitude, a chance to be still and know His truth, and space to drink deeper (Gretchen includes some helpful guidance at the beginning of the journal if you don’t really know where to start). She also has a series on her blog right now called Well Watered Women where she goes in depth for tips and guidance to walking more closely with the Father and in the Word. I’ve also loved the Proverbs 31 study so much – and I’m eagerly waiting for my friends to get it so we can study together about the woman who fears God and worships Him. Check it out!!
This praying for your husband journal from Glowing Local is challenging me constantly. The prompts and Scripture to pray for him has been perfectly in line with the things he is going through and God has really used this journal to humble me and help me love Ethan better. After all, it’s hard to be mad or upset with someone when you’re praying for them!
The Scripture alone makes this journal so valuable. It’s a great gift for women who are married or newly engaged – and I recommend it wholeheartedly!
And lastly, I usually have another journal not too far from me. It’s great for taking notes on Sunday, jotting thoughts down that aren’t specific to what I’m studying, etc. This one made me so happy when I found it at Urban Outfitters. It hasn’t held up against the wear and tear very well but it’s pretty to look at and stays all nicely bound with the leather strap. I just like pretty paper, what can I say!
Hope these thoughts help you if you don’t know where to start. Just jump in and watch the words come to life as God reveals His truth through the pages of Scripture that you can hold in your hands. I pray that His Words penetrate to the depths of your heart and revive the pieces of your soul that are weary or hurting. His Word is alive and faithful to bring great joy! Happy reading!