Saturday, October 16, 2021

Bible Study and Art

 Bible Study and Art

I am never happier than when the two things that bring me great joy and pleasure converge. Creating art that comes out of my time spent studying the Word of God helps me both take in the Word more deeply, and it helps me pull together and express what I have studied. My art time then becomes both a way of mediataion and an expression of creativity.

A few recent examples:


This year I have been studying 2 Corinthians with a friend. We are doing a slow study and following rabbit trails that come up as we study. I did the above page to walk through 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 and gain a better understanding of what Paul means when he says, "We have this treasure in jars of clay...". (To understand how I "walk through" a passage in study, see this page from the Bible Study Tips and Techniques page.)

This phrase I wrote stck out for me: We live for Christ.


And that led me on a rabbit-trail study to explore what is said about "living for Christ". I then compiled and visualized what I found.



Next I broke down a passage that keeps popping up in my studies. I have been memorizing it over the past few months.


However, it feels too busy, so I may do it over.  Since I meditate on the Word as I make it visual, it won't have  been wasted time if I choose to do it over.

What do you do to help you take God's Word into your heart and mind in a deeper way?







Sunday, September 26, 2021

Who Should I Be?

 Who Should I Be?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about spirtual transformation and the call on us to become more like Christ. You can read it here . I wrote about how a question in a book by Jen Wilkin was impacting me. Here is a bit from my blog post:

The study of God's Word must transform us into the people God wants us to be. It must enable us in becoming Christ-like. I started reading a book by Jen Wilkin called "In His Image" this summer. I have not, in all honesty, made it much past the introduction because of one question she puts forth.
"For the believer wanting to know God's will for her life, the first question to pose is not "What should I do?" but "Who should I be?" "

This is our highest calling, to grow into the person God calls us to be, to become. Jen Wilkin goes on to say, "Of course, the questions "What should I do?" and "Who should I be?" are not unrelated. But the order in which we ask them matters. If we focus on actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self." 

Who do you look to to answer that question, Who should I be? Do we look to other people - maybe our parents or spouse? Do we look to culture - maybe our national identity or our affinity groups or our job?That question has led me into quite a bit of Bible study, for as Christ followers, it is in Scripture that we must, first and foremost, find the answer to that question. And, in all honesty, the answer to that question is the same for all of us who call ourselves Christ-followers. Who should I be? Be like Christ. Imitate Him.





Who should I be? Be like Christ. Imitate Him.



Thursday, September 9, 2021

Summer Art Journaling

 Summer Art Journaling


This has been a different summer for me. Good, but different. I decided early on that I needed to skip a summer Words Challenge. Although I love the summer Words Challenges as I usually go through a book of the Bible, I just sensed that I needed a break this summer. I spent my time making art, doing lots of Bible study, connecting with our families again, reading in the backyard, and landscaping.

My word of the year this year is "rhythm". I started out making rhythm of life weekly spreads, but slowed down some over the summer to a monthly page.






I participated in Junk Journal July on Instagram, which was a nice way to do some art for play using the word promts from @megjournals. Some of my favorite pages were:







And I made a pice of painted paper collage in a frame for my kitchen. I'm working on a companion piece now.



Overall, it was a good summer. We had a few rough spots though. My Father-in-law passed away at the end of July after being ill for quite a while. And we have spent a lot of time with our elderly mothers and their health (and driving) needs. It's that phase in life for us. Then it seemed as soon as the calendar switched to September my planner began to fill and the busyness of the new school year has set in. I'm trying hard to hold onto a few of the rhythms I set during the summer though! It's good to look back at my summer though the art that I made. :)

Friday, September 3, 2021

The Longings of My Heart

The Longings of My Heart

I haven't been blogging much this summer. I've been making art and posting it on Instagram and, for the most part, I've been rather introspective and contemplative over the summer. A lot is weighing on my mind and on my heart. So, I've been reading and making art and praying and digging deeper into the Bible...a lot! 

As I have struggled over the months with concerns about the pandemic, about how divisive things are, and how there seems to be less and less compassion toward one another, I have dug deeper and deeper into Bible study. God's Word guides us to His ways and His heart.

As Christ-followers we have God's Word to guide us, to show us who we are to be and how we are to live. The work of every Christ-follower is to grow in their knowledge of God's Word. But it does not end there. We need to know the text, but we also, just as improtantly, need to live out the text. A quote from Augustine captures this well:

“So anyone who thinks that he has understood the divine scriptures or any part of them, but cannot by his understanding build up this double love of God and neighbor, has not yet succeeded in understanding them.”

The study of God's Word must transform us into the people God wants us to be. It must enable us in becoming Christ-like. I started reading a book by Jen Wilkin called "In His Image" this summer. I have not, in all honesty, made it much past the introduction because of one question she puts forth.
"For the believer wanting to know God's will for her life, the first question to pose is not "What should I do?" but "Who should I be?" "

This is our highest calling, to grow into the person God calls us to be, to become. Jen Wilkin goes on to say, "Of course, the questions "What should I do?" and "Who should I be?" are not unrelated. But the order in which we ask them matters. If we focus on actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self." 

For a number of years we have had a saying at our church that "doing flows out of being". When we focus on who we are to be in Christ, we will then make the decisions that enable us to do the right things, the things we are called by God to do.

As I was trying to pull together the different things I was studying this summer I started trying to narrow the thoughts and Scripture passages down to conclusions. And I tried to make sense of them by jotting them in a kind of mind map type of manner. I have put them together in a journal, cuz making my notes artistic is another way for me to pull things together!






Bottomline: Who should I be? Be like Christ.

Some more photos from my spiritual formation journal:





 

My favorite quote to start a new journal with is:


This quote aptly fits my spiritual formation journal which will fill with quotes and Bible study notes and the "longings of my heart".








Saturday, June 26, 2021

Art Journaling Again - The Arizona Travel Journal Edition

Art Journaling Again - The Arizona Travel Journal Edition

Sorry for such a long absence. For the past two months I have been on an unplanned social media sabbatical. It started after my last words challenge ended in mid-April. It's not unusual for me to take an art break after running a daily challenge, a catch my breath time. But somehow over the past few months being on social media has felt, well, too much like extrovertion, and I just needed a break. I've been enjoying spring bird migration, walking at the park, planning a backyard bird (and people) sanctuary, reading, and finally seeing my family in Michigan after 15 months.

At the beginning of May, once we were fully vaccinated, we took a short trip down to Phoenix to visit my friend Diane. It was a great time and it felt so good to travel again. We had visited Phoenix for the first time at the end of February 2020. I had fully intended to make a travel journal about our trip. I made the journal and the cover, but then two weeks after we returned COVID hit full force and we went on lockdown, and the journal never got completed.


When we got back from our recent trip I pulled out the Arizona journal I had started and decided to use this journal for both trips. It also served to get me back into my art journal habit.

















I think I need to travel more so I can make more travel journals!

I have decided not to do a summer Words Challenge this year. It was a hard decision to make but after such a crazy year and a half I find I just need to take a break this summer and relax. Hopefully this new school year will be a normal one! My next Words Challenge will be the annual Advent Words Challenge.

I hope you are finding ways to relax and enjoy the summer. :)