In case you’re wondering what I’ve been up to, I’ve been studying! I started exploring the Bible 8-9 months ago, and I am floored by how much the process has been stimulating and nourishing.
The urge to dig into the Bible developed quite naturally after finishng a novel by Christian author, Karen Kingsbury. I had tried on numerous occasions before to read the Bible but without much success. I found it boring and hard to follow. In truth, I had trouble understanding what all the fuss was about. Was this really the one book that most people would choose to have with them on a deserted island? Or were they just saying that for effect?
This wasn’t my first Kingsbury book. Her characters often struggle with their faith in some way, get themselves back on track, and it all ends well. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a feel-good story. My favourite of her novels is probably Angels Walking – the first in a series about second chances. In any case, I finished reading the book. And found myself yearning for what her characters had, a close relationship with God.
Remembering a time 11 years ago during a medical leave from work due to depression (and the setting for my book, A Joyful Life – How to use your creative spirit to manage depression) when I did have what the fictional characters enjoyed. I wanted that again.
Why had I let that intimacy with God go, I wondered. Maybe it was because my life was going well now? That I wasn’t in crisis mode and desperately needing help? Whatever the reason, my connection with God had become kinda passive, quiet, and though it pains me to say it, on the lukewarm side of things.
I missed the closeness that I experienced with the Holy Spirit back then. And I wanted that again. But I had a few “issues” with the story that is told in the Bible.
My heart-to-heart with God went something like this. “God”, I said, “I have no problem believing in you, and I have no problem believing in the Holy Spirit, but that Jesus guy, I just don’t know about him. I mean, how can he be your son AND you at the same time? Whaa?? So, God, if you want me to believe in Jesus you are going to have to convince me. Because I don’t understand. Teach me why Jesus came to earth, why he did what he did, why he was crucified, and apparently he’s planning a return? Whoa! Like I said, I want to believe but… Convince me, Lord. Please! Because I miss the relationship we used to have. And I so want to be close to you again. For keeps.”
At this point, I got one of those inner knowings in my belly, or maybe in the heart? and it went like this: “Learn to read the Bible. Go in there and learn to understand what is written about my questions. Isn’t the Bible supposed to be God’s Word? So, I’m thinking, wouldn’t the explanations be in there, somewhere?” So, I googled it.
I came up with a Bible reading plan, learned about something called Scripture Writing as a way to understand scripture better. And because I like to write, especially with pens of pretty colours, this option appealed to me. I chose a 30-day scripture plan on the theme of God’s Grace from Pinterest, chose a nice big journal that I had on hand, and I was off to the races.
I began to read, and question, and look things up on free online resources, where I came upon The Bible Project. That resource lit a fire in me because of how straightforward the biblical story is presented using animation, info-graphics and charts. All for free. I was hooked.
I caught the learning bug bad. I had asked God to make me hungry for His Word. And boy, He did, and that is still happening big time.
It was during this early period of my quest that I came across Bible Art Journaling. Oh my, I had found a way to marry my two favourite things – creativity and spirituality! Yum!
YouTube was my first Bible Art Journaling school. I especially connected with Rebekah R. Jones. I have to say that this young woman is awesome! And so is Bible study. I mean that literally, in the jaw-dropping fantastic sense of the word! I am in awe of the treasures I have managed to unearth from the Bible all by myself, with only a bare-bones method that Rebekah teaches for studying specific words in the Bible.
If you are curious about my personal quest to earnestly seek more of God’s hand in my everyday life, to grow my character and my heart into the creative woman He created me to be, then I wish you a warm welcome.
Following a six month wait list, all the while developing my art journaling skills – Rebekah has loads of free instruction on YouTube – I recently signed up for her Heart To Freedom subscription program. This is where she offers a full range of courses on bible study, art journaling in a journaling Bible, and spiritual growth, as well as building community. Next on my learning agenda is her own study method for digging into Bible verses and paragraphs.
I’ll be blogging it out here for the next while, putting it out there for all to see. Wish me luck!
And to quote Red Skelton, a warm-hearted departed soul…
God bless, and goodnight.