Posted in A Non-Artist's Guide to Bible Journaling

A Non-Artist’s Guide to Bible Journaling: “Why did you doubt Me?”


Matthew 14:22-33 (NLT)

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.


I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had the misfortune of meeting doubt. But if you haven’t had the displeasure, then allow me to illustrate with words the gnawing feeling. The official definition for doubt is to be uncertain about something, to believe that something may not be true or is unlikely, but I don’t feel like the dictionary does the emotion justice. Even when you throw in synonyms like uncertain, insecure, and apprehensive, you still don’t get an accurate picture of doubt. Frankly, I don’t belief emotions can be drawn with pens or painted with watercolors. Instead, sentiments are drawn with similes and painted with metaphors. It is comparison that portrays the clearest. It’s why a well-written book can touch your heart, move your soul. It’s why words can toy with your emotions, leaving you in a tattered crying mess or fits of giddy. It’s why I read; it’s why I write.

Because even if you’ve felt exactly what the words are forming on the pages, you can feel, understand, experience the emotion, the situation, or the attitude in a brand new light.

So doubt.

Indecision.

Distrust.

Wariness.

Anxiety. 

Doubt starts as a small fire in your heart, ignited by a choice you’re about to make or a decision you’ve already made in the past. The risk is the match, kindling the flammable fuel the brain provides. The questions are acetone, the motives why not are gasoline, and the reasons why are the fire extinguishers. They’re only of help if you use them before the blaze becomes an inferno.

As a spark, doubt is usually fleeting, easy to ignore or drown. It burns when you try something new or exit your comfort zone a little bit. This fire is easy to put out. You may wonder someday why it even started. Though if not handled immediately, doubt can spread to your limbs, paralyzing your thoughts. This is the indecision that drives you mad, frustrates, and intimidates the truth. It burns into a disability, immobilizing your decision making. Doubt takes over your body and makes the choice for you–whether or not it’s according.

Occasionally, incapacitating doubt can be a good thing. It’s a sign that what you’ve done or are about to do goes against morales, beliefs, rules. But I find that more often than not, this doubt doesn’t save me. Rather, it scorches what could have been, chars a good path, and blackens my confidence. It leaves me singed, disappointed in myself. Doubt is meant to make us think, delay a dangerous action, distract us from making grave mistakes. But I let it substitute my GPS instead of letting Jesus be the navigator.

How many times have I channeled Peter? How often do I take my eyes off my Savior and focus on doubt? How many times have I allowed the wind to knock my blinders off, causing me to suddenly be aware of a storm I was gliding through moments earlier. Or even worse–how often do I turn to the boat and call out for Judas to help me, not trusting Jesus enough to calm the storm, rescue me from all my troubles, and deliver me from evil?

Why don’t I take courage, assured that He is still walking on the water even when I am sinking? Why do I loose the phlegm I beamed when I left the safety of the boat to follow Christ? Why does cowardice replace determination in my spirit when I look out and see the waves? Why don’t I fight the sea, refusing to be engulfed, submerged and swamped with these petty troubles?

Aggravatingly, the answer is because I am human. It is a chronic condition, something I cannot change. I will always battle my flesh. It’s a grim diagnosis, the truth no one wants to hear.

The Good News is that there is a cure. My pre-existing sins and conditions will never disqualify my eligibility. Any future bouts of sickness have guaranteed coverage. I will never be denied because of my age or circumstance of life. This insurance, my salvation, is not cheap. The premium is so expensive that I could never work hard enough to pay for it. No matter how much I want to, how hard I try, or how pure my intentions are I can never afford afterlife insurance.

Yet the policy is mine. I have not a paid a cent for it; no one will ever harass me for ransom. It’s already been atoned for in full. The entire amount paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Salvation is completely free to me, offered as a gift. I could have chosen not to accept it, to work for it in vain, to not care. No one forced me to do anything. I was given a choice. There was an unlimited selection of providers to choose from. But I chose Jesus, the only guaranteed Provider, the only one not contingent on flawed me, the only one that knew my needs without a word from my mouth. Instead of distain, His eyes looked upon me with compassion and love. How could I say no? How could I go on with my life, knowing that a free cure for my disease exists? How could I walk away from the promise that He will always be mine, and I will always be His?

How could I run from the promise that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me? So that when He does call me out upon the waters, to the great unknown where feet may fail, I will find Him in the mystery, in oceans deep.

So that my faith will stand, and doubt will fall.


Journaling Inspiration

DrawingFont

Verse of the Day

Jeremiah 17:10

But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”

UPDATE: I have discovered that you can host documents on WordPress sites now! 😱 You can find the complete 2016 Verse of the Day calendar here or on the About page under Verse of the Day.

Verse of the Day

Matthew 2:16-18 (ESV)

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Posted in A Non-Artist's Guide to Bible Journaling

A Non-Artist’s Guide to Bible Journaling: In the Beginning

It’s been nearly two months since I started Bible journaling, and the experience has greatly changed my outlook on morning quiet time. More than once, I’ve gotten up earlier than needed simply to have more time to decorate the pages of my Bible. I’ll be the first to admit that Bible journaling is not for every Christian, but for me, it has been a tool that’s brought me closer to God, excited to study His Word in a brand new way. While I don’t claim to be an expert on all things Bible journaling, I’d like to use this series as a way to pass on what I’ve learned in my crafting ventures and to share what’s been on my heart lately. As a short (and unnecessary) disclaimer, I am absolutely not being paid by anyone to say nice things about their product. Anything I recommend is something I do use on a daily basis. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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I have to admit. I did a lot more research on what kind of journalling Bible to get after I had already ordered an Inspire Bible. The thing that immediately drew me towards it was the fact that there were illustrations already printed on the pages, just waiting for me to color in.

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And this is a non-artist’s guide to Bible journaling, right? 😉 Having pre-designs sounded like a good backup plan–just in case I couldn’t fill an entire Bible’s worth of blank, one column pages.

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But oddly enough, I immediately found myself gravitating towards those blank, intimidating pages. My very first self-entry is the featured image, the one at the top. A two page wide design that popped into my mind the day I got my Bible. Hours earlier, I had given a devotional at my CO/OP, a recount of the past three years and the worst months of my life. The Lord had put Psalms 121 on my heart a mere months before the storm had begun, even prompting me to compose a little picture. My first Bible journaling experience you could say.

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A part of me knew that I would recreate the scene in my new Bible, but I didn’t endeavor to make it my first. Psalms 121 was special to me, and I didn’t want to mess up the entry. I wanted it to be beautiful, designed by a mind that was familiar with the page layout, and drawn by hands that knew just how carefully to press the pencil. I wanted it to be perfect.

And I quickly realized that I would never be able to create a single entry if perfectionism was my goal.

Because mistakes are inevitable. No matter how skilled you are at anything, your work will never be perfect. There will always be something out of place, something wrong, blemishes. A perfect Bible journaling entry is unattainable. My entries are meant to be imperfect. They’re done by a flawed vessel, one only made whole in Christ Jesus. They’re apart of my worship, an expression of adoration and thankfulness for all He’s done for me. My goal shouldn’t be to make an Instagram (or blog) worthy entry, something to show off my growing art skills. My goal should be to spend quality time with the Lord, immersed in His Word. Encouraged by a Youtube video, I devoted a still unfinished page in the front of my Bible to declare just that.

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It was becoming painfully obvious what passage I needed to do first. Not only did I have a design in my head, but I also needed to eradicate the fear of imperfections in my heart. So I Googled the lyrics to one of my favorite songs,“Shoulders” by For King & Country. The words match Psalms 121 wittingly, and in my darkest hours, it was my cry to the Lord, a reminder of His promises. I knew that I wanted to reserve a column for the lyrics, but my handwriting is nowhere near the flowing, neat marks I envisioned. Yet another roadblock.

That’s when I discovered tracing.

Bible pages are thin. The fact had been a nuisance during my quest to highlight my entire Bible. My Sharpie gel highlighters would bleed through, always ghosting. It got to a point where I had to implement a system of what colors could be used on which side of the page. What had once been an annoyance was now a gift from God. I could print off song lyrics, scripture, and even etchings to trace straight into my Bible. I may not be able to draw on my own very well, but I could be a pro at tracing. I found a beautiful font, Silent Reaction, watched a tutorial on how to drawl hills, and got to work.

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It took me two days to complete, but I couldn’t have been happier with the results. After I had finished tracing in the words, a wave of doubt washed over me. Without the color, the page looked incomplete, wrong. I hated it, nearly erased it all. But a voice whispered to me that it was okay, to give it a chance, to color it in. I must admit. It was a bit of a nervous moment for me, coming to accept that I’d possibly “ruined” my favorite passage, my biggest fear in this new endeavor. But even if it was ruined in my eyes, to God, it would be a work of art. The time I spent sitting in my dinning room, singing praise and worship music, silently praying in my heart was not wasted. It was spent with Him, and if I didn’t regret how I spent those hours, what did it matter how the entry turned out? So I scattered my brand new pack of Crayola Twistables across the table and started coloring. In the end, the color made all the difference, changing a despised design into something I loved. I know it’s not the best; it will never be on display in a museum. But that was never its purpose.

So in conclusion, my advice to you, dear reader, is to not let fear hold you back. Pray. Ask the Lord to guide you, remove all needless fear from your heart. His perfect plan will win every time. Even if you overcome your fear, and it still doesn’t workout, have confidence in knowing that the Lord has something better in store–and that you didn’t give into anxiety.

And to anyone who wishes to start Bible journaling but isn’t sure where to start–or if they could even afford to. You don’t need a lot of supplies. Just a pencil and a Bible will do. If you want to buy a new pack of colored pencils, I highly recommend Crayola Twistables. The colors are gorgeous, they’re relatively cheap, and I’ve used them on a daily basis with no signs of needed replacement soon. Frankly, you don’t even need a journaling Bible to start either. Even on the highlighted pages of my ESV Study Bible, Bible journaling shines through.

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But if you do want to purchase a special journaling Bible, I strongly recommend that a lot of research and prayer go into it. There are so many to choose from–even just among the realm of Inspire Bibles and similarly pre-illstruated ones. Even if you’re the exact opposite of me and have been blessed with the gift of art, I would suggest looking into creative journaling Bibles. There is a certain beauty to them that anyone can appreciate.

If you already Bible journal, I’d love to have a discussion in the comments, and if you want to start but still have questions, I’d love to try to answer those as well. 😊

Verse of the Day

Matthew 2:13-15

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Posted in Hightlight & Read

Update: Highlight & Read

Thanks to a suggestion, I have found a new platform to host Highlight & Read on! Goodreads. Click here to join the book club. You will need to sign up for a Goodreads account to participate. The group is private, which means that I will have to approve you. Please comment below your account name. Highlight & Read will return in July with a book announcement to come at the end of June.

Posted in A Moment With Me

The Liebster Award

So I was…tagged 😱 by Kellyn Roth to do this award, so thanks for thinking about my rather neglected blog. I thought this might be a good way to get back into the groove of things, so I guess you could say that I’m back. 

Rules

  • Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that have less than 200 followers who you think deserve this award.
  • Let the bloggers know you have nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

When did you start blogging? Why?

I started blogging in December of 2012. Technically, I had just become old enough to start my own blog, and I’d been planning it since September of that year. I don’t really know why I started a blog, but my mother suggested it, so I ran with it!

What were/are your original blogging goals?

All I wanted to do was post stories. That dream has started to fade a bit now, but hopefully, installments will once again be this blog’s dominant content.

Are you a fan of potato chips?

The word fan doesn’t cut it. I am a potato chip lover. A large bowl of crumbs is likely to be found sitting next to my computer.

Do you enjoy singing? Are you a good singer (by your own estimate)?

Do I enjoy singing? Yes. Am I good singer? Nope.

Do you ever sew? Knit? Crochet? Enjoy any of those activities?

I used to sew, knit, and crochet all the time, crocheting being my favorite one out of the three. I haven’t done it quite as much as I used to in the past year or so, but I still enjoy them.

Does it snow a lot where you live? Do you enjoy it?

I wouldn’t say that it snows a lot, but generally, we get at least one or two good snowfalls a year. When I was younger, I loved playing in the snow, but now that I’m firmly into my teens, I guess I feel like I’m a little too old for it now. I do, however, still enjoy watching snow fall down.

Does your laptop run out of batteries easily?

Ummmm…no…

If you could time travel, where would you go?

The future. Definitely the future.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Hit the snooze button on my alarm.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

Pray. Even if it’s just a simple, “Lord help me.”

What’s your least favorite color? Why?

Orange. It’s just so…bright

Facts

  1. My favorite genre is probably science fiction–dystopia, aliens, generation ships, experiments gone wrong, time travel, settings on different planets, cyberpunk–it’s all interesting to me.
  2. My favorite genre to write, however, is contemporary romance.
  3. I absolutely love lazy lasagna for no good reason.
  4. At one point or another, I wanted to be in the military, a doctor, or an astronaut when I grew up.
  5. My favorite letter is P…and X.
  6. My favorite number is 11.
  7. My favorite books of the Bible are Psalms, Esther, and Ruth.
  8. If you ask me to pick a favorite movie, I will probably go on for about an hour. Same for book, TV show, and song.
  9. My favorite color has been pink, blue, and neon green. Currently, it’s purple.
  10. My favorite chocolate candy is M&M’s. Especially if they’re minis.
  11. My personality type is INFP (Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception). I nearly cried at how accurate it was. 😂

I honestly have no blogs to nominate, so I nominate you, dear reader! If you want to do my questions on your blog, you are hereby nominated! If you don’t have a blog and still want to answer the questions, feel free to do so in the comment section! 😊 If you do accept my nomination and do it on your blog, I’d love to see it, so leave a link or something in the comment section!

My Questions

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up? Has that aspiration stayed consistent throughout the years?
  2. If you had a Youtube channel, what would you focus on mostly? Reviews? Sketches? Vlogs? Games?
  3. Musicals or plays?
  4. If you could redo one day, would you? If you would, what day would you redo?
  5. Favorite day of the week and why?
  6. If you had to be stuck in a fictional world for a day, what universe would you choose?
  7. What are your thoughts on bridges?
  8. The lesser of two evils: Bees or wasps?
  9. If you invented a sport, what would it be?
  10. What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  11. If you could star in a film, what role would you want to play? The Protagonist? The Best Friend? The Love Interest? The Villain?
Posted in A Moment With Me

A Moment With Me, Ari

I never know how to start these kinds of posts. I guess I could start by apologizing for my 445 days of absence (😱), but most who read this blog know that I didn’t suddenly die. But my passion for this site did. I can remember how excited I was when I first created this blog three and a half years ago. I had my own tiny piece of the internet where I could share my thoughts, feelings, and stories. To a thirteen year old, that was an incredible feat. Highlight and Write was a much needed retreat, a place where I could escape my world and jump into another’s. It gave me a chance to possibly help someone by sharing Scripture and uplifting songs. The probability was high that I personally knew that somebody, but that didn’t matter to me. It started to as time passed but not anymore. That’s not what this blog is for.

This blog is for you. Me. God.

I don’t think I could ever purposely delete Highlight and Write. Frankly, I don’t think there’s anything on here to be ashamed of.  Sure, I may cringe when I go back and read some of my old posts, but that’s okay. That was over three years ago. My writing has grown and strengthened. It would have never reached this point without Natalie. I would have never learned how to grow characters, relate everything together, and give it closure. And even though it didn’t receive a lot of exposure, I’m glad that I put my story out there on the internet for anyone to find. Maybe it will help me muster the courage to send a story off to a publisher one day.

In the meantime, I’ll be returning to this blog. And I know I said this the last time I claimed to be back, but it still rings true. I’m looking forward to the year ahead on this blog; I’m still not-so-patiently waiting to see what God has in store for my life; and if anything, I know even more now that He’s with me every step of the way.

Here are a few updates that I feel make this post worthy of sticky note status.

New theme! 

It’s as if the ScratchPad theme was made for this blog. I mean there’s a giant highlighter sticking this post to the top of the page! It’s such a unique theme based around writing, and it even allowed me to make a few adjustments regarding fonts. Frankly, I was in love the moment I saw it, and I think the blog deserved a new look after a year long standstill.

New series!

I’m not starting a new story for the blog just yet, but I am starting a new series that will have multiple posts a week. Recently, I started Bible journaling, and it’s been a refreshment to my quiet time with the Lord. However, I have not been especially gifted with anything artistic besides a love for colors 😝. So A Non-Artist’s Guide to Bible Journaling was formed in my mind. The series will basically be “tips” on Bible Journaling with low artistic skill and whatever thoughts the Lord puts on my heart to share. Posts shall be coming soon, so be on the lookout!

Verse of the Day

I’m a little unsure whether or not I will be continuing this category. I still make yearly Scripture calendars, but I must admit that posting these (especially the long ones) daily was a contributing factor to the death of my passion for this blog. On days like today, I will definitely post the short ones in full. On other days, I may just post the verses if it’s especially long. I might leave a little note about it in a Non-Artist post. We shall just have to wait and see. If you’d like me to email you an Excel sheet of the yearly calendar I make, please contact the blog at highlightanwrite@gmail.com, and I will be more than happy to do so.

Song of the Week

Returning June 19th! And if it doesn’t, I give everyone permission to spam me until it does. 😂

Highlight & Read

I desperately want to restart the book club, but I need to find a good platform to host it on. In the meantime, feel free to leave book suggestions in the comment section below! Updates to come!