I was a little reluctant to share my Illustrated Faith Revival Camp journal, just because it’s so deeply personal. In his book, Reaching Out, Henry Nouwen challenges us to consider that “what is most universal is most personal and indeed nothing human is strange to us.” So with that good thought, I will go ahead and share. Maybe some of you are following along with the Illustrated Faith Revival Camp devotional, too, or would like to see how an art journal can serve as a tool for planning a Bible Journaling page. The most helpful practical tip I discovered: Working with a single color scheme really helps! I love that the Revival Camp materials include a color guide!!!
The first three weeks of Revival Camp focus on Nehemiah and the theme has been our passions and dreams. At first, I felt confused and wondered what Nehemiah crying over the destruction of Jerusalem and his desire to bring restoration of the law to the people of Israel could possibly have to do with my own dreams and passions. There’s no comparison. Maybe some might be even be offended at drawing the comparison between Nehemiah’s deep care for his nation and his love for God’s law with my own hopes and concerns, which seem rather trivial. I put aside my objections and moved forward.
The first week was all about igniting passion. After reflecting on Nehemiah long enough, I discovered he does go about igniting passion the right way. He starts in tears with prayer. Holly Rigsby, an online fitness coach, says to ignite passion and motivation, you have to ask why and you have to keep asking why until you cry, before you even begin. What would happen to you if you don’t take care of yourself? What if you don’t help your children grow in faith? What if you don’t make your marriage a priority? What if don’t do your best at what you are called to do at work? What if you don’t make time for your parents as they get older? What if you don’t pray for your country?
When you can find the emotional response to these questions, you are one step closer to taking the right action.
The next week was about restoration. So often when we start something new, we look for new answers, but Nehemiah simply goes back to the Word. These words leaped off the page to me: “…if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them…” Most often, we don’t need a grand new revelation. We simply need to walk in God’s ways or do what we know works. This verse also pops to mind: “He has told you, o man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
And the third week was about the importance of beginning with prayer. Nehemiah prays boldly: “Give success to your servant today.” That’s a great prayer! Sometimes when I look at my list of passions that includes all the normal human desires: health, our children, my husband, our marriage, vocation, friends and family, service, worship, faith, and spreading kindness and one weird desire that seems unique to me: I JUST NEED TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING (people, the Bible, nature, the economy, everything!) and I love to read widely. We are all weird in some way! When I look at the long list, I can start to feel overwhelmed or not know where to start. But in the devotional, we are reminded that: “our version of this calling may be good, but His version with His yoke will be doable.” That promise is peace for me. If we do what we are called to do in the moment, the rest will take care of itself in time. We don’t have to tackle everything at once. Our loving Father holds all our passions and desires and with Jesus at our side we can be assured that the burden will be light. We can rest in him and go out with joy. I added the word strip to this page: “I can do all things through you.” (and a rainbow as a symbol of promise!)
I really enjoyed doing work in the art journal, and I love how all these threads came together on the pages of my Bible. I will probably never read Nehemiah quite the same way again. God spoke so much into my heart through this whole process.
Like Nehemiah, I should be praying for my country with tears and fasting this Fourth of July weekend. Praying for God’s continued blessing on our nation and for revival as more people illustrate their faith and share the goodness that God teaches and promises through His Word!