My daughter asked me to make a Bible for her. So we went to Lifeway and she picked out a journaling Bible with a bird on the cover, and she said, “Mom, I want bird stickers for my bird Bible.” Shortly after she made the request, Illustrated faith came out with a new set of Bible Journaling supplies called “Seeds of Faith” filled with bird and nature images. I had a 25% off coupon and I bought the whole collection from Dayspring. The collection includes a box of little paper pieces, just small cut-out illustrations with a Bible verse on the back. I’ve never really known what to do with these. They tend to sit in my drawer, so I challenged myself to use the WHOLE box!!! I journaled all of the passages on the backs of the pieces. (I also used transparency pieces, stickers, and stamps with the paper pieces.)
I wish I could begin to describe how these little paper pieces ministered to me. I’ve learned so much from these little birds about singing, weathering life’s storms, taking refuge in God, trusting in God’s provision, learning from God’s ways, flying free, and enjoying friendship. It’s been a fun journey! I’m so grateful to my daughter for the inspiration and Illustrated Faith for the the most random and fun Bible study ever.
So many people say that they don’t know where to begin. A box of paper pieces is a good place to start!
What they are: Little illustrated pieces of paper.
Why they are great for Bible Journaling: They are flexible, cute, and fun. Unlike stickers, you can glue down just part so that the rest of the picture can be lifted. You can also let part of the paper piece hang off the side or the top to use as a tab.
Page Prep Needed: None
Ideas: It’s fun to add color to the page first with washi tape, acrylic paint, Distress Inks or gelatos.
The big question for me with paper pieces is what’ the best adhesive? Really you can use any adhesive that you would use with paper crafts: Tape runners, double sided tape, or glue sticks. Scor-Tape is nice double-sided tape because you can tear it to size with your fingers. My very favorite adhesive to use with paper pieces is the Xyron sticker maker, which is a little tape role that applies a sticky back to any small piece.
I especially liked using the Xyron sticker maker with the transparency pieces. You just drop the piece in one side and pull the tape through the other. It comes out with an invisible, perfectly smooth layer of adhesive. After I tried this, I haven’t really gone back to other adhesives unless the piece was too big. Then I personally prefer to use a glue stick.
After applying adhesive, you just add the little piece to your Bible page…
One of the first pages, I did in my daughter’s new Bible has the words “With my song I will praise him.” I always hope that my life story will sing praise to God (even if my daughter wants to cover her ears when I sing!)
I found that the paper piece looked a little flat against the Bible paper, so I added some color by backing it with a small piece of scrapbooking paper. I used washi tape to attach the transparency page that matched the verse. My daughter delights in how the transparency lifts up and changes the appearance of the page.
Some of the Illustrated Faith pieces have Bible verses on the back of them that make me wonder: “What were they thinking?” This little bird tab had printed on the backside “Isaiah 38:7”: “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” I wasn’t quite sure how to make this work, but I was inspired to create singing stars and little birdies as the sons of God shouting: “Be joyful!” For the tab piece, I used a glue stick to make the tab sticky and folded it over.
Another tab piece suggested Psalm 96:1. This page came together very quickly with stickers and just a little writing. I love that God encourages us to “Sing a new song.” We don’t have to do things the way we’ve always done them. We can can look to the future and move forward in new ways, even better ways.
The next few passages are more about times of trouble. Here’s a good reminder for times when we feel misunderstood or unfairly criticized. I used the back side of one of the tip-ins for a quick backdrop (that also covered up some bad shadowing!)
This next page took me totally by surprise. I picked up a little piece of paper shaped like a branch that led me to Job 29:18: “Then I thought I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand, my roots spread out to the waters, with the dew all night on my branches.” As I read the text around the verse, it was Job defending his life, his hopes, his dreams. Here was a man who truly kept the faith, but everything went wrong for him. I was looking through my stamp collection for a nest stamp. Instead, I found a “crown of thorns.” I was moved to tears thinking how Job’s nest turned into a crown of thorns for him and I prayed for those facing challenges and heartaches within their families and their homes. Job tries to understand and cries out: “Where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” There are times in life where what we want more than anything is to understand “why?” and we would prefer a good answer to all the riches in the world. In those moments, we have to look to Christ and know that the son of God, too, had his thorn of crowns and suffered much so that we all could be in relationship with His father.
Here’s another sad bird; she went out in search of dry land after the 40 day flood, but couldn’t find a place to rest her feet. As I looked at this little bird returning to Noah, I was reminded that just because a storm has past doesn’t mean we feel better immediately. It takes some time to recover, to feel like we are on solid ground again.
As I illustrated the next verse, I found myself focusing on the word wait. So often when I read this famous passage from Isaiah, I want to be in the place of soaring like an eagle, but the passage really calls us to be patient, to wait on God, and to walk with God…
The next paper piece took me to Jeremiah 1:11. Jeremiah receives a sign from God. It’s just an almond branch and the only purpose of the sign seems to be to make sure that Jeremiah sees it. Reading this page I felt encouraged, knowing that long before we were born God knew us and loved us into being. God has a plan for our life.
I guess the next passage is for the worst of times, when death comes. I was touched by these words: “For the one who has died had been set free from sin.” I suppose all of us are set free from all the sins and sorrows that afflicted us in life through death. I was reminded of the song: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.” But here’s the true power of Jesus: Through Christ, we can live in hope now with joy and love in the midst of all our troubles. Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly!
God reminds us through the Psalms that during life’s storms we can take our refuge in Him. My daughter liked this page just as it was. Maybe some day we will add some journaling.
And also that even as we take refuge in God, we should still keep singing.
If we take refuge in Him, we will set us free: “The Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
We all need this reminder: “Consider the lilies.” I’ve always taken this verse to heart at least when it comes to clothes. God has always met my need for clothes in fun ways. Both my mother and mother-in-law give me clothes. I have the most beautiful cashmere coat that I found at a little thrift store near my house for $10. I always receive nice complements on the coat and I just smile and say, “It was a gift.” (From God!) The funniest thing to ever happen to me: Right before my family took a trip to Disney world, we received a package by mistake from the Disney store with two hoodies just the right size for my kids, but with embroidered with different names. They said either keep the jackets or give them to charity. We put buttons over the random names, and I took the whole experience as a”god-wink.” I had been really worried/stressed about the trip for a variety of reasons, but after this I felt peace. Those little moments help me to know that God will always provide for me. I had to add the cute little strip of birds to this page, too, with the verse: “Fear not little flock!” But like many people, I still get anxious about other areas of life, often things I can’t even control.
The following paper piece with a butterfly took me to Proverbs 23:5: “Cast but a glance on riches and they are gone for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky.” I had to really ponder this verse. What I’ve learned through the years of working with both people and money is that there a lot of wisdom in not toiling to acquire wealth. It’s far wiser to simply live well, but always within your means; spend money in a way you can sustain (not too little or too much–both can be a problem); and invest savings for the long-term so time does the work for you. There is a flow when it comes to money that just needs to evened out both in the short-run and the long-run. My daughter liked the dollar bill with wings!
Another verse about God’s provision: “Even the sparrow finds a home.” I love Psalm 84. Sometimes people worry that a sticker or stamp can only be used with one verse, but I’ve found that themes recur throughout the Bible. This seemed like a good place for another reminder: “You are worth more than many sparrows.” This is a beautiful promise: “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
And of course, it’s fun to put a paper piece right next to the verse it belongs:
Not only are we worth many sparrows, but we are loved by God!!!
This paper piece led me to the Exodus story: “In the evening quail came up and covered the camp and in the morning dew lay around the camp.” I was reminded of the curious ways that God provides for us and in this passage how he tested the people to see if they could learn to trust in Him. God provided exactly what they needed for each day, no more and no less, except on the day before the people were to rest. Then they got extra. I had fun with the little quail stamp from an Illustrated Faith Christmas set.
Again, I had a hard time putting this paper piece with the verse. The heart with the words “Be joyful” led me to the story of Melchizedek, the high priest, serving bread and wine to Abraham. Is the message here that one serving of the body and blood of Christ was enough to sustain a family and people through generations until Christ came and offered these gifts to us in the sacrament of Holy Communion? Sometimes its hard to read stories from the Old Testament without seeing them through the lens of the New! I’m guessing this was not the original intention of the author, but I still came away from this page with a reminder to be joyful in worship and grateful for the gift of communion.
I wasn’t sure exactly where the little tree would lead me. The verse on the back said: “And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the Lord.” As I completed this page, I was touched that thousands of years after this event, the Bible and church are such a big part of my own life, too. God provides for us through his Holy Word and through our community of faith.
A little reminder that spending time in the Bible is a wonderful way to grow. The Word helps us to be like trees planted by a stream of water, continually renewed and refreshed.
The next page is really simple. I was totally smitten with this little flying bird. It is the reason I ordered a Xyron because I really wanted to find a way to attach the transparent piece to the page. We can all learn a lot from the birds about sticking to the natural rhythms of life.
The little bird below led me to Psalm 119:45: “I shall walk in a wide place for I have sought your precepts.” As we grow in our understanding of the Word, we grow in wisdom and influence, too. We walk in wider places than we could ever have imagined.
I have never journaled Proverbs 31 before. Its one of those passages that looms large in my life as the kind of person I want to be: a good wife, someone that can be trusted, someone who brings good and not harm to others, hard-working, resourceful, prudent and wise with money, strong, generous, aware of the needs of my family ahead of time, clothed with dignity, fearless, able to laugh at the time to come, wise and kind, and I want my children to see me be happy. These are beautiful images; Am I the only woman who finds this passage a little intimidating? Can I say high expectations?
I used acrylic paint as a backdrop for this flower bouquet.
Little birds and butterflies speak to us of freedom. The butterfly picture below took me to John 8:35. I was reminded that we aren’t meant to stay forever in some situations.
I loved this reminder from Galatians: “For freedom Christ has set us free.” Sometimes there are things that weigh us down or start to feel heavy, but we have been made to fly. We need to lay our burdens down and when we do, we will surely wonder why it took us so long to do so.
Still in Galatians thinking of freedom and love: this little paper piece was too big for my margins, so I used washi tape to attach it as a tip-in.
Acts reminds us that Christ has freed us from everything about the law that felt heavy. We still have the wisdom to guide us, but we aren’t chained to the past.
This is one of those verses that I may not have otherwise focused on: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. (Ephesians 3: 12) St. Paul’s writing is so packed with verses that I could meditate on all day and all night that its easy to miss a piece of encouragement that doesn’t just immediately speak to me. As I spent time with this verse, I was so encouraged by the reminder that we can be bold in Christ Jesus and that we always have access to Him with confidence through faith. I was quite cheered by the bold, little toucan!
Many birds are social creatures, and they remind us that we really do need each other. This verse is so true: Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. Friendship is one of life’s best gifts.
And of course, Jesus is the ultimate sharpener and best friend. It is always good to be in his presence.
The pages above and below remind me of a poem I learned from my grandmother:
A Priceless Gift
by Helen Steiner Rice
Friendship is a priceless gift
That can’t be bought or sold,
But its value is far greater
Than a mountain made of gold.
For gold is cold and lifeless,
It cannot see nor hear,
And in your times of trouble,
It is powerless to cheer.
It has no ears to listen,
No heart to understand.
It cannot bring you comfort
Or reach out a helping hand.
So when you ask God for a gift,
Be thankful that he sends,
Not diamonds, pearls, or riches,
But the love of a real, true friend.
In life, it is good to have friends: “Two are better than one.” It’s just good to know that we have someone to catch us when we fall and be there to share life’s ups and downs. (I used two paper pieces on this page, just because I messed up a stamp and used the scrap booking paper to cover up my mistake!)
It’s also possible to make your own paper pieces. I printed out the Bible verse for the last paper piece on cardstock and used clear scrapbooking glue to attach it to the transparency paper. We are free in Christ, but we are freed for God’s purposes, so that we can love and serve one another through the every day ordinary duties of our lives. Through it all, love endures.
Feeling so grateful for this little journey led by paper pieces, for Illustrated Faith and the ways that they have opened up Scripture, and for my sweet daughter who inspired me to go on this bird-themed journey!