This entry in my Bible requires a little backstory. At the Illustrated Faith Event, Lisa Nichols Hickman shared Psalm 38:22 from The Message where it is translated: “Hurry and help me; I want some wide-open space in my life!” Then she asked us to write down an answer to the question: what fills the margins in our lives? (Particularly what keeps us from spending quality time with God.) She took answers from the group: Dishes, driving kids around, laundry, work, Facebook were among the answers. I guess I’m at a point in life that has pressed me into realizing just about anything that has to be done in service to others can be spiritual practice and time with God. One thing that came to mind for me was the clutter in our home and the need to simplify our lives. What I wrote down…
I pray that God will take our cluttered home and transform into a welcoming space where true hospitality can happen.
Then I went home and read all of Psalm 38, which struck me funny in the context of my prayer. Psalm 38 is a prayer of deep lament and repentance, and I don’t mean to trivialize the Psalm with my journal entry, but there is a sense where the way the verse reads in my own Bible: “Make haste to help me O Lord, my salvation” does apply to what often feels like a hopeless situation at our home! I know part of it just living with a three-year-old. Seriously, as I am typing this, she is crumbling Styrofoam into little pieces in the living room. (I might need to pause and finish this later!)
a few hours later…
One of the best parts about my trip to the Illustrated Faith Event happened the night before. I had the opportunity to see Connie Dennenger’s studio and hear how her home has become a neighborhood gathering place for prayer, craft time, and Bible Journaling. I was really awakened to new possibilities! I just discovered she has pictures of her studio on Pinterest! I enjoyed just watching people’s faces as they walked into Connie’s home and also her studio. Everyone has a look of pleasant surprise. People who had travelled a long way that day seemed to be resting comfortably and enjoying desserts. Her home had such a warm and welcome feel to it.
By way of contrast, when people walk into our living room they do their best to disguise a “What has happened here?” look. And if it’s another parent, an “I hope my child wasn’t responsible look.” Maybe it’s just a surprised look, because our Cape Cod house looks so small from the outside and when you walk in there’s immediately a big room with two-stories to it. I kind of remember seeing the same look on my husband’s face the first time we walked into the house. For better or worse, “Make haste to help me O Lord, my salvation” has quickly become my tidying up prayer!!!
I’ve been exploring the possibilities of using Luiquitex heavy body acrylic paint in my Bible. A popular technique is to use a credit card to scrape paint onto the page. There’s a lot of nice things about using acrylic paint in the Bible, especially with stamps like I used below, because the paint tends to protect the page from bleed-through by the stamp ink. I find it helps to think through where the stamps will go, how much space is needed for journaling first. Generally, it tends to work out better when paint is used sparingly.