Painting Others With God’s Grace

Part two of a guest-post by Lisa Nichols Hickman!

Part II of Melissa’s Bible Journaling Story

Last week we met Bible journaler Melissa Brumbelow Noren and were quickly charmed by her Southern graces. Melissa teaches us all the joy that is to be found in the Bible journaling journey. Melissa exudes joy, and she embodies grace.

“Grace” is a life-giving word for Melissa. Grace is one of those words that sparkles and shines in Melissa’s life.

We learned how eager Melissa was to begin Bible journaling and couldn’t wait to attend the “Illustrated Faith” event in Springfield, Virginia to learn more – only to learn the first two hundred spots were taken and Melissa was on the waiting list.

When Melissa got the call that a spot had opened she was thrilled! She packed her bags and journaling supplies and set her alarm clock so she could make the three hour plus trip from Southern Maryland.

All this toGrace say, when she arrived at the workshop and finally had an opportunity to learn more techniques in community she promptly, as she says, “messed up” her Bible.

Just when the page looked dismal and disappointment swept across Melissa’s spirit, she learned the “swipe paint” technique from Shanna Noel. She covered up the mistake and took a deep breath.

And then, divine inspiration met her disappointment. She describes it this way, “When I’d messed up so bad in my life, Jesus paints me with Grace and renews me! I realized I was painted with his grace.” Melissa reads Colossians 3:10 to remind herself of this truth, “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like Him.”


Having found that renewing spirit, and being charged by a friend to share that same grace with others, Melissa formed a once a week Bible Journaling group at her workplace that meets for 30-45 minutes once a week during lunch break.

In the next few weeks, Melissa is looking forward to sharing these scriptural disciplines with her small group.

First, she’s looking forward to sharing scripture tea with the women in the group. Since the tea bags are individually wrapped, it’s a mystery what verse is on the tags until they are opened.Tea1

She is planning to bring a box of teas into the ladies group next week, toss the bags on the table, and let everyone choose a flavor. She’ll also bring a pitcher of hot water, cookies and cakes so the group can have a lunchtime tea party. Each person in the group will then connect with the verse on the tea tag and journal their engagement with the verse.

Melissa will rely on Doodle 101 from Pinterest to help them draw a tea cup or whatever design calls to their heart for their connection to the scripture verse.

The second activity Melissa is looking forward to sharing in the group involves using a product by “Creative Girl” she found on clearance recently. Cards, seemingly blank, come to life through applied water to reveal lovely watercolor designs and inspirational words and images. The shapes and sizes range from “tags” to “hearts” to “3×5 cards” all of which can then be inserted into a Bible journal once an appropriate verse has been matched to the revealed image.

Once the women watercolor their shape or card, Melissa will show them how to dig in the index of the Bible to find applicable verses and then they will connect with the verse and decorate the page with their watercolors and cards.

I love Melissa’s creativity. Even more so, I love Melissa’s big heart that cares so gracefully for others.

Melissa has been through some tough times. Her husband John is still in recovery for a back injury that occurred when a tree fell on him and broke his back in four places. And yet, Melissa chooses to look for grace, to paint grace, and to share that grace with others.

Psalm 1, “to be like a tree planted by streams of living water,” became a restorative verse through that difficult injury. Now, its painted – by God’s grace – into her Bible.


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