Thank you Lisa Nichols Hickman for this interview!!!
Perhaps you’ve seen Anneke Korfker’s ‘miniature’ Bible journaling illustrations tucked between the columns in the ‘inner’ margin on the center of her Bible’s page. A native of the Netherlands, Anneke’s whimsy and creativity have captured the attention of many in the Journaling Bible Community. Anneke answered a few questions to share her love of Bible journaling and the healing strength it has brought to her life.
Anneke, tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? What is your job? What are your hobbies?
I live in a small but cute 1930’s loft apartment in one of the bigger cities in the Netherlands. When I came here almost seven years ago I fell in love with the historical buildings and parks in this neighborhood.
I am a maker by heart, whether it is drawing, painting, photography, cooking or writing ; creating something new just makes me happy! I also always have had a passion for learning and how people learn, which led to getting my Master’s degree in Education. I was working towards becoming a full time creative entrepreneur (working jobs on the side with elderly people and young children) when my health suddenly deteriorated dramatically. In a matter of weeks I became from a a very active person to somebody who is homebound because of disability and severe neuropathic pains.
Unfortunately this illness hasn’t changed (yet!), but what did change is that I now can honestly say (although it is takes a conscious decision every day) that I don’t ‘live like someone without hope’(1 Thess 4:13). I’ve learned so much in the past two years about my faith and journaling the Bible has played a major role in this.
When and why did you start Bible journaling?
I started Bible journaling around the same time that these health problems started, in 2014. Looking for a way to focus on the positive, I started making creative photo-albums. I was browsing for ideas for his project when I stumbled on Shanna Noel’s blog. I was so excited to find out that this she was a Christian too (I even texted my sister about it) and the scrap-booking she did in her Bible instantly clicked with me! The funny thing is that I have been a faith journaler for years, I even taught a couple of workshops on how to journal your prayers, but somehow I (subconsciously) never gave myself permission to do this in my Bible.
What was the first scripture verse you journaled?
I didn’t date my entries (maybe I should have), so I don’t remember exactly which scripture but I remember I mostly journaled the Psalms in the beginning. I think they are so perfect to start with, they are very visual and talk about situations we all deal with every day.
What does Bible journaling mean to you? Is there a moment when you had an ‘a-ha’ – like an answer to prayer? Or an insight? Or help with a problem? If so, what happened?
Looking back I realize, Bible journaling was kind of like an answer to my prayers. I felt really lost and confused when the health challenges I mentioned crossed my path, and that backfired on my faith. I knew I couldn’t do this without God, but I felt so disconnected from God’s love and in the beginning I didn’t know how to fix it. Bible journaling helped me to make that connection again.
I remember a time I read about how God loves us, but had a hard time grasping that God really cared for me so I went through magazines and found pictures of a father lovingly holding his child, and collaged them into the small spaces in my Bible. It was like I wasn’t just gluing them into Bible, but also into my heart.
The creative aspect makes me want to spend more quality time in the word and the colors and images help me connect with the the words on a deeper level and also help me to overcome some of the barriers I experienced in the past, like being too restless to concentrate. It is so much easier to focus on God when you are actively interacting with God; really listening to what God wants to tell you that day through the Word. Responding to the message with colors, prayers and images makes for fresh and lively communication!
I haven’t always realized how much God destined us to be creative, but now I know it’s one of the tools God gave us to help us process and understand. And to enjoy of course! Creativity and God’s Word are a match made in heaven if you ask me!
What are some of your favorite tools to use?
I like experimenting with different tools, but I don’t want to overcomplicate it, because that sometimes can get in the way of the actual creating in my experience. I mainly use (brush)pens, to be precise my Faber Castell artist pitt pens, I think they work like a charm in most Bibles; They are bright and they don’t bleed (although without preparation there can be shadowing).
For the lettering I use a combination of my illustrated faith pen and different sizes (xs and s are my go to sizes) of the black Faber Castell artist pitt pens. These I can bring with me anywhere. I also cut out tiny images out of magazines to incorporate in my Bible with modpodge (I like that it works as a glue and a sealer at the same time). When I have more time and energy I like to use watercolors (mainly by stamping distress ink-pad on a pallete and add water with a brush) and I also love to use small icon stamps originally designed for planners.
Anneke, we have all been wondering: Why are you drawn to the center margin – instead of the outside margin? We love this! What made you choose this?
Thank you! Using the center column actually was born out of necessity, but now I love it. When I became a member of the Bible journaling group I wanted to jump in right away, but I didn’t have a budget for a new bible yet. So I was looking for ways to journal in my normal Bible and tried out the center column.
I felt a bit like ‘the odd man out’, when I shared my first journaling pieces, but after people telling me how much they appreciated this simple style I felt encouraged to share more. It made me especially happy to hear that it opened the eyes of some people towards the different possibilities of a non-journaling bible and/or for a more simple approach. I do in fact think that the restrictions of the limited space help me be more creative and be creative more. It fuels my anticipation that I can only highlight a condensed thought, because I always wonder which little treasure will God show me today. When I share a verse or a thought I pray in advance that the words may encourage someone else too. That is the power of so many people sharing so many different things; you never know who might be inspired, encouraged or who it might give the permission they needed. (Thanks Shanna for starting this domino effect!)