One of the reasons that I share my Bible Journaling is just to show that anybody can do this. It’s all about the process and the way that we are able to connect with the Word in creative new ways. I’ve been working my way through the online workshop from Illustrated Faith called Revival Camp. I’ve been enjoying the videos, the devotional, and travel journal; most of all the time with God. I’ve been surprised by how much I have learned by deeply reflecting on the selected passages in Nehemiah.
In the passage below, Nehemiah asks for letters of safe passage and for resources to build up his temple, his community, and his home. I might have easily read quickly through these words, but by slowing down, it occurred to me what a beautiful prayer this becomes when paraphrased for today: Lord, grant me safe passage and help me to build up the church, our community, and home. It was only by taking time to write the verse out that this became clear. I loved the camp badge for this week. I definitely feel like I need God to be my compass. I added a reminder of the Thomas Merton prayer, which I learned from Connie Denninger of Vintage Grace:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
I feel so comforted knowing that God goes before me.
In the next passage, Nehemiah takes a walk looking at all the damage to the wall. We were each encouraged to take our own walk. Shanna Noel said in the video, everyone’s walk will look different. Mine was long. I wrote down everything I could be doing better at work, for our family and our home, how I could be serving better and worshiping better, how I could be taking better care of my own health. As I took a long, hard look at my life, I noticed lots of holes that could be patched and things that could be better. I wrote everything down on a very long page of paper from an old-fashioned calculator. Then I stared at the blank page beside it with the word strips “research” and “count the cost.” I felt paralyzed. I didn’t know what to write. The words came to me: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled by many things, but one thing is needful.” I’ve never known what that verse meant, but what it meant to me in the moment: The troubles of the day are sufficient; take care of what’s before you. You can do only one thing at a time. Do what’s most important in the moment. And when Jesus is in the house, being with him takes precedent! Mary sat and listened. That was the wise choice.
The Casting Crowns song “Just Be Held” keeps making an appearance in my art. I also added a note that a friend on Facebook posted. She says sometimes when it feels like the things in life are crumbling what’s really happening is what doesn’t work is being cleared to open space for what will. That’s been a comforting thought to me lately.
I also added a prayer that I’ve been saying every day lately from St. Therese of Liseaux:
Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what You want me to be – and becoming that person.
The next passage from the devotional jumped to Jeremiah. As I read this verse, I thought of a book that helped me keep the faith through college: Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing by Soren Kirkegaard. It’s been many years since I read the book, but what I remember is that to be pure in heart, we have to will one thing, to seek God’s face.
I loved the words from the devotional this week:
I only want to continue with His blessing and in His strength.
and they ended up as a prayer on the right side of my page….
Here’s what found it’s way to the margins of my Bible after these three weeks….