Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Unfailing Spring

“And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.”
Isaiah 58:11

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In this month’s devotional, I wrote about how only living water can quench our thirst. I love this verse in Isaiah that speaks of a spring of water that doesn’t fail. Just as in the story I shared early in this month’s devotional, I can tell you firsthand the value of a spring of water, particularly when you are parched and dry.

I live in California, in an area that is often hard hit in years of drought. As of this writing, we have had a great season of rain and are officially out of the drought. Amen and thank you Lord! But my mind goes back to a season not so far in the past in which our lands were dry and we were literally crying out for water. Prayers were offered up before Sunday sermons. Friends asked for mercy and support as they shelled out tens of thousands of dollars to deepen their wells in the rural areas or drill new wells altogether. Entire towns went without running water and safe, drinkable water. Crops suffered. Prices soared.

Though I’m speaking of the need for physical water, it is not unlike our hearts and souls. We exist in a very thirsty society. We cry out in pain and exist in a state of constant need. We fight, we divide, we rise up, we fall… all in pursuit for our very thirsty souls. When, right there, just a whisper away is our Lord and Savior, offering up living water. The very thing we need and the only thing that can quench.

May we tune our hearts to his voice and open our souls to Him to allow Him to fill them up with his living water, and allow Him to guide us through the desert places described in Isaiah 58.

I wanted to make an extremely simple page for this scripture as I wanted the scripture words themselves to speak the loudest. So, with just a few stamps and inks and some washi tape, I pulled this page together.

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I started by stamping the Living Water title from the stamp set in a deep black archival ink. Don’t you just love the lettering in this month’s kit?!

Next, I grabbed my Distress Oxide Inks in Peacock Feathers and Broken China, as well as the gorgeous Waterfall Blue pigment inkpad from Creative Retreat. You guys, these inks are gorgeous. I want them ALL. I just used the poured water stamps (there are two in the kit) to stamp streams of water from top to bottom of the page in the various different ink colors I selected – alternating the shapes with the colors.

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I loved the simplicity of this but the impact of all the different streams of blue. Next I grabbed some thin washi tape from Illustrated Faith and highlighted my verse. These two shades coordinated so well with the Faith Art box this month.

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I finished by securing that sweet, simple black leatherette bow from the kit to the top of the page with some simple stripe washi tape (I think this one was from Felicity Jane). And that’s it!

Later, I plan on making a quick journaling card from the devotional card for a little personal journaling.

Friends, I pray that you find our Savior in your desert places and allow him to pour his living water into your heart, to redeem and transform your soul. His spring will never fail, never give out and never leave you in a drought. Drink it in, and be satisfied and filled forever.

Want to see how others are using the March Faith Art box? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Because this is my last post with Creative Retreat Kits, I’d love to keep in touch. Follow me @bibleartgal.

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Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | The Greatest Commandment

“And he said to them, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Matthew 22:37-39

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I recently did one of those cheesy Facebook “assessments” where it screens your account to find out that words that you use most often. I wasn’t entirely surprised when it told me that single word I use most often is LOVE. Honestly, I was pretty delighted that the word love is constantly on my lips. And I do consider myself to be a person of love. One, because that’s just the way my heart leans – I have big emotions and when I love something, I REALLY LOVE IT. That goes with people, equally. I LOVE my people.

But more importantly, I love because our God commands it. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 22 that loving God was the greatest commandment. And not a shallow, easy love. But to love “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And why not?! Because our God loves us more than anything. He loves us so much that he sent his son to the cross for us. The ultimate sacrifice of love.

Second to that command to love our God, is to love our neighbor. And no, that doesn’t mean just the person who resides next door to you. Neighbor = everyone. Even that nasty person who cuts you off in line at school drop-off. It’s loving the thief that steals the package from your front door. It’s loving the careless coworker who says the project you poured countless hours into wasn’t that great. It’s loving the parent who never loved you the way you desperately needed and deserved. It’s our own kind of sacrificial love.

This is not easy! Just as I mentioned that I am a person that loves deeply… unfortunately, when I don’t like something, I REALLY don’t like it. Loving is not always easy. Loving sometimes comes with a price or a sacrifice of our own. But love is always worth it. Love is powerful, cleansing, healing, and restorative. I can’t really count a time in my life when love was wasted – even if it wasn’t returned.


Let’s jump into the entry! I started by highlighting my verse in a soft pink because I keep forgetting to do that first and I often get carried away and make art right over my verse!

Once that was taken care of, I knew I wanted to use the gorgeous embellished letter stamps in the kit. I stamped out LOVE first and then grabbed some fun Dear Lizzy Thickers from my stash to spell out Lord. There were so many letters that coordinated well with the February kit colors! I used the awesome, simple black alpha stickers from the kit to compliment my titles.

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I layered in some strips of fun yellow striped washi to break up my titles. I can’t remember where I got this washi and it makes me sad because it’s almost gone and I use it A LOT. Next, after stamping out Love again, I grabbed all my alpha stickers and made the People title using all sorts of different letters that coordinated with the kit colors. I liked how varied this look and felt like it represented how different people can be!

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Then I grabbed some markers and filled in the flowers and embellishments on the stamped letters. I used Stampin Up markers in Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink, Daffodil Delight and Bashful Blue – some or all of these may be discontinued because they recently re-worked their color line. I finished up by adding some fun enamel dots and hearts to the page just to pop. I love how these looked with the stamped letters!

I was gifted this cute heart fabric clip and decided it had to go on this page. I secured it with the washi and then laid down a label sticker and other stickers and alphas from the kit to spell out love.

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This was such a quick and easy entry but I love how it turned out. I hope you guys are enjoying the kit this month as much as I am!

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you practice love in your daily life – love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind. Love his people, even when it feels like they don’t deserve it. Love because the Lord commands it and love because it feels so good to love and to receive love. Love first, and be amazed at what follows.

Need creative inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits.  While you’re there, come find me and let’s be friends! I’m @bibleartgal. 

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | All Kinds of Love

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“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Deuteronomy 6:5

February is upon us… bring on the red roses, stuffed teddy bears, and conversation hearts candies! Though, I recently heard a news story stating that the candies would not be made this year because the original company that made them went out of business last year. Initially, there was quite an uproar about it. People just can’t do without those chalky, sweet hearts with simple sentiments! The reporter quickly added that the company that took over plans to stock the shelves with them next year. Phew!

Without a doubt, there will be plenty of imitations and copycats this year to get us through. We get so worked up about the commercial part of love. We toil and fret over the perfect gift for our beloved and react all sorts of ways about the gifts bestowed to us by our partners – as if the gift itself is the sole measure of our love and understanding of one another. But, just like the conversations hearts, though there is great value in our earthly love and relationships, they are NOTHING in comparison to the real, true, lasting and all-encompassing love of our God. Imitators have no place.

As commanded in Deuteronomy 6, we are to love the Lord our God with ALL our hearts, ALL our soul, and ALL our might or strength. This is not conditional love. This is not love that takes or break or gives up when it’s too hard. This is not love that holds a grudge. This is not love that questions or doubts. This is a love to live by and to die by. Christ already did that for us, to reconcile our sin once for all. THAT IS LOVE.

The greatest part? As much as we strive to love and serve God… it’s just the faintest whisper of the love he has in return for us. THAT love is beyond human description. It’s love that can’t possibly be summarized on a conversation heart. It’s sacrificial, powerful love.

I was obviously inspired by conversation hearts for my entry this month. Once I saw the fun pinks, blues and yellows of the February Faith Art box, I immediately thought of them.

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I started by going through my stash and finding some simple scrap paper (no large or bold patterns) in colors that would match the kit. I then took a heart punch (mine is from Stampin Up and is discontinued) and punched out a bunch of different hearts.

In order to make sure I had enough space for the hearts, I used some of the thin washi tape from Illustrated Faith to block out and highlight my verses. Next, I buffed in some Distress Oxide inks into the page to create more depth and a background for the hearts, being careful to alternate the colors so they were opposite of the heart that would be on top of them.  I used the shades Worn Lipstick, Picked Raspberry, Fossilized Amber and Faded Jeans (my favorite!).

Next, I grabbed a very small alpha stamp set and a few of the word stamps from this month’s kits and some previous kits and stamped out various love-related sentiments. I used Stampin Up ink in the shade Poppy Parade, which is a great match for the orangey red of conversation hearts text. Some of them got a little wonky with alignment but I actually loved that because if you’ve seen the original candy, they aren’t exactly precise.

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I secured the hearts down with some Tombow Mono tape. I then decided to punch a heart from the devotional card and use it for my title. I secured that down and then used the wordfetti to spell out Love the Lord Your God. I outlined it with a Sharpie Fine Pen in a pink shade to make it pop a bit.

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I felt like the page was lacking a bit of something so I grabbed my white Gelly Roll pen and drew in some detail to each heart with outlining, stitching and other marking techniques. I love the extra contrast with that white tracing! My bible is getting REALLY chunky so I opted for no tag on this page. I’m not quite ready to retire it so I’m going to try and limit my big dimensional pieces.

Friends, my prayer for you is that you don’t seek love any other place this season than at the feet of God. He loves you more than you could ever imagine and desires your heart. He desires your love – ALL of it from ALL of your heart, soul and might. He’s the only valentine you could ever need. Love, and be loved.

Need creative inspiration for this fun kit? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. I LOVE new friends! Find me @bibleartgal. 

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Worthy Woman

“And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.”
Ruth 3:11

We are in the time of year that many are choosing their one little word for the year. A word that symbolizes their hearts, calling, focus, goal, and direction. I’ve been at this practice for about 4 years now. Last year, my word was WORTH. It was something I had been deeply struggling with in the years prior. I will be the first to admit that I let the difficult circumstances of my life get the best of me and came to the conclusion that I was not enough and that I had no real worth.

It’s a devastating place to be, feeling worthless. It’s also a place fueled by the enemy. Satan wants nothing more than for us to feel worthless. He thrives in those conditions. Fortunately, I recognized it and so made WORTH my word. I spent the year focusing on the Word of God and on messages of truth about the person that I am… the person that God says I am. The song You Say by Lauren Daigle came at the perfect time. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend it, especially if you are struggling with your own worth.

Women need to feel worthy. They need to feel loved. They need to feel beautiful. They need to feel precious and treasured. And ladies, we serve a God that feels all those things for us and more. We are truly BELOVED women in the eyes of our Savior. What HE says about us is the only thing that matters.

I loved jumping into the book of Ruth this month. Ruth’s story is such a good one and is so near and dear to the heart of women. I love this verse in chapter 3 where Boaz declared Ruth to be a worthy woman. It speaks not only of the character of Ruth and of Boaz, but to the heart of a woman itself. God sees and knows our worth. With Him, we are always worthy and loved. Thank you Jesus!

Let’s jump into this month’s GORGEOUS faith art box. The colors… ladies, THE COLORS. Let’s just say they are my absolute faves. Oceanic blues with a pop of yellow. It’s like a piece of my heart!

Because this kit speaks to the heart of a woman and so does this passage in Ruth, from the start I envisioned a silhouette of a woman’s face.

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Next, I reached for my tried and true watercolors. These ocean blues were begging for some soft washes of watercolor. I traced in my design and then just went in with several different shades, letting the water blend them together. I let it dry and then went in with another few layers, adding in hair details and finishing with a little splatter for a textured feel. For this page, I used blues from several different sets by Dots and Dust. I love her handmade watercolors.

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I wanted to be sure to use the insanely CUTE bows so I secured that to the top of the page with some coordinating washi tape from my stash, along with the blessed tag sticker in the kit’s sticker page. I just used a little EK Success Power Tool to take the stickiness of the back of the tab.

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Next, I went in and laid down my little using the alpha stickers and wordfetti from the kit (along with a few from a previous kit)… “I am worthy and loved.” To make them stand out a bit, I outlined them with a black journaling pen. I also drew a few tiny clusters of dots and circles around the page to add some more texture and depth.

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I wanted the rest of the entry to be simple and to allow for some journaling space. I often write a short prayer of thanks in these entries. I opted for one of my blue journaling pens since I was really feeling the blues with this entry.

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Friends, I pray that you know to the depths of your heart how worthy and loved you are. You are God’s beloved. He will never forsake you or leave you. And, like Ruth, if you step out in faith and trust him, he’s got big plans for your life.

Find inspiration using the January Faith Art Box, follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? We should be! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | The Word Reveals

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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Psalm 119:105

I’m not much of a hiker (a fact I think I’ve shared on the blog before) but I do love the outdoors. I also love to walk so you would think that hiking would just work for me? There are just so many complications with hiking that sort of intimidate me – knowing exactly where you are going and where you are at, strength, endurance, surefootedness… all things that I sort of lack. But because I do love the outdoors and connecting with God and his creation, I press on and pursue hiking.

I recall one particular solo hiking adventure I decided to take many years back. It was a trail recommended by an acquaintance that boasted incredible panoramic views, majestic waterfalls, amazing wildlife and more. I was told that I just needed to drive up to the trailhead in the Sierras and head out. It was easy peasy. But what followed were several hours of confusion, wandering and sometimes all-out panic. Because of a particularly rainy and snowy season prior the trail had become overgrown. The path was not clear. It would disappear and reappear, but not frequently enough for my comfort. I knew that getting lost in the mountains was not good for someone like me. Instead of enjoying the hike, I was in a state of stress and anxiety. I don’t recall the panoramic views, nor any majestic waterfalls. I don’t recall a single squirrel or bird or anything living except for the heart inside my chest, racing.

I ended up turning back early and just about running back to my car and to the trailhead. I told the acquaintance about the hike later. He was eager to know if I enjoyed it and what I thought of the waterfalls. I relayed my story and he just looked at me with mouth wide open and said simply, “you missed it!”

I was recently reading Psalm 119 when my eyes ran across verse 105 (“thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”) and I thought of this particular hiking adventure. The path was not clear. I needed a guide. I’m so thankful that the Word of God provides a path for us. In fact, Psalm 119 is chock full of affirmations about the Word… it is a giver of life, it is broad, it is sweet and affirming, it is a light and guide, a hope and a shield. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of any better guide than that.

We get so busy in this life focused on what is going wrong, on what has led us astray, on what is vague and confusing, not realizing that the God of the earth and of our hearts is right next to us, asking us to let Him be our guide. He provides that guidance in His presence and in His word. It’s not just another book, friends. It is THE BOOK!

That acquaintance was right in the end, with regards to my hike… I missed it. I missed all the potential beauty in that trail because I was so fixed on where I thought I needed to be going, on the path that I couldn’t see clear enough, and on my own fear and anxiety. I needed something to hold fast to, not realizing my Savior is the only thing I need to hold on to and his word is the ultimate guide. Had I stuck with the trail, in fact, if I had even been within 50 feet of it, I would have seen the majestic waterfalls, the eagles that nest there in the spring, the fields of wildflowers. I missed it all.

The devotional content in this kit has been so powerful. I do hope you have picked it up and are digging in.

For this entry, I dove into Psalm 119 a little deeper. For the creative part, I started by stamping that sweet little cluster of books in the lower left of the margin.

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After it dried, I went in with some watercolors to paint in the spines of the books with coordinating colors to this month’s kit. I then continued those colors into a sort of soft, watery “path” that went up and winded around the scriptures I highlighted/boxed.

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After it dried I went in with almost all of the heart stickers from the kit, as well as some hearts that I cut out by hand from the text scrapbooking paper I used in my last entry for the kit. I then used the alphas and wordfetti to spell out my title – Hold Fast to Every Word, Verse, Passage and the little subtitle at the bottom – Every Word Inspired.

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I wanted the page to have a bit of “sparkle” so I went in with a pen, after tracing all the letters and stickers, I added some little stars and then hit the page with little black splatters. It wasn’t fully dry so I had some bleeding, but it didn’t bother me. I liked that the path wasn’t exact and perfect… much like the path in this life. 🙂

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you lean on the Lord and allow his Word to guide your path. Every word, verse, and passage of scripture is God-breathed and true. There is nothing more solid that can guide your life. Let the Word guide you and let the Lord love you.

Want to see other ways to use products from the Creative Retreat kits? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to see how others are using them! And please check out my Insta account @bibleartgal while you’re there.

 

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | A Season of Preparation

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Now that we are halfway through the month I’ve heard that quite a lot of people using the November Faith Art Box to document Advent. I just loved that idea so I decided to do something similar and use the kit with a sort of “mini series” about preparation for this wonderful season of joy, celebration, anticipation and gratitude.

This season holds a special place in many people’s hearts and I am no exception. I have always loved Christmas, though the reason behind that love has changed and evolved as I have matured. As a child, of course, the draw of presents and treats was almost electric. Now that I am grown and have children of my own, I get the double joy of watching them experience the wonder of Christmas in its twinkle and treats, and to help them understand, as I have learned, that the best gift we could ever receive is the love and salvation of our Savior. Thank you God for sending your son for us!

This season, I am preparing my heart for all of the many facets that this season offers, in experiences and in remembrance of the tiny King who came to save. As I mentioned, I did a series of 7 mini entries using the kit, and I love how each one has both special meaning and slightly different look. This was great because it allowed for in depth bible study and a short creative time to finish – which is ideal in this busy time of year. It also helped for pages that already had a mini entry (much of my current bible has entries from Lent) .

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I wanted each entry to have it’s own unique look and feel but have a common thread. In this case it was the same color scheme, a few lines of personal journaling, and a date stamp to document each day.

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I didn’t do tabs for each of my entries, but I couldn’t resist using this sticker from the kit as a little medallion at the top, secured with a little washi tape (I got rid of the stickyness on the back using the EK Success Powder tool).

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I also wanted to be sure to us ALL the elements in the kit. I mentioned in my last post that I always sort of forget about the stamps so I decided to be sure to use them as often as I could… though I just fell in love with the pine branch stamps and used them almost exclusively! The entry above had a little white embossing in the title too and I love how that turned out.

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For the entry above it doesn’t show AT ALL in photos but I layered both brilliant white and platinum pigment ink stamping using the cute star stamp in the kit. It makes for a great background with a subtle, shimmery pop.

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I also dug around in my stash to find some coordinating enamel dots, another item I always forget to use. I love how they look like little festive pops of candy here. I also just HAD to use that cute mini leather bow. How fun is this delicate silhouette?!

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I did a little ink smooshing on this page with the Distress Oxide inks I used in my last post as well. I just loved how they coordinated with the kit and gave a soft wash of green. And black splatters… a must. 😉

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Sometimes, a little washi tape is all you need to tie a title together. I had about two minutes for the entry above so that’s all I could do, and I sort of love this simple, sweetness of this. These entries really allowed me to focus on the scripture first.

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Right when I saw those pine branch stamps I envisioned a wreath so I knew it would happen at some point. This is probably my favorite little entry of all of them. I love that little wreath, and I ALWAYS love the message of hope. Now, and every time of the year.

I didn’t follow a study for this series, I actually just did my own research and tried to focus on the things I wanted to be sure to prepare for this season. These verses really meant a lot to me and I hope you can take the time to check them out for yourself:

  • Prepare for REDEMPTION:  John 1:29
  • Prepare for HOPE:  Romans 5:1-5
  • Prepare for WORSHIP:  Matthew 2:1-2
  • Prepare him ROOM:  Luke 2:6-7
  • Prepare for JOY:  Luke 1:14-15
  • Prepare for MIRACLES:  Matthew 1:18-25
  • Prepare for his FAVOR:  Luke 1:26-38

Friends, I pray that you take some special time to prepare your heart to celebrate our King this season. I pray that God reveals to you the areas that you need to focus on and that you feel deeply how much he loves you and wants you to draw close to him. May you find the time and words to share with those you love how valuable this precious gift of salvation is.

Be blessed friends!

Need some inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. I love friends! Find me @bibleartgal.

Other Fun Stuff

Creative Retreat Kits | Joy to the World

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“Joy to the World! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing”

-Joy to the World, published in 1719, written by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

-Psalm 98:4

Friends, can I share with you how immensely glad my heart is that the holidays are upon us?! I had the amazing gift of writing the devotional for this month’s Faith Art Box, so hopefully, you know how deeply I feel about the importance of preparing our hearts for Christ as we enter into this season.

We prepare so very much for Christmas, through capturing that perfect Christmas card image, to buying gifts for everyone we love, preparing for holiday parties, baking trays of sweet cookies, and “decking our halls” with all the twinkle and trim that we can to make our homes festive. This season, I’m challenged to put in the same effort with my heart. My home might be ready to reflect on Christmas, but is my heart ready to remember the birth of our King and truly savor what he came to do for us?

As I dove deeper into Joy to the World, the carol that inspired this month’s devotional, I was struck to find out that it wasn’t intended to be a Christmas carol at all, but rather, as a poem inspired by Psalm 98. At its heart, it’s a true expression of the joy and power of our great Savior. A psalm expression of his love, the offer of salvation and faithfulness that springs forth even from the depths of the earth… the seas roar, the rivers clap their hands, the fields exult. That is some deep and expressive joy!

A lot of times I think we make the mistake of thinking that reflecting and preparing our hearts needs to be done in silence, in reverence or in study. But we serve a God of joy! We serve a God who delights in our praise and worship. This holiday season, I intend embrace the heart of Psalm 98, of Joy to the World, and will prepare my heart with joy of knowing intimately our King, who was born to save! I hope you’ll do the same.

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I knew I wanted to journal with this hymn and I wanted to keep this page pretty simple because I really didn’t want to cover up the lyrics (especially after I researched the heart of it). I always forget about stamping so I thought it would be fun to kick off this page with stamping… and when I saw the pine branch stamps in this month’s box… my heart went straight to garlands.

I used both pine branch stamps and layered them to form garlands, using Distress Oxide Inks in Cracked Pistachio and Lucky Clover. I then added a few embellishments to the garland using some of the heart stickers from the kit. It needed a little contrast, and a bit of sparkle so I added in some simple dots using a metallic gold marker.

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I knew I wanted to incorporate that sweet blue bow in the kit so I laid down a strip of plaid washi (from one of the Illustrated Faith Revival Camp kits this summer) that coordinated really well with the kit, both to reinforce the page and secure the bow. On top, I layered the word Prepare from the wordfetti in the kit as a reminder of the heart of this hymn… “let every heart prepare him room”.

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Lastly, I added a little more of the plaid washi at the bottom of the page to tie it together. On top of that, I layered a label sticker from the kit and then stamped 2018 in gold ink. I try to pick a hymn to focus on each holiday season, and seeing as I became so invested in this one, I found it to be the perfect fit.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you prepare your heart as we enter into this holiday season. I pray that you know how deeply and fully God loves you and that YOU are the heart of why he sent his son. May you seek and find joy this season in all that you do.

Be blessed and pursue joy, my friends!

Need some inspiration as you prepare and journal this holiday season? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? Let’s be! I love friends. Check out my IG @bibleartgal.