Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Meet Him at the Well

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13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” 

John 4:13-15

I had the distinct pleasure of writing the devotional content for March’s faith art box and I sort of wished I could have an entire book to fill. When it comes to the subject of living water, let’s just say my heart is full. My heart is full because I have known what it’s like to be thirsty. And no, I don’t mean being in need of a Gatorade, but being deeply, spiritually thirsty and feeling like there was nothing to quench me.

I’ve been a Christian since the first grade, nearly my entire life, and though a huge part of me knows how incredibly blessed I am, a part of me also knows how easy it can be to get disillusioned in my faith. Things start to sound more like cliches than truths, bible verses get quoted for comfort but often lack the spiritual depth that our God intended, and you can start to operate by “that’s just the way it’s always been done” kind of thinking.

When I got to college, I was nearly bowled over by the constant spiritual attacks and rhetoric in the curriculum asking me to give grounds for my faith, only to quickly attempt to knock it down. I struggled greatly in those years to give the real reason for my faith besides “that’s just the way I raised” or “because my parents taught me…” That would not stand in the world. I found myself so deeply thirsty for God, and not just because that was the only thing I knew, but because I craved RELATIONSHIP with him. I was lonely, lost, overwhelmed and so very, thirsty for Him.

I’m happy to share that I survived those college years and as a result built an incredibly strong faith and relationship with the Lord that I defy anyone to try and topple. In the years since, I have seen God answer prayers, deliver desires of my heart, and reveal a path and purpose for my life. Over and over again, he has met me at the well, much like the thirsty Samaritan woman in John 4, and quenched my thirst with the Living Water that only our Lord and Savior can give. We come to him as sinners, and leave filled with his gift of living water and the promise of eternity with Him. Thank you, Jesus!

For my entry this month, I knew I wanted to use that sweet sketchy well stamp from the kit and I knew my title before I even started – Meet Jesus at the Well because it’s happened for me over and over again. I come to him, a sinner, and leave forgiven, filled and loved.

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I started out by laying down my background by smooshing some Distress Oxide inks in Broken China and Peacock Feathers with a few sprays of water and the plastic packaging from the kit contents. I let that completely dry and then stamped in the well at the bottom of the page using archival black ink.

Next, I worked on my title by starting with a pink plain label/tag that I found in my stash (I think this was from Studio Calico) and building my title on top, using the adorable water drop alphas and some of the stickers in the kit. I also decided to use some of the stamps and one of the tag stickers (I love these new additions to the sticker page!). I secured that down with a few washi tapes from my stash as well and finished if off with the living water sticker from the kit.

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I wanted to use more of the wordfetti so I did a Mad Libs style journaling at the bottom, using the stickers to supplement my writing. I then went in and outlined everything with my black journaling pen to make it pop and to tie in the black stamping.

I added a few more bits of washi around the page to tie everything together, including some at the top of the page to create a better foundation for my bow. How CUTE are the bows in this kit?!

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To pull it all together, I hit the page with a little bit of black watercolor splatter. I felt like it needed that rustic look to help the well stamp feel more organic and sketched.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that in your time of thirst and need, you seek out Jesus. Meet him at the well and offer up your heart. I promise that in return he will give you soul-filling, thirst-quenching, all-fulfilling living water. With our God, you never need to thirst again. Drink, and be satisfied.

Need some more Living Water inspiration? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, let’s be friends! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

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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 | Written on My Heart

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“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

-2 Timothy 3:16-17

Does anyone else still get excited to receive mail, like I do? I don’t mean the piles of junk mail, credit card offers and stacks of coupons. I mean real, actual mail from one person to another? There is nothing quite like receiving a hand-written letter or card. This time of year, when sparky Christmas cards fill our box, my heart just about overflows.

A hand-written note or letter tells you that you matter. It tells you that you are worth spending the time to connect with. It shows that you are remembered. It tells you that you are loved and important enough to share in what is contained in that envelope or package. It takes thought and effort to send real mail… to write a real letter.

Did you know that the Bible is basically God’s letter, to us? He loves and cares so very much for us that he wants to connect with us through his word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that Scripture is God-breathed. It goes on to tell us how very useful and important it is in our lives. The Bible is not only here to encourage, inspire and guide us, but it’s also here to correct our paths, to train us and to prepare us for whatever comes before us. That is one POWERFUL letter. Let’s not take it for granted!

The December Faith Art box provides all the beautiful tools to celebrate the word of God. The colors are beautiful soft jewel tones and are so pretty when combined. When I think of God’s word, I think of His heart for me and my heart for him so I wanted to be sure to use a big heart in my entry.

I started by using the ink smooshing technique to smoosh in about 5 or 6 colors of Distress Oxide Inks. It was a lot of different colors but I love how these just blended and flowed into each other. After that dried, I started my title with the wordfetti and alpha stickers from the kit spelling out “His Word is Written…”

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I wanted to be sure to get some stamping in so I grabbed the various word stamps from the kit and stamped them in flowing blocks with Brilliance Moonlight White pigment ink. I started with the phrase “On My” repeated over and over. Then, I finished with some other phrases repeated about the word.

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Next came my super fun heart. I used a heart punch to punch out a heart from some paper that has a bunch of text on it. I then glued it to three layers of pink tissue paper. I rough cut around it, leaving about a half an inch of tissue all the way around. Next, I used my fringe scissors to cut all the way around and make this delicate fringe border.

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I secured that to my page and added a few heart stickers on top. I finished off my page by tracing my stickers and my heart with a black journaling pen, using some “stitch” marks around my verse as well.

I finished with a little cluster at the top of my page that consist of a circle punched out of the devotional card, a few stickers, a heart from the same scrapbook paper, all secured with a bit of the silver feather washi tape from the kit.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you spend the time to read God’s letter to you. I pray that his words wash over your heart and bring you comfort, guidance, wisdom and truth. Let his Word guide you and reveal his plans for you. You are so very dear and loved.

Want to see how others are using the December Faith Art box? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Please, be my friend! 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.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | When We Gather

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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Matthew 18:20

I could hardly believe when I saw on the calendar just a few short weeks ago that it was officially fall. It takes quite a while for temperatures to cool and for leaves to actually fall where I live so it can take a while for it to really set in. For me, fall always ignites the practice and attitude of gratefulness in my life. Maybe it’s because it is the eve of Thanksgiving when the whole world finally takes a pause to give thanks. I like to start early and really get in the right frame of mind.

This year, the thing that rises to the top of mind when I think of what I am grateful for, is “my people”. We all need each other so desperately, even when things are good, but so much more so when things are less than ideal. This year has very much been the latter for me and I don’t know if I could have gotten as far as I am today without my people.

My support system is very small but very strong. Much of my support system is rooted in the faith of our Lord and Savior. He comes first in everything. I think of Matthew 18 when I think of my people. This passage is often referred to when it comes to conflict resolution, which it is a wonderful template for, but for me, it’s such a shining example of what strength there is when believers gather in His name. He tells us that he is with us in these moments. Truly holy moments happen when we gather in His name!

Some of the most earnest prayers I have made when gathered with my people have been asked in His name. There is incredible power in the name of God. Satan trembles at his name. Mountains will tumble at the sound of his name. You see, big things happen when we gather in His name. He is for us and he is with us. Could there be anything better?

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Let’s chat about my entry – can we talk about the gorgeous colors in this kit?! I also adored the vine and leaf pattern on the back of the devotional card (which I typically do), so I raided my paper stash because I knew I had some others with the same color palette. I started by buffing in a soft wash of ink (Distress Oxide ink in Fossilized Amber) on the top and bottom of the page. I thought this might help the mixed paper patterns blend together a bit better and because I just loved that yellow.

Next, I pulled papers that specifically had this earthy yellow, rich purple and soft gray or turquoise. I got out my hexagon die cut and cut out several sheets. Starting at the bottom edge, I started piecing them together on the page, gluing one piece down at a time, focusing just on the bottom of the page, then creating a simple cluster at the top of the page as well. I carefully cut off any overhanging pieces with a small scissor.

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I loved the beautiful Gather in His Name sticker from the kit so I used only that as my title. This was the PERFECT piece for this page! I also loved the two circle stickers that said He is For Us and He is With Us so I nestled those together down into the hexis. I framed out my verses with a bit of purple washi tape and hit the page with some purple watercolor splatters.

I loved the dark teal bow in the kit so I added that and loved how it helped tie in the various patterns and bring in that turquoise blue color. It was the perfect finishing touch to a page full of rich color!
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Friends, my prayer for you is that you begin the practice of gratefulness now as we enter this harvest season. Consider the good harvest in your life this year and be grateful for those who have come alongside you, prayed with you and for you and have gathered together with you in the name of God. He is with us. He is for us. Amen!

For more inspiration using the October Faith Art box follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Be sure to check out our Facebook Insiders group for more inspiration and some fun freebies! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.

Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Made Perfect in Weakness

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“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

There was a time in my 20s when I felt like I was in really decent shape, and was at a phase in my life when I wanted to try everything. I said YES to as many new experiences as I could. I was single and had all the time in the world, so when my singles group at church invited everyone out for a day hike in the mountains, I said YES.

What I quickly learned, just minutes into this “easy” hiking trail was that I was in fact not in decent shape and I was not cut out for hiking. Let’s just say that I huffed and puffed, and at one point, was seeing spots, on the verge of passing out completely. Layers of clothing were shed. At one point, a heroic gentleman in our group offered to carry my backpack. Even stripped of everything weighing me down, I struggled.

The mental attack on myself started, “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you do this? You are such a joke! You look like a fool right now.” I couldn’t deal with my own inner enemy screeching in my ears. I started to pray and pray hard, “Lord, I need you. I can’t do this. I don’t want to hold this group back. I said yes to this so I could live richly, deeply and fully. God, I need you.” The prayers continued as the incline grew more sharp.

As I continued to falter and take many, many breaks, I started to recite scripture. It was amazing. Scriptures I didn’t even know that I could remember by heart started flowing through me. Psalms, Proverbs, James… I recited until the intensity of those scriptures covered me and I could no longer focus on the pain in my legs or the burn of my lungs. The word of God was covering me and giving me power I didn’t know I had.

At some point, I didn’t even realize when we reached the summit. That summit contained the most beautiful oasis tucked into the canyon – a lazy river, great trees towering overhead and a peace that I hadn’t seen or felt in a very long time. “Thank you Lord!” I exclaimed, both out of relief of the end of our ascent, but also at the reward that was waiting here for me. The struggle was so worth it.

As I read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians, speaking of our Lord, “my power is made perfect in weakness” I thought of this hiking trip. Physically, I needed the Lord to get me to the top of that mountain. Mentally, I needed his peace and guidance too. And as I reflect on it now, in my moments of great weakness (and not even physical weakness, but spiritual weakness, pain, grief, stress…) I have needed God more than ever. I think God’s power really is made perfect in our weakness. Without weakness, we wouldn’t need a Savior. Our weakness creates a hunger for God that only he can satisfy. And not only does he satisfy… he heals, restores and brings power! Like Paul says, when we are weak, we are STRONG because of our God! And often, like the oasis that revealed itself at the end of my hike, there is incredible beauty and reward waiting.

I love the subtle color scheme of the September Faith Art box and I felt that tones of gray would go perfectly. This simple entry started with just a few strips of a gray plaid washi tape, laid down at angles. On top I layered my title using the wordfetti and title stickers – made perfect in my weakness.

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Then, I used the heart stickers to form a sort of path of arrows to my secondary title, I am made perfect in you. The white border of the “perfect” and “weakness” stickers seamed a bit stark so I went in with a bit of Ice Spruce Distress Oxide ink on a Q-tip and buffed it around the edges. This helped it settle into the washi tape a bit better. I like that it ended up a bit distressed, messy and not perfect… it really fit the theme of the page. 🙂

Next I made a notecard for my sermon notes using half of the devotion card from this month’s kit. This sermon from Chuck Smith was really powerful (and can be found on Blue Letter Bible) and I wanted to capture his main points.

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I used the number stickers from the alpha stickers and a bit more of the washi to capture all the points. I cut the title out of the other side of the devotional card and attached it to the top. Finally, I used a bit more washi tape to tip it into my bible.

For finishing touches I did a little bit of splattering with gray watercolor paint. I found this cute gray fabric in my stash and made a quick clip to secure to the top of my page with a bit of washi. I tape all my clips in so they don’t fall out.

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you realize how badly we need a Savior. May we not see weakness and being vulnerable as a bad thing, but rather an expression of our open need for the power and might of our God. I pray that in your weakness, you will cry out to him and find immeasurable strength, healing and love, and that you will be greeted by an oasis more beautiful than you ever imagined on the other side.

Be blessed, friends!

Not sure how you can use September’s Faith Art Box? Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits. Are we friends yet? Let’s connect! Check out my IG @bibleartgal.