Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Refuge and Strength

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“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Psalm 46:1-2

Getting and staying in shape has always been a big challenge for me. For starters, I don’t enjoy exercise at all, and everything in my genes and metabolism is seemingly fighting against me. I recently acquired a gym membership and as part of the onboarding process, I was offered a free physical consultation and comprehensive testing. This was a pretty thorough test and involved all different facets of health (blood testing for glucose and cholesterol, measurements for BMI, fat caliper testing, blood oxygen testing, endurance testing, etc.).

I had done most of that before but I had never been through any strength testing. Though I wasn’t surprised at most of my physical results (like I said, I’m healthy but I know I’m out of shape), I was really surprised to see that my strength testing was pretty solid. In fact, for someone so out of shape in every other way, I have above average strength.

But physical strength only counts for so much. As I’ve grown older and endured much more adult problems and responsibilities, I’ve realized that emotional and spiritual strength is invaluable. Fortunately, I am pretty strong in both those areas too… but I definitely need a Savior. I need the strength of my God to cover me when my humanness makes it feel too hard to endure. In this life, those times are pretty often. God created us as beings who need him.

Scripture is very clear in stating that there is no one and nothing more powerful than our God. I love Psalm 46 and how it describes our God as both a refuge (safe place, protected, shelter) and strength – a very present help in time of trouble. AMEN! It goes on to describe how we need not have any fear even if the earth gives way and oceans roars and the ground trembles beneath us. God is in control of all things. That is POWER and that is the only power I want in my life.

I wanted to do something a bit different for this entry so I pulled out my little Psalms book. I also wanted to keep the entry pretty simple because there isn’t a lot of space on these pages and I didn’t want to cover the text.

I started with a soft wash of pinky purple watercolor from Dots and Dust‘s Cupcakes and Cocktails palette (Shade: Manhattan). This actually has a lovely golden shimmer to it that you can’t see in the photos but added a really nice pop. I then used a matching marker to make very rough circular shapes, similar to the circles on the back of the devotional card in this month’s kit. Let’s be honest, mine are just scribbles but that’s exactly what I wanted.

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Next, I highlighted my verse with the same pen. I grabbed some of the wordfetti and stamps from the stamp set to spell out a few titles (faithful strength, and In My Weakness You are Strong). I couldn’t resist adding in a few random strips of my favorite mustard yellow striped washi tape. I wish I could remember where I got it because I’m quickyl running out. I sprinkled in a few enamel shapes from a previous kit, as well as some of the heart stickers.

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I journaled in a prayer at the bottom of the page with a blue pen. Lastly, I added that super cute jumbo bow (which is started calling a jumbow) and a sticker, with more of the washi tape, mostly to secure the big bow in place. This was a super quick entry but really fun to jump into this Psalms book. I might have to pull this one out more often. Don’t you just love the Psalms?

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Friends, my prayer for you is that you know and feel the strength of our God. It is beyond imagination how powerful he is and how much he loves us. When you are weak, call out his name and feel the refuge that is provided in his strength. You need not fear with the Lord on your side.

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For more inspiration using the September 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.

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Bible Journaling

Creative Retreat Kits | Faithful to Completion

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“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  -Philippians 1:6

In recent months I have cultivated a real love for gardening. I’ve always been interested in it but never really had the gumption (or time) to do anything about it. But recently, I went to a garden expo and listened to a gardening lecture and was completely fascinated with how the speaker talked about gardening, as therapy. I could use some therapy. I was hooked. I dove right in and have now been spending regular hours outdoors – weeding, planting, pruning and communing with nature and with our God who put it all into place. It has been so good for my soul!

My sons have been curious as I’ve embarked on this new adventure and have been eager to join in the fun. This past weekend we ventured out to buy some soil and mulch and my 5 year old begged for some seeds to grow his own plant. He picked out some beautiful periwinkle blue morning glory seeds and excitedly dashed home to grab a paper cup and handfuls of damp, dark soil to bury his tiny little seeds into. He watered it, set it in the sun and sat back in anticipation.

It was just minutes later when he declared in frustration, “why isn’t this thing growing yet?” I laughed a little then explained to him that it not only takes sunshine, water and soil for little plants to grow (which is what he’s been learning in school), but that it also takes time. Lots of time. And that we have to be very patient, but that the wait is SO WORTH it when we see that beautiful little plant pop out of the ground.

He wrinkled his forehead and proceeded to ask me about every 5 minutes why the plant hadn’t grown, when it was going to grow and why it was taking so long. I could not help but think of us, as children of God. We are so very eager for the HARVEST, but have no patience as we navigate the planting, watering, weeding, pruning and growing. We want the rewards right now. We want the deliverance of the desires of our heart today. But we become so weary as we labor through the twists and turns that happen as we grow, the pain we experience in the pruning and weeding (of God cutting the useless stuff out of our lives) and the agonizing wait until the bloom.

But the bloom is the best part! That’s the part where God brings to completion the very things that he has planted in us. What incredible beauty there is in that. There is beauty in waiting. There is an exercise of faith in waiting. But we know that the God who starts good works in us will be faithful to complete them. We just have to wait to bloom. And when we bloom, we should glorify the God that planted in us from the very beginning.

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When I saw the May Faith Art kit and the sweet blooms, I just about lost it. It’s crazy how God moves in you and then reminds you of his good in those movements. I needed this sweet reminder that the things that God has planted in me are growing, and that the blooms are coming.

I started my page by laying down my title, “what God planted in me will bloom” with various stickers and the alphas from the kit along with my favorite yellow striped washi.  I then added a soft wash of watercolors from Dots and Dust (how amazing are homemade watercolors?!) to look like soil. I added in some flecks and pebbles with a black journaling pen and added some personal journaling.

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Then I added a small round sticker to signify a “seed” and layered in one of the cute blooms from the kit. For my tag I cut out a coordinating green from a set of paint chips (they make great tags!) , layered in a few stickers and embossed it with the BLOOM stamp from the kit. I anchored it with a little more washi tape and couldn’t resist adding the sweet pink bow from the kit. Finally, I highlighted my verse with a little bit of thin pink washi tape.

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My prayer for each and every one of you to is feel loved, valued and at peace as you wait for the blooms in your life. God has promised to complete these good things in us. Know that you are not alone in your wait and that beautiful blooms are coming! Be blessed, friends.

Inspiration is all around! Follow @creativeretreat on Instagram and follow the hashtag #creativeretreatkits to get inspired. While you’re there, check out my IG @bibleartgal.