Today’s guest Bible Journaler is Ana Willis. I have known Ana online for a long time. She is such an inspirational person in many areas of life. I am thrilled to have her as a part of this party helping me wrap it up on this the last day.
How long have you been Bible journaling?
Bible journaling came to me in one of the deepest and darkest season of my life about three years ago. And I’m so glad I found it!
How did you get started in Bible journaling?
After years of full-time ministry as a pastor, I burned out completely. For years, I dragged myself around exhausted juggling between working in two churches, homeschooling my three kids, and growing my online business as a certified health coach for about 3 years.
As a pastor and health coach, I took care of hundreds of people while neglecting myself completely. Stress made me sicker and sicker. My body was shutting down and I started to have panic attacks. I ended up in and out of the hospital and of doctor’s offices until the worse happened.
One day, coming home from the library with my kids, I began to have chest pains and shortness of breath. I managed to drive home praying the whole time for God to protect us. As soon as we arrived home, my husband called 911. For three and a half hours, I was paralyzed from head to toe. I couldn’t move or speak.
After spending the night in critical care, my doctor concluded that what I had was a major panic attack and I should step back from work completely to heal from stress and anxiety. We were not prepared for that.
I felt like a failure in every possible way. “Did I do something to lose my calling?“, I questioned God. Guilty and shame took over me. My burnout cost us much more than I could ever imagine. We had to live with less than half of our previous income putting us in a very difficult financial situation and with that, I became very depressed.
It was truly the worse time of my life.
I couldn’t pray or read my Bible. I felt so distant from God.
It was then that I found Bible journaling and began to copy Scriptures to a journal. Suddenly, God’s Word began to do the healing in me. I was able to abide again in The Word and it brought healing to my body, mind, soul, and spirit.
Bible journaling revived me! I fell in love with it.
So much so I couldn’t stay quiet about it and began to teach a workshop on Bible journaling at our local Christian bookstore. Through these workshops, many other women were also revived in their faith. Praise God!
What is your favorite thing about Bible journaling?
My favorite thing about Bible journaling is how it allows me to create memorial pages I can go back to and remember exactly where I was, how and what God spoke to me that day. These pages in my Bible are where His Words and my words merge, and it doesn’t matter how it looks like. It’s all about the holy moments I spend in His presence.
I also use Bible journaling with my kids in our homeschool. It has been amazing to see their spiritual growth through it. You are never too young or too old to start it and you don’t have to be an artist either.
What is your favorite Bible journaling tool?
Paint and letter stickers! Oh, they make everything look pretty, no matter what. I love washi tapes and cutouts too. Stickers, stamps… you name it! But smashed paint and letter stickers are my favorite tools.
Do you journal in a journaling Bible, an art journal or in something else?
I journal in a journaling Bible. Currently, I’m using an NIV Holy Bible journal edition from Zondervan but I didn’t start it there. I used a regular journal with some pretty flowers around the pages when I first began and a black marker. It was all I had and all I needed. Today I have a lot of Bible journaling resources. LOL.
Please share your favorite Bible journaling technique and add pictures from your own Bible journaling practice.
Honestly, I don’t have a favorite technique, but I do have a favorite tip. Washi tapes can make a super cool background when you don’t have any paint around.
Just put some worship on, invite the Holy Spirit to teach you and let His hand guide you through your journaling time. Don’t focus on how you want to look like, just focus on His voice and the message He is speaking to you about.