every morning is a new beginning

speak to God in the morning...

the most peaceful time of day for me are the wee morning hours when everyone else is still asleep. the sun begins to peek its magnificent rays through the windows and the birds are chirping.  the house is still blanketed in a quiet slumber and the kitchen smells like fresh brewed coffee.

this is my favorite time to pray and read and spend time with God.  there’s just something so encouraging about that time of day for me.  everyone always looks forward to moments when they can start again, wipe the slate clean and begin anew–sort of like new year’s day.  that’s how i feel on the mornings when i get to take advantage of that precious quiet time.

about a month ago i started something new.  i’ve always loved to jot down my ideas and notes when reading my bible or during bible study.  i love to go back and reread certain notes or passages that i circled or highlighted in the past.  it takes me back to where i was when i originally wrote them–it’s an interesting perspective of my spiritual journey.  but so little actually fit in the tiny margins of my standard bible that i usually end up writing them on separate little sheets of paper or in notebooks.  but then they’d end up all disorganized, or lost altogether, and i have to either search everywhere for them or try to remember what it was i wanted to remember.

then i ran across these journaling bibles. i googled them and found so many posts filled with such beautiful words, sketches and other expressions of people’s creativity and personal thoughts about the scriptures in the extra large 2″ margins on each page.  at first i was a little skeptical about actually drawing in my bible, I did see some posts where people actually painted over the words and thought that was a bit too much especially since i don’t want to do anything to it that would prevent the actual words from being read in the future, but the ones that just utilized the margin space to illustrate their thoughts are just lovely.  i loved the idea of having that extra space on each page and keeping everything in one place.  after all, i had been scribbling notes in the margins of my regular bible for years, now i was just adding a little extra.

a love of art and color is a gift from God in my opinion.  to be able to look at colors and feel that happiness bubble up in my soul is such a good feeling.  why not combine that love with my love for the Word of God? 

i purchased the ESV version, which is not my favorite translation I usually prefer the NKJV but the only other option they had was the standard KJV which i’m not really fond of.  the outside of it looks like a giant moleskine notebook, which are my favorite notebooks in the world.  it has the elastic band that keeps it closed and i’ve added little scraps of ribbon and fabric to mark chapters i refer to often.

20141009-181523-65723390.jpg

i love that this bible sort of became my personal scripture journal.  after just a few uses my notes and doodles started to feel like little letters to God.  another thing i like to do with my bible is add notes to the scriptures i hear being referenced in the different homilies i listen to.  {you can listen to some really really good ones here and here}

here are just a few of the pages i ran across that i really liked.  you can find a ton of them by searching the #journalingbible hashtag on Instagram.

journaling bible favorites

some of you may not be crazy about the idea of writing in a bible but if you’re like me and it brings joy to your heart to watch watercolors glide across a page and feel the smooth way your pen glides across a page, you will find this a very peaceful and soul satisfying activity.  i love having my notes right there in my bible beside a colorful depiction of what my heart was feeling at the moment i read a certain passage.  it’s also really nice because since it’s a journaling bible i can actually write notes for conference presentations or other projects i am working on right there on the page.

20141009-171427-62067706.jpg

“Margin space, which we typically think of as narrow, insignificant space, is actually a vital interpretive edge that enlivens the pages of tradition.  The margins represent the very space upon which the book’s life is dependent.”  -Terry Veling

in orthodoxy we have so many “continuations” of the stories in the bible, details and information about the things we read.  i love to record them alongside each other.  for example, it really hit me to learn that herodias’ daughter salome (the one who danced for the head of st. john the baptist) eventually went to spain to stay with herod and herodias during their exile and while they were crossing a frozen river the ice broke and salome fell in up to her neck and was beheaded by an iceburg.  not a particularly happy story but it reminds me of the scripture that says “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  (Romans 12:19)  that verse reminds me to not get angry or seek revenge and to pray for my enemies.

the entry below is next to the verse “pray without ceasing”.  we follow that command of st. paul by praying the jesus prayer-Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me…

journaling bible

i actually saw the following entry on instagram as well and really loved it.  it was my first one and i was really nervous i’d mess up my new bible so i just copied this one to start.  🙂

IMG_20140908_112020

those few minutes have become something i look forward to every day.  on days that i don’t get that personal time, i feel like something is missing.

each morning is different, sometimes i fill my little porcelain teacup and take out my paints, other times i read from a different spiritual book.  soon i’ll be reading from my psalter and letting the grace-filled words of the psalms feel my heart and soul.  no matter what it is, it’s the perfect way to begin the day and ask for God’s blessings.

what is your favorite morning ritual? 

 

3 thoughts on “every morning is a new beginning

Comments are closed.