About two years ago, Treva Walker bought a journaling Bible despite being terrified to actually use it. It sat in her house for more than a year before she heard about a Bible journaling class at the Flint Gypsies store. Earlier this year, she took it and she has been hooked ever since.
"It just made me get into the Scriptures and think about what I was reading," Ms. Walker, 57, of Bullard said. "And the images that I would see or that I would be inspired by someone else and that I would draw and paint or put stickers in or whatever, they sort of stuck in my mind after that."
To those unfamiliar with the idea, Bible journaling is somewhat like coloring, painting and/or scrapbooking with a spiritual bent. It's typically done inside actual Bibles. Some have large margins on each side that people use for their art. Other specialized Bibles come with actual outlines of pictures, words and/or phrases people can color in or that already are colored in.
Those who don't want to work directly in their Bible can use a separate notebook or individual pages.
The location doesn't matter, but the emphasis is on processing a biblical message and communicating whatever has been learned through art.
Take for example, Matthew 17:20, which reads in part, " … if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Ms. Walker drew free hand in the margin of her Bible near that scripture a picture of a mustard bottle with part of the verse on it.
Now, every time she reaches for mustard in the refrigerator or buys some at the grocery store, she thinks about that verse.
"You just find yourself thinking about God's word and His promises," Ms. Walker said.
Ms. Walker is among the many women who enjoy regular gatherings at Flint Gypsies in Flint to learn more about Bible journaling and share their creations with others.
Store co-owner Heather Slaton opened the Flint Gypsies in February 2015 as a furniture and clothing store, but after getting into journaling herself later that year, she shared her love with others.
More than 100 women attended the first Bible journaling class there in January of this year, and the store sells a variety of Bible journaling materials.
Ms. Slaton described Bible journaling as a creative way to journal Scriptures and sermon notes. It also is a way that keeps her engaged in Bible reading.
"I have found that where I used to not retain anything … somebody will ask me something and I will (go), ‘Oh yeah, there's a Scripture about that,'" Ms. Slaton, 30, of Jacksonville, said.
For Rachel Holsome, 35, of Rusk, this activity involves the whole family. She, her husband and three daughters get together one night a week to journal before going to bed.
"It's been amazing to see just how it gets my teenage daughters in their Bible, in the Word, just wanting to learn more about it," she said.
Personally, she has been able to journal about the ways in which God is showing her His faithfulness. Her 5-year-old daughter is using it as a way to learn Scriptures.
Ms. Holsome said she and her daughters have Bibles specifically for reading and other Bibles for journaling.
Though Ms. Slaton's triplets are not too involved in Bible journaling - they are 5 - she started journaling as a way to share and visualize her story with them, especially the miraculous beginning of their lives, she said.
Ms. Walker plans to leave her Bible to her daughter as a keepsake.
"It's sort of almost like a journey of your life and you're kind of documenting it in your Bible with verses that mean something to you," she said.
If you go
Flint Gypsies will have a Bible journaling class at 6 p.m. Thursday at the store, 18783 Farm-to-Market Road 2493, Suite 200, in Flint. Visit Flint Gypsies on Facebook to stay updated on their upcoming Bible journaling classes.