SamePage: Journey (Introduction)
[Doodle by Tara at Doodle Through the Bible; download the free coloring page and full color page on her blog post. This devotion and doodles are our Christmas gift to you and we pray God bless you richly.]
[journey themed advent devotions]
I started writing these devotions when Pastor Mark invited me to submit writings for an advent book written by church members with the theme of “journey.” I leave here a word of thanks for him. I wrote and submitted six. Knowing not all would be included in the church edition, I was content in knowing that I would share them on my blog and whoever happened to read them would be a connection made and blessed by God.
I began to have thoughts of “what if I continue writing a whole set for an advent-long series on my blog?” Was I capable? Would I have the time and the will power? It could be my gift to my blog readers. So I kept writing. It felt as if God was inspiring me to keep writing.
I had in recent months met Tara online, discovering her amazing Doodle Through the Bible images. I recognized her talent immediately for translating the Bible into illustrations. Her doodles interpret God’s word. The visual brings the verses to life. We enjoyed working together taking her drawing talents and expanding them into digital. Another thought came to my mind. I said a little prayer and wrote her to invite her to join me in this gift to readers by drawing an image for each devotional.
Her “yes” has been a blessing to me in so many ways. Having a friend to do this task together kept me motivated to keep writing. I might have fizzled out without the teamwork. Each time I started my laptop and saw another image from Tara, I was filled with joy and my face was smiling from ear to ear as I re-read what I wrote and realized her interpretation.
I will never forget the moment I saw the drawing of my granddaughter Abigail in God’s hands in heaven. Tears immediately began to flow down my cheeks as I sat alone with my hand over my mouth in the silence of my own room. That doodle blessed me as I clung to it through the weeks leading up to Abigail’s one year anniversary of her 6 day journey. I shared it with many, printed it and tacked it up at work, and used it as my screensaver. I printed it and mailed the doodle to my 3 year old granddaughter Ellie to utilize in memory of her sister, blessing me once again to realize I could not have thought on my own a better way lead a 3 year old through grief.
As I wrote the devotions, I often found myself laughing at myself at what was coming out of my head. My goal was to include the theme of “journey,” something about advent or Christmas, or the birth of Jesus, and a Bible verse. Boxing myself into these three conditions, I found myself writing wildly out of the box. I realized that these were not a traditional type of advent devotion.
As I reflected on what I had written, I realized that my writings included two aspects, that being a real story from my life experiences and analogies. I have known for a long time that I love analogies. Much in the same way that the doodles conceptualize and interpret, analogies compare two things to bring clarification and explanation. One is a graphic visual and the other a writing visual. Maybe this is why I love Tara's doodles so much!
This writing adventure has given me insight about my writing style. I have for a long time felt that readers appreciate my being transparent in sharing life experiences in that they can identify and relate. Sometimes it is difficult being transparent. It is easier to do it online because most who read what I write I will never meet face to face. However, writing for my church with my real name attached to it, knowing I will walk up face to face with people I know, has been a growing experience for me. What if these advent-long devotions were put into book form and gifted or purchased by family and friends? God sure is taking me through a personal journey of my own during the writing of these devotions of building confidence and self-esteem.
About three-fourths of the way through writing, I began to doubt. My conscience was hearing thoughts that the writings were not good enough, not “advent” enough, without enough meaning, and most importantly not pointing to Christ enough. God has been teaching me all year through my Bible studies that God’s Word is not about me. It is not about application to my life, but every single verse is about Him! My conscience is telling me that these devotions are too much about me and not enough about Him! I was unsure as if it was the devil in my conscience trying to mess with me or if it was God telling me to work on something.
I needed a title to my book of devotions, but did not want anything cliché or overused. I wanted something that would catch the eye, but not be too strange. It has been in writing this introduction that I finally have had that light bulb moment for a title. If this book of devotions is successful, would I write another in the future? Yes, I suppose I am a dreamer always thinking forward. If so, I would want to simplify my life in the future by having a title than could be re-used, with a few word changes.
My discovery of the graphics and the writings both giving interpretation, to conceptualize, to clarify, to explain, and to visualize, I began a channel of thought. How wonderful it was to calm my concerns about not being good enough to write about the Bible. Only God can say it best in His own words, so what am I doing writing? Discovering the purpose of my writings to enable others to connect to God’s Word with meaning, understanding, awareness, and maybe a new way of looking at it to gain comprehension, without an intention of accuracy, gave me a rested heart. I in no way want to go down a road of misleading others, but rather help them gain insight in their own spiritual journey.
I thought about title ideas of words such as insight, same language, vibe, or wavelength. I really liked the idea of the devotions being “on the same wavelength” since I have a certain fondness for wallowing in rivers and for my Grandma’s “oceans and oceans of love.” I almost went with “wavelength” but it seemed difficult to roll off the tongue.
It felt right when it hit me and I hope others feel the same way. “SamePage: Journey” became the title of the book. We are all on the same page as we read God’s Word and thirst for a better understanding and closeness and relationship with Jesus. We are all on the same page in that sometimes reading what man writes stirs the Spirit moving in our hearts and minds. We are all on the same page, the same chapter, and same verse gaining personal insight. I pray that everyone who reads these devotions be on the same page with Christ, being like-minded with Him.
I end this introduction with a word of thanks to my husband, Keith, my sons, Logan, Jaron, and Mason, my granddaughters, and neighbors who are a part of my life experiences which I pulled out from the far back of my brain and utilized as analogies in these devotions. Oceans and oceans of love to you all.