I recently tried a little Bible and art journaling experiment with a group of girlfriends. It was especially awesome for us in part because we weren’t all regular “Bible journalers”. In fact, the four of us could be called an unlikely group of friends, as we are all very different.
A few years ago, the four of us led a women’s Bible study together at church. And this was no regular Bible study. (Meaning we weren’t exactly polite ladies sipping sweet tea and smiling over tea cakes.) It a group of women who got realover a period of months. We got personal. We got raw. We got vulnerable. And we got close. And we’ve stayed that way. It’s glorious.
We call ourselves The Book Club.
That’s why I wanted so badly to start this what I’m calling my “Get Psalty” experiment with this group… We are so close yet so different, and some of us love to get creative more than others! (And at least one of you just started laughing reading that sentence…)
My immediate reaction was: all the heart eyes for this journaling psalter!
And I thought to myself: The girls will love these!
Maybe, I thought, it would be cool to exchange them with each other. I knew it would be a great way to lift them up. It’s the exact opposite of a “Mean Girls”-style “burn book”, and it could really help us celebrate each other.
But would they try it?
So I brought the idea to my Book Club girls. I suggested we each have a Psalter and do a little work in it ourselves, then exchange them and work in each other’s.
The idea is that we keep exchanging them over a period of weeks, months or years, and in doing so we end up studying the book of Psalms together and celebrating each other and our friendship in the process. And we come away with a treasure for each of us – a keepsake with words from our girls that we will treasure always.
The Book Club girls showed immediate (but brief) excitement, followed by some apprehension and maybe a teensy bit of terror: We love it! How awesome! But wait… what if we make a mistake? What if my page looks stupid? What if it isn’t as good as hers?!? What if completely ruin it? What if I’m not good enough at this!?!? What if what if what if…?!?!?!?
Isn’t that how it so often goes for us as women? There’s excitement about something new, followed by that fear of failure… the comparison to others that makes us feel we don’t measure up… that (no-good, conniving, lying) voice inside us that says to us, “You can’t handle this. You aren’t good enough.” (Except we are. And you are.)
So we did it anyway. And I’m so happy that we did!
We had to speak the words out loud that we would have grace for ourselves and for each other. “Mistakes” do not exist… only happy accidents (thank you, Bob Ross, for that phrase!).
Now, we exchange psalters about once a month or sometimes a bit more often. We take someone’s (not our own), do a page as a tribute to or prayer for each other, and then we return them a week or two later. And each of us fights the urge to cry. Every. Single. Time.
Flipping through one of our psalters, you’ll find things like:
- “You inspire me to be a better person. You are truly my sister.”
- “Love you, my friend with the infectiously amazing smile.”
- “God, you continue to pour out your love through her life and friendship…”
- “God, thank you for… she is truly a gift for me and I love that you use her to show me who You are…”
When my spirit has been weaker than my day has been long, flipping through my psalter and reading what my Book Club sisters have written legitimately changes my spirit. Quickly.
It’s glorious. And I will cherish it always.
Soon, at my Bible Journaling studio called Flippy Doodle, I’ll be hosting a “Bring Your Besties and Get Psalty” workshop for those who want to try it out. Bring a friend, your sister, daughter, mother, neighbor, bestie, colleague, or even commit to try it out with someone you don’t know well yet. I assure you that you’ll cherish the result!
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