It has been awhile since I have written anything. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas that have come to me. It is because my writing time has been absorbed by a hobby. It all started a few years ago when I was introduced to Bible Quilt Journaling, created by my friend Dianna. Briefly, this is a method of journaling and meditating on scripture in an “artistic’ manner. I put quotes around artistic because believe me, I am no artist. In the beginning my pages could have been done better by a first grader. But over time I got better at it.
Bible Quilting has nothing to do with sewing for those of you who may be allergic to sewing machines, but it does require some supplies. Since I have never been a crafter, I didn’t even have a decent set of colored pencils, so I started acquiring a few things. Those who know me well are laughing at “few things”, because this pursuit has taken on a life of its own, and I have acquired a lot of things I never knew I needed. Along the way I discovered beautiful papers and fell down a rabbit hole! I wanted to learn different ways to journal and find ways to use up all this paper I was ordering.
Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I started making all different kinds of journals…jot journals, gratitude journals, pretty daily journals for every season…and then, I discovered junk journals. That was when the little space I was using in a spare bedroom became too small. I got rid of all the bedroom pieces and created a craft room. All that paper and those supplies take up a LOT of space!
When people ask me to describe junk journaling I usually direct them to a video on YouTube, but junk journalers are all over social media platforms. It is hard to describe, but basically it involves using bits of this and that, things you would normally discard, and using them to create journals. I started to think twice before throwing things away. Suddenly the most exciting thing about an Amazon delivery was the packing paper. (Unless the box contained craft paper or washi tape). I found a group of talented junk journalers that I follow regularly. They are mostly in the UK and I love listening to them talk as I work on my journals. Several of the artists have formed a consortium and they create challenges for their followers. Currently I am about to complete Junk Journal July, and my journal is getting nice and chunky. There is a journaling prompt for every day of July, and I am almost at the end.
I could go on and on about journaling, but that is not the purpose of this post. This morning I was working on the prompt, “stencils.” The medium you see in the picture is a yummy concoction called stencil butter. I had to pause to let it dry and I was thinking about what else I want to add to the page. Right now I am in the messy middle. I really don’t know what the finished page will look like. My pages seem to gradually come to be on their own. I have learned to trust the process.
It hit me that most of us live in the messy middle. We move from one situation to another, and on a larger scale, one season of life to another. We may have entered adulthood with a plan for our lives, firm thoughts about how things should go. And God laughed. Things rarely go the way we think they should. In fact, I spend a good deal of time with my therapy clients helping them to let go of the “shoulds.” It’s not that our plans and ideas are wrong. It is just that life has a way of moving us from one messy middle to another. It is sometimes hard to see how things will turn out. And it is in the messy middle that we develop our trust muscles. We may not know how our current page is going to turn out, but God does. We just trust Him and trust the process.
It is fine to make a life plan, to have goals and dreams. But God has dreams for us too. We become much less frustrated when we discover God’s plans for us and get on board with them. We find true fulfillment when God’s desires become our desires. It is then that we are in sync with our Creator, the Artist of our lives.
You know what I really love about junk journaling? It is the taking of something of no value, something discardable, and turning it into something lovely. That is exactly what God does. He takes the mess of our lives and repurposes it into something beautiful.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Prov. 19:21
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11