Friday, September 04, 2015

Melinda Ransdell- Northern Region

Creative Faith Family Adventures

No matter what people say, we are all artists and are all creative. It just depends on which areas you find the deepest connection. The art of creating something can have roots in any discipline, not just fine arts. Writing, problem solving, building, motivating -all use a creative process to execute their craft. For example, I can draw and I can paint, but dont particularly enjoy either. But, I do like designing a logo on the computer and have a keen eye for decorating our home. One of my biggest strengths lies in organizational problem solving. Not like in big corporations- but rather in putting together projects. They range from my sons recent blow out Legend of Zelda 7th birthday party, to organizing my closet better. 

All these things are creative and artistic. So, when I was introduced to Bible Journaling, I had to figure out a way to get my whole family involved. While my husband was assigned to a congregation in Denver, Colorado,we both did a lot of studying on alternative worship styles. How do people connect with God in different ways? What does profound mean in their personal lives? It might be  through song, prayer stations, dance, study, note taking or discussion. The conclusion?  People have their own unique learning styles. It effects how they chose to connect to Christ.

I saw Bible Journaling and Praying in Color as an opportunity to offer my children another tool to use to strengthen their relationship with our Creator. It needed to be simple, easily available and nonrestrictive. So, my husband and I went to our local discount buy out store to purchase a Bible to color and draw in for each family member. I had been practicing for a few weeks and could show them what I was doing. Just the thought of being able to write in a revered book was so meaningful. Eyes lit up with interest.
We also purchased each family member a lined journal for prayers or if they needed extra creative space. Along with the ideas found on the Bible Journaling Community Facebook page, we also referenced Sybil Macbeths Praying in Color books. We referenced the adult and kid versions. There were also several brightly colored ink pens and pencils bought in order to entice little artists. My children each own a couple different Bibles, and one to color in was welcomed. My children ranged in age from 6 to 13 when we began Journaling. Since they are a bit older, they understand that they "color" in their Journaling Bible.

Once all our supplies were home, I placed it all in a wicker basket in the middle of the dining room table. It needed to be easily accessible, so that this practice might actually happen. Also, our approach is very, very simple. You can do as much or as little drawing as you feel led. And you are not required to do it every day. Once something becomes a chore around our house, it moves to the"dreaded"camp by the children. My youngest loves Zelda, and works the character Link into some of his entries. That is perfectly fine. I just ask him how that particular picture makes him think about God. He seems to get what we are trying to do. He is also one of the more enthusiastic participants.

My teenager, on the other hand, isnt as expressive in pen and paper form, right now. A few circled words in different colors and some underlining and simple symbols drawn between the text seem to work for him.  I too like icons. In my Bible youll find a cloud, an eye, a heart, and various shapes I feel the urge to draw in simple ink lines. Colors seem to have a lot of meaning for our family. The kids love switching up their pens. I tend to listen to the Holy Spirit while reading and find a color connection to what Im underlining or circling.

Now my family and I do some form of Journaling every day. I was able to ease it into their daily routine checklist. It has become almost second nature, like brushing teeth. They understand that it is a spiritually healthy choice to strengthen their connection with Christ. This practice has enriched our scripture study so much, that everyone in the family has shared the practice with someone else.

We might be considered an artistic family that enjoys the arts. But, most everyone, especially young children, don't need much prompting to enjoy a fun creative coloring session. Remember to keep it simple, easily accessible, and unlimited with wide open possibilities. Watch the creativity flow. How fun when there is more than one way to be engaged. Remember- EVERYONE is creative. 
submitted by Melinda Ransdell

Melinda Ransdell serves with her husband, Rev. Dr. C. J. Ransdell at St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Dover, Delaware. Melinda is a Michigan native and enjoys applying her creative touch to graphic design and ministry opportunities.  We give thanks for the way this young family is modeling time for prayer and Bible Study and their willingness to share the journey.

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