This Catholic Journaling Bible post is going to be a little vulnerable as I write through my thought process using the new Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling Kit, ‘Stronger Together.’ Chris and I were married for six years before our first child was born. There are varied circumstances for that, but one of them was definitely my heart. And honestly, this is something I still occasionally struggle with, although now it’s more a knee-jerk reaction from the mouth rather than the heart. So progress.
This Bible Journaling process and meditation was worked through using my Catholic Journaling Bible from Blessed is She. If you don’t have a Journaling Bible, here’s a post about Bible Journaling without a Journaling Bible. I also have a set of Bible Journaling and Prayer printable. I printed and had coil bound at my local office supply store.
Let’s start with the first die cut word I used from the Bible Journaling Kit, HONOR. I looked up the definition for honor.
HONOR:high respect; esteem.
Have you ever heard the quote from St. Thomas Aquinas, “A thing cannot give what it does not have”? I didn’t honor myself. And because I didn’t honor myself, I couldn’t honor Chris and even had a difficult time honoring God. Boy, this is a wretched tale is it not?! And at this point, you’re probably wondering and wishing I would quickly get to the point of my Bible Journaling process using the ‘Stronger Together’ kit!
Can you even imagine the mess of a momma I would have been if we had had children before I started learning to honor myself, my husband, and my God?!? The answer is, more of a mess than I am now.
The second word I pulled from the die cuts was GATHER. Once I began to learn I had value, I was worthy of respect, I was more enjoyable to be around. I know, that sounds funny in a sad and yet prideful way. But totally truthful. Think about people you have a difficult time being around. Now consider, do they honor themselves or others? Do they respect themselves or others? Do they esteem, themselves and others? Probably a “Nope…Nope…Nope.”
Not only was I more enjoyable to be around, I was more enJOYable period which meant I could stand myself. Which meant I could be still and quiet. Are you following here? When I had no respect and honor and self-esteem, I couldn’t stand to be around myself. I needed noise. So as I grew, my ability to be alone with myself grew. And as I was able to separate from the noise, I began to seek the presence of God. I was able to gather myself, I was able to be gathered with my husband, and I gathered myself to God.
The next word from the ‘Stronger Together’ Bible Journaling Kit I chose was, CONNECT. I pretty much covered this word in the above. Once I gathered with myself, my husband or my God, I could make connections. I could connect not only to others in a more respectful and fruitful way, I could connect with myself–my faults, my sins, my struggles, my feelings, and even my virtues.
I chose COMBINE next. As my growth continued, I grew in closer friendship with God, with Chris, and with myself. I also began to strive to be more like God, to combine my will to His. It was during this time I first learned about devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“The Sacred Heart of Jesus has such a great desire to be known, loved and honored by men; He wishes so ardently to establish the empire of His love in all hearts by destroying in them the empire of Satan, that He promises great recompenses to all those who devote (combine) themselves with their whole hearts to establishing the reign of His Sacred Heart according to the lights and graces which He gives them.”
~St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
*(I added the word COMBINE and emphasized HONORED.)
And finally, I chose the word ENJOY based on the all of the above coming together and the verse found in John 10:10 where Jesus tells us He came to give us abundant life. There’s also the verse in Sirach 14:14, “Do not deprive yourself of a day’s enjoyment; do not let your share of desired good pass by you.” God wants me to enjoy my life. God wants you to enjoy your life.
Bringing this all back around to marriage and children and motherhood. The Bible Journaling kit included some lovely cards and one of them has, ‘1+1=So Much Better!’ written on the front. The back is blank and I wrote, “Lord, Chris’ blessing on our children gives them firm roots to weather and thrive in this world. PLEASE help me so I don’t root up their growth. *especially when it doesn’t look the way I would do it.”
See the verse I chose in my Catholic Journaling Bible to spend some quality time with was Sirach 3:9, “A father’s blessing gives a person firm roots, but a mother’s curse uproots the growing plant.”
If we would have been open (and able) to have children earlier in our marriage, before HONOR, GATHER, CONNECT, COMBINE, and ENJOY, before my grace-filled growth, I would have uprooted Chris’ blessing.
Oh, and if you notice, but not that you would know this, I used the bonus stamp kit to stamp five houses on the page. Chris and I have lived in five homes since our marriage almost 26 years ago♥