COVID-19 made my tummy worse. Not because I caught it, but because I was afraid of catching it or of giving it to my family.

Stress about this new virus compounded digestive problems I had just developed. I discovered I couldn’t eat desserts anymore, and stress about my busy schedule made matters worse. My body was saying no to processing sugar, and apparently I couldn’t easily say no to stress. I needed an escape. A colorful one.

Then a Scripture journaling retreat scheduled to be in beautiful Savannah, Georgia went online. Because of the coronavirus threat, this retreat was held remotely as instructors and participants met in a Facebook group called “Creative Worship Bible Journaling.” The instructors shared tips about watercolor painting, stamping, and jotting down notes about Scripture in the margins of special Bibles. Their ideas jumpstarted my own. As I combined the treasures in God’s Word with the beauty of colors and creativity, joy seeped into my heart. I found my escape.

Scripture is our lifeline—when all is calm and when the world is turned upside down. Instead of losing our peace, we can hold onto God’s Word and let its comforts restore our inner strength and soundness. We aren’t the first generation to seek God’s comfort.

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19 NKJV

The psalmist points us to the One who calms every anxiety. Just as he found joy in the comforts of God, so can we as we take Scripture to heart, pour out our requests to God, and always stay mindful of His presence with us. We may have many reasons to be afraid during this pandemic, but God has many comforts to restore hope to our souls. Scripture journaling became one of the primary ways God calmed my inner turmoil, bringing peace to my heart and my tummy.

For instance, if I were to journal about Psalm 94:19 above, the following is what I might write in my journaling Bible.

  • Next to “In the multitude of my anxieties within me,” I would write: In the multitude of my worries, fears, and anxious thoughts …
  • Next to “Your comforts delight my soul,” I would write: Your Word comes into my heart and calms the raging storm.

And then I would add some color. Like a colored line under each phrase of Scripture that I’m amplifying or a pretty frame drawn around my notes. I could paint the background with watercolors (before I start journaling), or I could stamp a heart next to the verse and color it. I have drawn a shepherd holding a sheep next to Psalm 23 and a crown next to “The LORD is King forever and ever” (Psalm 10:16 NIV).

Scripture journaling is a stress outlet. A comfort to our souls. It can be as simple as writing down reflections next to verses in a journaling Bible or notebook. (I love DaySpring’s NIV Illustrating Bible – Books of Psalms & Proverbs.) It can be as easy as noticing the word pictures in Scripture—like the vine and branches in John 15—and drawing, stamping, or printing those images. We can either use our own artistic abilities or benefit from others’ abilities by using stamps or “printables” (images that can be printed for free or a small fee). The possibilities of creativity and design are endless.

The beauty of Scripture, the comfort of journaling, the peace of remembering God’s truths and promises—God can use these to relieve our anxieties and restore our focus on Him.

What Scripture verses could you “journal”?

Copyright © June 2020 Katy Kauffman, used with permission.