Artist and Visual Faith Coach Candice Schwark considers it a joy to have grown alongside Visual Faith Ministry – almost from its creation.
Her desire to dig deeper into God’s Word, and give herself permission to do that, was blessed by practices which encouraged diligent time spent with Jesus.
Digging deeper into God’s Word inspired Candice to teach. As she led the first Bible Journaling group through the book of Jonah at her church, teaching about Bible journaling became another part of her mosaic.
Bible journaling connected her to Connie Denninger and Pat Maier, the co-founders of Visual Faith Ministry, and the group she was leading became the Visual Faith Community - Metro Detroit (now Lingering in His Word Fellowship - Metro Detroit) on Facebook. Conversation led to plans for a Visual Faith Retreat at her church in Rochester. Details fell into place, and participants (some who traveled from out-of-state) were introduced to Bible Journaling, Visual Prayer, technique demonstrations, and the “whys” of it all!
Time was well spent, lingering in the Word with devotion and enjoying food, creative time, a little marketplace, and demonstrations. This one day – of worship and focused creative time in prayer and God’s Word - expanded the requests for Visual Faith to groups throughout Michigan.
Her Bible margin using a “napkin technique” demonstrates a longer time reflecting on the Word of God during a process like this. Candice often points out that lingering in the Word creates a legacy to leave for others, and it strengthens our faith, giving us the words we need to speak with others.
She also finds time to create videos for Visual Faith Ministry. We love her Envelope Wrap How-To (https://youtu.be/wO2p6Lyoozk) using the decorated inside of a business envelope! (Who knew?!)
Candice often points out that Bibles or notebooks become a testimony to those who may inherit them - visual proof of time spent in His Word: "Even if your journaling and Bibles end up in a charity store, they become a gift of the Word to a stranger - and a legacy begins." One of the first things she asks people to do as part of that legacy is to trace their hand over their favorite scripture, and then date and sign it. Tracing the hand of each family member, including the date and their signature, then becomes an addition to your family history, providing a wonderful opportunity to discuss that verse and its importance to the person. An added blessing is being able to answer the question, “Did they have a favorite Bible verse?” if someone has gone to be with Jesus.
For each of the past 4 years, Candice has traced her granddaughter Emmalee’s hand - (age 12 now). The favorite scripture remains the same but, of course, her hand has grown. It’s a tradition that easily starts a faith conversation and may also be an “ice-breaker” to get past being uncomfortable writing in your Bible.
Since many are uncomfortable journaling in their Bible, Candi might assist them in expressing their writing or drawing in other ways. Bookbinding and altered books are two favorite hobbies – various techniques in an old book might become a reference of ideas, or a final record of study.
Candice says, “I enjoy teaching others creative ways to tell the story of His faithfulness by reading, reflecting, remembering and sharing what we study in His Word. I pray that those I teach will share with others. I thank God for the privilege of being part of Visual Faith Ministry, and rely on the Holy Spirit to give me the words needed to teach others.”
May your days find you lingering longer in His Word!
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Candice Schwark, a WV native, lives in Michigan with her husband Jim. The name of her company, Studio-Mosaic, symbolizes her varied interests — “many parts made into one.” For Candice, these parts include calligraphy, paper arts, mixed media, teaching and, for the past few years, Visual Faith.
Candice believes that God gave her an extra dose of creative curiosity to prepare her for sharing visual faith practices to honor Him. After leading a one-day VFM retreat in 2017, “Lingering Longer in His Word,” she is now active as a Visual Faith Coach and was recently a presenter for the Abide Virtual Prayer Retreat. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at Lingering in His Word Fellowship – Metro Detroit.