Coaches

A Retreat for Pastor's Wives-Part 2

Visual Faith Coach Susan Buetow shares some helpful tools and guidelines from the recent retreat that she led in Northern Illinois..

Here are the go-to helps: My Top 3 Visual Faith Tools     1- Visual Prayer - Using a sheet of paper to jot down prayers. Each can be formed into doodles and colored in. This helps you focus your prayers. Prayers sheets ( https://www.visualfaithmin.org/visual-faith-resources ) found on Visual Faith Ministry or Sybil MacBeth’s book, Praying in Color ( https://prayingincolor.com ) both have inspiring doodle sheets. I recommend using your church bulletin and prayer list as a daily way to pray for your church family.     From my Pastor Wife Retreat, Shirley told me that these resources were exactly what she was looking for to use with her Ladies Guild. Shirley is trying to get younger ladies to join the group and really felt like something simple as visual prayer can help do that.     2- Bible Journaling - Using a journaling bible you can doodle or color in the margins of your bible while you study scripture. This helps you connect with what you are reading. A great to get started would be to print off Bible Journaling Margins ( https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products-1 ) for you to color and add to the margins of your bible.     3-Daily Prayer Calendar - Using a simple calendar and a devotional book you can jot down simple words each day in the calendar space to help you recall what you read. Good examples are your church daily devotions, Portal of Prayers ( https://www.cph.org/portals/ ) or daily devotions from a phone app. Print off calendars ( https://www.visualfaithmin.org/print-color-pray ) or use your own personal planner.     Bethany asked how she could use these tools with youth and parents in her congregation. I suggested teaching them to use a daily prayer calendar with their family devotions. This age is also prime for teaching Bible Journaling. I directed her to the Visual Faith Ministry Website ( https://www.visualfaithmin.org/hosts ) to get more information on hosting an event at her church. We can create a class that would be perfect for her needs.     These are just a few of our Visual Faith Tools. They can be used by all ages and skill levels. These tools are a great way to bridge the generation gap. What a great way to gather together to study scripture and pray for those in our church family.

Here are the go-to helps: My Top 3 Visual Faith Tools


1- Visual Prayer - Using a sheet of paper to jot down prayers. Each can be formed into doodles and colored in. This helps you focus your prayers. Prayers sheets (https://www.visualfaithmin.org/visual-faith-resources) found on Visual Faith Ministry or Sybil MacBeth’s book, Praying in Color (https://prayingincolor.com) both have inspiring doodle sheets. I recommend using your church bulletin and prayer list as a daily way to pray for your church family.


From my Pastor Wife Retreat, Shirley told me that these resources were exactly what she was looking for to use with her Ladies Guild. Shirley is trying to get younger ladies to join the group and really felt like something simple as visual prayer can help do that.


2- Bible Journaling - Using a journaling bible you can doodle or color in the margins of your bible while you study scripture. This helps you connect with what you are reading. A great to get started would be to print off Bible Journaling Margins (https://www.visualfaithmin.org/new-products-1) for you to color and add to the margins of your bible.


3-Daily Prayer Calendar - Using a simple calendar and a devotional book you can jot down simple words each day in the calendar space to help you recall what you read. Good examples are your church daily devotions, Portal of Prayers (https://www.cph.org/portals/) or daily devotions from a phone app. Print off calendars (https://www.visualfaithmin.org/print-color-pray) or use your own personal planner.


Bethany asked how she could use these tools with youth and parents in her congregation. I suggested teaching them to use a daily prayer calendar with their family devotions. This age is also prime for teaching Bible Journaling. I directed her to the Visual Faith Ministry Website (https://www.visualfaithmin.org/hosts) to get more information on hosting an event at her church. We can create a class that would be perfect for her needs.


These are just a few of our Visual Faith Tools. They can be used by all ages and skill levels. These tools are a great way to bridge the generation gap. What a great way to gather together to study scripture and pray for those in our church family.




This calendar is available on Sybil MacBeth’s website: Here is the place to get the calendar-  https://prayingincolor.com/handouts

This calendar is available on Sybil MacBeth’s website: Here is the place to get the calendar- https://prayingincolor.com/handouts

Thanks Susan for being an encourager on the way. Thank you for introducing new spiritual practices. Prayer and play? Art and prayer? Art and Bible Study? Time with God? Got 5 minutes? Amen.

Thanks Susan for being an encourager on the way. Thank you for introducing new spiritual practices. Prayer and play? Art and prayer? Art and Bible Study? Time with God? Got 5 minutes? Amen.

A Retreat for Pastor's Wives- Part 1

Visual Faith Coach Susan Buetow is brand new to the team. She has been engaged in Visual Faith practices for awhile now. There is something very powerful about moving from participant (or not even engaged) in your circle or tribe-to presenter-leader- encourager. The Holy Spirit is often inviting us to try new ministry opportunities. What moves us to say yes to a new experience? Even though Susan is a seasoned ministry shaper, she honestly shares the story here of leading a Retreat for Pastor’s Wives in Northern Illinois. Read more in this Part 1 post of the story of saying YES- of “going where you have not gone before”.

It seems that pastor wife retreats are a thing of the past. Fewer and fewer are attending them compared to 20 years ago. I personally haven’t attended one in over 15 years. I’ve been invited to many but haven't made the time to go. I know I've had legitimate excuses at least 50% of the time. You know the reasons why I haven’t attended. Family obligations. Church obligations. Work obligations. I don’t have time to relax. My family needs me. There is the [insert other event] I must attend. Deep down, it really is about being vulnerable with a group of women who get me because they have a similar life.

It seems that pastor wife retreats are a thing of the past. Fewer and fewer are attending them compared to 20 years ago. I personally haven’t attended one in over 15 years. I’ve been invited to many but haven't made the time to go. I know I've had legitimate excuses at least 50% of the time. You know the reasons why I haven’t attended. Family obligations. Church obligations. Work obligations. I don’t have time to relax. My family needs me. There is the [insert other event] I must attend. Deep down, it really is about being vulnerable with a group of women who get me because they have a similar life.

Who has time for that, right? So, when my dear friend Kristi AKA sister from another mister asked me to attend our District pastor wife retreat because she was helping with the planning… I knew that I was still going to say no. I was being polite and said, “Maybe.” Kristi wasn’t going to take a no or a maybe. She decided to trick me (haha) into attending by asking me to lead a class on Bible journaling. Ugh. Now I knew I’d have to go. I love Bible journaling and sharing this crazy Christian hobby with others. Saying no wasn’t an option. Reflecting on everything I just said, it really did come down to being vulnerable with a group of women who were like me. We all share a common bond. We are married to pastors. We know the highest highs and the lowest lows. My saying “yes” to teach would be ok, because God would give me the words to share as the keynote speaker.

Who has time for that, right? So, when my dear friend Kristi AKA sister from another mister asked me to attend our District pastor wife retreat because she was helping with the planning… I knew that I was still going to say no. I was being polite and said, “Maybe.” Kristi wasn’t going to take a no or a maybe. She decided to trick me (haha) into attending by asking me to lead a class on Bible journaling. Ugh. Now I knew I’d have to go. I love Bible journaling and sharing this crazy Christian hobby with others. Saying no wasn’t an option. Reflecting on everything I just said, it really did come down to being vulnerable with a group of women who were like me. We all share a common bond. We are married to pastors. We know the highest highs and the lowest lows. My saying “yes” to teach would be ok, because God would give me the words to share as the keynote speaker.

The theme scripture verse was, “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19B. As pastor wives, our cup gets filled with many things out of our control. The stressors we have are like most women, but we carry a little extra in our cup because of our husband and his ministry. The women were presented with, “Take 5 with God”, which are tools to strengthen their faith. (Ahem….to fill our cup to the measure of all the fullness of God.) These tools will allow us to truly care for ourself and our family. If we can do that, then we will have the tools to connect with our church family and our neighbors. Our God has a sense of humor, and He humors me daily. God knew all along that I was going to attend this Pastors’ Wives Gathering. He has made it abundantly clear to me that He daily gives me what I need. It is because of His gifts I was able to be there and share with this group of ladies.

The theme scripture verse was, “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19B. As pastor wives, our cup gets filled with many things out of our control. The stressors we have are like most women, but we carry a little extra in our cup because of our husband and his ministry. The women were presented with, “Take 5 with God”, which are tools to strengthen their faith. (Ahem….to fill our cup to the measure of all the fullness of God.) These tools will allow us to truly care for ourself and our family. If we can do that, then we will have the tools to connect with our church family and our neighbors. Our God has a sense of humor, and He humors me daily. God knew all along that I was going to attend this Pastors’ Wives Gathering. He has made it abundantly clear to me that He daily gives me what I need. It is because of His gifts I was able to be there and share with this group of ladies.

Sometimes a pastor wife just needs to hear that they are not alone. They have other women around them that do understand their struggles. It is ok to be scared and vulnerable. It is ok to take time out of our busy schedules to “take 5” with God. Not only at a retreat, gathering, conference, or weekly coffee chat, but daily. He wants us to, and we need to, for the sake of our own well being. So we can take care of those around us. Jesus wants to walk beside us and fill our cup with His Gifts. The wives learned that His gifts are the “BAGS”: Baptism, Absolution, Gospel and (Lord’s) Supper. I can share that because my pastor, whom I’m grateful is my husband, shares those gifts with me every time I attend Divine Service. Now go and let your cup be “….filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19B- text from Susan—-   Visual Faith Ministry supplied a Bible as a give away for the retreat. The winner was Ruth Seabaugh. Part 2 will share about some of the tools shared at this retreat experience.

Sometimes a pastor wife just needs to hear that they are not alone. They have other women around them that do understand their struggles. It is ok to be scared and vulnerable. It is ok to take time out of our busy schedules to “take 5” with God. Not only at a retreat, gathering, conference, or weekly coffee chat, but daily. He wants us to, and we need to, for the sake of our own well being. So we can take care of those around us. Jesus wants to walk beside us and fill our cup with His Gifts. The wives learned that His gifts are the “BAGS”: Baptism, Absolution, Gospel and (Lord’s) Supper. I can share that because my pastor, whom I’m grateful is my husband, shares those gifts with me every time I attend Divine Service. Now go and let your cup be “….filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19B- text from Susan—-

Visual Faith Ministry supplied a Bible as a give away for the retreat. The winner was Ruth Seabaugh. Part 2 will share about some of the tools shared at this retreat experience.

Welome to the newest Visual Faith Coach- Susan Buetow of McHenry, Illinois.

Welome to the newest Visual Faith Coach- Susan Buetow of McHenry, Illinois.

Michele Bowden- Visual Faith Coach

Michele was the featured artist in August for the Bible Journaling Jumpstart website. We share some of the post here with permission.

As I look back at my heart for creative outlets, I can only attribute my work and my passion to “happy accidents” inspired by Bob Ross. I used to sit in my grandfather’s recliner and watch episode after episode of Mr. Ross’ artistic landscapes while painting along. Mr. Ross reminded viewers to relax, breathe, and just add a little happy tree over here, and another one over there. I know that is not how God the Creator did His initial work, but it was how He started His work in me!  I can also remember art in school causing me so much angst and even some deep, long lasting, injuries. Teachers were never truly pleased with my depictions from their instructions. I could not measure up to little Tommy or Susie. So, when I first began Bible journaling, I reflected on my baggage of perfection and comparison. I reminded myself that I was bringing this artwork to His altar. If my work was going to be an offering as a result of something God was teaching me, I could not criticize it or over-analyze it like my teachers did to me. It would have to be a gift I offered back to Him.  This Bible journaling series is called “Remembrances.” As I turn the pages of my work, I can see what God has taught me through each season; at each point of passing time, at each mountain, and at each valley. One of the values of our walk with Christ is looking back and remembering. With artwork, we can reflect and see how He brought us through a hardship or a joyous celebration. We can also see our own personal growth as He matures us.  In this collection, there are pages from each season this year as mile-markers for my faith journey.

As I look back at my heart for creative outlets, I can only attribute my work and my passion to “happy accidents” inspired by Bob Ross. I used to sit in my grandfather’s recliner and watch episode after episode of Mr. Ross’ artistic landscapes while painting along. Mr. Ross reminded viewers to relax, breathe, and just add a little happy tree over here, and another one over there. I know that is not how God the Creator did His initial work, but it was how He started His work in me!

I can also remember art in school causing me so much angst and even some deep, long lasting, injuries. Teachers were never truly pleased with my depictions from their instructions. I could not measure up to little Tommy or Susie. So, when I first began Bible journaling, I reflected on my baggage of perfection and comparison. I reminded myself that I was bringing this artwork to His altar. If my work was going to be an offering as a result of something God was teaching me, I could not criticize it or over-analyze it like my teachers did to me. It would have to be a gift I offered back to Him.

This Bible journaling series is called “Remembrances.” As I turn the pages of my work, I can see what God has taught me through each season; at each point of passing time, at each mountain, and at each valley. One of the values of our walk with Christ is looking back and remembering. With artwork, we can reflect and see how He brought us through a hardship or a joyous celebration. We can also see our own personal growth as He matures us.

In this collection, there are pages from each season this year as mile-markers for my faith journey.

In the spring, I was inspired by the cherry blossoms and floral landscapes I encountered on my morning walks. Cherry blossoms and peonies are unique flowers to our area. Moving here 10 years ago made my April seasons more delightful.


In the spring, I was inspired by the cherry blossoms and floral landscapes I encountered on my morning walks. Cherry blossoms and peonies are unique flowers to our area. Moving here 10 years ago made my April seasons more delightful.

Making pages that resemble the objects designed by the true Artist helps me sit still while I reflect on the beauty He designed. I love taking the opportunity to reflect God’s creation glory back to Him.

Making pages that resemble the objects designed by the true Artist helps me sit still while I reflect on the beauty He designed. I love taking the opportunity to reflect God’s creation glory back to Him.




In the summer, I was inspired by our travels and the unique places He gave us to live. The reminder from the Scriptures that, “He places is in the safety that we belong,” helped me realize that His plans for me are good even when my longing may be for something else.

In the summer, I was inspired by our travels and the unique places He gave us to live. The reminder from the Scriptures that, “He places is in the safety that we belong,” helped me realize that His plans for me are good even when my longing may be for something else.

When we live according to His will, He gives us everything we need to live just as He planned. We can pray as Jesus did, “Not as I will but as you will, Lord.”

When we live according to His will, He gives us everything we need to live just as He planned. We can pray as Jesus did, “Not as I will but as you will, Lord.”

For the fall pieces, my location in Fairfax, Virginia allowed me to experience the array of fall colors on display. At each turn this time of the year, I fix my eyes on the author of my faith instead of my circumstances. If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

For the fall pieces, my location in Fairfax, Virginia allowed me to experience the array of fall colors on display. At each turn this time of the year, I fix my eyes on the author of my faith instead of my circumstances. If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

If He can change the colors of every tree in a moment then surely He can handle my needs accordingly.

For the winter segment, I created a galaxy view. This piece inspired me to think beyond my circumstances to the big picture; God of the Universe is holding all things in His hands.

For the winter segment, I created a galaxy view. This piece inspired me to think beyond my circumstances to the big picture; God of the Universe is holding all things in His hands.

As I explore Bible Journaling, I am free in my journey to listen to His whisper and create anything that is inspired during my time of reflection with my Savior. It is a Spiritual practice of listening prayer while I create with my hands. It is a time of communion and remembering which delights my soul. I long for my time together with the Lord among the pages of His Word. I am so thankful that Jesus makes me glad and holds me fast. (I see a worship song series coming in my near future!)

As I explore Bible Journaling, I am free in my journey to listen to His whisper and create anything that is inspired during my time of reflection with my Savior. It is a Spiritual practice of listening prayer while I create with my hands. It is a time of communion and remembering which delights my soul. I long for my time together with the Lord among the pages of His Word. I am so thankful that Jesus makes me glad and holds me fast. (I see a worship song series coming in my near future!)

Thank you to Michele for sharing her insights for this series. Michele Bowden @visualfaithjourney on Instagram @michelebowden on Pinterest

Thank you to Michele for sharing her insights for this series.
Michele Bowden
@visualfaithjourney on Instagram
@michelebowden on Pinterest

Journaling His Story

Visual Faith Coach Katie Helmreich is our featured artist this month, and we are delighted to have her share her heart and thoughts about the intersection of her life and God’s Word - and how Bible journaling has brought the two together…… Welcome to the blog, Katie!

Stories are incredible. A good narrative knits together snippets of characters’ lives to reveal purpose, understanding, relationships, and love. Shared stories are the highlight of conversations with family and friends! They define us. Little anecdotes reveal who we are and how we’re connected. But what is the main plot in our lives of challenge, triumph, and growth?

Storytime is my favorite part of parenting. We love to share stories of dragons, magic, and pirates! To also share God’s Story and our part in it is truly amazing. 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Storytime is my favorite part of parenting. We love to share stories of dragons, magic, and pirates! To also share God’s Story and our part in it is truly amazing. 1 Timothy 6:18-19

When we become a child of God, HIS story becomes our story. He tells us about Himself, about ourselves, and all His children in Scripture. What better place to record these day to day anecdotes that are part of HIS story then in the margins of Scripture?

Canning apricots with a toddler and 2nd grader has its highs and lows. Abundant and delicious fruit, nimble little fingers, and grace that covered short tempers. God truly did bless us! Psalms 128:2

Canning apricots with a toddler and 2nd grader has its highs and lows. Abundant and delicious fruit, nimble little fingers, and grace that covered short tempers. God truly did bless us! Psalms 128:2

Although I am a lifelong artist, I’m fairly new to Visual Faith. In a short amount of time, it has inspired a change in the way I frame, tell, and remember my story. I record our normal life across the pages of my Bible. The daily challenges, triumphs, and growth--His story IS our story. There’s always a place where His Word speaks meaning into an ordinary day.

It’s so easy to feel inadequate as a wife and mom… But God gives strength, hope, and purpose to this simple life, and He has chosen me to raise these little people! 1 Thess 1:1-5 and 4:9-11

It’s so easy to feel inadequate as a wife and mom… But God gives strength, hope, and purpose to this simple life, and He has chosen me to raise these little people! 1 Thess 1:1-5 and 4:9-11

Our family recently experienced a particularly intense season. Mostly just the highs and lows of life with three kids, a long list of house projects, and a newly instated volunteer fireman. Depression and anxiety made it harder than usual for me to hold on to perspective, harder to remember my place in God’s story. My weary soul has found refuge lingering in Scripture and responding with art. On these pages God has reminded me of His faithfulness, His abundance, His love, His grace, and His purpose for me and my family time and time again!

Mother’s Day, to God be the glory in ALL things, even doing the dishes while listening to stories about Pokemon and Lego. Romans 16:25-27 and How Clear Is Thy Vocation Lord LSB #853

Mother’s Day, to God be the glory in ALL things, even doing the dishes while listening to stories about Pokemon and Lego. Romans 16:25-27 and How Clear Is Thy Vocation Lord LSB #853

When I sit down to record a story, occasionally a hymn or Bible verse comes immediately to mind. More often, I spend time digging through a concordance for words that speak to the event or a characteristic of God that was evident in the day. The challenge of thumbing through Scripture searching for just the right spot is always a blessing!

Last summer we tossed stones in to the mighty Missouri River, in awe of God’s vast power! This is a God we can depend on in even the most turbulent times. Job 40:9 & 23

Last summer we tossed stones in to the mighty Missouri River, in awe of God’s vast power! This is a God we can depend on in even the most turbulent times. Job 40:9 & 23

Other times, the process is reversed, I encounter a passage that inspires me and then recall memories of the past weeks searching for a story that illustrates the passage. I often snap a photo to reference or look up a similar photo online as I sketch the scene on scrap paper. Then I gesso my page, trace my sketch, and add watercolor! I use pen or colored pencil to complete the illustration, and write a bit about our story, usually as a prayer.

Family Reunion camping with TWENTY grandkids! Proverbs 20:7

Family Reunion camping with TWENTY grandkids! Proverbs 20:7

I’ve fallen in love with watercolor for its quick and beautifully loose color. It encourages me to let go of perfection and embrace the impression of the story instead. The point is to record God’s faithfulness and love, so I don’t let myself get hung up on drawing hands or faces correctly. It’s been transformative to process both good and challenging times this way. Taking time to tell His story in my life often leads me to a better understanding of my circumstances. It helps me to hold on to the reality of His goodness and love when life threatens to overwhelm me.

What a blessing it is to share joy and love with distant Grandparents via video chat! Philemon vs 7

What a blessing it is to share joy and love with distant Grandparents via video chat! Philemon vs 7

One day, perhaps, reading about our story and God’s faithfulness will bless my kids, but in the midst of this chaos of a young family, it is a real and present  blessing to me to page through and remember. My Visual Faith time is prayer, art, family and story, but it’s also been a powerful tool in a time of Spiritual battle, and I thank God for this time with Him! 

Even in darkness, parenting challenges, and packed schedules, we remain secure! He is with us and we find rest. Job 11:18-19

Even in darkness, parenting challenges, and packed schedules, we remain secure! He is with us and we find rest. Job 11:18-19

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Katie Helmreich.jpeg


Katie lives in Bay City, Michigan and has been in love with Jesus, art, and a good story for a long as she can remember. It was only recently that she began to put all three together! She finds great peace and joy in using art to record His Story in her everyday life with her husband and three kids. Writing and painting her story changes a disaster into an adventure, and deepens laughter into a meaningful treasure. Recording how He is at work in all things gives these memories an even greater purpose! She cherishes nap time when she can dive into scripture and respond with her paints. Katie is a firm believer in the truth that everyone is creative. She’s passionate about teaching and encouraging others to create art that tells His Story in their lives! Follow her on Instagram @dutchcreekstudio.

Doors into Prayer - A Visual Faith Event

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana hosted a Visual Faith event on April 27, 2019.  Thrivent Grants were a big help in putting together the event. Bags all ready to gift to those attending.  Tables set ready to welcome those coming for the Saturday event.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana hosted a Visual Faith event on April 27, 2019.

Thrivent Grants were a big help in putting together the event. Bags all ready to gift to those attending.

Tables set ready to welcome those coming for the Saturday event.

A wonderful array of door prizes were lined up ready to gift to those coming to the event.

A wonderful array of door prizes were lined up ready to gift to those coming to the event.

The morning was a teaching time about Visual Prayer and the afternoon was creative time for making a paper bag journal to gather prayer quotes, thoughts and inspiration.

The morning was a teaching time about Visual Prayer and the afternoon was creative time for making a paper bag journal to gather prayer quotes, thoughts and inspiration.

Conversations centered on prayer thoughts, life experiences, catching up and connecting with each other in this creative time.

Conversations centered on prayer thoughts, life experiences, catching up and connecting with each other in this creative time.

Pat Maier shares here about a simple way to engage in a visual prayer practice. During the afternoon time she shared lettering helps and tips in a small group setting.

Pat Maier shares here about a simple way to engage in a visual prayer practice. During the afternoon time she shared lettering helps and tips in a small group setting.

Marsha Baker of Bless Inks joined us from St. Charles, MO to share her love for Visual Faith practices, meet our community, and share her helpful resources about sketch notes, and all sorts of journaling, lettering and doodling.

Marsha Baker of Bless Inks joined us from St. Charles, MO to share her love for Visual Faith practices, meet our community, and share her helpful resources about sketch notes, and all sorts of journaling, lettering and doodling.

There were multi-generations that attended- bringing siblings, daughters and enjoying the time together — sisters in faith.

There were multi-generations that attended- bringing siblings, daughters and enjoying the time together — sisters in faith.

Here are some of the Versicle prayer cards created by Visual Faith Coach Carla Kramer and distributed to those attending.

Here are some of the Versicle prayer cards created by Visual Faith Coach Carla Kramer and distributed to those attending.

It was fun to make new friends and catch up with long-time friends.

It was fun to make new friends and catch up with long-time friends.

How does prayer change us? Many stories to catch up with on this day!

How does prayer change us? Many stories to catch up with on this day!

We give thanks for all those who attended the Doors into Prayer event in Fort Wayne. A special tanks to Visual Faith Coach Teresa Davis and her team for coordinating this event and for all of their time and effort. We give thanks also for all those who came for today——without you- there is no retreat!

We give thanks for all those who attended the Doors into Prayer event in Fort Wayne. A special tanks to Visual Faith Coach Teresa Davis and her team for coordinating this event and for all of their time and effort. We give thanks also for all those who came for today——without you- there is no retreat!

Our youngest attendee loved making her paper bag journal and sharing the story of prayer in her life. Maybe it is time for YOU to think about putting together a Visual faith event in your faith community!

Our youngest attendee loved making her paper bag journal and sharing the story of prayer in her life. Maybe it is time for YOU to think about putting together a Visual faith event in your faith community!

Holy Week Resources

A highlight here of Holy Week resources by Sally Beck and our team of artists for Visual Faith Ministry. We are so blessed by their contributions.

Palm Sunday image by Sally Beck.

Palm Sunday image by Sally Beck.

Maundy Thursday Resource by Sally Beck.

Maundy Thursday Resource by Sally Beck.

Good Friday resource by Sally Beck.

Good Friday resource by Sally Beck.

Easter Sunday resources by Sally Beck.

Easter Sunday resources by Sally Beck.

Holy Week margins available on the website.

Holy Week margins available on the website.

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May these resources be a blessing to you as you spend time praying, coloring and journaling for your Holy Week devotional time.

May these resources be a blessing to you as you spend time praying, coloring and journaling for your Holy Week devotional time.

Here are some half-page images for devotional art. Blessed Easter!

Here are some half-page images for devotional art. Blessed Easter!

Carla Kramer- Tangle Artist

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Tangle Artist- Carla Kramer lives in Norman, Oklahoma. This former elementary teacher began exploring time in retirement with different quilting and sketching projects. During this time she ” happened “to stumble onto a book about tangling. She thought this would stretch her creativity with quilting. But, she started down a path of combining tangles with God’s Word. Her love of the Lord and His Word made it a natural way to witness to the gift of faith He has given her and to honor Him for who He is!

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

Carla creates tangle Bible verse cards that we are calling Versicles for Visual Faith Ministry. A Versicle is a short sentence or verse said or sung- with a following response. These prayer cards are the invitation and your time in praying over the verse and /or coloring - is the response.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The black pen images are intricate and provide thoughtful prayer meditation images just as they are designed.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

The Bible verse images can also be finished with colored pencils or pens.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

They are also available in the resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website as an image with space to fill in your own prayer or Bible Verse.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Carla also offers a Bible Study on the Hebrew names of the Lord. This study has a brief devotion with a tangled image that depicts the Hebrew name.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

Here are the images that go with the Name of the Lord study. They can be printed on cardstock with an attached O ring for a study review. The images would serve for a variety of Make and Take projects and creative applications. We give thanks for the artistic gifts of Carla as a new team Member for Visual Faith Ministry and are blessed that she shares her beautiful images with our community.

In the Studio with Diane Marra

Time to learn some Gelli Printing techniques with Visual Faith Artist- Diane Marra.

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Connie Denninger and Pat Maier learned about making Master boards, printed tags and used all kinds of papers to print for collage work.

Connie Denninger and Pat Maier learned about making Master boards, printed tags and used all kinds of papers to print for collage work.

Well, we made a beautiful mess and it was fun…. Diane was encouraging and let us try things out that were our own ideas. We used all sorts of old book pages and graph paper of all sizes.

Well, we made a beautiful mess and it was fun…. Diane was encouraging and let us try things out that were our own ideas. We used all sorts of old book pages and graph paper of all sizes.

Diane as a beautiful studio and keeps her supplies organized and ready to grab for creating the next project.

Diane as a beautiful studio and keeps her supplies organized and ready to grab for creating the next project.

Having supplies ready to go is a true luxury and we were blessed to spend time here with Diane.

Having supplies ready to go is a true luxury and we were blessed to spend time here with Diane.

After “making our papers” we then created journals. We used roofing tar paper for the journal cover and added assorted papers. We added sgraffito designs to the cover. Still thinking just how these journals might become a very special addition to a Visual Faith project.

After “making our papers” we then created journals. We used roofing tar paper for the journal cover and added assorted papers. We added sgraffito designs to the cover. Still thinking just how these journals might become a very special addition to a Visual Faith project.

Thank you Diane for a very special time with you in your studio- what a blessing!

Thank you Diane for a very special time with you in your studio- what a blessing!

Visual Faith on Canvas - with Artist Rachel Grace Hinz

Visual faith practices look different for each person - it might be coloring a prayer card, creating a margin in your Bible, or adding a word to your devotional Bible. Artist Rachel Hinz creates visual faith in a big way with her abstract paintings, inspired by Scripture and deep with meaning. Her first large scale painting was “Redemption”, completed in 2006 when she was a student at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was the beginning of her journey into using Bible verses for the basis of abstract work. We’ve asked Rachel to share her process with us here:

“Redemption”   by Rachel Hinz

“Redemption” by Rachel Hinz

My senior art exhibition, titled "Meditation," featured abstract paintings and other mediums. In each of my paintings, I begin with a Bible verse and - using color, composition, and movement - I proceed to paint the verse. By keeping the subject abstract, I want the viewer to spend time meditating on the verse. "Redemption" is based on 1 Peter 1:18-19- "For you know that it was not with silver or gold that you were redeemed...but with the precious blood of Christ" and also Psalm 103:4- "[God] who redeems your life from the pit, and crowns you with love and compassion."

Just like in Bible journaling, I'm picking out the words in the verses (redeemed, blood, pit, etc.) and thinking: what colors would these be? Is the action vertical (God and us) or horizontal (between us and others)? What is changing in the verse and how can I show this? Finally, I love using scale! My paintings are meant to surround the viewer so that they can get the best sense of this visual experience.

In "Redemption," the blood is red and the darkness of the piece is the pit. God's love as seen in the blood of Jesus descends down from the top of the piece and scoops in, out, and along the bottom of the piece. We are "bought back" and returned to the Father above. This happened in Christ's sacrifice, but we can also look at the picture of eternity and how we are daily renewed- hence a subtle infinity symbol that is created in the center of the composition.  


“Light”   by Rachel Hinz

“Light” by Rachel Hinz

After finishing “Redemption,” I was interested in further exploration of color and their transitions.  This time, I was captured with the words of the Apostle John, who writes:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…Through him all things were made…In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  We have seen his glory…” (John 1:1-5, 14b, NIV-Bible).

The idea of God being eternal - without beginning or end - and the imagery of “the light shines in the darkness” are both reflected in the circular shape in the middle of the canvas.  In considering how color might cause a movement and dimension, allowing the viewer to interact within the space, the color scheme contains two complimentary color poles - yellow and purple.  Blue and orange were also a part of the transition, with green - symbolic of the idea of “In him was life” connecting the warm lights to the color darks.  This full transition of color perhaps starts in the circular center and begins spiraling out.  Such a movement is due to the transition of colors and the sole hard line that divides the “light” from the “dark” on the right side of the center color.  Here is the highest contrast.  On the other side of this otherwise symmetrical composition, the light yellows and oranges blend into a green that stretches like a wave into the sea blues.  These darken as they spin towards the bottom of the canvas.  Like “Redemption,” this darker bottom composition is symbolic of the world, but also gives the piece a platform on which to enter.  Whether the light is shining out or receding into the space in “Light” is for the viewer to experience.

“Humility”   by Rachel Hinz

“Humility” by Rachel Hinz

The third and final painting of the “Meditation” exhibit is “Humility.”  The focus of this painting comes from Philippians 2:6-9 (NIV):  “[Jesus]: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God…but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!  Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…”

There are many actions occurring in this selection.  However, similar to “Redemption,” the movement is very much that of coming down to earth, dying, and then being exalted to the highest place.  Like “Light,” this motion is also very circular, coming down and returning up into the simple form of a line in the center of the canvas.

 On the left side of the piece, soft lines and transitions force a descending movement and yet, also the motion of lying down.  Towards the bottom, the lines begin to fan out into the darker greens, looking almost like roots - stabilizing the viewer.  As it continues up the right, the lines have twisted back, behind the initial line, and then upwards again.  This motion is much more direct as the lines are much more vertical.  At this point, the greens escape into the gold and white hues.  Although the lines are slightly different in direction, the transitions are symmetrical.  Still, the green remains as the overwhelming hue, symbolizing the life of Christ who, laid himself down for us in death and then was raised and exalted.  Upon further study of the composition, the greens fill over half of the composition, implying a cross composition with the center line.  The title “Humility” then, goes to emphasize this theology and focus of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross.

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We asked Rachel what advice she would share with anyone about using abstract painting as a “tool” for visual faith sharing. Here’s what she said:

  • I would invite anyone interested in painting to consider using it as another tool for connecting to God and His Word. I would especially encourage people to consider working abstractly- it's SO freeing!! Not only can you shed off the pressures of making something look "real" or "representational," but it allows you to just let something as simple as one of God's gifts of color be a way that you can meditate on His Word and how it relates to your life.

  • Another tip: go BIG! Don't let a big space/canvas/paper intimidate you! Use your hands... get moving... God made art to be so therapeutic.

    Your painting can tell a beautiful visual story of a time when you were very present with God in mind, body, and spirit. I can guarantee that such a painting will be impactful not just to the creator, but anyone who sees it. Add an original painting to the visual legacy that you leave, which reminds me of the theme verse for my senior show, "Meditation" :

"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will mediate on your wonderful works."

Psalm 145:3-5




[Rachel Hinz resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan - but is in the midst of moving to St. Louis, Missouri! She is a wife and stay-at-home mom to three children. A former Art and Theology teacher, she is a visual artist, and her artwork has been shown in both local and international exhibitions. She also leads her local MOPS Bible Study that incorporates visual faith, creating teaching materials for that group. She believes in the power of art to convey Truth.]

Candice Schwark- Organization Tips

 

Many people ask me, “How do I begin?” when asking about Visual Faith.......I have to ask myself, “When will I stop?” We are talking about two separate things that actually end up with similar answers.

My “stopping” is with all the little bags I have to organize my artsy tools....how did I end up with so many? I tried to put pencils in one, markers in another, scissors and tools in another. That worked for awhile but I tend to mix up the contents (similar to my worktable!) My dilemma and solution may be familiar to your work habits. So, let me explain what I’m doing now.

I still have my little bags with tools in them but I had to develop something that I could “grab and go” and artist Jane Davenport from Australia solved that problem for me, and she doesn’t even know it! Jane designed the coolest little pocket that has a stretchy strap attached to the back. The strap wraps around my notebook or Bible. A few of my tools are stored inside. When I head out the door to a Bible Study or a doctor appointment, I don’t have to look for anything. Everything is together for me to grab and go. What a timesaver that’s become! By the way, Jane calls the pocket a girdle - mine is shown in the image below. She also has them in a shiny gold. (at Michaels)
(Side note - I used to be a flight attendant way, way back......a girdle was part of our uniform - it’s not one of my favorite words, as you can imagine!!!)

So, where to begin. Take your Bible and/or a notebook, fill the girdle with what you use the most for visual prayer or Bible journaling, zip it up, attach it to your book and off you go.

I have 2 of these handy little pockets, one for my Bible and one for a favorite notebook. One usually has an automatic pencil, eraser pencil, fine point permanent black pen, white pen, small ruler. water brush, and a pen or pencil that holds colored lead or inks. By the way, for longer trips, I usually take colored pencils and/or watercolor pencils.

I may change out the things in the other pocket, adding GelatosTM, scissors, water brush, a tiny watercolor kit, and designate it for my notebook.

One of my very favorite notebooks is the one in the third photo below. This was purchased at Staples, and I love to work up ideas in it. The notebook has 3 sections with 480 different pagers - lined, grid, and plain. It’s called “Markings “by C.B. Gibson There are other cover designs than the CREATE one that I buy.

My new organization method really has helped me stop adding little bags to my collection. Make it easy on yourself and begin your journey in Visual Faith, or at least continue it with fewer decisions to make as you spend time with our Lord.

Blessings on your journey! Candice

p.s. I have no affiliation with any projects mentioned in this article.

 

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The Enduring Word Bible with tool pouch.

The Enduring Word Bible with tool pouch.

Visual Faith Assembly

We gathered in Springfield, Virginia for a Visual Faith Assembly on August 3, 2018 to bring resources and encouragement to Visual Faith practitioners.

We gathered in Springfield, Virginia for a Visual Faith Assembly on August 3, 2018 to bring resources and encouragement to Visual Faith practitioners.

We welcomed Lutheran Social Serves- National Capital Area to the event to offer prayers and encouragement for the Immigrant Families and especially for the children in the United States detention centers. Chief Executive Officer- Christine Connell came to meet folks and head the prayer project. We are hoping to use this event as a prototype to add Visual Prayer to events and gatherings.We used prayer cards found in Resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website and then added Bible verses to pray over the families and children.

We welcomed Lutheran Social Serves- National Capital Area to the event to offer prayers and encouragement for the Immigrant Families and especially for the children in the United States detention centers. Chief Executive Officer- Christine Connell came to meet folks and head the prayer project. We are hoping to use this event as a prototype to add Visual Prayer to events and gatherings.We used prayer cards found in Resources on the Visual Faith Ministry website and then added Bible verses to pray over the families and children.

Anyone can pray for these families and share their prayers using this hashtag- #WelcomeInColor.

Anyone can pray for these families and share their prayers using this hashtag- #WelcomeInColor.

Welcome comes in many languages.

Welcome comes in many languages.

We printed off the Bible verses and then they could simple be added to the prayer cards. Prayer time finished them with watercolor and colored pencil. May these families be blessed.

We printed off the Bible verses and then they could simple be added to the prayer cards. Prayer time finished them with watercolor and colored pencil. May these families be blessed.

We also tried our hands at Polaroid Praise - watercolor and Sharpie pens on watercolor paper.

We also tried our hands at Polaroid Praise - watercolor and Sharpie pens on watercolor paper.

Visual Faith Coach Erika Radke also helped with some string painting- In and out of our Bibles.

Visual Faith Coach Erika Radke also helped with some string painting- In and out of our Bibles.

Time to check in, encourage creativity, and see all the ways that the Lord is writing the stories in our lives.

Time to check in, encourage creativity, and see all the ways that the Lord is writing the stories in our lives.

A young Bible Journaler plans out her very first Bible entry.. Photo credit to Genevieve Cooper

A young Bible Journaler plans out her very first Bible entry.. Photo credit to Genevieve Cooper

A Conference Devotional Art Room

Thanks to Visual Faith Coach- Belinda Bost from Conover, North Carolina  for her Devotional Art workshop tracksat the 2018 Reaching for Others Conference  in Roanoke, Virginia this past weekend.

Thanks to Visual Faith Coach- Belinda Bost from Conover, North Carolina

for her Devotional Art workshop tracksat the 2018 Reaching for Others Conference

in Roanoke, Virginia this past weekend.

Sessions had full rooms and everyone loved the hands on time to try things out.

Sessions had full rooms and everyone loved the hands on time to try things out.

Visual Faith Coach- Erika Radke knows her materials and processes and helps everyone "just try."

Visual Faith Coach- Erika Radke knows her materials and processes and helps everyone "just try."

Conversations were sparked about hosting a Visual Faith 101 event at home churches,  a neighborhood gathering,or gathering friends around the dining room table.

Conversations were sparked about hosting a Visual Faith 101 event at home churches,

a neighborhood gathering,or gathering friends around the dining room table.

Grandparents bought copies of the new CPH Enduring Word Bible for grandchildren as gifts-  with plans to sit and journal and pray Scripture  with THEM.We sold a case of the Bibles.

Grandparents bought copies of the new CPH Enduring Word Bible for grandchildren as gifts-

with plans to sit and journal and pray Scripture with THEM.We sold a case of the Bibles.

It is never too late to start the journey. And there is no wrong way to begin! Look for a Visual Faith event near you or plan to host one!

It is never too late to start the journey. And there is no wrong way to begin! Look for a Visual Faith event near you or plan to host one!