Friendship is hard and God is teaching me a great deal about how to be a good friend. By looking at the Women in the Bible we see some beautiful characteristics of true friendship. In January I explored DaySpring’s Women of the Bible: Better Together kit and this month dove head first into their BRAND NEW Friendship on Purpose kit (the second in a series of three, I’m already so excited for next month). I am learning that a reciprocal relationship with God is available for the taking, and the human friendships in our lives provide a beautiful practice ground for ways to give and receive in relationship. Plus our friendships are just so much more fruitful if they are reciprocal. I also know that as we have a reciprocal relationship with Father God we are able to give more generously in our earthly relationships. These lessons just couldn’t be more beautifully timed, I hope you will jump in too!
Here are a few friendship tips that stood out as I have studied Women of the Bible kit from DaySpring.
– honesty is essential (Namaan’s Servant)
– generosity goes a long way (Queen of Sheba)
– loyalty is binding and fruitful (Ruth, and Naomi)
– we are accepted and can have a closeness to Jesus as a friend (Mary Magdalene)
– time, energy, and space is key (Martha & Mary, January Kit)
Do you have a friendship that has some or all of these characteristics? I journey back to my very first pre-marital counseling session when I sat next to my devoted, beautiful fiance. I was in love, some serious puppy dog love that was so true and real; but has since deepened and matured. The pastor teaching the course started with “no one person, not even your spouse, can be everything to you.” That was a tough one to hear. It might seem obvious to us where we are now, but maybe not. I am constantly asking myself in my friendships, when I experience disappointment or unmet expectations, if I am relying on that human to be everything to me. Dare I say that in my newly engaged, passionately in love naivety I may have doubted that my soon-to-be husband couldn’t be it all to me. Here I sit almost eleven years later and the pastor was right.
The only relationship that can be it all is our friendship with Jesus. But the good news is the women in the Bible show us a great deal about friendship with others and also about the bounty that is to be had in a genuine, reciprocal relationship with Jesus.
Just like the manna provided to the Israelites in the desert the pure, satisfying Word of God is available to us if only we will ingest it. Manna in Exodus 16 has a couple of key characteristics. I invite you to think about how you are gathering the provision God has given you. Are you reading His Word daily? Are you sharing with him, like a friend, in prayer. Are you being honest and generous by expressing your needs and ways you are thankful for God’s grace and mercy? Are you giving God your best by giving your time, energy, and a space to speak to your heart? Let’s look at manna, God’s perfect provision for God’s people when they were wandering in the desert for forty years. Think they ever said… “this is boring?” or “why can’t he provide something else?” (ring a bell? ever said that about the Word of God?)
- non descript, “what is it?” is literally what manna means. Plus it was a small almost indistinct flake. (Exodus 16:14) just like Jesus is described as nothing beautiful or majestic. (Isaiah 53:2) Jesus is the Word, He became flesh. (John 1:14)
- pure and white (Exodus 16:31) like Jesus (Psalm 119:140) The Word is pure.
- available daily as a supernatural provision just like Jesus (The Bread of Life) can be our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).
Are you seeing the correlation. Manna as God’s provision, Jesus as God’s provision left outside our tent, for the taking if only we will gather it?
Gather is mentioned twelve times in the book of Exodus 16 (verses 4, 5, 16, 17, 21, 22, 26, and 27) all in relationship to manna, God’s provision. God’s mercy and grace is always there and available, like manna, prior to our need and in direct proportion to every moments demand; but we must gather it, this activity is our responsibility our role in our friendship. We need to be active and if we pursue our relationship with God, with a purpose our human friendships will be even more fruitful. I hope you will consider grabbing this month’s Bible journaling kit. Hear more about my thoughts about this kit and SEE how I am using it below.
- Ruth 1 – Ruth
- I Kings 10 – The Queen of Sheba
- II Kings 5 – Naaman’s Servant
- Luke 24 – Mary Magdalene
- 4 devotionals
- 1 washi tape
- 2 sheets of clear stickers
- 6 coordinating paper pieces
- 2 sheets of alpha stickers
- 1 4×6 clear stamp set
- 1 Women of the Bible: Friendship on Purpose sticker
- 1 greeting card [from (in)courage]
- 1 Navy blue ink pad
- 4 Free Bonus Printable Pages (delivered via email)
- 1 message from DaySpring
- Packaged in a box with moss green tissue paper and a sticker
I love that DaySpring has taken us into the old testament! There is so much there. They are providing a fresh and different kind of Bible Journaling kit. This month includes an ink pad, acrylic stamps and a free digital download that are all TOTALLY reusable resources you will use time and time again.
The stickers are vibrant and feminine (so fun!) the washi tape is deep and provides a gorgeous pop of color and the paper pieces are so fun to sprinkle on the page or even to add to the side or top as a marker or a cluster of tabs marking the page you have created on.
The devotions can be used for all ages and provide a deep insight. Written by (in)courage you can also find them in these beautiful Bibles that have bottom page margins for notetaking and creating! I have found that these kits have challenged me spiritually and creatively. I cannot wait to see how you use them in the pages of your Bible or journal. Be sure to check PNW Bible Journaling on instagram here, or use the hashtag #pnwbiblejournaling to see how we are diving into God’s Word. Share your pages using this hastag too (#ds_womenofthebible) so we can all do this study in community. We really are better together, God made our brains that way!
How I’m using the kit:
Just for fun here are a few ways I have used the kit in my own Bible this month. It has been so exciting and inspiring to experiment with new mediums like watercolor. I used some watercolor crayons and paints to create kit coordinating colors and then just a black pen over the top to add details. This is the entry where I explored the Queen of Sheba’s story and I envisioned her generosity as a garden of blossoms.
For this next mixed media entry I used the tissue that enclosed the kit, yes one woman’s trash is another’s treasure. I punched large circles and used a butterfly brad (I couldn’t believe I found it when I was organizing my stash this past week!) to hold it at the center. I kept this one simple because as I read about Ruth and Naomi I thought of all the ways we truly are “better together” so I wanted that concept to stand out visually.
My first entry with the kit I really wanted to explore 3 dimensional pops so I used some glue dots to have key words pop off the page and practiced with the stamps. They are fantastic for layering and those little frames are so versatile!