The Power of Processing

I’ve never been much of a scrapbooker.  I made one when Jim and I were dating, but that was years before Creative Memories and it was a rather simple affair.  But one of the girls I was meeting with loved to do this!  And as I was praying, asking the Lord what He’d like for us to do during our next time together, He gave me the idea to take her to a scrapbooking store and let her pick out materials to make one page summarizing the key thing the Lord recently was teaching her.  Little did I realize the treasure we were both in for!

She was soooo excited!  We started our time praying asking the Lord to guide us, to bring to mind what He wanted us focusing on and to help us create a picture that represented this.  It turned out most of our time that week was used just selecting supplies so I asked if she’d complete her page during the coming week and then share it with me at our next one on one and I decided I’d create one too.

Now at first I was bummed that our entire time was taken up by the selection of materials – what kind of one on one was this?  But you know, it was amazing how we both experienced the Lord even through the process of deciding what to use as well as when we had to think through the lessons we’d been learning to select one.  And then as we started putting our pages together it was like the Lord was right there with us, not only helping us create a picture of what He’d been teaching us, but the actual process of creating helped us further process and internalize that lesson even more!  And what a powerful time we experienced the next week when we shared our creations!

Shortly after this a friend shared with me how he’d been reading all the verses in the Bible that talk about remembering – and realized how incredibly key it is to take time for this.

Numbers 15:40 ESV

So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.

Deuteronomy 8:2 ESV

And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

Deuteronomy 8:18 ESV

You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Deuteronomy 16:12 ESV

You shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt; and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.

Deuteronomy 32:7 ESV

Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.

(And that’s but a taste!  The  word “remember” occurs 162 times in the ESV Bible!)  

Prior to this when I thought about spending time one on one with someone I was always forward focused – what’s going to help her move forward and press on in her walk with God?  But this experience really highlighted for me how vital it is we periodically take time to intentionally remember, and process deeper what the Lord is teaching us.  The irony is, taking time to look back, process and remember, really can spur us on even more!

Fast forward a few years to our sabbatical last summer.  I asked the Lord if He’d give me a creative way to remember the lessons He’d be teaching me throughout it.  That’s when He led me to art journaling.  Again I was blown away at how taking time to create a picture of what He’s teaching me helps me learn on a deeper level – and sometimes even figure out what’s going on in my heart!

And you know, this takes place in a format I actually enjoy looking back through and praying through – which only serves to help me remember even more!  (I’m a very messy writer and an external processor who writes volumes every day just to think and pray – I would never want to go back and read all of that!  But I love to look at these pictures!)**

Recently a friend asked if her Bible study could come over and art journal with me.  We paired up and shared a quiet time in Psalm 139 and then took time to create an art journal page illustrating what the Lord laid on our hearts. It was so precious to hear each woman share and “see” what she was learning!  I cannot recommend highly enough doing this!

So now, when I meet one on one with someone I will periodically take time for us to actively, creatively process what the Lord’s been teaching us.  At the end of a semester, the end of the year, the end of a Bible study ~ these are all great times to do this.

In fact, at the end of one summer training program after we’d inductively studied the book of Genesis, as a way of further processing what we’d learned I encouraged the students to go back and draw a quick sketch or do word art, featuring on an index card the main thing from each chapter that stood out to them.  Talk about a fun and insightful way to review and help summarize when finishing a Bible study!

As it says in Ecclesiastes 7:8, “The end of a matter is better than it’s beginning…”  Don’t miss out on the best part by rushing onto the next thing!  Taking time to further process and remember can enrich and deepen your relationship with the Lord, and with those you are discipling!

(**NOTE:  you can find examples of this art journaling at ~ I put this together for friends who wanted to “see” what I was doing during my sabbatical last year :0)