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Lessons in the Margins

Many, many years ago, I realized I was treating my Bible like a sacred relic when it should be a textbook for the life I wanted to live. It should be marked up and falling apart. Well worn from constant use and love. So with that thought, I started writing notes, epiphanies, promises and dates in the margins. I’ve had my current Bible for over a decade and in those years it has become a treasure trove of insight and testimonies in those colorful scribbles. I’ve come to realize the Lord often uses the margins (of my Bible and my life) to teach me lessons of His faithfulness, love and compassion. 

For example, when I decided that my word of the year for 2024 would be “rest” I knew I needed a verse to go along with it. Now, that didn’t turn out how I planned, which you can read about here BUT when I finally accepted Exodus 14:14, I turned there in my Bible to read the passage as a whole and there in the margins were many notes that looked like they had been written with this specific challenge in mind. “Trust God’s path: It may seem like you’re going in the opposite direction. Trust Him!!!”, “They took their eyes off God. FEAR vs FAITH”, “Psalm 46:10” and “Isaiah 60:22 At just the right time”.

Seriously, these margin notes were straight out of my prayers from that morning and yet, some were decades old. 

In Ruth chapter 2 and 3, my pages contain “Protection”, “Provision”, “Character”, “Care/Integrity” and “Rest”. This was from a time of trying to cultivate a gentle spirit and the heart of a godly woman which led to me diving into the pages of this book which you can read here. I left behind so many lessons in the margins of that book!

My Bible also has devotions built in and in the midst of 2 Kings 8, there’s this quote “God doesn’t forget his promises; he remembers them regardless of how much time passes.” I jotted down “Rest 2024” and “9/12/23 God Wink 18 years isn’t beyond His memory”. This was when I started to realize what 2024 would hold as I struggled with a prayer I had been praying for nearly two decades. A prayer that, at that moment, seemed long forgotten, yet, here was a beautiful reminder that turned into a lesson in the margins that day when I came across it again after pouring my heart to God over being exhausted after 19 years of praying. I do not believe that it was a coincidence to see that page out of the 1,549 available. The Lord knew I would need that reassurance.

The rainbow scribbles go on and on. Jeremiah 29:5-6 says “Find the Joy!”. Ezekiel 37 contains “Their captivity hadn’t changed but their hope had.” The end of Malachi reminds me that “Just because God is silent doesn’t mean He isn’t at work!” Mark’s account of Peter’s denial warns with “Don’t think you can’t fail!” John 16:23-24 prompts me to “Keep asking!” and “Be Bold!” And even Revelation 1 reminds me of the true reason behind Christmas. 

Reds, pinks, blues, oranges. Pens, highlighters, sticky notes and tabs. Every mark in this book is a diary entry in my spiritual journey. A clear weaving of God’s working in my life from Genesis to Revelation with a whole lot in between. Many people have asked me when I’m going to get a new Bible since mine is essentially held together with scotch tape and prayer. I’m not sure I can do it! I don’t want to lose all the beauty of the brokenness, healing, restoration and hope in those pages. It’s just too beautiful to me but maybe as seasons change, I'll find a new copy with a new adventure to study in it and this one can be left as a testimony and legacy of God's faithfulness and desire for us to truly know Him. My favorite Ebenezer stone!


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