I have become very interested in the latest trend of bible study called “creative bible journaling.”  Essentially, you illustrate your interpretation of the Word after reading it. Here are some awesome examples of inspiration (that I will probably never be able to recreate:

While some may consider it sacrilegious to write or color in a Bible, I personally feel that whatever way you need to interact with your Bible to gain a better spiritual relationship with the Lord is fine by me.   Now, I’m not a very artistic person (my handwriting looks like a 2nd grader’s, and my drawings are even worse!), so I’m a little nervous to purchase my own wide margin bible and begin drawing all over it.

I recently discovered a Christian Publisher, Tyndale, had created a bible with over 400 illustrations already in it, ready to be colored.  I’m a coloring master–this would be right up my alley!  Unfortunately, when I looked closer at the translation version, which is only available in NLT (New Living Translation), I found myself unwilling to settle for the lackluster interpretations.  I’m sorry, but Psalm 23 simply HAS to read “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want….” or I cannot accept it.  (Some of my traditional church background has simply stuck.  I don’t NEED the King James version anymore–but I’ve found that most of the “contemporary” translations just don’t have the same effect.  (I can settle for KJ, NKJ, or ESV for most verses I am familiar with.)

Now, my online bible study suggested looking up different versions of John 15:9-12.  I focused specifically on line 12 of the verse, which my everyday Bible (which I shockingly discovered is NIV) reads:  My commandment is this: love one another as I have loved you.  When I compared four different versions, here is what I saw:


My struggles with the ambiguity of language (and thus, various translations of the Bible) are no secret.  Just as perception clouds our judgement, translation can also cloud our understanding.   I was pleased to see all four versions were VERY similar.  (And I have to be honest–I don’t understand why some of the words are changed at all.  How different is “each other” from “one another” really?)  And the one word that remained the same was this: command.  Not suggest, but command.  Not ask, but command.

God is our Father, the one who knows best.  He has a plan, tells us what to do and how we should live, but ultimately it is up to us to listen.  Parenting feels an awful lot like this lately:  I have a plan for my children, expectations for their future.  I can tell them how to live, I can tell them what to do.  I am wiser than they are–giving options to make them “feel in control” is not helping them. (But they always have an option–do as I say, or don’t and face the consequences.) They should not be in control as the child.  It is my job to guide them toward the best possible future.  It is up to them to make the choice to follow my lead.

Now, this next part is where my husband and I differ in our approaches.  I am more gentle, more afraid of causing lifelong emotional scarring.  My oldest child is “sensitive.”  He feels everything deep in his heart.  My middle child is a little more hardy.  She can withstand a little more in terms of harsh tones (but, because she is a girl, I think my husband takes it easier on her).   I want my children to grow up knowing their parents are ultimately in charge, but that they are loved along the way.  I believe you can be affectionately firm–steadfast in your expectations without compromising on the quality and quantity of love provided.  And love, to me, must be shown in all forms–physically, verbally, and emotionally (hugging, comments of affirmation, acts of kindness and respect). My husband is afraid of not being seen as an authority figure (or he is just falling back on his own childhood experiences), and he doesn’t see the need to constantly reaffirm his love and affection.   As our children grow (and we have more children), we are coming to work WITH each other’s styles, learning when to send which parent in to meet the needs of a particular situation or child.

What do you think?  Is it possible to be “Tiger Mom” while still showing affection and remaining close to your children as a source of unconditional love and support?  Are the two even really that isolated?