Journaling Bible- what to do when you mess up


Do you ever have those times when you set out with a general idea in mind, but things just don’t quite work out as planned? I’m pretty sure we all do. This page happens to be one of those such projects for me.

I chose this verse to focus on in Psalm 32:8:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (NIV)

But I like the New King James Version better. This is the version I read first and I love how it spoke to me:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye. (NKJV)

When I read that I thought “hmmm…He will guide me with His eye? How does that work?”

But did you ever give your kids the stink eye, hoping your stern look will make them behave? Or send a message to your spouse with just a look across the room? Or share a secret with a friend with just a glance? That’s the kind of intimacy this verse speaks of to me. It’s a whole lot more connected, more intimate, more familiar than God just having His loving eye on me, which is great, don’t get me wrong. Having God’s loving eye on me is comforting too. But to be so close to God that He can guide me with His eye. With just a glance, a certain sparkle or knowing look. That’s the kind on intimacy and closeness I want with my Lord, don’t you?

How does that translate to our lives? After all, we can’t really see God’s eye. How can He guide us with his eye if we can’t see it? To me, it means more of a Spiritual eye. That the closer I get to the Lord, the better I will be able to feel, hear, see, and understand His nudgings. The closer I get to God, the better I will know what He wants and expects and desires. I’ll better understand His glance of love, His look of chastening, and yes, we’ll even share secrets that belong only to the two of us. God secrets are the best ones!


So anyway, on to the page. I really wanted to use some new acrylic paints I got. I had sort of an idea of how I wanted this page to look, more or less. I wanted the paints nice and concentrated over in the left margin, and then more transparent over the script, because I really like it when I can still read the words when I’m finished.

So I set out with my paints, using a plastic scraper to apply the paint to my page. But the paint got way too dark! I wanted just a little bit of blue, but it kind of took over. And the more I scraped the paint around, the worse it got. The paint was covering the text so much that I couldn’t read it. So I grabbed a slightly wet paint brush and tried removing some of the paint so I could read the words. It worked, but left the paint with so many more streaks and lines than I would have wished.

I had a piece of extra card stock tucked under my page for extra stability while I worked, but as the paint dried, my page stuck to the card stock. When I tried to peel it up, my page began to tear. So now I not only had ugly paint, I also had a torn page. I was just thinking to myself that I’d just chalk this one up as a failure and move on.


But then I had the idea to cover the torn areas with washi tape. I figured I had nothing to lose at this point, so I went for it. Then I pulled out some very old black and white rub-ons that I’ve had for a very long time, and began to apply them to my margin. And guess what! I actually began to like how it turned out.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been seeing more and more home decor and other projects featuring modern and funky eyes. I really wasn’t to crazy about them when I first started seeing them, but they kind of grew on me. So I thought it would be fun to create my own eyes for this page. I pulled out a few letter stickers to spell out my phrase, then grabbed a couple of random stamps to create the eyes. I used an open leaf/flower petal one for the outline, and a round dot for the the center. Then i added a few strokes with a sharpie for the lashes.

Maybe to some of you, seeing an eye staring back at you would be unsettling, but I kind of like the craziness of it.



So I have to tell you one more thing about this page. When I was finished I was struck by how this page, after the mess ups and all, reminded me of how God’s grace is just like that. When we think we’ve made such a mess of things that it could never be repaired. That nothing beautiful could ever come out of all the ugly mess we’ve made. God’s grace comes in and makes something beautiful, gives us another chance, cleans us up and makes us pure and holy.

I shared a photo of just a corner of this page a couple of days ago, kind of as a sneak peek. And when I took a closer look at the photo after I posted it, I saw that the sunshine spilling across my desk had illuminated this verse: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Pslam 32:1)

Isn’t that beautiful! And I promise I didn’t even see that until after I had posted what I did about God’s grace!

So even though I’m still not all that crazy about the paint on this page, the messages that are contained here for me make it so meaningful. The message about God’s eye, the message of His grace, and the message about not giving up when it feels like all is lost, but keep working at it.

So here are my tips for a few things you can do when you think you’ve messed up a project beyond repair:

1. Cover it up. This is what I do most of the time when I make mistakes. There’s usually some way to cover it up so no one even knows.

2. Rework it. If you can’t cover it up, maybe you can work it into your design somehow. Add and embellishment or something that will distract the viewer’s eye from the mistake. Most times they probably won’t even notice anyway.

3. Keep going. What may look like a really bad mistake can sometimes be turned into something you like even better, if you just keep on going.

4. Chalk it up as a learning opportunity. Not every project has to be a winner. And all of us have those projects that are just a huge fail. And that’s OK. Sometimes those fails can be a really great way to figure out what works and what doesn’t.


Thanks for stopping by today! I know this post got  a little bit long, so thanks for sticking with me!

If you have any questions at all about Bible journaling, the process or products I used, or just want to leave me a note to say hello, I’d love that. Your questions and comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Have an awesome day!


5 thoughts on “Journaling Bible- what to do when you mess up

  1. soggystamper says:

    Brenda, are you the same Brenda that used to be a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator? If so, I see your posts with your beautiful artwork on Facebook both on your personal account as well as on the Journaling Bible group. This post about your struggles with this page in your Bible consoles me in that even the best have times when the creative process does not go well. Like you, the ‘fix’ for something that went wrong turns out to be sometimes even better than the original idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Sue Erickson

    • sweetpapertreats says:

      Hi Sue

      Yes, that’s me! I think we were both with UDI at the same time, am I right?. Yes, all of us have times when the process doesn’t go as planned, no matter how much experience we have, and sometimes the mess up turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Thanks so much for stopping by with your sweet comment! That means so much to me.

      Hugs! Brenda

      On Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 10:22 AM, Sweet Paper Treats wrote:


    • sweetpapertreats says:

      Thanks you so much, Renee! I appreciate you taking the time to read it and to leave your feedback. Thank you!

      Have a great weekend Brenda

      On Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 8:31 PM, Sweet Paper Treats wrote:


  2. Olivia says:

    I absolutely LOVE how the colors turned out on this page and I love how this scripture reminded you of things with your family I love this post so much thank you for sharing!

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