“White” Is a Racial Construct

I am not white

Have you ever wondered if your words or actions are racist? Are you sure they aren’t? Is claiming “I’m not racist!” enough? Can a person protect and promote systemic racism without even realizing it? Is ignorance a good excuse?

Recently, one of my friends inquired as to why I am suddenly so passionate about racism in America—she didn’t say “suddenly,” but it does feel that way. I’ve gone my entire adult life assuming I was an ally, but I’m not sure that’s true. The more I learn, the more I wonder if I’ve actually enabled and supported systems designed to hold back and oppress people of color. 

I officially stepped into the conversation about white privilege in 2016 when I joined the Be the Bridge to Racial Reconciliation Facebook group. When a white person joins the group, s/he agrees to remain silent and listen for three months. Not only are you prohibited from posting in the group, you’re also prohibited from commenting on other folks’ posts. Violation of this rule gets you banned from the group. It’s a good and important rule.

Silence Forced Me to Listen and Learn

The silent rule forced me into the role of student, not teacher. It required me to keep my mouth shut (and my fingers off the keyboard) when my first inclination was to chime in and offer advice/feedback/input while unwittingly minimizing other members’ experiences.

Waking up to white privilege and systemic racism has been hard, and I would not have made it this far without the encouragement of friends and mentors who encouraged me to listen to people who are different than I am.

By expanding the circle of authors I read, speakers I listen to, and people I follow on social media, I’ve become much more aware of the ways I subconsciously participate in an inherited, stratified system which over-values whiteness, oppresses the poor, and dehumanizes the different.

Modern-Day Racism

Debating the existence and effects of racism in America is uncomfortable for many white folks like me, and it’s tempting to turn a blind eye to the problem. To change the channel. To click over to another page. To look away before making eye contact. To walk on the other side of the street.

But, if you’re able to ignore (or deny) the problem of racism, then—whether you realize it or  not—you are exercising white privilege. People of color don’t have that option. They can’t ignore it or deny its existence. It’s in their face every day. All day. 

With white privilege comes much responsibility.

So, I’m determined to learn about my own hidden biases despite how opening my eyes and looking in the mirror makes me feel. I want to be a woman who elevates the voices and lives of those who have struggled to be seen and heard for far too long. I will be a catalyst for difficult conversations between white adults who need to join me on this journey of waking up. I want to be an ally. And being an ally requires  diligence and re-education..

Re-Educating Myself about Racism

When I asked my friends what I should read, one book was recommended more than any other: Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race by best-selling author Beverly Daniel Tatum.

In this compelling and insightful book, Tatum documents the experiences of people of color in public schools and many other public spaces. “People of Color” or POC is the term used to refer to African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Island Americans, and others of non-European descent.

The author shares the story of a young black student who is the target of a racist comment by one of her teachers. When the student shares her experience—the comment and how it affected her—with her best friend who is white, she is further-traumatized when her friend dismisses the comment by saying something like “Oh, he didn’t mean it that way. He’s not a racist.” THAT’S why Be the Bridge has the “3-months of silence” rule for new white members. It’s like they knew that we needed to spend some time listening without the opportunity to minimize and further traumatize brothers and sisters of color. Smart.

Learning to keep my mouth shut is probably going to be a lifelong process for me. The first month of silence was hard: I had not yet realized I was the stereotypical white girl who wanted to fix all the things. The second month of silence was a bit easier. By third month, I understood how very little I had to contribute to the conversation and how my words could easily have the opposite effect of what I was hoping to say. And I don’t post very much in that group at all. They have opened my eyes to what life is often like for people of color in this country.

I’m appalled at the ignorance and racism so many exhibit on a regular basis. I’m determined NOT to be a part of it.

How I am waking up…

Over the next few months, I’m going to detail my ongoing journey to “wokeness” (I have NOT arrived), because it’s just way too much to include in one blog post. I invite you to join me in conversation as I share my own personal experiences with people of color—both traumatic childhood experiences that shaped my view and adult friends and mentors who have helped—and are still helping—me figure out how to be an ally, not an adversary.

I will share websites, podcasts, books (and audiobooks), social media feeds, and other resources that are helping me understand white privilege in America and how that lines up (or not) with the good news of Jesus Christ.

I am not an expert on racial reconciliation, and I have no solutions to offer. All I can do is invite you to join me on the journey. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is not to evaluate my journey but to humbly examine your own. The challenge is to take a long, hard look at your words, actions, and attitudes with an open mind, and if you see something that needs to be changed, you commit to changing it.

The goal: Be more like Jesus.

Are you in? Comment below if you’re up for the challenge. 

“Sharing Jesus without…” by Reid

Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It

I requested Sharing Jesus {without freaking out}: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It for review as soon as I saw the title and read the description. Why? Because I carry a lot of “evangelism guilt.”  Do you know what that is? It’s that nagging feeling that I’m not a good enough witness, and I’m not doing enough to tell others about Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m eternally thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross—literally. I have loved the teachings of Jesus and embraced a lifestyle of faith since I was a little girl! In fact, when I was in kindergarten, I couldn’t not tell people about Jesus. I led my friends to the Lord by having them say the “sinner’s prayer,” repeating what I said phrase by phrase.

When I got older, I would accompany my father, a local pastor, on his “door-to-door” evangelism outings. I’m not exactly sure how many times I went out with him—honestly, it probably wasn’t that often—but I have distinct memories of it.

Our church was located in a depressed, residential area of the city, and we lived only a couple blocks away from it. On Saturday mornings, we’d walk to a nearby house; knock or ring the doorbell; and then patiently wait for someone to come to the door.

Once the door was open, I’d stand there in awe as my dad charismatically introduced himself, caringly invited total strangers to Sunday services, and routinely engaged many in deep conversations about Jesus and eternity.

The question he was hoping to ask went something like this: “If you were to die today, do you know beyond any shadow of a doubt where you would spend eternity?”

20th Century Evangelism

Some responded by ending the conversation and going back inside. Others responded by attending a Sunday service. Some explained why they hadn’t been to church in years. Others prayed and turned their lives around.

My dad helped a lot of people find what they were looking for with that method of evangelism. Some folks’ lives were truly and forever changed for the good—they got off drugs, cleaned up, and became who they were created to be (a couple guys I remember were Mike and Mondo). Others, though, never did completely recover from their addictions (Bob) and left as fast as they joined.

This evangelistic method (marketed as “Evangelism Explosion”) was taught and used all over the world during my childhood and young adult life. Many lives were changed and the experience was legit.

Sin = Hell. Jesus Saves. Fire Insurance.

Although the method was working and the numbers looked good in the short-term, the long-term results of this type of cookie-cutter evangelism were disappointing. 

The emphasis on discipleship was promoted years later, but it was too late for most of the fire insurance buyers—they didn’t like the “upsell” of discipleship and lordship, and many of them bailed out, OR worse, continued to call themselves “Christians” while living a lifestyle completely opposite of what Jesus taught.

Evangelism Shut Down

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that as I grew into adulthood, I pretty much shut down any type of “cold call” evangelism. I’m NOT remotely comfortable starting conversations with strangers anywhere at any time about any subject, but especially not about something as important to me as my personal relationship with Christ.

Completely shut down

I will admit that in today’s post-Christian culture—which is partially the result of fire insurance sales gone bad—I’ve not knocked on a door or had the eternity conversation with anyone in a very, very long time. This has resulted in my carrying around a lot of “evangelism guilt.”

And I think it’s because for so many years, the church has approached evangelism one way. Sure there are/were different methods (e.g., Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Evangelism Explosion, etc.), but they all approach it from a place of power and superiority: “I know something you don’t know.”

What Did Jesus Do?

If this makes you ill, it should. That’s NOT how Jesus or the apostles or anyone in the early church did it. They never threatened an eternity in hell in exchange for a ticket to heaven. They never coerced or manipulated people into making a decision to follow Jesus. In fact, their approach was quite the opposite.

Although there were a few who traveled and shared the good news far and wide, the vast majority of Christ followers simply lived their lives according to His main teachings: Love God. Love People.

And this lifestyle was attractive. An aroma. A pleasant-smelling perfume.

These people shared resources, supported and encouraged each other, and when persecution showed up, they gave their lives for the sake of the gospel. They would rather die than renounce the relationship they had with God.

Back to Basics

Alvin L. Reid’s new book Sharing Jesus {without freaking out} was written “to help regular believers, from teenagers to senior adults, from homemakers to pastors, to have real conversations with people about Jesus” (p. xii). It’s about having real conversations in the context of healthy relationships with people we already know. 

Conversation about your relationship with God should feel natural

Tracing the recent history of evangelism in the 19th and 20th centuries, Reid explains how the church followed the world by applying mass production techniques and programmatic approaches to evangelism.

Similar to any sales tactic, the approach to evangelism began by establishing the need of the prospect. Once the need was established, the next step was to simply demonstrate how my “product” meets that need; then sell my “product”; and enroll the person in a maintenance program. Can you believe this?! 

Although he consistently and respectfully refrains from condemning these “fruitful” endeavors, the author is keenly aware that emotional manipulation and successful sales tactics did not yield true disciples in every case.

You Are Totally Unique

Reid explains that we were never meant to follow some streamlined, impersonal approach to sharing Jesus with others. Instead, he proposes eight principles which serve as touch-points to help us understand and remember our unique place in the grand story of God’s redemption.

You are unique.

By concentrating on one principle per chapter, the author is able to help the reader work through common mistakes in evangelism while at the same time fostering a sense of confidence in one’s own testimony. 

He warns against the tendency to avoid evangelism due to overcomplication and fear of rejection by reminding us that sharing our faith is not about making visits and presentations: It’s about transparent conversations within the context of existing, authentic relationships. 

If you read the book of Acts, you will find a few people were called to preach to crowds. People like Peter, Paul, and Barnabas. But ordinary believers had conversations with others, telling people they met the good news they found in Christ (see Acts 2:10-11; 4:29-31; 8:1-4; and 11:19-22).” (p. 45)

Most of us are “ordinary believers” who live “ordinary lives.” We are homemakers, entrepreneurs, and hard workers. And we are called to share our faith, but in a way uniquely suited to our own personalities, skills, and quirks—sharing our hope in Jesus with others was never meant to be a burden.

Sharing the hope we have in Jesus with others was never meant to be a burden. Click To Tweet

Assuming our relationship with the Lord is healthy, conversing about what God is doing in our lives or offering hope to the hopeless is one of the most natural things we do! 

If Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to us, he should come up in conversations. Not forced, not structured, but simply because he is the biggest deal in our lives.” (p. 50)

In the chapter “It’s Not in Your Power, yet You Are Vital,” Reid explains why he takes issue with the one-size-fits-all approach to evangelism with which I was trained.

The more you see how God wired you uniquely, the more you can learn how to live for him—including talking to others about him—in the way he created you to, uniquely for his glory and your good…speak about Jesus out of your personality with the strengths and the limitations with which God has blessed you.” (p. 57)

He had me at personality and strengths

Reid goes on to say, “as you continue to learn who you are in Christ and how God made you, you will become more comfortable sharing Christ in your own unique, uncontrived way.” (p. 63) In other words, sharing our authentic faith is natural. Organic. AND low calorie. ?  (I’m just checking to see if you’re still awake.)

Quality vs. Quantity

The bottom line is that we were never meant to follow some cookie-cutter approach to sharing our faith with others—especially people we don’t know and may never see again.

Nothing substitutes for a personal relationship with JesusPlease note: I’m not denying the existence of rare God-appointments or trying to discourage you from sharing your faith when the Holy Spirit is prompting you to do it. I simply am sounding a warning for you to make sure the evangelistic nudge is coming from the Lord and not guilt-induced or pride-filled motives.

Reid offers a sobering reminder that when we share our faith, “we are not seeking to simply ‘close the deal’ and get people to respond; we want them to meet Christ.” (p. 102) We’re sharing with them because our own personal relationship with the Lord is so fulfilling, we can’t not share. 

Make a Plan

The final chapter of the book is dedicated to helping you “develop a specific, practical, and personal plan for your daily life, focusing on sharing Jesus.” (p. 110) Using Acts 1:8 as the outline, Reid reminds us that Jesus presented the perfect evangelism plan to his disciples and challenges us to follow it as well: start where you are with those you know and grow from there. 

Your plan needs to be rooted in the gospel and focused on Jesus, not on you, your church, or your method. Just as one plan for diet and exercise does not work for every person, you need to tailor your plan to the person God created you to be.” (p. 110, emphasis mine)

(I don’t know why he had to bring diet and exercise into it, but whatever. ?) The author visually demonstrates each person’s approach to sharing faith will be in our very own sweet spot—where our individual giftedness, calling, and deep satisfaction intersect. 

The 8-Week Challenge

Following the close of the book, the author provides an “Eight Week Challenge,” so you can put into practice what you’ve been learning—one baby step at a time.

eight week evangelism challengeEach week’s challenge is based on one of the eight principles expounded upon in the book. The reader is presented with the principle, Scriptures upon which to meditate, questions for reflection and application, as well as a few practical tips for how to pray that week. 

This book is like a ‘how to’ manual for sharing your faith with others—but what you get out of it is going to be completely different than what I got out of it or what your partner might get out of it. Why? Because we’re all DIFFERENT. 

Finally! Somebody gets the fact that I’m not wired for knocking on doors or talking to strangers on airplanes. There’s nothing wrong with those practices, if that’s how you’re wired. There’s also nothing wrong with my avoidance of such conversations, because it’s NOT how I’m wired. 

We all need to be open to the nudges of the Holy Spirit and willing to step out of our comfort zones when necessary, but to assume that witnessing ALWAYS takes place outside our comfort zone is just plain wrong.

We need to be open to the nudges of the Holy Spirit and willing to step out of our comfort zones when necessary, but to assume that witnessing ALWAYS takes place outside our comfort zone is just plain wrong. #evangelism #sharingjesus Click To Tweet

If you’re interested in learning more about how to comfortably share your faith without freaking out, let me recommend Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out: Evangelism the Way You Were Born to Do It. It’s short, funny, full of truth, and highly practical.

Anyone who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s needs to read this book—that’s just a no-brainer in my opinion. I also think that this book would be fantastic for youth ministers to use with their high school students and/or young adults. And, well, if you’re reading this, you’d probably benefit from reading it as well. It’s that good and relevant. 

Download this book for free with a trial Audible Membership

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“Remarkable Faith” by Letellier

Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People

Has a trial (or a truckload of trials) ever left you feeling isolated? Hopeless? Defeated? I mean, you didn’t start out that way. At the beginning of the trial, you were active in community, full of hope and vigor, up for the challenge of whatever came your way.

Setbacks? No problem!

Delays? I can wait!

Illness? I’ll get well in no time!

But the road to recovery was a lot longer than you—or anyone in your circle of influence—were expecting. One by one the friends dropped away, because they couldn’t force your pain to exit stage right. They couldn’t control you or your situation, so they left.  

Or maybe they didn’t drop away. They tried to stay, but you—feeling weak, worn out, and unworthy—began to isolate yourself. It was easier to be alone than to have to explain to one more person what you were going through and listen to their well-meaning, yet utterly useless advice. Solitude was a good thing. For a while. 

As you began to reflect on your situation—comparing your situation to the outcome of Bible hero stories from your childhood—you might have begun to wonder whether or not you ever had faith at all.

But you did have faith, and the fact that you continue(d) to look to God for deliverance or healing is a sign that yours is the exact type of faith Jesus finds remarkable. Don’t give up.

Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People will be an encouragement to you or a friend with chronic illness—Jesus sees you. He hears your cries. You are not alone. 

Shauna Letellier has written a profoundly insightful and painstakingly researched book retelling the stories of eight unremarkable, unnamed men and women whose “lives were marked by desperation, pain, fatigue, hopelessness, disability, poverty, loneliness, and sin. Each of them sought Jesus in unabashed desperation (p. xiii),” and Jesus found their faith remarkable. 

Remarkable Faith begins with a brief compare and contrast between the apostles and the afflicted. Letellier makes her case concisely, and there is no arguing with her point:

“Remarkable faith is often grown in the broken soil of desperation.” (p. 174)

It really is amazing, when you think about it: Jesus marveled at the faith of strangers who remain to this day unnamed and known to us only by their afflictions. 

With bridled creative liberty, Letellier has beautifully written an imagined backstory to each of the eight vignettes we read in the Gospels. Steeped in the Scriptures and cultural context, the characters come to life as they unabashedly seize their opportunity to interact with Jesus. 

Book CoverLetellier defines remarkable faith as “the braided strands of doubt, hope, and wonder at a God who is able to do anything and sometimes restrains his power for reasons we rarely understand.” (p. 15) 

The eight characters whose stories are re-imagined are: 

  1. The Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy
  2. The Paralyzed Man
  3. The Roman Centurion
  4. The Hemorrhaging Woman
  5. The Samaritan Leper
  6. The Mother of a Demon-Possessed Girl
  7. Blind Bartimaeus
  8. A Forgiven Woman 

Remarkable Faith is a mix of fictional retelling and factual application. The author imagines each person’s backstory tracing the moments immediately leading up to and through his or her encounter with Jesus Christ. 

The structure of each chapter is built to take you through one character’s faith journey at a time followed by a time of reflection, application, and prayer. 

  1. Bible passage
  2. Dramatic retelling
  3. Reflection
  4. Application
  5. Prayer

First, you will read the story straight from the Gospels. Following this is a dramatic, fictionalized retelling of the story which engages the senses and emotions.

Then, the reader is challenged to take a closer look at the person’s remarkable faith. The author is skilled at teasing out the underlying lesson(s) in the story and bringing the reader to a place of self-examination. 

Each chapter ends with a prayer to apply the lessons learned and insights gained as a result of the study. 

Although I did not agree with some of the author’s assumptions and creative liberties, I think the book is a valuable and necessary addition to the faith conversation. We need to study these characters as much as (if not more than) Bible heroes such as Noah, Moses, Samson, David, and Daniel.

Remarkable Faith could provoke great conversations in a youth group or small group setting. I definitely recommend reading the creative backstories with an open-mind. Give yourself permission to look at the story from a different perspective, and ask God what He wants you to learn from each one. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Forgiveness Is Freedom


Have you ever noticed that the words GIVE and GIVEN are in the middle of forgiveness? I guess I never really thought about it. Until today. And now, that which has been seen cannot be unseen. 

ForGIVEness is a noun, and as such, it is a thing. It is something you can give, and it is something that can be given to you—whether you choose to receive it or not. Isn’t that interesting?

Psychologists have long contended that the offer of forGIVEness benefits the person giving it regardless of the recipient’s reaction. Why? Rarely do the people we need to forgive have a clue how much harm they have inflicted or the extent of the pain they have caused. Can I get a witness?!

ForGIVEness is not about fighting for justice or holding the offender accountable—that’s completely different. ForGIVEness is an attitude of the heart. It’s about us and our willingness to trust God’s sovereignty: Do we trust God enough to forGIVE someone for hurting us? Our family? Our friends? Our pastor? Our animals? Our possessions? Our bank accounts?

Click here to continue reading my devotional at “Rooted at the Throne” hosted by Rachael Carman. 

“Whispers of Rest” by Gray

Book Review: Whispers of Rest

❤️ I. Love. This. Book. ❤️

Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray provides everything you need for enriching, in-depth, daily—but never dreary—quality time with the Lord. It is beautifully written and immediately draws you into a quiet space where they are beckoned to come and rest in Him.

When Jesus calls us into deeper intimacy, he says, ‘Don’t be afraid. I will do it with you.’ Jesus calls us to leave behind our ‘nets’ of competence and instead experience being the Beloved—with him. Will you say yes to this new journey?”

40 Days to Revitalize Your Spiritual Life

The book is organized as a 40-day experience during which you will read Scripture, reflect, practice a variety of spiritual disciplines, journal, and reduce stress by taking simple soul care actions.

Using this guidebook, you will experience greater peace and discover who God truly made you to be—His Beloved. You will hear God’s voice in new ways, experience His love intimately, and revitalize your soul using simple tools of soul care to refresh your body and spirit.” (Introduction, p. xv)

Whispers of Rest is divided up into six sections designed to help the reader to more clearly understand and experience what it means to be God’s Beloved:

  • Being the Beloved
  • Choosing as the Beloved
  • Dreaming as the Beloved
  • Healing as the Beloved
  • Daring as the Beloved
  • Shining as the Beloved

Within each section are six to seven individual chapters (you will read one per day for 40 days) focused on that specific topic. The chapters follow the same format and can be completed all at once or over time for those who would rather work at a slower pace. 

It’s Like a Well-Balanced Meal for the Soul

Each day in Whispers of Rest is like a well-balanced meal for the soul. By the time you finish 40 days, you will have dropped a few pounds of emotional baggage, toned your faith muscles, and even your friends will notice you’ve had a countenance lift. Stick with the program, and you will experience the most incredible result of all: a more intimate walk with the Lord. 

  • Each day’s reading begins with a brief passage of Scripture followed by an inspirational quote and a brief introduction to that day’s theme.
  • Next, you will “Read God’s Story” in your Bible (or Bible app) as well as a personal reflection on the passage.
  • After reflecting on the passage, you will slow down and listen to “God’s Whispers to You” based on His Word.
  • “A Prayer for Today” offers both Scripture and a short prayer as you begin to apply what you’ve studied.
  • Then, it’s time to “Reflect on Your Story.” This is when you grab your journal and answer a few questions to help you examine your heart and take practical steps to make any necessary changes in your behavior or attitude.
  • Following this time of reflection, you will “Pray and Rest” as you practice a spiritual discipline which is described in detail for you. I love this, because Whispers of Rest exposes the reader to a variety of disciplines which have been practiced by Christians for centuries. Practicing spiritual disciplines such as the One Word Prayer, Self-Examen, Lectio Divina, Meditation, etc. intentionally makes space for God to transform our hearts and our lives.
  • Each day ends with a “challenge” and an opportunity to do some soul care which could be journaling, a nature walk, coloring a picture, or something else.

Whispers of Rest delivers on it’s promise to revitalize the soul. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in having a more stable, rich, and fulfilling spiritual life.You can order it here.

We’re invited to come to him weary—whether confused, numb, anxious, angry, or stressed. Jesus tells us to simply come. Imperfectly his. As we are.” 

BONUS RESOURCES: When you sign-up for Bonnie’s newsletter (here), you will have access to a number of FREE resources including videos, journaling pages, and coloring pages. ?❤️?️

Bonnie Gray, AuthorBonnie Gray is a prolific author whose writing is featured in Relevant Magazine, DaySpring (in)courage, and Christianity Today. She is a popular speaker and retreat leader who touches lives through storytelling, visual arts, nature, prayer, and Christ-centered meditation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Parables of Jesus Coloring/Devotional

Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional

The Parables of Jesus a Coloring Book Devotional by Laura James and Katara Washington Patton is like two books in one! Not only do you get a coloring book filled with beautifully-drawn illustrations of imagined scenes in Jesus’ parables, but you also get thought-provoking devotionals based on the corresponding Scripture passage.

Both the author and illustrator are African American women who love Jesus and have expressed their personal journeys of faith on these pages. The illustrations were created with people of color in mind across all ethnicities, which is helpful, since so many coloring books reflect the Anglo-Saxon or European culture. The characters in each parable were purposefully depicted in such a way that anyone, regardless of nationality, could color them and reflect their own (or the Jewish) cultural heritage.

I love this coloring book devotional!

The layout is set-up so that you read the devotional first, and then as you color the detailed pictures, you reflect on the scripture passage that you read and the author’s insights. You can also use this time to practice a little introspection and self-examination in response to the parable.

The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional
Click to enlarge this illustration from the first devotional in the book (colored by yours truly)

For example, the book opens with a devotional entitled “Out with the Old, in with the New” based on Mark 2:21 which says,

Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.” (NLT)*

The author insightfully explains the parable, and concludes the devotion with a few thought-provoking questions about how to apply the lesson in our own lives.

Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional
Click to enlarge

The next page contains a full-page illustration of a woman sewing a patch onto a beautiful robe.While I was coloring the picture, I reflected on the devotional, and the questions. It gave me the perfect opportunity to turn my focus to the Lord and relax while meditating on the Word.

Did I mention I love this book? I do. ❤️


The book itself is 192 pages and includes forty-six devotionals. Some of the other parables included in this devotional coloring book include:

  • Aged wine skins with new wine
  • Light of the world on a lampstand
  • Where is your treasure stored
  • The virgins and the trimmed lamps
  • The woman and the lost coin
  • Be ready for the return of the master
  • The wise man builds his house upon the rock;
    the foolish man builds his house upon the sand.
  • The parable of the sower
  • One lost sheep
  • The good Samaritan
  • The prodigal son
  • The rich man and Lazarus
  • The Pharisee who prayed loudly vs.
    the tax collector who prayed for mercy
  • and many, many more!

The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional
Click to enlarge

Each page containing a devotional reflection is laid out the same with the exact same leafy frame, so you would have to get creative if you don’t want each one of those to look the same; however, those really aren’t the pages you’re going to want to color.

There is ample room for journaling on each devotional page as well as the back of the illustrations should you need extra room to write. (I personally prefer to keep my journaling in a separate composition book.)

Specifications and a Surprise!

Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional
Click to enlarge

The thick pages measure roughly 10″ x 10″ and are printed on only one side, which is great because you don’t have to worry about ink or watercolors bleeding through to the next page. (In the off-chance the colors do soak through, they will transfer onto the following devotional page which features the exact same layout and design pattern as all the other devotional pages, NOT one of the illustration pages). In other words, it’s a no-worry coloring book that will minister to your soul!

As part of my evaluation of the book, I used a variety of media including chalk, colored pencils, and glitter gel pens. I had zero bleed through! What really surprised me, though, was how the book held up when I accidentally spilled a drink on the picture I was coloring. ? (It wasn’t a full cup, but it was enough to get all over the page.) I quickly blotted it dry, and much to my surprise, you cannot tell that I ever I spelled anything on it!

The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book DevotionalFinally, and this is just a bonus: The authors use a VARIETY of translations for the devotions. This is so refreshing!

One day, you’ll read from the Living Bible Translation; another day, you will read from the Amplified Version; and on another day, you will read from The Message; and so on.

I’m very impressed with The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book Devotional, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to color. It would make a great gift, too!

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