Turning the page

I feel like New Year's Day is kind of like a page turning over. It's the same book, a day really not that different from the ones before, yet there is something about the way that God has made us, that makes us want to mark time, to number our days, to celebrate the turnings and revolvings of our lives. I love to celebrate life at every opportunity built into our time-marking calendar - each day a gift that we're not entitled to, a breath in the morning given by grace, another moment with those we love. Because these things are not guaranteed and we have no clue really what the next day, or even our next minute will hold. Life is too short and uncertain to skip the celebration, even if it's just a quiet 'thank-you' to God as we launch into another day. Or year.

This past year has been one of the most surprising, delightful, stretching, exhausting years of my life so far. And as there is no chance that time will cut me some slack and stop for a bit so I can catch my breath, I feel like I'm hurtling into this next year already tired, but hopeful and buzzing with all the possibilities of things to come. 2016 could very well top 2015 in it's stretching, exhausting-ness as I draw another book (or two), navigate the obstacle course that is parenthood and support my husband through a PhD, while preparing our family to move overseas. We hope to work in West Asia alongside other believers amongst people seeking asylum from various Middle Eastern conflict areas. Click here to send me an email if you'd like to know more about this work, or chat about how you can be involved. We are gathering together a partnership team at the moment and hope to leave in the second half of this year.

So there's a lot of uncertainty about what I'll find when the pages of this year start flipping. The wonderfully comforting thing is that I know God has already got those pages written. I can walk through the story one day at a time - it won't always be easy - but I am confident that the ending will be glorious and that if nothing else, the journey won't be dull.

Fixing her eyes

I've recently been introduced to an excellent and beautiful website run by an group of Australian Christian women from a variety of different denominations. Their aim is to encourage and equip women to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus.

It is aptly named 'Fixing her Eyes'.

The lovely Jen, one of the founders of this website, recently  asked me to do a 'five minutes with...'  interview for them.  You can read a bit about about me and the way I try to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and check out the encouraging stories and inspiring interviews with a whole range of other Christian women. There's also a page full of great links and resources to help spur you on to run the race, looking to Jesus.  Good stuff!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)


I love singing. It's probably my absolute favourite way of praising God. This was a really fun design to draw because the shapes of instruments are already so beautiful, and it was an enjoyable challenge to fill in their outlines with intricate design.

Apart from being steadfast in love and completely just, isn't it wonderful that we have a God who was so generous in giving us the ability to make and enjoy music! He created us so that we are moved by music - it touches our hearts and emotions in an unique way, and so that we can all participate in it - whether you can sing in tune or not, play an instrument well or not, you can clap your hands, tap a spoon on a saucepan,  sway a little, or twirl around joyfully in exuberant dance. Maybe as you colour this one, you can listen to music that helps you lift your voice and your heart in musical worship to God.


This was a really fun one to draw! It took ages, which gave me lots of time to think about the great verse in the middle. This verse has been very significant to a friend of mine, and a number of women in her family who have, over the past several years, suffered from cancer, and other illnesses. It has comforted them to keep this description of God's tender love and joyful care for his people, close to their heart during times of uncertainty and suffering.

The image of God the creator exulting in joyful, exuberant song over his people (even despite his full knowledge of our failings!) is just so beautiful. Spend some time sitting with this lovely truth as you colour this page.


This was the third colouring design I drew, but I feel like it's the one which started it all - it was, among other things, the image which grabbed the attention of my now-publisher, and off we went. Beginning with an outline of my hand, I worked my way around without much of a plan, though you can see the influence of South Asian henna designs on the final product. A lot of my memories from childhood involve women getting together, telling stories and tattooing each others' hands with fine, organic lines.

I love the promise of God that He has marked our names and our stories on His hand - not by tattooing (which fades away), but far more permanently. When His people Israel were exiled from their homeland and complained that they had fallen from His memory, God's words through Isaiah the prophet are so touching:

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:13-16)

His love for us is greater than the love of a mother smitten by her newborn baby; it is never further from Him than the palm of His hand. Since I produced this image, people have contacted me to tell me how precious and reassuring this verse has been in dark hours of their lives, and I hope that as you colour and as you reflect on what God is saying, you too will know how precious you are to God.

Jars of clay

As a young teenager, I visited a place in Bahrain where clay pots were made. The image of rows and rows of brownish pots and other vessels is one which I remember very clearly! There was an area where all the smashed and broken pieces of pots were piled up too – a reminder of the fragility of the products.

This verse has been significant for me in the past few years as we’ve been on the journey towards cross cultural work overseas. I’ve so often felt inadequate for the task ahead, too weak to weather the struggles and challenges that will inevitably come, or unsure of how God could use me and my family in such a different place. Again and again I have felt God reminding me that the power is His, not mine. In my inadequacies, he is more than adequate. In my weakness, he displays his power, in my insecurity, he shows me the security that comes from belonging to him. I may be a clay pot, a bit cracked and wonky, but the treasure I hold is brilliant and worthy, because of the one who put it there. I can trust God to use this imperfect treasure carrier according to his perfect purpose, and that is so very freeing.

Banner of Love

I drew this image at the request of a lovely woman I have known from my childhood who has spent the majority of her life in Christian work far from her country of birth. She was my ‘Aunty’ growing up, and now I have the joy of knowing her as an adult. I’m inspired by her life of faithful, joyful service to Jesus in hard places. She runs quiet reflection days (among other things) in her Middle Eastern location and this verse was suggested to go with one of the reflection day themes, of what it means to be the Bride of Christ.

Similar to the woman in Song of Songs rejoicing in the love of her husband, as the bride of Christ we can rejoice in the extravagant love God displays for us. Jesus’ outstretched arms on the cross is the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful banner of love we could ever sit under. Consider the depth of God’s love for you as you colour this simple image.

Sun of righteousness


I love how the Bible is full of poetry. This short verse paints such a beautiful picture of promise for those who fear God. In Micah chapter four, this image of renewal and healing on ‘the day of the Lord’ is held up in contrast to the heavy judgement that God will bring on those who do evil. It is full of light and hope and restoration. The next part of the verse says: “you shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” What a joyful image! It is a comfort to me to think of the time when God will bring complete healing to our bodies and soul; when we’ll be bathed in the radiance of the Son of Righteousness on his return.

No Fear in Love

This verse is particularly significant to a friend of mine. She writes: “It took me a long time to become a Christian – about two years of investigating. One night, sitting under the stars at a camp, one of my youth leaders shared this verse with me. It really spoke to me as a fiercely independent seventeen year-old who didn’t want to hand my life over to someone else. I realised that when that someone else loves you perfectly, there is nothing to fear. My life is safe for eternity. Now I am preparing to leave for Japan as a missionary and when people ask me why I’d choose to take my kids out of Australia into a different culture, I come back to this verse. There are many things to be worried about when moving overseas, but if I trust my life to a God who is perfect in love, then shouldn’t I trust him with my kids? I do not need to fear for them when the God who made them loves them even more than I do.”

Who is like you?

This verse is my sister’s favourite. I love the way it describes God’s character – unique in its breathtaking majesty. I wanted to mimic this bold description in the style of design surrounding the verse, so I decided on sweeping geometric shapes and lines, with a few very detailed sections to remind us of the stunning intricacy of creation. As you colour this one, let your heart soar and your mind marvel and overflow in praise to our mighty God – majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders.

Like The Rain


I just love the imagery of this verse, and I really enjoyed drawing the little raindrops full of design. I can’t wait to see it coloured! I originally just lettered the words ‘He will come to you as the rain’, but later decided to include the rest of the verse as it added so much more depth to the picture of God painted here.

I hope you’re encouraged by this page to press on to ‘know the LORD’, who has given us his Word, so rich with beautiful imagery that helps us grasp in small, human ways, something of the vast, faithful, majestic God that He is.

Do not be anxious

This design should keep you busy for a while! When I was deciding which verse to put with this design (also used for the cover), I wanted to choose one that would be helpful to meditate on over a long period of time. The message of Philippians 4:6 is something I need to be reminded of constantly!

Since I started illustrating scripture outside the private confines of my own journal, I have heard stories of people for whom colouring is a tool to help manage anxiety, by promoting mindfulness, focusing on one thing at a time, and making the lovely repetitive motion of moving pen or pencil over paper. It’s creative, but without the pressure of a blank page staring back at you when you start. I’ve also heard from people for whom this method of Scripture meditation is one of the few ways they can focus on Scripture in a sustained way without feeling anxious or overwhelmed. I wanted this book to contain passages that point colourers towards God – our refuge, a safe place, strong and big enough to handle our anxieties when we cast them on him. Maybe as you colour this one, you could spend the time in prayer, giving your anxieties to God, and, as your hands are creatively occupied, letting your heart rest a while in his care.

New Creation

My hope is that as people add their colour to the artwork on this page, they will stop to reflect for a time on how amazing it is that in Christ, we are re-made! The butterfly is symbolic of this transformation – one creature becomes a new, much more beautiful one!

I have had the joy of being in a Bible study group for a few years with a lovely woman. A little while after I met her, she described herself and her life to me before she came to know the forgiveness and change that comes from knowing Jesus. Her story was riddled with broken relationships, guilt, lies and deep sadness. Having only known her from our Bible study group, and for only a short time, I almost didn’t believe what she told me. My friend talked about the transformation that took place as she understood grace and as she laid the guilt and sin of her past at the foot of the cross. She found total, life re-defining, joy-giving, soul-renewing newness in Christ. In Christ, she delights in reading God’s Word and does so diligently. In Christ, she is patient and faithful and seeks God’s will so prayerfully. Her old self has gone and the new one is here to stay. When I was drawing this verse, her story was in my mind and I thanked God for the renewing, changing work he does in each person who comes with a heart soft to be changed.

Everything Beautiful

You don’t have to be a pessimist to realise that things are not always beautiful as we live this life ‘under the sun’. There is a massive amount of ugly, violent and hateful stuff that goes on, and it can feel simply overwhelming, even for an optimist like me! However, the sweet hope which comes from knowing that God will put things right in time – His time – and turn this messed up world into something beautiful again, is a great comfort to me. When I see things that are beautiful around me now, I can think to the greater, lasting, complete beauty that is promised, and thank God all the more. The designs around this verse are the kind I love to do with henna. They flow out of my pen easily and I find it calming to draw this way. I’d love to henna this verse on the heart of women who struggle to see beauty in themselves and in the everyday tasks of life, as a way of reminding them of God’s restoring, beautifying plan, a plan that is already accomplished in part, and one day will be accomplished in full.


I love the imagery in this verse and I have a particularly special friend for whom it is a favourite. She’s one of those people whose quiet trust and confidence in God gives her an amazing inner beauty which really draws people, kind of like the cool, spreading shade of a huge tree. She grows stronger and more beautiful each year as she soaks up the living water of God’s Word. I also absolutely love trees, so I’m excited that I got to draw one for this book.


This verse has been stuck on my dresser mirror for years. I remember putting it there during a particularly sleep-deprived stage of motherhood, soon after the birth of my second child, and thinking that I could do with the reminder. In my face. Every day. For such a clear, simple instruction, it is incredibly hard to do, but to rejoice, to pray always and to be thankful in everything requires God’s enabling, so this verse always drives me back to prayer and to dependence on God. I hope as people colour this one that they are reminded of God’s will for them in Jesus, and they’ll be spurred on to remember the God who hears prayers and makes us able to rejoice. The designs are what would probably would end up on a bit of paper if I sat and spoke on the phone to you with a pen in my hand, so consider this artwork a warm conversation with a friend as you colour it.


This was the last drawing I did for this collection, but it really is my prayer for this book: that as I draw, as others add their creative finishes to my drawings, and as we all together meditate on God’s nature and goodness and love through his Word, our meditation might be pleasing to God. This design came together quite easily in the end. I wanted the lettering to be simple and calming, and the designs to be flowing and clear. I have an ongoing love (read: slight obsession) with leaves, so it was fun adding all kinds of leaf shapes to the vines in a whimsical, eclectic plant design.

The How and the Why

Firstly, WOW. I would never in a million years have expected the kind of response to 'Meditations' that there has been since I started posting out pre-orders (earlier than expected) a couple of weeks ago. It has been overwhelming, and I wanted to say thank-you to those who have bought the book, given lovely feedback, shared stories, or posted your coloured images on the Facebook group ('Colouring In Truth', in case you have just arrived!) Incidentally, we are organising the second print run already, as we've almost sold out of the first one...and we haven't quite got to the 'official' release date of October 1st.


But enough of my staggering around in shock.

Over the past few months I have been asked quite a few times about why I chose particular verses to include in the book, how I decide what designs to do, and what goes through my head as I draw them. I wanted to share a bit of the story behind each of the images and verses from the book, in case it can be an encouragement to you, or at least satisfies some of the curiosity you may or may not have had about my thinking behind the book.

I'm going to do a series of blog posts - one each day for the next 18 days, with a short blurb about the artworks in the book. This will also coincide with the release of the individual digital images available to license for use with groups (over at www.firewheelpress.com). I hope you follow along and enjoy the sneak peak into my brain and heart - me behind the pen.

We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become so dear to us.
I Thessalonians 2:8 (HCSB)



The first gathering of our Colouring In Truth facebook community happened last Saturday! It was lovely to meet the real people behind their profile pictures, and see a room full of relaxed women colouring, talking and eating cake. It's a special thing to connect like that. Strangers who are sisters, reflecting and colouring, drinking tea, sharing life.