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All the Pretty Pens

Aug 10, 2020

This post is by Hannah Oxley.

I was nine years old when I discovered my happy place. I grew up in a small town that was exactly 93 minutes from the nearest Target (or Tar-gét, as we lovingly called it). It was June, and I remember standing on my tippy-toes while I reached my fingers toward the stack of freshly printed school supply lists in the tiered cardboard display. My heart beamed with pride as I clutched the crisp sheet of paper to my chest, and Mom led us to the “Back-to-School” section. Hours later, my younger sister’s list was long finished while I weighed the pros and cons of buying a 4-pack of double-sided glitter pens or a 12-pack of felt tipped pens (no glitter). I’m happy to acknowledge how nerdy I was as an almost-fourth-grader. I’d found my happy place and realized how much joy there was in making something beautiful. There was no doubt in my mind -- I was going to be a creator.

In the years that followed, my bookshelves have seen dozens of journals and sketch pads, every page serving as a window into my head or my heart, illuminated by a variety of inks and mediums I absolutely cherished. I lost myself in anger and found myself in Jesus. I bought the first Bible that truly felt like it was meant for me, and I poured my time and energy into studying the words my heart so desperately needed, and I did so by imitating the believers in my life. And I hated it. 

I knew that “quiet time” with God was supposed to make me feel closer to Him. I knew that I was supposed to be learning from the mistakes and the victories of the early Church. I knew that it was “supposed” to be a lot of things, and yet every morning I spent in the Word felt forced, like an assignment I’d waited to complete until the night before it was due. There was no connection between the words on the page and the vessel I hoped they would fill: my heart. In my first year as a true Child of God, I felt like a poser, at best. Where were all of the “Wow, God!” moments my friends seemed to experience daily? Was I doing God time wrong? 

Yeah, I was.

God made His people to desire connection, both to Himself and to His children, and God time is meant to be a fragment of our day where we commit ourselves entirely to fostering the connection between ourselves and our Creator. The part of God time I was doing wrong was believing there was only one way to connect with God. How silly it was to think that the God who crafted the galaxy would confine Himself to a single form of connection?  

I am a creator, yet I believed the lie that God didn’t want to see that part of me during our time together. I taught myself to do God Time in the least creative way possible. Friends, this is not what God wants for His beloved. 

We serve the single most creative being in the universe. He gave us voices like Adele’s, hearts like Mother Teresa's, and painters like Bob Ross (or, you know, Michelangelo). He gave us His word as His foundation, knowing that our unique hearts and minds would store up His Wisdom in a million different ways. 

If drawing the “coat of many colors” helps me resonate with Joseph’s story, that’s God time. Writing out my angry, sinful thoughts with a red fountain pen before using a black ballpoint pen to write out biblical truths to fight my sin? Also God time. If painting, or drawing, or journaling, or singing, or walking, or running, or dancing, or baking draw us closer to the Lord, make no mistake, He delights in you.

Friends, what sweeter way to spend time with our Heavenly Father than inviting Him into what we love? 


Hannah Oxley is a teacher, a blogger, and an avid reader. When she’s not working on her first middle-grade novel, she can be found sipping coffee at her favorite independent bookstore or roaming the aisles of Trader Joe’s.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


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