The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

The ESV Illuminated Bible

We are so blessed to have a Christian bookstore not too far from our house. In fact, it’s right on my way home from Bible Study Fellowship, so I am tempted every single week to stop and browse.

I never feel pulled in by Barnes & Noble…but then, most of their books are ones I wouldn’t waste my time on (if I’m quite honest). But put me inside a Christian bookstore, full of books about the God I love and how to be more like Him…and I’m enchanted.

Sometimes I visit the Bible aisle, not because I *need* another Bible…but because I *like* Bibles. There are so many beautiful covers, beautiful illustrations, beautiful type…And I think I love that because God’s Word is beautiful. So isn’t it fitting that it looks beautiful to match its content?

So when I was asked to try out a new Bible, I just couldn’t help myself. The ESV Illuminated Bible is beautiful.

Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about this Bible:
The ESV Illuminated Bible places the full ESV text alongside over 500 elegantly hand-lettered gold ink illustrations by renowned artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed on thick cream-colored paper, the Bible’s single-column text setting and wide margins provide generous space for additional notes, prayers, and designs – inviting readers to creatively engage with and reflect on the beauty of God’s Word.

I’ve been enjoying this Bible for a few weeks now, and here are the things I’ve noticed about it…(We’ll start with the negatives.)

Although this Bible has the entirety of the ESV text (a translation that I love), it does not have a concordance in the back. I do love having that handy index that helps me when I’m sitting in Sunday School thinking about a particular text…and I cannot for the life of me remember the reference. Sure, my Bible app can search for me…but I’m still a paper Bible kind of girl (obviously).

Along the same lines, this Bible also doesn’t have cross-references or footnotes. I do so love to know where Scripture texts are cross-referenced, and if I’m using this Bible, I have to access another resource to find out this information.

Beauty. There are many beautiful gold illustrations throughout, including full-page illustrations. Dana Tanamachi designed a full-page illustration for the beginning of each book of the Bible, and she has provided an explanation for the way she designed each of these particular pages at the back of the book.

Also, though I wouldn’t call these *thick* pages, they are thicker pages than the tissue-paper-thin pages of most Bibles. The text is single-column and the margins are wide. These things are super helpful for those of you who are artsy-fartsy Bible journalers. 😉 I wish I was talented in this arena, but even I have loved the extra room for notetaking.

This particular Bible comes with a hard, cloth-covered cover in a permanent slipcover box.

My conclusion?
This is a spectacular journaling/art Bible. It’s a beautiful, creative way to read and meditate on God’s Word.

It’s not a study Bible. As I mentioned above, there aren’t concordances, cross-references, footnotes…There are no study notes or maps. But of course, all of these things are accessible elsewhere.

This would be a great gift for a loved one this Christmas. It can be found at,, or at your local Christian book retailer.

Check out this video for more information on how it was made.

I actually really hate doing giveaways…BUT I know a few of my friends would love to try this new Bible. So, you have a week to comment on this post in order to be entered into the drawing for a free copy. What I’d like to know is this: What’s your favorite way to study God’s Word?

I’ll draw a winner Saturday, November 25 at noon.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


It’s a bit surreal realizing that Daddy and I are parents of a teenager.



You know, our culture often disparages teenagers and makes the parents of younger children fear the teen years. People talk about how horrible teenagers are and how difficult those years are…And sure, we might face some hard things together.

But hear this, my little teenager: I really like you.

I don’t just love you, like I have to because I’m your mom. I like you. You’re fun. And funny. And beautiful and witty. And you quote movies at just the right times to make everyone laugh, which is obviously a trait you got from your father. 😉 You are diligent with your schoolwork and super responsible with your siblings, especially the babies. I can’t imagine trying to run our crazy household without all your help.

God made you to be amazing, and you are. I know He has big plans for you – to do good things for His kingdom, like it says in Ephesians 2:10. I can’t wait to see how it plays out. Just keep your eyes on Him.

I love you, darling Grace. Happy 13th birthday.

Words matter.

I’ve been increasingly convinced that every word we speak matters.

In early 2016, our family started focusing on Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

It’s nearly two years later, and we’re still working on it EVERY DAY. This is hard! It’s hard to speak words of kindness and grace, building others up instead of tearing them down. Especially for those we live with every day, who see our grumpiest, meanest, angriest moods. It’s hard to stop our tongues from spewing venom when we feel attacked or unfairly treated. (Have you ever read James chapter 3?)

And these are just words we’re speaking to and about human beings.

Even more important, we must speak true words about God.

I sat under someone’s teaching recently who was overly committed to her analogy. Friends, analogies have limits. Please, PLEASE, if you ever speak about God – remain more committed to His Word than to your analogy. In the beginning, her word picture made sense, but as the talk went on, she started saying things about God that, at best, didn’t make sense, and, at worst, lied about Him.

“God never leaves an equation unbalanced.”


Please don’t speak about God unless you’re going to say things about Him that His word verifies are true.

In our culture, we are often tempted to overstate things…And honestly, we cannot overstate God’s unchanging character: His love, His patience with us, His sacrifice, etc, etc. Those things are more vast than we could ever describe.

But choose your words carefully, lest you mislead others and cause them to believe lies about God. What a huge responsibility we all bear.

The easiest way to speak truth about God is through His own Words about Himself:

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 103:8

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

And one of my personal favorites:
“Everything in the heavens and earth is Yours, Oh Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and You are the ruler of all mankind; Your hand controls power and might, and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength.” I Chronicles 29:11-12

May God keep our mouths shut when we’re about to utter wrong words, and open when He gives us words of grace and truth to speak.

Faith in the Night

God gives us good gifts. I’m still reveling in that thought more than 4 months after Lilah’s adoption was final.

If you weren’t one of the many friends and family members who experienced the big day with us, I want to share with you the letter I read at court.


Just a year and a week ago, we were sitting in this courtroom celebrating the finalization of Malachi’s adoption, and you were a tiny baby snuggled up on Daddy’s chest.

During the time preceeding Kai’s adoption, I learned that I can trust God in times of waiting. There were many prayers and tears as we contemplated jumping into the world of orphan care.

But it was different with you.

I will never forget the call from our licensor saying, “Malachi has a baby sister. She was born yesterday, and we need to know today if you want to take her.”

24 hours later, we met you in the hospital nursery and brought you home to meet your siblings. It was a whirlwind.

I think the greatest thing I have learned over this past year is that God gives us good gifts – beautiful, amazing, breathtaking blessings – that are sometimes unexpected and could never be earned. His love is delightful and lavish. You remind me of this every day. We didn’t expect you…but you were the best surprise. There is nothing we did to deserve the blessing of you, but here we are promising to love you forever.

You, my love, are a precious gift from God.

We chose your new name, Lilah Faith, not only because we thought it was pretty or because Malachi kept shouting “Lilah!” over and over when that one came up…but also because of its meaning. “Lilah” means “night,” and I’m sure you will face some dark things in your life, whether it’s coming to terms with the circumstances surrounding your birth, removal from your birth mom, and adoption OR other struggles God allows you to face. Our prayer for you is that you walk through these things with a steadfast and abiding faith in the One who made you and loves you. Lilah Faith – “faith in the night.” That’s our hope and prayer for you.

We promise to do everything we can to help you grow into the woman that God made you to be, with your unique and special gifts and good things God already has planned for you to do. We can’t wait to watch your beautiful life unfold.


…Now, as we reach the end of the legal process, we’d like to thank you.

To Judge Hillary and his staff, thank you for enduring the difficult and sad parts of your job so that we can sit here today and begin our “happily ever after.”

To our amazing social workers at DABSJ, thank you for putting your hearts into your jobs and spending your days advocating for children and families. You’re making a positive difference in our world, and you’ve certainly made a positive difference in our family! We are thankful for you!

To our family – thank you for choosing to love our babies unreservedly regardless of who birthed them or how they joined our family. Our kids are so blessed to have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who love them.

To our church family and friends – I can’t imagine our lives without the incredible support system God has built around us. We are so blessed to be surrounded by people who are living lives surrendered to Jesus. We’ve obviously been impacted by those who actively live out God’s call to care for the orphans – Dana, the Perrons, the Perrys, the Sturmans, the Simonises, Cheri Kay, the Hoeflingers…Your boldness and courage inspires us and emboldens us. But we’re also so thankful for those of you who haven’t fostered or adopted but have prayed or brought a meal or loved our babies. Thank you for using your own unique gifts and abilities to encourage us and build up the church.

To Luke – thank you for taking the huge leap of faith into foster care and adoption. You lead our family well, with love and humor, pointing us all to Jesus. You’re the only one I’d want to experience this crazy adventure with, and I’m so thankful our kids have such an awesome daddy.

To Grace, Caleb, Ava, Jaden, and Kai – you are such great big siblings to Lilah, and I’m so thakful for the ways you demonstrate love and compassion and responsibility. You are each an important part of our family, and it’s fun to watch your unique gifts and abilities develop. Keep loving Jesus above all else!

And most importantly, to the One who orchestrated the events of our lives so that we’d be in this courtroom today – thank you, God. We could never earn your love and forgiveness, yet you give it freely through the gift of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. This adoption is just a small picture of how you take us – regardless of our own merit – and wrap us up in your eternal love and keep us forever in your family. We certainly don’t deserve your love, but we couldn’t live without it.

Thank you for blessing us with these six little lives to nurture and raise. Please give us the wisdom and patience and grace and humor that it takes to thrive in the midst of the noise and chaos of our busy home. More than anything, we want these kids to know and love you, so please equip us to guide them to that place.


Happy adoption day, Lilah Faith!



How can it only be three years since you came into the world and changed our lives forever? SO MUCH has changed in our family since God gave us His love for you, and we are SO THANKFUL that He did it.

But then when I look at all the newborn photos Miss Dana took of you, it feels like it might have just been yesterday.

Time is elusive.

This I know:

You are a gift from God, fearfully and wonderfully made. Your beautiful eyes are captivating. Your laugh is pure joy. Your smile makes me smile.

You are quick to encourage. “I love you, Mama.” “Your eyes pretty, Mama.” “Hug me, Mama!” I hope you never lose that sweetness.

You love to laugh. And that makes all of us laugh.

You have come SO FAR since that time 3 years ago when you were a tiny, sick baby. We didn’t know what healing God would give you, and we are so thankful for your amazing development. You can run and jump and somersault and string together great sentences.

One of my favorite things about you is the way you remind us of the love that God has for us. He loves us – adores us, cares for us, died for us – because of no merit of our own. Just because He is good. And the way He brought you into our family reminds us of His love all the time.

Happy 3rd birthday, my sweet boy. I love you so much.

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