Every Season Has a Story

It's summertime!!! 
I read a quote once that said, "every summer has a story." I love that. I tend to think of a lot of things in terms of stories anyway, so this quote really struck me. And the more I think about it, the more I think it can also be said that every season has a story.

In every season of the year, every season of our lives…there is a story being written and woven through it all.

What will our stories say? What kind of legacy will the stories of our days leave for those who follow behind us?

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The summer season is one way I’ve always measured our family time. It seems our years are divided into school days and summer days, with a few holidays mixed in between. 

When my girls were younger, the days were long and the end seemed so far away. So many summers of adventures were ahead of us, I don't know that I really took the time to be very intentional with the time…because it felt like we had so much of it.

But as they grow older, the days seem to be moving faster and the summers are shorter and we’re closing in on the last handful of family summers before they graduate high school and our time together shifts. Sure, we’ll still have some summer time and adventures together…but it won’t quite be the same once they are off on their own and beginning their own adventures.

My oldest just finished 9th grade, so she only has 3 summers (including this one!) left before graduation, and my youngest has just 5.

Just a handful of summers left.

That could be really depressing if I think about it too much, and I could curl up in the fetal position and cry for hours about how fast it’s passing and how little time we really have left and worry that I haven’t done nearly everything that I had hoped.

OR…I could choose instead to embrace each season and the story it is writing in our family, and in each of our lives. Because these days are precious and fleeting, and the only way to slow it down is to be fully present in it.

I don’t want to be distracted…I don’t want to be so busy that I don’t take time to slow and savor these summers, and each of the seasons--of the year and of our life--while we have them.

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Our family is actually facing a pretty major season of change in the weeks and months ahead. (I’ll share more on that soon ;) ) But there are a lot of exciting (but also kinda scary) new things on the horizon that will definitely impact the story that is told through the future seasons of our family.

And the one thing I want to do as we walk through these changes together is to remain intentional and present through every step of the journey. And that includes the story of this summer.

What is written on our hearts through the pages of these days will become part of the greater story that God is writing through each of our lives.

Every season has a story.

And I want to be intentional about the words that fill the days of this season’s story…I want the moments that we share to be like words that strengthen our souls and our family: the kind of words that point to Christ, that draw us close, that bring us joy, that comfort our hearts, that light our steps, and that remind us of the continual and abundant goodness and grace of God.

So I’m spending less time online and more time being present in real life instead. I’m saying no to some good things so I can say yet to the best things. I’m marking the calendar and setting aside intentional time for fun and adventure together. I’m putting down my phone and picking up a paint brush, a deck of cards, a book, a mixing bowl, my hiking shoes, my daughters' hands.

Because how we fill our days is how we shape the story of our lives.

What kind of story does your summer hold? What kinds of words are filling your season today?

Whatever you are facing, whatever kind of story is taking shape in your life, you can be confident that God sees you and He loves you and He has a plan for you. The question is, will we trust Him to hold the pen…?

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You can get this free “Every Season has a Story” printable, along with other monthly goodies, when you subscribe to Little House Studio!  This free 5x7 printable is being emailed to all my subscribers along with their monthly June freebies (a calendar, planning sheets, lock screens and more!). Subscribe now and I’ll send it all to you too!

Happy Summer, friends! May the days of this summer weave a beautiful story of grace into your lives.

The Waves and Wind Still Know His Name

There are storms that bear down like a hurricane, destroying the things we've held dear.

The work of our hands and the treasures we've collected can crumble beneath the weight of the wind and the waves.

There are inner storms that can rage and change the landscape of a soul.

So many of us on this broken planet are facing storms of one kind or another.

Harvey left a sea of devastation last week. Irma is bearing down on us this week.

Our little family is watching the weather closely and hunkering down this weekend. We live in central Georgia and could be in the direct path of the storm this time. Though we won't get the worst of it, we're still preparing for storms. School has already been canceled Monday. Evacuees, friends from our south, have flooded into our little town and filled every hotel room.

The needs are great. The fears are felt. But our God is still in control.

This song has been on replay in my heart the last couple of days...it is like a balm to my often-anxious heart: 

"It Is Well"

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see

And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

It is well it is well with my soul
ahhhhhhh (softly)

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

It's hard to not be anxious and uncertain when so many are suffering and facing so much destruction in so many places around our beautiful broken world. But God is still good. I may not understand why there is so much suffering, why there are so many storms - on our land, in our souls. But I do know that He is calling to us...drawing us near to Himself. He loves us. HE is our peace, even in the middle of the storm...especially in the middle of the storms.

We don't have to be afraid.

Ann Voskamp wrote,
"In the midst of storms, all our storms, this is always true:
Sometimes God will calm the storm for you —  but sometimes God will calm you for the storm.
Sometimes God calms the storms — and sometimes the storm stills swirl and He calms our fears.
All storms only still to the sound of One Voice."

and

"The Wounded God does not say, “Do not fear, I will give you all the answers.”
He does not say, “Do not fear, I will take away all your pain.”
He does not say, “Do not fear, I will do whatever you all think.”
The Wounded God who is the one High, Almighty Wise God, who says it like a wide open embrace:
'Do not fear — for I am here.' "

He is here. He is right here. As the waves rise and the wind howls and the future is a thick cloud of uncertainty...God is right here, with us. And we can rest in Him and say with confidence, "It is well with my soul."

Praying for those facing the uncertainty of incoming storms, for those picking up the pieces from storms that have past, and for those being tossed to and fro by wind and waves in the middle of a storm that threatens to destroy the things you hold dear. Hold tight to the One who is holding you through it all...He is the unmovable, unshakable, unwavering God who loves you more than you can imagine.Trust Him. Rest in Him. He holds. 

Be Thou My Vision {free printable}

Be Thou My Vision
a traditional hymn from Ireland

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heav'n's Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate'er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

Be Thou My Vision || Little House Studio
Be Thou My Vision || Free Printable || Little House Studio

Be Thou my vision, Jesus…

When darkness is pressing in, may You be the Light that guides me.

When it’s hard to see, may I seek Your face.

When doubts overwhelm me, may I rest in Your promises.

When things are falling apart, may I trust that you are holding me, holding everything, together.

When the future is uncertain, may I trust Your Word.

When I’m sinking, may I reach for Your hand.

When the world gets loud, may I listen and hear Your voice.

When I am lonely, may You be my Constant Companion.

When my heart is aching, may You be my Comforter.

When it’s hard to breathe, may Your grace be my breath.

When my soul is weary, may You be my Rest.

When the days are long and stressful, may You be my Peace.

When fear creeps in, may You be my Courage.

When I’m broken, may You be my Hope.

When this world wears me out and breaks me down and stomps on my heart a bit, may You be my vision, the only One I seek…because You are always good and You always love and You’ve already won.

So help me remember.
Help me see.

Help me really see.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

Be Thou My Vision || Little House Studio

Free Printable for your heart and mine: Be Thou My Vision 6x6 Printable

The Faith of Abraham {a free printable}

So I read this passage in Romans 4 this morning, where Paul describes the faith of Abraham:

"In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, 'So shall your offspring be.' He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was 'counted to him as righteousness.' " (Romans 4:18-22, ESV)

Isn't that just incredible?!
Earlier in the chapter, Paul explains how Abraham's righteousness was not based on works...it was not because he obeyed the Law or because he was circumcised. (Seriously, the entire chapter is packed with incredible truth...I may be mulling over it all for a while...) But basically it all boils down to this: "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." (v.3)

Abraham believed God.

Oh, to have the faith of Abraham: A faith that believes God, no matter what. A faith that trusts in the God "who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist" (v.17). A faith that does not waver, even when faced with seemingly hopeless circumstances. A faith that is "fully convinced" that God is able to do what He has promised. A faith that grows stronger and gives glory to God even through the waiting.

I say I have this kind of faith, but do I live it? Do I walk it every day?

Would someone be able to say, years after I am gone, that "Jennifer believed God." Just those three words...that's really all I ever want to be known for.

The Faith of Abraham || Romans 4:20-21 || Free Printable || Little House Studio
Trust and Obey || Little House Studio

Oh, to "walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had..." (v.12)

...to let go of the worry and the doubt and simply trust.

...to embrace the seasons (the years, the decades even) of waiting and to grow in faith and give God glory...even and especially through all the waiting and the long hard days of unfulfilled promises and no answers.

...to look beyond what seems impossible and believe in the God who daily does the impossible. (After all, He's the God who raises the dead and has made all things from nothing...He can do anything!)

...to simply and fully and completely just believe God.

In hope, to believe against hope.

The Faith of Abraham || Romans 4:20-21 || Free Printable || Little House Studio

My encouragement for you this weekend, my friends is this:

Remember that God is good.
He loves you.
You can trust Him.
He will do what He says He will do.
Even when your circumstances seem hopeless...in hope, believe against hope...be fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised.
It may not look the way you thought it would, it may not happen as fast as you would like, it may not make sense and you may not understand it all right now...but God can be trusted, He loves you more than you can ever imagine, and His plans for you are good...He is working everything together for your good and His glory.
So give Him glory.
Even in the waiting, even in the storms, even in the hardest days...believe God and give Him glory, and your faith will grow.

I don't know about you, but I forget these truths. I tend to worry and try to take matters into my own hands...I want things to work out the way I want them to work out, and to work out yesterday. ;)

So I doodled out two of these verses, and then made a little printable...to stick in my Bible or hang on my wall, to remind me to "walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had"...to have an unwavering, fully-convinced kind of faith...every single day.

You can download the 8x10 printable for free here:

Illustrated version
(works great as a coloring page too!)