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!)

Unless it Dies...

I’ve been meditating and thinking on this verse today:

“what you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” 1 Corinthians 15:36

And it reminded me of what Jesus said in John 12:24:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

A seed must die and be buried before it can produce new life.

If all seems dark and dead and it feels like I’ve been buried – maybe I’m really just being planted – and maybe God is about to do something new.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

God is the expert at bringing dead things to life, of making ways through the wilderness where there is no way, of turning deserts into gardens and producing bountiful harvests from tiny dead seeds.

It’s pretty incredible, really…how He can take something old and dead and make it new and alive. Like He did for me, and for all who believe in Him.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Just as He gives new life to those who believe in Him, He can breathe new life into the broken parts of our stories, too.

The old is passed away, and all things are made new.

But there is a dying in the process – new life is not possible apart from death.

So maybe that thing that is dying…that place where you are that seems so dark and feels like death…that hard thing that is leaving you feeling buried and alone…maybe, just maybe, you are not being buried so much as you are being planted.

So when you feel buried and things get dark and light is hard to find...hold on – He is doing what only He can do and working a miracle through the dying, bringing something new to life from the broken and buried pieces.

This is the hope we have in our resurrected Lord – that the dead can be given new life – and that death is not the end of the story, but a beautiful new beginning.