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 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."


"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. 

Lettering for the Lord - a challenge for me & free printables for you!

Letter for the Lord Lettering Plan by Krystal Whitten

This month I have decided to jump in on Krystal Whitten's "Letter for the Lord" lettering challenge over on Instagram. I love her heart behind her work, and her lettering is absolutely beautiful. You can see more of her work on her website or IG.

A challenge like this not only encourages me to practice my own lettering skills daily, but it's also a great way to focus on God's Word every day...and to share it with you!

So I decided to try to turn some of these daily lettering challenges into printables that you can download and print for your home.  Links to all the printables of these verses is at the end of this post. I'll be adding to this list often throughout the month (you can follow me on IG to find out when a new printable is available). Hurry and snag your free printables now...they will only be available for a limited time! :) (I may turn some of them into prints in my little shop, with possibly some full-color versions as well...but for now, the sketches are all free to download! Enjoy!!)

And I'd LOVE to see your own lettering of these verses! You can jump in on the challenge at any all the details over on Krystal's site, and share your handwritten verses on IG! (You don't have to have any special handwriting or lettering skills, either...just write out God's Word and share His truths to encourage your own heart and others. Remember, "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.") :)


Not just a lot of talk...

“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20

 (click the image to download the free printable of 1 Corinthians 4:20)

(click the image to download the free printable of 1 Corinthians 4:20)

1 Corinthians 4:20 || Little House Studio

This verse has really been convicting me this week.

Because I can say what I believe and I can post words and thoughts on social media all day long, but it’s how I LIVE that reveals the truth of what I really believe, and reflects what is really actually important to me.

What I do says more about the condition of my heart than what I say.

You know a tree by its fruit.

God has really been working in my heart lately, convicting me to go beyond just saying what is important to me and what I care about and DOING something about it. I’ve been doing a lot of self-evaluating lately, a lot of introspection...asking a lot of hard questions and asking God to reveal the truth of my heart.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!" Psalm 139:23

First I've been asking, does my heart align with Christ’s? Not with that author I like or with that person I admire or with that article I read on Facebook or with some political agenda or some good-sounding idea or even my emotions or what “feels right”…but does my heart align with CHRIST? Is my soul in tune with His Spirit? Is my world view aligned with HIS Word, and are my beliefs aligned with HIS heart? (This requires some deep and dedicated time in His Word, and some fervent and intentional time in prayer…this is something I am still doing…I’m still asking, still seeking, still knocking.)

And then, do my actions line up with my words? What does the way I live reveal about my heart? Do my actions reflect Christ in me?

Am I just a lot of talk…or am I living by God’s power?

 (click for the free printable)

(click for the free printable)

That’s convicting, right there. Or at least, it has deeply convicted me.

Because the thing is, I’m not going to change your opinion about anything by yelling mine.

But...I might just make a difference in your life by setting mine aside and doing something to show you the love of Jesus.

I’m not going to be able to wipe out poverty or starvation in all of the world by simply writing a blog post or sharing an article on Facebook.

But...I can share a meal with a hungry neighbor or donate food to places that feed the homeless or volunteer to serve people in need.

I can’t mend all the brokenness in our culture and our world. I can’t stop all the fear and the fighting and all the hateful words.

But I can reach across the lines and choose to see the souls that Jesus died for and act in love anyway.

I can’t fix all the problems. I don’t honestly even fully understand all the problems.

But I can sit down beside someone who is different than me – who looks different than me, or believes different than me, or has a different opinion about something than me, or is passionate about something different than I am – and I can listen to their story. Because everyone has a story. Every single person on this entire planet has a story that brought them to this very moment. And every single person on this planet was created by God, in the image of God, and loved by God. Every single person. And not a single person is beyond the redeeming power of the blood of Jesus. Not a single person.

There is no person, no people group, no country that is fundamentally more worthy or more valuable or more loved by God than another. Jesus died for ALL. For everyone. His love is not conditional on your place of birth or color of your skin or economic status…so why should mine be?

1 Corinthians 4:20 || Little House Studio

I can’t help everyone, but I can help someone.

I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

And the something I’m called to do may not look exactly the same as the something that you are called to do. But that doesn’t mean we are against each other, or that what I’m doing is more important than what you are doing or vice versa. Now, there are some things that God calls all of us to do:

“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” Isaiah 1:17 NLT
“Do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop murdering the innocent!” Jeremiah 22:3
“ Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44
“…what does the
Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

We are all called to do these things. But just as the parts of the body have different functions, I believe God burdens each of our hearts in different specific ways to fulfill His Kingdom purposes.

There are so many ways to serve God…so many ways to share the love of Jesus…so many people in this world to love. If we are willing to open our eyes to the needs around us, it won’t take long for God to reveal someone we can serve and love and help.

So if God burdens my heart specifically for a family in my neighborhood, I should do all that I can to help them and serve them and show them the love of Jesus.

If God burdens my heart for the homeless man begging on the corner, I should do all that I can to help him and serve him and show him the love of Jesus.

If God burdens my heart for single moms, I should do all that I can to help them and serve them and show them the love of Jesus.

If God burdens my heart for foster kids, I should do all that I can to help them and serve them and show them the love of Jesus.

If God burdens my heart for prisoners, or for a local school, or for veterans or pastors or widows or military families or police officers or a minority group…or anyone…I should do all that I can to help them and serve them and show them the love of Jesus.

And if God burdens my heart for refugees, regardless of their country of origin or religion or what they wear or what language they speak…if God reveals a need and burdens my heart, I should do all that I can to help and serve and love them.

And none of these are mutually exclusive. It’s not either/or scenario…we are called to love ALL and serve ALL and help ALL. We are called to see the image of God in every. single. person. And to extend the love of Jesus and share the Good News with every. single. person.

Veterans and refugees, widows and orphans, prisoners and police officers, our neighbors and our enemies.

And we are especially called to stand in the gap for the oppressed and the poor and the widows and the orphans and the hungry and the least of these.

Jesus said, “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.  I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Matthew 25:31-46 NLT

I don't know about you, but these verses deeply convict me.

If I see the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the prisoner…if I see a person who needs the love of Jesus, I should feed them and give them drink and invite them in and visit them.

But do I do that? Really?

If I see a need, I should do something, in the power of God, to meet that need.

Realistically, obviously, I personally can’t help everyone who needs help in this entire big beautiful broken world…but I can help someone. **AND I can cheer you on as you love and help the people God has called you to serve and help and love.**

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, but it is also much bigger than the boxes we like to put around it, and the Body of Christ needs all of its parts to fully function and have maximum effect in this broken and hurting world.

“so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4:14-16 (ESV)

As followers of Jesus, we’re all in this thing together.

None of us can do everything…but we each can do something.

But our faith has to be more than just a lot of talk…we need to live by God’s power and DO what He has called us to do.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

If we all just did that…if *I* would just do that…

So, to that end…I’ve decided to not just talk about what I think we should do, and instead go and do something. I’m going to do what I can with what I have where I am.

God has been burdening my heart for refugees for over a year now. I’ve prayed for them, given to organizations that serve them, and I’ve shared my heart for them a few times. But God has really convicted me lately about being more than just a lot of talk…He is calling me to put hands and feet to my words and do something.

I know…right now in our country, the topic of refugees is a heated and polarizing debate. There is currently a ban on any new refugees entering our country. Many are speaking out against this. Many are speaking out in favor of it. Many are silent.

Please understand my heart…I am deeply aching, over all of this. I have been researching and listening and praying and reading God’s Word and seeking Him desperately.

Here’s the thing…this is not an either/or choice for me.

You see, I LOVE our military. My dad was in the Air Force, and I grew up all over the world as a military kid. I could not love our military more or be more thankful for their sacrifices and service. But I ALSO love refugees and immigrants. To say I love one is not saying I don’t love the other. Love is not mutually exclusive. As Shannan Martin says, “Love never divides, it always always multiplies.” I believe with all my heart that I can care for both, stand up for both, have compassion for both. It doesn’t have to be an either/or, us/them scenario. In the same way, I can care about our country’s security AND have compassion for those who seek refuge…they are not mutually exclusive. My heart breaks for the way some of our military have been treated when they return home from serving our country. It is wrong. It breaks my heart. My heart also breaks for the families from war-torn countries that have already been through the extreme horrors of a war that I can’t even imagine, who have already been through a rigorous, multi-year process to be vetted as refugees, who were already cleared to be resettled in America, but are now being turned away at the last minute with no home to return to. This is wrong. It breaks my heart. My heart breaks for a boy from Iraq named Samir, who was badly injured by ISIS fighters when they doused him in gasoline and lit him on fire (you can read his story here). He needs advanced medical treatment in order to fully recover and walk without pain, and his best hope was in America, but now that door, at least for now, is closed for him and his family. My heart breaks for him.

I’ve read stories on all sides. And my heart breaks on all sides. Because beneath all the layers of debate and heated dialogue, behind all the headlines and polarizing rhetoric, and under all the broad stokes that are so easy to paint over issues like this…under it all, are people. Behind every side of every issue are real people with living souls and with broken stories…human beings created by God, made in His image, loved immeasurably by Jesus who gave His life for them.

So whoever you see as the “enemy,” whoever you view as the “other” in all this…those people on the other side of the debate as you, those people on the other side of the world, those people on the other side of the screen…we have to remember that they are people, too. People with souls and stories….people who God loves so much that He gave His Son to rescue their souls and redeem their broken hearts.

And the truth is, there are people who are hurting today. There are people who are scared today. So I ask myself, how can I be light and love to them today? How can I break down the walls that divide and compartmentalize and categorize groups of people and instead see individuals and love them and help them and serve them today?

God has burdened my heart for refugees, and yet I don’t personally know a single one.

I want to change that.

Just because right now no new refugees are allowed into our country doesn’t mean that there aren’t already MANY here who I can help and serve and love.

So I’ve been doing some research. A lot of research.

And I’m going to start doing something…I’m going to put feet and hands to my words and my heart and start living like I’m more than just a lot of talk…I want to live by the power of God. Because 1000 years from now, it won’t really matter what I said I thought about an executive order or how many “likes” I got on a Facebook post…the only thing that will really matter for any of us 1000 years from now is our relationship with Jesus. The rest will burn away like chaff…the only thing that is eternal is the soul. The only things I do that will matter 1000 years from now are the things that I do to invest in eternity. So, how can I help others come to know Jesus? How can I be His hands and feet in this world? How can I take the burden that He’s put in my heart and make it more than just a lot of talk, but by His power reach out and make a difference for a soul who needs Jesus today?

If God has burdened my heart for refugees, I should be doing more than just saying we should care for refugees…I should go and care for refugees.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Jennie Allen compiled a great list if you are looking for ways to get involved too. (And I love what she says: “We don’t need permission or legislation to rally for refugees.” She is right…there are already so many ways we can help and serve them right now.)

It breaks my heart that our country is not accepting more refugees right now, but that doesn't mean I can't advocate for them, stand up for them, and serve the ones that are already here...

I can do what I can with what I have where I am.

There aren’t many organizations where I live that work specifically with refugees…the only ones that I have been able to find so far in my state of Georgia are about 2 hours away from my home, near Atlanta.

So….I’m going to start by looking into volunteering in Atlanta, even if it’s just for a few hours a month.

I want to put faces to this burden in my heart…I want to pull up a chair sit next to a refugee and hear their stories and hug their necks and tell them that they are loved. I want to break down the walls around my comfort zone and enter into the brokenness of another…I want to live cruciform and lay down my own plans and my own life for the sake of sharing the love of Jesus.

I don’t want my life to just be a lot of talk…I want to live by the power of God. I want to DO what He is calling me to do.

What is God calling you to do today? Who is He asking you to love? He might be burdening your heart for prisoners, or for police officers, or for the kids living in poverty in your community, or for a country halfway across the world…

Honestly, you don’t have to drive two hours away or fly halfway around the world to find someone who needs the love of Jesus...most of the time all it takes is opening your door and taking a few steps across the street.

What steps can you take today to live by God’s power and not just a lot of talk?

 “and let us consider [thoughtfully] how we may encourage one another to love and to do good deeds” Hebrews 10:24 AMP

Let’s love one another and cheer for one another and encourage each other as we walk this cruciform way, the way of Jesus.

Small: My One Word for 2017

For the fourth year in a row, I've chosen just one word to focus on this year. The past three years I've chosen the words "peace," "listen," and "rest."  I almost wanted to do "rest" for another year, it was such a needed word for me (and I don't think I quite got the hang of practicing it the way I had hoped). But although I will continue to work on creating a rhythm of rest in my life this year, there is another word that has been tugging at my heart and that I am longing to pursue this year: "small."

One Word 2017: Small || Little House Studio

Instead of bigger and more, I am being drawn toward smaller and less.

In a world that seems to tell me that growing bigger is better, I want to dig deeper into the truth that maybe small is actually best.  In a culture that pushes the idea that the pursuit of happiness is to pursue more (having more, being more, doing more), I’m wondering if the pursuit of true joy is actually to pursue less – less of me, more of Him; less selfish striving, more selfless sacrifice.

After a year of feeling the pressure to produce more and do more, I am feeling the tug now to bow low and make myself small…so that HIS name can be made great. I am finding myself longing to embrace my smallness…to make less of me and more of Him…to find joy in the little things, the selfless things, the quiet, unnoticed, small things.

One Word 2017: Small || Little House Studio
One Word 2017: Small || Little House Studio

When I think of small things in the Bible, I think of the mustard seed – the seed that the Kingdom of heaven is likened to (Matt. 13:31-32), and that faith of its size could move mountains (Matt. 17:20)....I think of the small loaves of bread and small little fish that were given to Jesus to feed thousands (Matt. 15:34, Mark 8:6-8)....I think of the widow’s small offering, her two small copper coins, a small offering that was a great sacrifice (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4)....I think of how James described the small rudder that guides a large ship (James 3:4)....I think of how the Bible describes the smallness of our lives, as a tiny momentary mist that appears only a little while (1 Peter 1:6).

And as I think about these things, I think maybe there may be more to this idea of smallness than I have realized.

So this year, I have no grand plan to achieve giant dreams or conquer the world…I simply want to embrace my smallness, to humble myself at the foot of the cross, and to give all that I have, as little as it may be, into the hands of Jesus and let Him do with it as He will…all for Him, all for His glory alone.

Do you have a word this year? What one thing do feel God asking you to pursue?



Oh, and here's a free little 5x7 printable of John 3:30...a bit of encouragement to make much of Jesus and little of ourselves, no matter what we pursue this year. Enjoy!!


Happy New Year! Some fun & helpful freebies are coming your way!

Happy New Year, friends!

A brand new year means some brand new freebies coming your way!

All Little House Studio subscribers will be getting some fun new free printables in their inbox today, and I wanted to make sure all of you beautiful people have the chance to get if you haven't subscribed yet, go ahead and fill out this little form and I'll make sure you get your freebies! (And don't worry...I won't overload your inbox with a bunch of stuff (at the most, you'll get about one email a week, sometimes only one a month ;) )...and I won't share your email with anyone...this is just the easiest way for me to personally deliver some extra goodies to you!) :)

This month, and all year long, you'll be getting some of these fun freebies:

Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio
Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio
 Click the calendar image to see purchase the entire 2017 planning calendar

Click the calendar image to see purchase the entire 2017 planning calendar

Your monthly planning calendar is still coming to your inbox every month! This year, it's a coloring calendar, so you can print, plan, AND color! :) Several people have requested a way to purchase the entire year ahead of time, instead of waiting each month for the printable, so I've also added the entire 2017 printable planning calendar to the shop, so you can go ahead and get the whole year if you want. (Or you can just continue get each month for free at the beginning of each month) ;)

Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio

You'll also get a free 5x7 piece of printable Scripture art. This will vary month to month, but each print will include a Scripture verse to hang on your wall or share as a gift. This month's verse is perfect for the beginning of a brand new beautiful year: "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

No matter what this new year brings, you can know through it all that God loves you and His plans for you are always for your best and for His glory. He can do anything...even impossible things. What new things will He do for you this year? Live this year in beautiful expectation! 

Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio

I've also created a couple of brand new printables for this year that I'm pretty excited about using myself: a "Month-at-a-Glance" printable, a weekly planning page, and printable encouragement cards!  The new Month-at-a-Glace sheet gives you a place to write out your goals for the month, plan for intentional family time, list specific prayer requests, and evaluate your month. It's a simple organizer, nothing too detailed or complicated, that gives you a place to write and track your goals.

Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio

The new weekly planning page includes a place to make a meal plan for the week, a to-do list, and a routine tracker. Daily routines give rhythm to our days, and a new year is a great time to start some new routines. What are some things you'd like to do every day? Read your Bible? Intentionally pray? Read a book for fun? Exercise? Practice a skill? List them out, and then check them off as you do them each day! (I'm hoping this simple little routine tracker will help me as I continue to shape the rhythm of my days).

Free Monthly Printables from Little House Studio

The encouragement cards are a simple, easy way to encourage the people around you and shine a light wherever you go. Simply print out the cards, cut them out, then tuck them in your purse or your wallet. (You can even color them and add a personal message on the back if you want!) Then, as you go about your days, train your eyes to look for people to encourage.  Pass out the cards and share the love of Jesus with the people God puts in your path this month. This simple act of kindness can have ripple effect of joy everywhere you go!

Every month you'll also get a new phone lock screen image and a special subscriber-only coupon code for the shop! So if you haven't signed up yet, today would be a really great day to join!  Putting together these freebies for you every month is one of my favorite things. I really hope you enjoy them and that they bring you a bit of encouragement and joy as you go about your days :)

I hope you have a beautiful new year full of moments to celebrate the gift of every day, the joy of family, and the love of Jesus!