The Magnolia Story, by Chip and Joanna Gaines
What a beautiful story! With so many examples of what it looks like to live a God-first life. This is not a book that I would have chosen on my own, but it was highly recommended by my wife and many of her girlfriends. I understand why. It’s an inspirational story about a husband and wife, and how they honored God with their life. The book is formatted as a back-and-forth dialogue between the husband, Chip, and his wife, Joanna, which gives it a cutesy feel. Overall, it was a fun and easy read.
Can I be like that? Can I be a father and businessman like Chip? I think that my personality is much different from Chip’s, and I shouldn’t strive to be like him. In fact, I think that the point of the story is to not try to be like anybody else. Don’t try to be like Chip; don’t try to be like Joanna. Instead, be the person that God uniquely designed you to be. I think that’s what Chip and Joanna Gaines would say. Also, don’t be afraid to take some risks with your life, and listen to that little voice inside your head. When your relationship with the Lord is right, then that voice is God speaking to you. The voice in Joanna’s head that said “go for it,” was God speaking to her. I think that we all have experiences when we hear something in our heads, and some of us listen to that voice, while others ignore it. We ignore it because often that little voice is illogical. I also think that the ability to hear that voice is a skill that each person needs to work on developing. In Joanna’s case, she obeyed, and consequently, her mustard seed of faith blossomed into the fulfillment of her dreams, plus so much more.
I think that another takeaway is that obeying God is not something that is going to be easy. He will challenge you, push you, and make you feel uncomfortable. As a child, your role is simply to listen and obey, even when it does not make sense. Chip and Joanna certainly faced their fair share of challenges, as highlighted in “The Magnolia Story.” But they kept praying, trusting, and doing the right thing.
Another big takeaway from the book was Joanna’s perspective on raising children. Everything doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s more important to live in the moment with your children than to make sure that they receive the latest and greatest toys or make sure that the house is clean. Instead, be goofy with your kids and enjoy the messy times. Don’t be uptight about cleanliness or stressed about finances. Your children just want to play and laugh with you. Sure, it’s important to keep things sanitary and ensure that you can pay the bills. However, it’s ok if your house isn’t spotless or if you can’t afford to drive the BMW. Those things are secondary. I think it’s easy to read and agree with Joanna’s words about raising children and having the appropriate attitude, but I think that actually doing it is a different story. I think that it takes an open mind and optimistic perspective, which can be challenging. But what do I know? I don’t have any kids.