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what are your summer plans?

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I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful summer is here! We are ready to spend some time outside soaking in the sunshine. Although it seems like so far all that we can soak in is a lot of rain. For now, cloudy days outside splashing in mud puddles followed by lots of baths will have to do. At least we are outside! As June rolls around everyone is talking about plans for summer projects, summer fun with the kids, and summer trips. All of those are true for us too…except the summer trip plans. There are no advanced plans for summer trips when you are a farmer. You just pray for that time when the weather and the amount of work that needs to be done all perfectly align and then you head out the door as quickly as you can before anything else changes. It is not about planning and all about flexibility.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

It seems like as each summer rolls around I find myself desperately needing another sort of plan. A plan for my time with God. If you are like me, Bible studies end, small groups break for the summer and my schedule at home changes too. I find that without the accountability and schedule in place it is easy for me to let my time with God slip. Before I know it, summer is over and I have spent plenty of time outside but barely any time connecting with my God. I need to be connected with God in the summer just as much as any other time of the year…probably sometimes even more because the summer days on the farm can be crazy and loooong. Just imagine me about ready to pull my hair out as three little boys run circles around me at the end of a 15-hour work day for Joel during harvest. So I need a plan. Just in case you are are finding yourself in the same place, I thought I would share my plan for this summer and a few other favorite Bible study tools that I love too.

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I just finished studying the life of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) in BSF. A friend told me that Jen Wilkin had a free study on Joshua on her website. It is an 11-week study. You can download the workbook for the questions each week and then listen to Jen’s podcast over the week’s content. You can even download an app to listen to the podcast on your phone. So handy! I thought this would be a good study to follow my BSF study. I plan to start Monday and it should get me through most of the summer. Clink on the link to find the Joshua: Every Good Promise Fulfilled by Jen Wilkin. She has other free studies available on her site too!

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And since we are already talking about Jen Wilkin, do you have a hard time even knowing where to start with Bible study? How do you study the Bible on your own, anyway? If you have asked similar questions you need to read Jen’s book Women of the Word. And even if you have studied your Bible for years this is still a great read and reminder for our purpose in studying God’s Word. This was so challenging to me…

When women grow increasingly lax in the pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environments we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel. Home, church, community, and country need the influence of women who know why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. They desperately need the influence of women who love deeply and actively the God proclaimed in the Bible. -Jen Wilkin

Maybe I’ll write more about this book in another post, but trust me…go read it now!

Another favorite of mine is A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have written about this one before. Such a good resource that approaches all of those excuses and frustrations that we have when it come to our devotional life. She gives practical suggestions for overcoming those frustrations and finding intimacy with God as we spend time in His Word.

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Ok, back to Bible studies. The past two summers I have co-led a Bible study using Nancy Guthrie’s books from her Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series. They are so good. She also has teaching videos that go along with this series. I love these studies because Nancy helps you see Jesus throughout the pages of the Old Testament and grasp the bigger story of the Bible as a whole.

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This week I finished up the Hymns study from She Reads Truth. I have done a few of these studies before but the new Hymn study even had music! Love that. Ellie Holcomb was one of the artists…she is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Like check out this song…

So good. Have you downloaded the She Reads Truth app yet? The app is free and there are so many good studies available right on your phone for so cheap! They are starting a new summer study Monday, June 1 called Women in the Word. I love that the goal of She Reads Truth is to have women in God’s Word everyday. Maybe this would be a good option for you?

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Sometimes I listen to sermons when I am doing mindless things around the house or if I happen to have a quiet moment. Which is happening less and less these days. Ha! Lately I’ve been listening to Matt Chandler’s sermons on The Village app.

If you are needing another good sermon series to listen to, my church just finished a series on the book of Job. It was so challenging. I needed a fresh perspective on this book and it is always so amazing to see how God can speak to you in a new way even studying a book you have read many times before. You can listen to the Job series by clicking on the link. We were asked to record a short interview about how we find peace in the storms of life when the “why?” questions are never answered. I thought I would share it on here too since many of you have been following since Cora died. Hopefully it can be an encouragement to some of you who are in the middle of your own storms right now. So many times those questions never get answered. But God is who He says He is…and He is always faithful.

Ok, now it is your turn. Tell me…

What are you studying this summer?

What are your favorite Bible study resources?

What sermons/podcasts are you listening to?

How do you stay in God’s Word during the summer?

I would love to know!

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  • Michelle from Australia - Summer? It’s the official start of Winter here tomorrow. Which is why it is 81 degrees F and we are wearing t-shirt, shorts and flip flops here today. Living in the sub-tropics has its benefits in Autumn/Winter. Just not in Summer! xxReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Haha. Well, I guess you need a winter plan instead!

  • Cristin Thurman - Jess,

    Your post touched me in a way that you’ll never understand. I’m facing a huge storm in my life. I recently lost my job, and this past week I had to put my dog down. This does not compare to losing a child, but grief has over taken me. My anxiety and depression have consumed me. My fear of dying has overtaken me. I have faith in God, I’m saved by his grace, but the fear of having to die one day won’t go away. Your story and your faith gave me some peace tonight and I thank you for sharing.

    If you have any recommendations on devotionals that may help me, please email them to me! Thank you so much for always sharing the Word and encouraging me to turn to Jesus!

    Much Love,
    CristinReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Hi Cristin. Life is so difficult and overwhelming sometimes. I am so, so sorry about your job and your dog. That is a lot of hard things to deal with. Thanks for sharing with me. I am praying for you right now. I will email some devotional suggestions too!

    • Jess - Hi Cristin. Life is so difficult and overwhelming sometimes. I am so, so sorry about your job and your dog. That is a lot of hard things to deal with. Thanks for sharing with me. I am praying for you right now. I will email some devotional suggestions too!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - This sentence especially stuck out at me: “Before I know it, summer is over and I have spent plenty of time outside but barely any time connecting with my God.” I have been attempting a new habit each month for me or for my family/kids to work on. For June I have been contemplating us getting into the habit of getting outside first thing in the morning even if just for ten minutes or so. I think being out in the cool of the morning and soaking up all of the natural things God has created and breathing in the fresh air will be really good for us. Tending the garden, doing yard work, the kids playing . . . whatever. Just this morning I was trying to think about what it might look like to have my quiet time outside. I even did some googling to try to get some inspiration and nothing! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I think it would be good to connect with God AND be outside all at the same time! We’ll see how it goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, as far as the what . . . I am reading Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life right now and it is really good but I also need more to get me in the actual Word. I don’t have a firm plan for that yet. I also really find a lot of value/encouragement in receiving the daily scripture prayer emails from Moms in Prayer and would recommend them to any moms (or even if you’re not a mom because I often pray them for myself or my husband or whoever!) https://www.momsinprayer.org/News/Scripture-Prayer-Email-Sign-Up

    KellyReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Hi Kelly! Being outside in the morning and having your quiet time sounds perfect. You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Thanks for sharing about Moms in Prayer…such a good idea. Also, I heard you have seen Julie!! So glad she has connected with you!

    • Jess - Hi Kelly! Being outside in the morning and having your quiet time sounds perfect. You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Thanks for sharing about Moms in Prayer…such a good idea. Also, I heard you have seen Julie!! So glad she has connected with you!ReplyCancel

  • dianne - Thank you for sharing your video regarding Cora. We too lost our little girl. It is so hard to know how to move on when the thing that you love most here on Earth is gone. God is the great comforter and He is faithful. God gives us the faith to know that not only does He have a plan, but He is with us every step of the way. He grieves with us. Thank you for continuing to share about Cora, even as your family grows and changes.ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Dianne, I am so sorry about the loss of your precious girl. I totally relate to everything you said. It is so, so hard…but God is so, so faithful. I would love to hear more about your daughter sometime! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Jess - Dianne, I am so sorry about the loss of your precious girl. I totally relate to everything you said. It is so, so hard…but God is so, so faithful. I would love to hear more about your daughter sometime! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - youversion! There are tons of reading plans in tons of formats- I usually do a shorter topical or devotional one along with a more long term plan. You choose what translation (or you can flip it to utilize more than one at a time) and it’s all free.ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    I love youversion too!

  • andrea - I need a plan to keep me on track with my time with God – I feel a little “anchorless” since BSF wrapped up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This summer, I’m doing a study of some of the New Testament letters that we don’t often read and use a combination of the She Reads Truth SOAP method and homiletic. I like the idea of studying Hymns – will be keeping this in mind for next year!ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    I feel anchorless without BSF too sometimes! Sounds like such a good plan. I haven’t heard of the SOAP method…and I need to learn how to do homiletics!

    • Jess - I feel anchorless without BSF too sometimes! Sounds like such a good plan. I haven’t heard of the SOAP method…and I need to learn how to do homiletics!ReplyCancel

  • Kristina - I have been following you for awhile….not sure when I started….before Griffin was born. I just watched your video. And then went back in your blog to when Cora was sick and the day she passed away. I started crying. And then looking at the days following. That must have been so so hard. To have just had her with you a month before and unaware of her cancer.
    Thank you for sharing your story and for turning to Jesus through your difficulties. I appreciate your blogs and you sharing your heart. Faith can be so challenging. What a precious gift Cora was…and now walking with Jesus.

    ~KristinaReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, Cora was such a precious gift to us. God has been so faithful.

    • Jess - Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, Cora was such a precious gift to us. God has been so faithful.ReplyCancel

  • Mendi - I am so grateful that you shared this. I have recently been challenged to dig deeper and have been looking for a Bible study and these seem to fit the bill!ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Yay! I would love to hear what you decide to study. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jess - Yay! I would love to hear what you decide to study. ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Toni :0) - I’ve been following along since just before sweet Cora went to be with Jesus. I think I found you through Amanda Balzer and her blog. Even now I still shed tears with you. I marvel at your strength and perseverance to weather such tragic storms. I cheer alongside you with everyone one of those amazing boys you now have. Their smiles and joy they exhibit are priceless. I continue to pray for your sweet family. Stay strong and keep the faith.ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Toni-Thank you so much for following my family and especially for your prayers! I appreciate your encouragement so much.

    • Jess - Toni-Thank you so much for following my family and especially for your prayers! I appreciate your encouragement so much.ReplyCancel

  • Dena - Our church is doing an NT90 challenge that I signed up for. Reading the New Testament in 90 days over the summer. There are group study opportunities and the bible classes and weekly sermons relate to the same readings.ReplyCancel

    Jess Reply:

    Such a great challenge for the summer! I would love to hear how it goes.

    • Jess - Such a great challenge for the summer! I would love to hear how it goes.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann - I study at my church every Sunday. We are learning from the stories of Christ in the New Testement. It’s wonderful to read and learn from his very own words and try to emulate him each day. I need to do a better job. I’m at work right now (it’s very early but I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d just come in). It made it so I have some time to read this post again and to watch the video. It’s a good thing I didn’t put my makeup on yet. Your words were so beautiful…so profound. I’m in awe of you and Joel all the time. The trust, faith, and hope you put toward God is exceptional. I have gone through some very heartbreaking times in my life…times where I thought I couldn’t take another step or move forward, but I did. Your blog helps me to do that. I know you are so busy as a mom and wife but I hope you continue to share tidbits of your life with those beautiful boys and your husband. Your photos and words always bring a smile (or tears like today) but then it also gives me a lot of hope. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Jess, thank you for blogging. Your blog is such a blessing to me and so many others. This post is JUST what I needed to read today. Great encouragement and ideas and resources for growing closer to God this summer. Thank you. There is no doubt in my mind that God is using you in a big way. On a lighter note, I love seeing your precious boys, too. I have (older) boys of my own and reading about yours and seeing their sweet selves doing what boys do makes me smile.

    I watched your video and was crushed all over again for you and Joel. I’m so sorry you lost Cora. I’m sure some days it’s very hard to carry on. I have prayed for your beautiful family many times over the years and I will pray for you again today.

    Thank you for doing what you do.ReplyCancel

  • EricaG - I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Hearing Cora’s story in your own voices and seeing your tears made me love your family even more than I already did. As always, thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel