The Magnolia Story and Me

What do shiplap, Magnolia, and “Fixer Upper” have in common? Just one famous reality TV couple—Chip and Joanna Gaines. At this point they are legendary—an amazing marriage, adorable children, and even their own decorative line, “Hearth and Hand,” at Target. Like many women, I also got swept up into the excitement. When I can borrow a copy from a friend, I’ve really enjoyed the Magnolia magazine as well.

I ended up diving into The Magnolia Story feeling a little jaded and with some annoyance in the back of my mind—boy this adorable couple probably has some magical backstory too. Everything they touch turns to gold. Everything has always gone well for them, they clearly get along all the time, and I’m sure finances aren’t a concern.

I was wrong. I ended up loving this book, particularly as a fellow small business owner. Chip and Joanna sure look now like they’ve “arrived,” but I loved the backstory behind their success. Sure they shared detailed stories of victories but they also revealed great disappointments, disagreements, debt, fear, and the very best—how God showed Himself in their story.

The Gaines’s explained what they saw as they took roads that didn’t look like they thought they would, “It all seemed to be working out in that perfectly messy way life works when you trust in God and his plans for your life rather than focusing on your own….I simply never could have imagined just how much God had in store for us, and I certainly couldn’t have dreamed just how many keys to other doors God had already placed in our hands.”

I loved getting a glimpse into their backstory from an unusual first date to getting married and actually having quite a few small business failures. They clung to each other and to God through it all even when things got hairy.

I found myself greatly encouraged by The Magnolia Story and spurred on to continue trusting in God’s plan for my life. Three things I found woven throughout the book: Chip and Joanna clung to their integrity no matter what, trusted God with the journey, and were able to look back and see the special ways God orchestrated their story. I’ll finish with the quote they end the book with:

“Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner. And in times of doubt or times of joy, listen for that still, small voice. Know that God has been there from the beginning—and he will there until….the End.”


Sarah Clews Headshot

Sarah Clews loves being the wife of Carson and mother to three little girls. She received her degree in English from Corban University and still loves the craft of writing. She also helps her husband run a martial arts school. In her free time, Sarah enjoys talking with grown-ups (!), finding new authors, doing online research, and reading her favorite childhood stories to her girls.

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