How to Achieve a Great Life

What does it take to achieve “the great life”?

Psalm 81:8-16

I had a great life growing up.

Wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. A big dairy farm to grow upon. But I suffered from poor self-esteem. I couldn’t explain it, but although I could make a long list of all the wonderful things about myself, I was not pleased. I wanted to be something, or someone else.

Over time, I found myself .. that is, I found that what I needed was to Say YES to God. I look at teens and young people today and I see myself. They want what they can’t have, they want to be what they cannot become because God made them for His pleasure and He has a specific plan in mind.

In high school, I wanted to be what I couldn’t be

.. a cheerleader

.. a class leader

… I had to find what God wanted me to be.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was all a fight to say yes to God

…to give Him the right to lead and work in my life.

I found a few steps to take to find “the great life.”

images on this page created in for free

First, Listen to the people God has placed in your life for direction.

Psalm 81: 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!

Yes, our family was at church every time the doors opened. We served the Lord. BUT that was my parent’s “Yes to God”. They raised us to have every opportunity to live for the Lord. Yes, the Lord was important to me also, I wanted to live for Him, Sing for Him, etc. But I also wanted to be successful in the things that seemed important to every other teenager.

Looking back

I’m baffled at why I cared about being a cheerleader or a class leader. My talents did not lie in those areas, but I wanted to be recognized. Maybe there were pressures to be these things. My siblings were athletes. But God did not make me that way. I had other types of talents. I could play the piano and sing. Actually, because of those things, people said I should be a pastor’s wife.

Now we all know you can be a pastor’s wife without these talents. But I said, “No, not a pastor’s wife”. I loved animals so people said, “You should be a veterinarian” or “You should marry a farmer”. But I said “No” I don’t like farm life.

It’s interesting that as soon as I got away from the farm, that was all I talked about. (Just ask any friend from college, they’ll confirm it) God was calling me all through my life. “Get your eyes on Me and see what I’ll do!”

Secondly, Know that God is faithful.

10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 

 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

Psalm 81:10-12

When I look back on my life, I see how God was working despite my plans. As the country song says, I thank God for unanswered prayers (or unwanted answers). I would be in a mess if God had answered some of those prayers the way I wanted them answered! And in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided my needs and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me.

in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided for my needs, and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me. Click To Tweet

In college, I began to own the beliefs of my parents as my own.

An example of God giving me over to my stubborn heart… It began way back as a child. I had a childhood sweetheart. There are a lot of sweet memories, but our lives went in separate directions. Little did I know, it really upset this young boy. He had great ideas for the two of us. When we got to college age, our paths crossed again and we dated for a while.

In looking back, I believe, maybe God got a little tired of hearing us fuss and complain, “I want a wife, I want a husband.” So He threw us back together to learn the hard way that He had other plans, that we were not for each other, nor were we neither one ready for a serious relationship.

Thirdly,  Put God first in your life and He’ll bless you beyond measure!

“You shall have no foreign god among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

13 “If my people would only listen to me

if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock, I would satisfy you.”

All these things that I thought I wanted to be were actually the ‘gods’ that I put before the one true God. I had to let them all go and once I did God began to bless me. All those “things” faded into the background and then He gave me the desires of my heart .. a wonderful husband and beautiful family, a 25-year ministry to children, and then a ministry to women. Read how we met here.

And it has been blessing after blessing as we have placed God in the center of everything.

A fun little note I like to share … remember I mentioned I did not want to marry a farmer and I did not want to marry a pastor.

Well… I married Pastor Farmer! …… hey! #IsaidYES!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

true value

What Has True Value in this Life


noun. – the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.

This post is inspired by the PROMPT: VALUE from Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. in 2018. The challenge is to write for five minutes. No editing. I encourage you to go to the link-up and read what others were inspired to write.

Value Re-defined.

Our world has re-defined what has value. Today, according to the world we have value because we have stuff, we have amazing talents, we know people. King Solomon said that life has no meaning or value.

But God values us as His children. Actually, He gives us our value.  We are His children.  And because of this, we have great value. We are nothing without him. We can do nothing without Him.

Continue reading
facing the pain to pearl

Bravely Face Your Pain Until It Becomes a Pearl

I am so excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine. She has just published her own website sharing how her struggles in life including chronic illness are teaching her to allow her pain to become a pearl. Today I am featuring her on the blog. Come read her story and then Link-up your own legacy story.

Introducing Melissa

Melissa is a truth-seeker and a truth-teller who writes and speaks from life experience, testing and growing in the lab of great joys and deep sorrows. Through it all, she has found a closeness with the Father by both wrestling with Him and being still with Him. That has given her a compassion for others that is palpable.

Continue reading

Living in a House of Mirrors

New Ventures

I’m excited to tell you that God has been blessing me and directing my life into new avenues. Last fall, I was approved to submit devotional writing to the wonderful online Bible study for women, Gracefully Truthful. Today, my very first submission was published. I share about how my life was like living in a house of mirrors.

Here’s a taste…

treasure at gracefully truthful
photo credit Gracefully Truthful dot com

Lying Mirrors

For many years, I lived in a virtual house of mirrors.

These carnival-style mirrors distorted the truth,

leaving me trapped in a maze of lies.

house of mirrors
photo image credit free at canva

I struggled to grasp the treasure God had placed within me through His own Holy Spirit when He freed me from sin, shame, and chains of condemnation. Though God had gifted me with many talents and was growing His character in me, I could only see my weakness and incapability.

I could only see my weakness and incapability. #selfesteem #treasure #gracefullytruthful Click To Tweet

Negative Self-talk

I did all the negative self-talk, embracing and repeating Satan’s lies to myself instead of the beautiful truths Christ had died to wrap around me like a royal robe. The evil one tries to beat us down and destroy us. He wants to keep our eyes turned away from our gifts and abilities and onto our weaknesses. 

But God works through our weaknesses

to make us strong

and bring glory to Him.

Fighting Satan’s lies is a never-ending fight. The only way to win is to continue in His Word every day. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Use it to slash the distorted tales that Satan slings around.

[read more at Gracefully Truthful]

God works through our weaknesses to make us strong and bring Him glory. #treasure #distortedmirrors Click To Tweet
photo credit Gracefully Truthful dot com

More about Gracefully Truthful

For years, I have searched for something more than a quick devotional and a scratch on the back. I desired to find something that would lead me into a deeper study of the word. I have found that in this online Bible Study.

The first thing that sold me on this group was the very first thing at the top of each day’s reading is “Read His Words Before Our Words“.

Wow! what a great reminder to focus on The Word.

How it Works

Every few weeks, there will be a new study. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays present several Bible Readings and a thoughtful devotion. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays offer a Digging Deeper reading. Three questions are presented with answers for the time it was written and then how it applies to me today.

On the Weekend, a recap is offered with other offerings, such a worship song along the same theme.

Each week also provides a memory verse and a free download for your phone lock screen to encourage you to memorize the verse of the week.

There’s more but I encourage you to go find out for yourself. See you there!

Mandy Farmer
broken heart

What Can We Learn From a Broken Heart?

broken heart

My experience of love these past two years has been heartbreaking. But when I look back- it’s the areas that broke my heart that taught me the most.

Broken Expectations

Broken expectations leave a person left with what remains. And what remains is the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be.

Often in family and friendship- especially the kind of friendship that is viewed as family, we expect these friends and family to always have your back, always be there for you. After all, when we think of love, that is one aspect that seems most definitive of it.

The truth of love, however, is that the depth of it runs differently for each person. Their depths of love are based on their understanding and perception of love and those things are based on a person’s experience in life.

Unconditional Love is rare

All that to say, love, true, unconditional love, is rare. Love that doesn’t expect things in return and isn’t based on anything other than simply wanting the best for another person, because you simply and only care about that person’s wellbeing- that experience, is rare.

When experience breaks your heart enough- soon expectation is broken. And it’s there that humans are left to decide how they will allow love back in their hearts.

Allow Truth to Define your Heart

What I have learned is that your heart, is your responsibility. Giving someone the power to influence it is a big gift and it is one that shouldn’t be done lightly. You’re responsible for allowing what shapes and defines your heart. It is very important to have a healthy boundary for yourself and to allow truth first to define your heart. Truth takes awake selfish ambition, truth keeps you humble enough to know you’re not perfect and brave enough to know when to stand and speak up.

I’m not sure that this post is so much about love as it is about self-respect, but I believe one cannot love from a truthful place without first having self-respect.

Love and Self-Respect

Truth and an Open Heart Builds a Foundation for Love Click To Tweet

It is up to you to find Truth and to open your heart to it. When you do, you will find humility and strength. And then, you will receive the foundation to love, truly, yourself and others.

-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️

fa from god

Feeling Far from God?

God’s Faithfulness

“I have heard all about You, Lord, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as You did in years gone by. Show us Your power to save us.”-Habakkuk 3:2 NLT

Too many times, we feel far from God.

We know He is there. We know all He has done and will do. But sometimes there is a distance between us. If we really examine ourselves, our hearts, our intentions, our motives, we will often find that it was not God that moved away from us. Quite the contrary. Continue reading

Believing in Who I Am

Good, Good Father

A while back I attended an online conference, we sang Chris Tomlin’s Good, Good Father. I had never heard the song before. I liked it. It seemed a good way to start. By the end, it was personal.

You see … I have always struggled with who I am. My name means worthy of love, but I never believed it. While I could long list many good things about myself, when I looked in the mirror I saw a fat little girl that no one could possibly love.

Oh yes, my family might love me, they are required to. But outside of that, I was unworthy. Most of what I did was to try to earn the love of others. Even the use of my talents was really just a way to get people to like me. Anything from making a batch of cookies to singing a song. Maybe they could let me stick around if I did these things. Continue reading

feeling loved

Loved or Unloved – That is the Question

Are you feeling loved today?

Consider Roman’s 8:38

What can come between us and

the love of God’s Anointed?

Can troubles, hardships, persecution,

hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? 

The answer is, absolutely nothing.

FMF: Loved

In this mean and evil world, it’s hard to keep our hearts and souls from becoming singed by the fire. I recall times when the mud has been slung at me. Keeping the awful words from repeating over and over again in my mind became a difficult task. I had to continually throw these words out and replace them with God’s Word. Continue reading

Let God be Your Hiding Place

When I was young, we enjoyed many a good game of hide-and-seek. You see, on a dairy farm, there were myriads of hiding places.

let God be your Hiding Place

Behind the big oak tree.

Around the bulk tank.

Up in the hay loft. (My brother built the most awesome tunnels).

One could hide all day long and never hide in the same place twice.

Even when we weren’t playing, we would be thinking and looking for that ultimate hiding place for our next game.

It was always great innocent fun.

But sometimes we hide for other reasons.

We hide because of our shame.

We hide because we have done something wrong and we dread exposure.

Or maybe we hide because we have experienced something awful and we want the memories to go away.

Image credit John Hain @ Pixabay
  • Adam and Eve hid in the garden after their sin.
  • Soon-to-be king, Saul, hid in the baggage because he felt insecure, unworthy of such an honor.

Satan does that to us.

He is the ultimate liar.

He tells us lies that we are unworthy of love … unworthy of recognition .. just plain unworthy.

But it is all a lie.

I struggled for years fighting the lie of unworthiness. #young #unworthy Click To Tweet

Even with a name that means worthy of love, I could not accept love outside of my family. I could make a list of my good traits and all my talents but still, in my mind, I was unworthy. The truth is, I actually pushed love away when it came my way because I could not accept it.

Because I felt unworthy, I found myself hiding behind my extra weight and blaming it for keeping me from love. But it was really only a lie from Satan himself. He knew that I could love others and show them the love of Jesus. Satan wanted to stop me from serving the Lord. He didn’t want me to expose the lies that he had tricked so many into believing.

It took years of fighting it and love and support from friends and family, but slowly and surely I learned that God loves me immensely just as I am. I don’t have to fix things or do something special.

He just loves me. Oh, how He loves me.

“I want to reach through this screen, grab you by the shoulders, and tell you how much God loves you.”

Christine Caine, Unashamed

I felt these words ring true.  Reminded of times I have tried to convince young girls that they are worthy of love. I have been there but I have never known  how to help others fight the fight that I fought. (And still do at times.)

I love the reminder from the Psalms of how wonderful you and I really are.

In her book, Unashamed, Christine Caine reminded us of the prodigal son and his father, who loved his son so much. He kept looking for him to return home. And as soon as he saw his son coming down the road, he ran to him and embraced him.

God is waiting and watching for you to come home. He is waiting for you to give up the shame and run to Him. He Our Father is our ultimate hiding place.

God promises to take away any guilt and cover any shame and throw them “as far as the east is from the west“. [Psalm 103]

So go for it.

Stop running to food or drugs or sleep.

Stop running to food or drugs or sleep. Run to God. #unworthy #selfesteem Click To Tweet

Run to God and He will run to you.

I know that He will because He ran to me too!

Mandy Farmer

This post was inspired by Five Minute Friday prompt: Hide and published on August 23, 2016 on ggmandy dot com. Now revamped for the prompt: Young