Fully Alive Book Review

Book Review: Fully Alive

NOTE: I received this book at no charge in exchange for writing this review. These words are my own opinion and I have not been compensated to say them. 

Dare to Hope again

Have you been losing your hope lately? What is it that is pulling you down into

despondency?

Dare to Hope Fully Alive

Susie’s Larson’s new book

Sickness?

Fear?

Guilt?

Worry?

Grief?

Discouragement?

Insecurity?

Selfishness?

Look up because there is AlWAYS Hope in Jesus.

Continue reading

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

The Glass Is Either Half Empty or Half Full

How full is your glass today?

Half full or half empty?

Over four inches of rain fell from yesterday morning through last night here in southwest Minnesota.  It’s the time of year when farmers want warm sunshine and breezes to help dry the corn and beans for harvest, not four inches of rain.  Just twenty miles to the West in South Dakota and they have had a very dry summer. This rain system that went through was very important to them!  Isn’t that like life though?  The glass is either half empty or half full.

Continue reading

Different EASTER

A Different Kind of Easter

Diffferent Kind of Easter

Easter, for me, has always been a great day of celebration. A day of basking in the joy of the resurrection. But this year, it was different.

You see, life has changed a lot for our family recently. Easter 2015, my husband was pastoring a church as he had been for nearly 40 years. Our children and I were deeply involved in his ministry, especially when it came to planning a celebration service such as Easter. The four of us spent much time studying the significance of Easter. We spent many hours reviewing videos and music finding just the right words to make Easter fresh, new and alive. Something that would draw the people into the celebration, helping them realize what God had done for them. By the time Easter Sunday arrived, we were already filled beyond excitement. So ready to share the story and bring people to a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

But this time, it was different.

Continue reading

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

Life’s Interruptions Are Just a Change in Direction

Life interruptions don’t have to end your purpose in life. Here’s my life interruption story of chronic pain from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

Life’s Interruption … New Year’s Eve 1989.

wedding picture

Wedding Day December 31, 1989

This was the day we were married. God had done an amazing thing to bring us together. (Read this story here in this Christmas post). Just suffice it to say that I went from being a single girl, on her own, programming computers to a pastor’s wife and a mom of two boys, 9 and 14! What a change!

But that is not the interruption I want to share about today.

 

 

 

Life Interruption – February 2011.

cruising with friends

Michael & Mandy on cruise

My husband and I were watching God do many wonderful things in our lives and in the lives of our parishioners, but we were about to have our own life interruption. Some dear friends invited us on a Gospel cruise. More blessings. But when I stepped off of the boat to come home, the land still moved beneath my feet. This is typical; however, the rocking never went away. I have what is called Disembarkment Syndrome. Doctors investigated, medicated, and shook their heads but nothing helped.

 

Life Interruption – July 2011. 

I woke with a crick in my neck. Medicines nor chiropractic adjustments seemed to help.

Life Interruption – August 2011.

Up to this point in our ministry, I had been a very active children’s ministry director. Always on the go with the children. On this day though, I actively lead the children in a song and then could not catch my breath. Again, doctor’s investigated and medicated. They did find that my thyroid levels had gone way off, but this was not typical.

Leading a children’s program

Life Interruption – September 2011.

Still suffering from sea legs and a stiff neck, my back began to bother me. So much pain that I found I could not move without excruciating pain. While pain medications did help me live my life, there was no apparent cause for the pain. The pain traveled down to my back.

I was referred to Mayo Clinic, where I was diagnosed with Central Sensitivity Syndrome with indications of Myofascial Pain Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

Life Interruption – June 2012.

I had gone from being an active children’s worker to one who could not get out of bed in the morning without assistance. After several trials of medications, we settled on one that seems to be helping. I seemed to be making headway, able to get around a fair bit with the assistance of a walker or cane. But a new problem arose. Now my knees began to swell to the point of being unable to walk without aid, but we stuck with it at it. I kept moving and going to therapy in hopes that my range of motion would improve.

November 2012. I went to see an orthopedic specialist and we decided to have surgery on one knee. In the meantime, I acquired frozen shoulder and could not raise my arms above shoulder height. The exploratory surgery found some gnarly looking bones and cartilage, so we went back to Mayo Clinic. Diagnosis – Arthritis, but let’s do your blood work again. This time it revealed the beginning stages of rheumatoid arthritis. So we added another medication to the regiment. This medication is also doing a good thing, but the process is slow to get it up to the dosage needed. And we have to watch to be sure my body can handle it.

Back Story

August 2013. Now let’s back up a bit to show you how God has been working. Just after the cruise, my pastor-husband asked me if I would consider taking over the women’s ministry at our church. Now I had never led adults at all and have always felt too intimidated to do so. I loved the children, it was really my niche. But God saw that I was getting along “without Him”. He was already working on me about moving into adult ministries. I had several good workers in the children’s department, so I agreed to change over if one of the girls would take over with the children. She did and I begin phasing myself out of the children’s department. Now I faced the challenge … leading women.

 

Fun Ladies’ Masquerade Party

Why this Life Interruption?

In dealing with my pain issues and facing a new ministry, I kept asking God “Why are you taking everything I love away from me?” (The children, my volunteer work, I couldn’t cook and bake, I couldn’t sing or play the piano, I couldn’t even drive). But there was one thing I could do .. get to know Christ again. I spend most of my days reading the scriptures, studying the scriptures, praying.

13342987_10208835081850955_4904225898882987454_n

Mandy 2017

God has drawn me to himself and now, while I still have my issues, I am able to lead the women’s groups. I can encourage them through e-mail, letters, phone calls. Then in the spring, He helped me lead a Bible study with the ladies. I accepted the challenge thinking maybe I can lead 5 or 6 ladies. I had the ladies’ come to my house to ease my physical challenge. What a surprise when 17 ladies signed up. With encouragement from friends and prayer partners to stick with it, we made it through the study!

Praise God for his guidance as he continues to draw me to him.

And has now allowed me to bless others through writing.

I have been learning so much through this pain challenge.

My husband & I have grown a deeper empathy for those in pain. A greater understanding for the sick AND their caregivers. I really had no idea what they were going through. 

I do now. 🙂 

Feeling Your Pain;

Mandy Farmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wasn’t my last life interruption. I recommend Priscilla Shirer’s book, Life Interrupted, on the Prophet Jonah. {affiliate link}

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

Safe in His Arms Living by Faith

The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
 
 

 Life has sure been throwing me some curves lately.

There’s been illness, job loss, and interruption of ministry and just life in general.

But God has been right there with us. 

Continue reading

Writer/Speaker sharing about how to make it through anything. I married a pastor with two boys who just lost their mom, I homeschooled my own children, led children’s ministries and women’s ministries in the church, and founded and led a homeschool support group. Had to give up much of this due to chronic pain. Like the Insurance, I know a lot because I’ve seen a lot.

When Your Dreams Are Thrown into the Pits

We all have dreams.

And we all have had our dreams dashed, usually by those closest to us.

Joseph had BIG dreams.

And his family didn’t like his dreams. They thought they were ridiculous and that Joseph was trying to lord it over them. So they threw him and his dreams into a pit.

I wonder how long Joseph lay in that pit before his brothers drew him out and sold him.

Long enough to realize that he had been bruised physically and emotionally, for sure. Here he was …. deep down in a well. It was cold and dark. He was sore, maybe a broken bone. Certainly, his heart was broken. His own flesh and blood had literally thrown him away. I imagine that he figured this was the end of his dreams AND of him.

Have you ever found yourself thrown into the pits of life with seemingly no hope for rescue?

I have.

I have been thrown into the dark, wondering “what went wrong?”

“What did I do that caused this terrible turn of events?”

“And, what should I do now?”, as I lick my wounds.

“How would I get out of this dark place?”

For Joseph, if we jump to the end of the story, we find a happy ending …. reconciliation. Tears of Joy.

18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.  Genesis 50

How did Joseph manage to remain kind and forgiving after such treatment?

David once wrote,

12 If an enemy were insulting me,
    I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
    I could hide.
13 But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers.  Psalm 55:12

David’s faith in God is what kept his heart tender and forgiving.

Later in the chapter, David says

Psalm 55:12

Photo Credit : Iquiraisi @ Pixabay : Modified GGmandy

Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

He had his moment of despair, but then he turned to God before hate and vengeance could take control.

It had to be the same for Joseph. God had an amazing plan to work out for Joseph.

You see, Joseph was not ready, at seventeen, to become second in command in Egypt. There was training to be done. God needed to stretch and shape Joseph’s character. He did this through those trials. … being thrown into a pit, being sold as a slave, given leadership roles in a household, then thrown into prison and given leadership roles there. This was all training for the “BIG” job.

James told us this in his epistle,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

 Joseph allowed God to mold and shape him THROUGH the trials and in the end, he was ready to take leadership being 2nd in command in all of Egypt. As a result, he was able to save his family AND all of Egypt.

Joseph let go of the pain and took hold of God.

We must let go of one thing to grab hold of the other. We can’t have both.

As with clay, if it is hard and dry, it cannot be shaped. It must be pliable to allow the master to shape and mold. Sometimes even, a beautiful pot is taking shape, but The Master sees a flaw and he crushes the clay back down and starts again.

Can you see it?

Back in that cold, dark pit, Joseph did not know how God was going to turn things around. He only knew that it hurt. But God already had a plan for dealing with the hurt and turning things around.  Joseph’s part in all of this was to keep trusting God.

Prayer

Lord,

Help me, like Joseph, to remain pliable in Your hands that you may mold me and make me after Your will.

Amen.

Have you been hurt by the church? Have you felt abandoned by God in the lonely fires of ministry? The Perils of A Pastor’s Wife will speak to your deepest wounds and help you find God’s Presence through it all. Sweet Sister—somewhere, somehow, somebody knows. You are not alone. A Faceook group has been created for support in these days. Come join us.

This Group is expressly for men and women trying to find Joy in the Wilderness after 

losing their pastorate. Please share this with others you know who are struggling with the transition.

This is a place for support and encouragement. No judgment, just a shoulder to lean on.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO JOIN.

Joy in the WIlderness

Facebook Group for Hurting Shepherds

 

 

Holding on to Hope!

Mandy Farmer

Listen and worship Him with this old hymn, Have Thine Own Way