becoming sage

Midlife Crisis: Becoming Sage

There’s a lot to deal with in midlife. That empty nest syndrome for one can really take you for a loop. But that is not the only crisis you are looking at as you are “becoming sage”.

What does that even mean? “to become sage“. You might have thought about the herb. But the first definition listed by Webster is actually “wise through reflection and experience“. My thought was similar to this …something like Michelle Van Loon said”to cultivate fresh growth and ongoing fruitfulness for those of us growing through the latter seasons of our lives.

becoming Sage

So, What is Becoming Sage?

As our children grow up and leave the nest, we find ourselves struggling to figure out just what or who we are. We have spent the past 18-20 (or more) years raising kids. Life has pretty much encircled our children. So now, if we haven’t been careful, we end up asking ourselves, “Now What?” We may not really even know that guy sitting on the couch across the room, typically referred to as our husband.

At church, we may feel lost because we have spent all our time in the children’s department. Honestly, though I was a children’s director most our my ministry years, I believe that we have got cdoing church all wrong. We separate out into age groups; never intermingling with others and having no intergenerational contact. How can we learn or grow if we are never around older people?

The churches where my husband pastored wanted this type of organization calling this a “family church”. NO! a family church worships together as a family. I altered this with once a month family day where everyone worshiped together and children’s visiting days where we went to visit shut-ins. Oh anyway, I am getting a little off track. 🙂

a FAMILY CHURCH worships together as a family. #worship #intergenerationalworship Click To Tweet

Maturity. Yes spiritual maturity is what I am talking about. It could be that if you were teaching in the children’s department all those years that your faith has become stagnant. ouch! But seriously, how often did you get any real challenging teaching? I might be time to take a look and make some changes.

If we are becoming sage, we are also coming to terms with the fact that filling a church org chart my be a sign of a person’s church commitment, but it is not a measure of their spiritual maturity.

Michelle VonLoon, Becoming Sage

From Teacher to Learner

becoming Sage

As our family relationships re-shape, we must also reshape our personal relationship with God. Yes, it is a little sad to give your daughter away and feel that lonesomeness. But we must find the silver linings. Find those things that make this time in your life even better. Now can be a time where you really focus in on God. I know for me, that I have had much more time to spend in the Word and get close to God. And I am loving it.

Think about how you can make this the best season of your life. First start with this: Ask God to reveal what He wants you to learn in this stage of your life. Remember that verse you taught your kids?

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7, NLT

Here are a few considerations as your search your heart

  • Gratitude. practice it. Look for joy every day. Start a joy journal. Every day, list three things that make you happy or you are grateful for. Offer these things to God in praise. You could even place these things on cards in a big jar. Then when you have a not so joyful day. Just pull a couple of cards out. You’ll be joyful in no time.
  • Consider your Fears. What are your fears during this time? Talk with God about them. Look up some verses about how God deals with our fears. Here is one of my favorites.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

More Ideas

  • Talk with your friends about these changes. It could include marriage issues, divorce, aging, and dying parents, illness, prodigals, grandchildren. You will probably find you have a strong enough group to start a support group. 🙂 Then go out and find the resources you all need.
  • Deal with loneliness head-on. Reach out to friends and recultivate those friendships or make new ones. If we ever get past this pandemic, utilize those coffee shops that are popping up everywhere and make appointments to have “a cuppa” together on a regular basis. Just having something to look forward to can make a world of difference. In the meantime, you can still have meaningful conversations on the phone, texting, messaging. I’m talking private discussions, not with the whole world.
  • Mentoring. Turn around and see who is following you. You have things to offer others, so offer them. There are a lot of young moms who have no one nearby to help them out. Go help. Think back at what would have been a great help to you and then do it. There is one thing I have found that giving is way better than receiving.
Giving is way better than receiving. #mentoring #friendship Click To Tweet

Becoming sage relationally includes learning to be along with God, leaning into times of deep loneliness, remaining open to new connections, and nurturing or renegotiating old friendships in the context of the security we have in our friendship with God.

Michelle VanLoon, Becoming Sage

In Conclusion

Well, friends, these are a few things that inspired me in Michelle Van Loon’s new book, Becoming Sage ~ Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife. You might want to go pick up a copy.

Mandy Farmer

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

My first impression of this book was not that great. It was almost depressing because I saw where the church is failing its people. But then I looked through again, looking for the answers she offered. She does have much to offer but you might have to read it slower or actually do the activities at the end of each chapter. 🙂 – Mandy



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streets of hope

Streets of Hope

Movie of the Week

In looking for some hope in our scary world, I’ve been watching movies and reading books based on true stories. I’ll tell you I have shed more tears, both of sorrow and joy, on this journey hearing the stories of others.

Recently, my husband and I have ventured on The Dove Channel. As you might expect, it is a Christian based channel with stories of hope and love and JESUS. This week we watched Rev. Roger Minassian’s amazing story of perseverance and love in a movie called Streets of Hope.

streets of hope

“at the age of 53 left the security of his pastorate to step outside his comfort zone to do the truly amazing. Knowing nothing about gang youth, he took to the streets and transformed our city, ravaged by gang violence, by taking hundreds of gang kids off of our streets. It is also the story of Santos Delgado, a gang member, who at age 16 had no future and little hope. He knew his future was either prison or death. His girlfriend was pregnant. He had to make life-changing decisions. This film is about taking risks, embracing change, overcoming the impossible, and finding hope.”

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1954442/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

Taking it to the Streets

I found myself hoping against hope with every decision Santos made. I felt the frustration of Rev. Roger Minassian as time after time kids went back to the gangs, sometimes ending in death.

Perseverance was the key. Rev Roger Minassian had to remind himself over and over that God placed him there for a purpose. Imagine how he must have felt at times, wanting to give up, but remembering that if he could reach even one kid it would be worth it all. I was thrilled to see that indeed, he reached way more than 1 kid.

Streets of Hope Recommendation

Streets of Hope is a keeper. Find it on Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube. Check out the trailer below.

up for education

The Girl Who Stood Up For Education

Imagine living in a country where girls are thought so little of that they are not even allowed to attend school… at any level. As we know, the dumbing down of a people group is the most surefire way to control them. Keep them from thinking and they will follow you anywhere.

Malala Stood Up for Education

I am Malala; book review; up for education

Malala is from Pakistan where girls are not allowed to attend school, especially the upper grades. However, Malala’s father advocated for girls’ education. So he started schools for girls. Malala was an excellent student and she saw the need to be an advocate for girls’ education.

She was very young when she began doing interviews on news media around the world standing up for education for girls. She wanted to create awareness about what was happening in her country.

Trouble for Malala

The Taliban caused a lot of trouble for her and her father. They tried every way to stop the schools. But Malala was brave enough to continue attending school. One day on the way home, the Taliban stopped her bus and shot her in the head. She was fortunate to survive though she had a long recovery ahead of her.

Actually, this incident just made her story all the more popular and the news spread all around the world. Malala had made a big, big difference for girls. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to get the details. The book comes in adult and children’s editions.

A few things our children can learn from Malala.

  1. You are not too young to make a difference. Stand up for what you feel is right.
  2. There are many similarities with children in other cultures, but there are also some extreme differences. It’s important to be aware by reading books from different cultures like this one.
  3. Learn about the oppression and persecution of women.
  4. Appreciate your education. Some people aren’t even afforded the opportunity to learn to read.

NOTE: To those of the Christian Faith

As I read this book, I was a little bothered that she used the name of “God” when speaking of the Muslim god – Allah! I thought it might be confusing to young Christians as they read, causing them to think that we have the same God.

So I talked with a missionary to Pakistan who would know if this was normal. I was told that “yes, they do use the term God when referring to Allah.” Some will tell you that Allah is the same God of Abraham through his son Ishmael. While this may be true, the Isalm faith has distorted the character of God so much that their god is not the same person as Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (See Resources below)

Mandy Farmer

Purchase your copy here. {affiliate}



RESOURCES

Do Christian and Muslims Worship the Same God


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hymn: Take my Life

Take My Life Hymn of Consecration



Give me your heart, my son,
And let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26

Take My Life & Let it Be


Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own.
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/445

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Consecration

Take My Life

I still love the old hymns and this one is a favorite; however, the further you sing, the more consecration you need. I wonder if this might be why people no longer want to sing the old hymns… TOO CONVICTING?

In contrast, this hymn could be my life song of commitment. Giving God everything I have… my hands, my head, my voice, my moments, my silver, my gold. I want to trust that He has the best in mind for me. I truly believe if I let it all go and place it in His hands that He has something even better to give me in return.

Sunday Lyrics ~ Hymn Favorite #takemylife #hymnfavorites Click To Tweet

About the composer of Take My Life

This hymn was written by Frances Havergal (1836-1879) was an unusually gifted and passionate saint. The daughter of a church rector, she was raised in Worcester, England and attended schools in England and Germany. In her love of learning, she grew to become an able scholar (even becoming proficient in both Hebrew and Greek) and a talented singer and pianist.

Perhaps you will be interested to know the origin of the consecration hymn, “Take my life.”

I went for a little visit of five days. There were ten persons in the house, some unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. He gave me the prayer, “Lord, give me all in this house!” And He just did! Before I left the house every one had got a blessing.

The last night of my visit I was too happy to sleep and passed most of the night in praise and renewal of my own consecration and these little couplets formed themselves and chimed in my heart one after another, till they finished with, “Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!”

https://www.challies.com/articles/hymn-stories-take-my-life-and-let-it-be/

Old Hymns Becoming New

Consequently, I am thrilled that contemporary artists are now incorporating the old hymns into their own style of music. Here’s Chris Tomlin’s version of “Take My Life”

Did you grow up singing this song?

In Conclusion, do you remember singing this old hymn in church? Do you like Chris Tomlin’s updated version? Leave your comments below.

Mandy Farmer

Other Hymns You May Know and Love

HYmn Favorite: Take My Life

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

Here’s a hymn I didn’t grow up with, but heard it as an adult and fell in love with it immediately. It’s a great one to sing in parts and acapella.

Originally posted on April 8, 2017

My faith has found a resting place

Not in device nor creed;

I trust the Ever-living One,

His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,

I need no other plea;

It is enough that Jesus died.

And that He died for me.

My Faith Has Found a Resting Place
It is #Enough that Jesus died. And that He died for me Click To Tweet

On this, I can rest my heart and soul.

He died for me… and you. 

We were all sin-stained and lost. (Romans 3:23)

But before we even knew Him, He looked down and loved us. (Romans 5:8)

He came down and paid for our debt of sin.  (John 3:16-17)


He Paid a Debt

There is a chorus by Ellis J. Crum from the 80’s that says,

image by http://www.digitalsongsandhymns.com/songs/4203

We owe Him more than we can ever repay.

There is nothing we can do to pay Him back. Our best deeds are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

But He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself! (Romans 3:23-25)

He bore the horrible pain and cleansed us from all sin. (1 John 1:9)

And He rose again, defeating death and the grave! (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)

And that is enough to save us. Nothing else must be done but to accept this free gift of God.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


It is enough!

Praise God!

It is Enough!

Mandy Farmer

Not familiar with these hymns?

Take a listen right here and fall in love with a “new” or appreciate again one that you haven’t heard for a long, long time.

To learn more about receiving this free gift from God, Click Here

What is your favorite hymn?

Tell us in the comments and maybe someday soon you will see a devotional thought on your favorite.

by our love

They’ll Know We Are Christians by our Love


Scriptures  

John 13:34-35 “I give you a new command: Love One another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”

1 John 4:7-12 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.

Romans 13:8 Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.

Ephesians 4:1-6 Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

They'll KNow we ARe Christian by our Love
#hymnofthe week

Camp Song

Peter Scholtes wrote the hymn “They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” while he was a parish priest at St. Brendan’s on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s. At the time, he was leading a youth choir out of the church basement, and was looking for an appropriate song for a series of ecumenical, interracial events. When he couldn’t find such a song, he wrote the now-famous hymn in a single day.

Maybe we need to bring this song back and take it to heart. #hymnoftheweek #weareChristians Click To Tweet

They’ll Know We are Christians

 We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.

Chorus:

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.

All praise to the Father, from whom all things come;
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.

Copyright: Words: 1966 F.E.L. Publications. Assigned 1991 Lorenz Publishing Company (Admin. by Lorenz Corporation), Music: 1966 F.E.L. Publications. Assigned 1991 Lorenz Publishing Company (Admin. by Lorenz Corporation)

Mandy Farmer
Mighty Fortress

A Mighty Fortress is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:

Martin Luther

Over at Gracefully Truthful,[GT] we just finished a study on some of the Names of God {HE}. I love these studies because we get to know God so much deeper. We realize how He truly is an amazing God is and how He can be all things for us. If you don’t see Him in one name, go on to another. Trust me, if you seek Him, He will be found.

A mighty Fortress
created by Mandy in Canva

I wrote for GT on El Gibbor ~ Mighty God. I hope you will find a moment to go and read. In the meantime, that study got my thinking about our Almighty God. I was reminded of this old hymn written by none other than Martin Luther. Do you remember it?

Read through the lyrics of A Mighty Fortess

What attributes of God are meaningful to you today? Does this song give you victory as you face the evils of today? It does for me!

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

A Mighty Fortress is our God, Martin Luther

Enjoy this arrangement of A Mighty Fortress by David Wesley and Recorded by Christians around the World

One Extra Note

If you would like to be a part of his next virtual choir. Listen for instructions at the end of the above video. Submissions are due by the end of June.

Sing to Him;

Mandy Farmer
Fully Alive Book Review

Book Review: Fully Alive

This summer (2020) Susie Larson is offering a free online study of her latest book, Fully Alive. This was such a helpful book for me, so I decided to repost this review. She is offering the book for only $10 [CODE: FAITHRADIO] and the study is free! Sign up at the end of this post.

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
burdens lifted

Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary

Too often we carry our burdens around by ourselves. I heard a preacher say that we live in a DIY society and it’s true with our Christian lives as well. We try to Do it Ourself. But God says we should bear one another’s burdens.

Do you know that 2 horses can pull three times the weight of one horse? So with us, if we share our burdens with one another the weight is much much lighter.

Not only that, if we share our burdens with Jesus, the weight is even lighter for he says,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Hymn of the Week: “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”

Continue reading
Love of God feature

The Love of God

The love of God is, to me, so unfathomable.

I become overwhelmed with awe whenever I think of it. How God could love me, a sinner, enough to leave his throne in heaven, humble himself as a man, and die the cruel death of a criminal, just to conquer death and save me from that horrible death. It’s unfathomable.

The Love of God

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry

Nor could the scroll contain the whole

Though stretched from sky to sky

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

Frederick M. Lehman, 1917
v. 3 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, 1050

 

The Love of God
created in Canva

This hymn is precious to me.

There are no better words to describe how I feel that have been laid out in this poetry. You must read this beautiful story of this hymn.

Lehman wrote “These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love – whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. In due time, he died and the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words. Before their paint brushes had obliterated them, one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved.”

Read more of teh story at http://dianaleaghmatthews.com/the-love-of-god/#.XtV3VDOSmCg

I pray that you, too have experienced this merciful love of God. If not, click here to learn about finding it.

Blessings!

Mandy Farmer

Photo Credits