When Life Has Dealt You a Bad Hand

We tend to get this idea in our heads that Christian leaders have everything in perfect order; that they are always holding a good hand. We think that they have had a great Christian life and have never been tempted to sin or been through troubled times. But this is far from the truth. When we look through scripture we find that God oftentimes chooses the weak or the least expected to do mighty things for Him.

Where the Light Felll

I have said many times that we need to have more times of testimony. Times when we share about our troubles and weakness. And then also to share how God has gone through the fire with us. How can others be encouraged or know that God is an amazing God when we aren’t sharing these things?

As I picked up Phillip Yancey’s memoir, Where the Light Fell, I found the story of his life heartbreaking. But I learned some things in my reading that I will share with you today.


We cannot let our past dictate our future.

Philip and Marshall Yancey, watched their father die when they were very young. They were raised by their mother and “aunt” whom they never felt they could please.

We all have our stories to tell. People have hurt us, often in terrible ways. Perhaps we were born into poverty or places full of drugs, alcohol, and crime. Maybe we were treated poorly by parents, family, or even leaders. But God has a plan in mind. Consider Joseph when he told his brothers,

“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”

Joseph, Genesis 50:20

God is ready to take whatever life has dealt you and turn it into something good. Your experiences can make you empathetic toward others who have gone through the same things. Trust me, they are out there looking for someone that can lead the way out. You may be that person.

Romans 8:28 

Where the Light Fell @philipYancey
#book review
images created by Mandy for free in Canva.com

BEFORE WE CONTINUE

I would like to leave a note here… I’m a seasoned Christian. I have learned to handle life’s challenges with God’s help. This does not mean that we don’t need occasional help from specialists, therapists that can help us through all the junk life has thrown at us. If you are struggling with depressions or having thoughts of suicide, please reach out for some help. Talk with a counselor or reach out to the suicide prevention hotline. They are there for you.

Test the Spirits.

Mrs. Marshall was heartbroken. She and her husband had plans to be missionaries, but when he contracted polio they followed the teachings and encouragement of the church leaders to reject treatment in the iron lung because God would heal him. He died two months later.

She continued following the instructions of this very conservative church to raise her children. And her harshness was hard for the boys to bear. Scriptures tell us to test the spirits. You would think, one could always trust what the church is telling you. But there are leaders and churches who are leading so many astray. We must vigilantly read the scriptures and pray for God’s guidance.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  1 John 4:1

Where the light fell
1 John 4:1
When you get a bad deal
#bookreview #philipYancey

On the otherhand, parents are doing the best they know in raising their children. Maybe we should give them a break.

Philip and his brother, Marshall were treated harshly by their mother. Disappointments in her life caused her to struggle all through life. Though she took direction from the church, it wasn’t always great advice. She was doing all she knew to do to raise her boys right but her frustrations came out as dissatisfaction and faultfinding toward her boys.

I know in my own life as I have grown and looked back, I can now see what was going on with my parents at times. I can see that what they said was not really directed at me. Sometimes, it was purely my own perception of the situation that was wrong.

When we realize this we need to have a little compassion. As we become parents ourselves, these realizations may come to fruition. When it does, this is the time to let go of the hurt and hatred so that relationships can be repaired.

Forgiveness is always the first step; and the sooner, the better.

It doesn’t really matter if a person comes and apologizes, we must forgive them. Otherwise, it will eat away at the soul. Unforgiveness does nothing to the instigator. It only drives you deeper into an unfulfilled life. (depression, anger, sin, and other things). Remember, Christ: He was wrongly accused, beaten, crucified, spit on. But what did he says from the cross before He died?

Forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Jesus, Luke 23:34
Where the Light Fell
#forgiveness

Remember the parable Jesus shared about the Unmerciful Servant. We have been forgiven so much, so we ought to also forgive those who sin against us.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Matthew 18

While our lives can have a direct influence on our children. It is still their own responsibility to find God and follow Him.

Parents, we need to examine our hearts as well. If we are getting out of control, it’s time to take a step back. Keep our mouths closed and stop from striking out. We do need to be willing to apologize to our children when we have been too harsh. Kids are resilient. And when we are willing to apologize, we will find that the situation is over and forgotten. But if these things keep happening, a child will retreat further and further. They will have difficulty finding it in their heart to forgive.

Though it is true that each child must come to God on his own, we can certainly create for them a more direct path to God. We need to do what we can to display the character of God before our children. We do have that responsibility,

Parents, don’t provoke your children to wrath.

Ephesians 6:4

And Proverbs 22:6…

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a Child

Rather, Let’s Hit our Knees in the Prayer Closet.

I just cracked open Hope McCardy’s book, 31 days of Praying God’s Wisdom for My Husband. In the first chapter, she shares how she was praying for success for her husband. She would constantly share her prayers with her husband. But he finally shared that this was causing extra stress on him. She learned that some prayers need to be silent prayers and kept in her prayer closet. She shared two principles that have been confirmed in her after decades of praying for her husband.

1. It is my responsibility to pray and pray and pray some more.

2. It is God’s responsibility to answer in His own time and in His own soveriegn way, and even when the answer is not to my liking, my trust must be in God and Him alone.

Hope McCrady, 31 Days of Praying God’s Wisdom for My Husband.

These truths apply to our children as well. I saw that the Yancey boys had a mother that wanted them to be missionaries since she didn’t get the chance. Then she began to push so hard. They weren’t able to live up to the task. So they questioned God and ran away from Him. Mrs. Marshal might have seen different results if she had gone into her prayer closet and prayed silently for her boys. (Remember The War Room Movie?)

Questioning is Not Always Wrong

Philip Yancey was always questioning his faith. What is Real? What is really a sin? He tested his teachers and mother at every turn. But in His questioning, he found the truth. He found a faith that he could grab onto and believe in. Not only that, he has been able to answer many questioning people through his books. His life and questioning of it gave him the knowledge to explain the truth to others that possibly, we who have always accepted the faith of our families cannot. Just take note of some of his book titles.

The Jesus I Never Knew

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Prayer: Does it Make a Difference?

The Scandal of Forgiveness: Grace Put to the Test

WHY? The Question That Never Goes Away

Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?


I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

The God Who Fights For You

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psalm 34:17
God Fights for You
All images created for free by Mandy in Canva.com

Throughout the Bible we see that the godly are not exempt from troubles; however, God is always near to us. He is ever watching and He will help us through. Isaiah always shared comfort in that God was walking through those trials with us. He hears our cries and He provides what is needed as we go THROUGH the trial.

Continue reading

Mentoring Resource…Adorned- Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

I have been waiting years for a women’s mentoring resource like this.

This post was previously written in Mandy’s older blog GGMandy dot com. This is an excellent resource of which I still highly recommend.

ADORNED

Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together

by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

{There are affiliate links on the page}

{I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review}

As a pastor’s wife, I have tried different times to encourage our ladies to live out the Titus 2 woman model. I used Bible Studies on the topic but I never seemed able to really get the point across. It wasn’t easy to explain nor or to share why we should live this kind of life. Partly, I had older women whom I respected questioning the principle. I didn’t know how to answer them. But mainly, I didn’t have the right mentoring resource to help me.

Today, we have millennial women begging for direction. But the situation is worse. The older women think the younger women do not want their help. They feel the young women do not want to hear their message. But this is not true.

And I believe “Adorned” is the mentoring resource we need.

Continue reading

Review: Holy Hustle Planner

The year of COVID-19 has me way behind in 2021. We didn’t celebrate Christmas until mid-January so it’s no wonder that I am just now getting my schedule and plans in order. Is this true for you?

Show me your way, O Lord.

Teach me your paths. 

Lead me in your truth and teach me. 

You are the God of my salvation. 

On You, I wait all day.”

Psalm 25:4-5,

Finding God’s Plan

Finding God’s path has been challenging to say the least. I am baffled how someone with Chronic Illness can struggle even more with being “shut-in”. How is it that my days seem full when I don’t really have that much to do?

Well, being Type-A, I am always wanting to get more done than is physically possible. Those BIG planners only make me have lofty ideas. This planner keeps me from pushing myself too much. I just list my to do’s for the week. (only one per day, max) I’m not nearly as frustrated about what I manage to complete.

images provide by Crystal Stine

PLANNERS GALORE

I have found a lot of beautiful planners. But seriously, they are bulky and way too complicated for the chronic gal. I need simple but pretty. I don’t need stickers or all the minute details; just a place to record doctor’s appointments and a checklist for the things I need to do this week.

Even after 10 years of chronic pain,

I still struggle with overdoing it.

THIS PLANNER WORKS FOR ME

Crystal Stine has come up with the perfect planner for me. It’s pretty with its faux leather cover. It’s lightweight, like a paperback. And simplistic. It offers monthly calendars at the beginning, Then 52 weekly calendars with encouraging quotes to cheer you along the way. And the nice thing is it’s NOT already dated. Start using it anytime and even go into a new year.

Perfect for teachers or homeschoolers or anyone who has a different fiscal year. In the back you will find a year layout where you can put things for the new year or maybe things like birthdays!

I love this #holyhustleplanner! Click To Tweet

And, Oh! By the Way…

Crystal has a whole book about how the handle this Holy Hustle. AND a Bible Study, too! Wow! we can really get on track ’cause she is providing all the guidance we need.

So Go For It!

Purchase yours now!

Mandy





Becoming a Woman of God

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:1

This scripture reminds me of my younger days, cheering on the team of whatever season it was. From the time I was small, we rushed about on Friday nights to get to the ballgame. It was just part of life. My brother was 5 years my senior. So, of course, we cheered him on often as well as our favorite teams.

More importantly, this scripture follows the great Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 which lists many of the great men and women of God that have gone on before. They lived great lives as an example for us. And there have been many more since that we could add to the list.

Who are you following?

I’ve been thinking lately of the women in my life who have lived godly lives. They left examples for me to follow.

  • Elaine, my mother, demonstrated motherhood, a good marriage, and hospitality.
  • Ruth, Leona, Birdie – my grandmothers who were godly servants. Women I wanted to be just like.
  • Miss Gale – a Sunday School teacher who prayed the sinner’s prayer with me and encouraged me to be confident in my faith.
  • The Hesses, missionaries to Haiti
  • Evelyn – a neighboring farmer’s wife who taught me homemaking skills through 4-H.
  • Mrs. Crouse – a university professor who taught me the importance of health and godliness.
  • Mrs. Charlotte – my pastor’s wife who lives a life of joy and how to be the perfect pastor’s wife. (She introduced me to my husband!)
  • And so many other church ladies who displayed godliness in their own ways. There were other women that I missed getting to know as well.
  • Women whose works I am reading now such as Lysa Terkhurst & Susie Larson

Women I Read About

How many women are there whom I wish that I could know, or at least sit down for a few hours with a cup of coffee and pick their brains?

The woman who really challenged me the most has to be Elisabeth Elliot. I first read her words in my early twenties. I thought she was a little too strict for me. No one needed to live that holy of a life. However, by the end of the book, I was dumbfounded and a great believer in what she had to say.

I regret not taking her words to heart sooner in my life. I am thankful that God protected me from a lot of mistakes I could have made along the way. Looking back, I see how immature I really was.

Becoming Elisabeth Elliot

I recently picked up a new biography of Elisabeth Elliot by Ellen Vaughn. Oh, how I have been soaking up the words. Still, pricked in the heart by the commitment of a young college girl, but knowing it is never too late to become a godly woman. Indeed,

” being crucified with Christ, as the scriptures say, was not morbid but in fact the very gateway to life itself.”

Elisabath Elliot

Those who Guided Elisabeth

elisabeth Elliot Becoming Elisabeth

Ellen Vaughn has helped me know Elisabeth better by introducing me to the women who impacted Elisabeth’s life. This book is not just a biography of Elisabeth but also a glimpse into the lives of many other amazing men and women. Here are a few just to pique your interest…

  • her own parents, Thomas and Katherine Howard
  • Amy Carmichael
  • Betty Scott Stam, a martyred family friend, and missionary
  • Katherine Morgan, an “icon of what a missionary should be”
  • and, of course, her dear husband Jim Elliot

She was fortunate to meet and know some wonderfully godly men and women, but she also soaked up the words of earlier greats such as Deitrich Bonheoffer & Jonathan Edwards.

The Challenge to be a Godly Woman

And so, I now am considering the people that have impacted my life for good. What have a learned from them and what can I still learn from them? Are there women still living that I need to be spending time with and soaking up wisdom and spirituality?

Journaling May Help

Ellen was able to discern a lot about who Elisabeth learned from because Elisabeth had journaled nearly all her life. I was often encouraged to journal but never stuck to it. Thus, I am now trying to catch up and remember all the events in my life. What things had importance to me? Did those things matter and how did it make me the woman of God I am today?

Where are you on this road toward godliness? Are you the woman of God whom you desire to be? the woman God wants you to be? I believe this book Becoming Elisabeth Elliot may help you on your journey.

Let’s Encourage One Another Toward Godliness,

Mandy

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.


We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.

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

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

Purchase your copy here. {affiliate}



RESOURCES

Do Christian and Muslims Worship the Same God


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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
girl of sudan

How a Lost Girl of Sudan Found Healing, Peace & Purpose

At times in my life, I have felt like a “lost girl” in a mixed-up world. Life can throw things at us that we don’t understand. We have been pushed through life seemingly without any control of what is happening. We may never understand until we get to heaven but other times we can look back and see that “What They Meant For Evil God Meant For Good.

Young Joseph [Genesis 50] certainly learned this lesson. At no fault of his own, he was sold into slavery, worked his way up only to be thrown in prison and left there to die. But God had a plan all along. The important thing was that Joseph never gave up on God.

And that has been my goal as well. To keep trusting and listening for God’s guidance and direction. My experiences in life can all work out for good (Romans 8:28) when I keep trusting him.

I have purposed to read more biographies this year; biographies of people different from myself. My desire is to understand more of other races, countries, beliefs, and situations. I want to as the Indian proverb says, “walk a mile in their shoes”. What I am learning, is that there is always, always someone who has struggled more than me.

The Lost Girl of Sudan

What they menat for EVil book

Imagine with me being only 5 years old and living a happy life in a small village in Africa. Until one day, you are running for your life with only the clothes on your back and leaving your grandmother (the one who was raising you) behind.

Several times you are able to return but then things get worse and one day you must keep running further and further. You no longer have the delicious food to eat but must scrounge in the forest for food. Every day, you walk further and further trying your best to keep up with your uncle. Once in a while, you get on the back of a truck and ride many miles.

Finally, you find yourself at a refugee camp in the middle of a desert and in a different country. Food is rationed and even though you are stationed in family groups, others will steal your measly food portions. It’s dangerous to be out away from the family and even people you thought you could trust end up raping you.

This is a taste of Rebecca Deng’s story. Her book will open your eyes to what is happening in many places. Thankfully, Rebecca had been taught about faith and got an opportunity to come to the USA for her education.

I encourage you to get a copy of this truly eye-opening book to find out how Rebecca finds healing, peace, and purpose for her own life. You will be inspired by this “lost girl of Sudan.”

Mandy Farmer

It’s Your Turn

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We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.


Many thanks to Net Galley and Faith Words Publishing for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and honestly.

Defiant Joy

Be Defiant in the Midst of Suffering

I recently wrote some thoughts on the Christmas hymn/poem by Henry Longfellow. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day but I didn’t finish the thoughts he shared on the Truth of the matter. Yes, life may seem drear and sad and lost. BUT GOD… and THE BELLS do ring out Truth.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, https://www.lyricsforchristmas.com/christmas-carols/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/

Taking Hold of Hope, Beauty, and Life in a Hurting World.

I just finished a book that I have been slowly working on all year. It was sent to me by Susie Larson because I commented on her webpage. Typically when I read a book slowly, like this, it’s because I am having trouble grasping the truth and I am not wanting to accept it. (ouch!) Thankfully, I am getting it. Read on!


We may earn a small commission for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support our work in bringing you spiritual encouragement and other favorite product reviews. Thank you.

The title, itself brings curiosity. Defiant Joy. It almost seems an oxymoron. But defiance can be defined as a determination. We can determine to have joy in spite of the trials and sorrows, thus be defiant for joy.

Jeremiah placed this instruction smack dab in the middle of his lamenting to God about the devastation that Israel was struggling through. Recall this scripture with me…

15 Joy has left our hearts;

    our dancing has turned to mourning.

16 The garlands have fallen from our heads.

    Weep for us because we have sinned.

17 Our hearts are sick and weary,

    and our eyes grow dim with tears.

18 For Jerusalem[c] is empty and desolate,

    a place haunted by jackals.

Lamentations 5:15-18, NLT, https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=lamentations+5&version=NLT

By the time we get to the end of Jeremiah. We find him giving us hope, and beauty, and joy in the Lord.

They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.

    They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—

the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,

    and the healthy flocks and herds.

Their life will be like a watered garden,

    and all their sorrows will be gone.

Jeremiah 31:!2 NLT; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+31:12&version=NLT

Realize Your Need for God

Our despair is really the Spirit wooing us, showing us our need for His Mercy. Suffering reminds us that we need the Lord. We can’t get along without keeping God in the forefront of our lives. When we get off of His path, the way gets dark and lonely.

God invites us to make a turn to the right. Set our compass back on the North Star (Jesus). Get our eyes on Him and allow Him to direct our lives. Then and only then will we begin to have Hope and Find Joy in this desperate world.

Expect His Joy to Flow in and through you

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible joy.

1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+peter+1%3A8-9&version=NIV

It all depends on where our gaze is.

  • When we are looking down, we see our feet and not the rising sun.
  • When our hearts are heavy with doubt and fear, we “miss the wonder all around us“.
  • When we look to Jesus we are lifted up.
  • We receive His “courage to believe and the ability to wait on Him.

Waiting in Hope; Defiant for Joy

In the missing and the aching and the desparte pain, we will not give in to devastation. We are called to live. and eventually, miraculously, to live with joy.

Defiant Joy, Sasi Eldredge, page 196
In the missing, the aching and the desperate pain, we will not give in to devastation. #defiantjoy #pain #suffering #ancientpaths #grief @stasieldridge Click To Tweet

Don’t get bottled up in the struggle. The more we fight, the more we get entangled in the troubles of this life. We must remember how Paul said that we are pressed on every side be not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV). When we relax and lean into the arms of Jesus, He will carry us. When we look upward and breathe in His promises, we will realize all the joy that is coming and the inheritance we will soon gain.

My visible world may scream loss, but the victory cannot and will not be held back. And because of that, because life wins and has won already, because of all Jesus won for us, I – like you- can be diafiantly joyful. I will choose it. Join me.

Stasi Eldredge, Defiant Joy, page 199

Be Defiant, Choose Joy with me.

Mandy Farmer

Next Year Be Defiant

I am going to be defiant next year. I want to determine to follow the ancient paths of God. Won’t you join me? Sign up for the newsletter (below) to receive your free calendar of Scriptures for each day in January. Share your thoughts with a hashtag #ancientpaths