support grieving friend

Four Ways to Support Grieving Friends

In 2008, I had two friends suddenly lose their husbands within a few months of one another. Since we were only in our 40s at the time, this was a real shock and it got me thinking about the reality of life and death. How one moment in time can forever change your life.

Both friends (one a homeschool friend, the other a pastor’s wife) were dependent on the income of their husband. So they were left with little to nothing to support themselves.

 It got me to thinking that except through the grace of God, this could be me. It also led me to realize the plight of many pastor’s wives who had been left with not only a loss of their husband but in many cases,

  • no income
  • no home to live in, (if they lived in a parsonage)
  • and even more: no identity as a pastor’s wife.

This is when God began to work on my heart to support grieving friends, especially the pastor’s widow. I contacted the district church office and came to find out that other than a list of names in the district journal, widows of pastors are basically thrown to the wind. The district office did not even have records of their birthdays.

God spoke to me and called me to begin writing to these ladies. So I picked up some cards of encouragement and began writing notes as I was able to do so. Sometimes I even create my own cards. What a blessing this has become as I have cultivated new friendships not only with these ladies but at times with their children as well.

cards for widows
Cards made by Mandy

I have received many encouraging letters and one day, I received a box in the mail. It was a beautiful Christmas quilt made by one of these precious ladies.


the Widow Coach
#book review

Not long ago, I picked up a little book called The Widow Coach by Joann Filomena. Joann was a widow and as she worked her way through her grief she learned how to move forward. She decided to get certified as a Life Coach for widows. I figured the book might be helpful for me as I try to encourage these women.

Here are a few helpful things to Support Your Grieving Friends

1. Just Be There – no empathy needed.

Holding Space is walking alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judgment, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of any judgment and control. Widows need to know that they can be vulnerable and weak without fear or be judged.

The Widow Coach,

2. Don’t Identify

The moment that we start sharing our own stories we make it about us instead of them. Keep your stories for another time. Just listen and let her talk. That’s what she needs to talk it out.

3. Direct Her Beliefs & Feelings

She may have a lot of feelings and worries. “What am I going to do now?” Help her work through them by asking, “Why?” It is common to attach our feelings to our beliefs, such as I am nothing without my husband so I won’t be able to live beyond today. This is not really true. Help her detach her feelings from wrong thinking.

By asking questions we can help her make a new list of goals. You can help her find her own identity by looking for her own gifts and talents. She probably had goals that she put aside when she got married that can now come to the surface again.

4. Direct Her Thoughts Towards Good Things.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9

Remember, don’t tell her, ask her about good memories to renew good feelings and move away from the sadness. Yes, she needs to grieve and be sad. After all, God created those emotions. But remembering good things is a way to balance the sadness and help her realize that yes one day she will be able to move on.

This little book wasn’t a hard read, but a good reminder of how any of us can support our grieving friends. It actually made me think again about getting some kind of Life Coach certification myself.

Have you ever thought about being a Life Coach?

Mandy Farmer
legacy link-ups
LEGACY LINK UP is live til the end of October

P.S. I recently read Lysa Terkhurst’s book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way She wrote it during a very dark time in her life. Some may find walking through this study may help those grieving from unimaginable sorrow.

Fan the Flames

How to Fan the Flames of Your Faith

Is your faith growing cold? Do you feel that you are losing ground in spiritual things? Or are you On Fire for God? Is your love for God burning to share it with others? Let’s talk today about how to fan the flames of your faith.

The Holy Spirit is the Fire in us

When we give our lives over to God, He gives us the Holy Spirit to emblazon our hearts with His love, joy, peace, etc. But the thing is that many of us have invited Christ in but we haven’t given Him complete control of our lives. So then, we are still missing out on that victorious life of which the Bible speaks.

We can quench the fire in us

Yes, disobedience to God or blatant sin in our life throws cold water over that fire of the Holy Spirit. He cannot stay alive in our lives if we are constantly going against His will. There is more to salvation than just allowing Him into your life. We must give Him complete control through obedience and allowing Him to clean out the dross within our lives.

So, How do we Get the Fire Started or Fan the Flames?

It takes intentionality. We need to enact the spiritual disciplines into our life. They are simple but not always easy. Anne Graham Lotz shares a few of these with us in her new book coming out in October.

{These disciplines} include

1. Daily Prayer

2. Daily Bible Reading

3. Sharing the Gospel

4. Continuous obedience as you live out what God says in His word.

5. Continuous trust as you relinquish you expectation and let Him have His way.

6. Deepening surrender to His authority-especially during times of pain and suffering.

Which Discipline do you lack?

Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz, Chapter 16, page 124

A Little About the Book, Jesus in Me

Fan the Flames #bookreview #jesusinme

I was so excited about being on this launch team. I could hardly wait to get my hands on this book about Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion.

First, it was just amazing to me that she could write to us WHILE she was going through cancer treatments. I know that when I am struggling through life’s trials, it is nearly impossible for me to even write in my journal. I just don’t want to face the issues. She has been amazing.

Secondly, as always she shares openly and honestly about her own faith. Where she succeeds and where she fails. Then she tells us what she learned. Anne openness helps me connect with her as a common friend. I’m not intimidated by her because she is Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter. More so, I welcome her advice.

Thirdly, this book on the Holy Spirit is greatly needed. From my point of view. Many are not tapping into what He can do for us. Anne can help us do that.

Fan the Flames #holyspirit #spiritualgrowth #sanctification

Now, on to How to Fan the Flames

First, Daily Prayer

I am saddened that even church folks seem uninterested in taking time to pray. But this is our Life-line to God. I’m seriously considering majoring on writing about this discipline more in the coming year. Elizabeth Boles guest posted earlier in the year on The Importance of Prayer.

You may feel you don’t know how to pray. What words should you say? Maybe your tongue gets tangled between your teeth when you try to pray. I’ve always felt that others were so much more elegant than I when they pray. Emily P. Freeman from The Next Right Thing says to borrow their prayers! You can find a prayer online on nearly any subject imaginable. It’s a great place to start. Before long, you will be praying with the best of them.

Second, Read Your Bible

A co-worker once said to me, “Why do you keep reading the Bible? Just read it through once, close it up, and say “That was great.”

At the time I was speechless. I really didn’t know what to say and I feared I would find myself in a discussion that I was unable to stand firm on. But do you know what God says?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

1 Peter 3:15 NIV

In retrospect, I wish I had said how God’s Word is living and active in the soul’s of man. That it is alive and new every day. Because that is the truth.

Earlier this year, we wrote about Why and How to Read Your Bible. Check out this post for some help.

God's Word is Living and Active in the soul's of man. It is New and Alive every day! #Jesusinme #bookreview Click To Tweet

Third, Share Your Faith

Always be prepared to give an answer. Goodness! Too many of really have no idea what we believe. It’s time to get in the Word and know what you know. There is no excuse today since we have the world at our fingertips. IF you haven’t been through your local church membership class, it may be time to do that. Find out what you believe.

I wrote earlier this year about how to debunk some of the excuses we have for not sharing our faith. Seriously, friend. When we stand at the judgment seat, do you want your friends and those with whom you interact to ask you why you never shared the Gospel with them? Read more here.

Additionally, Fellowship with other Christians and Church Attendance

Why is it that we think we can maintain a good Cristian walk on our own? We go out into the world and rub elbows with all the filth and before long we stink like the world. There are things we can only get when we are attending church and Bible Study

  1. Fellowship with other Christians.
  2. Encouragement.
  3. Training. (We all can learn something new)
  4. To be with like-minded friends.
  5. Accountability.

It’s time to find a local church and get involved.

Yes. there will be some hypocrites around. But they are there to learn and improve. Maybe you can learn and improve too! There are also some amazing Christians and Bible teachers there as well. Go rub elbows with them!

The church is like a hospital. It’s for the sick. We don’t say we won’t go to the hospital because there are sick people there. We go because there are doctors and nurses that can help us get better.

Speaking of sharing the Gospel

Finally, one of the best ways to spread the Gospel is within your own family. Are you teaching your children The Word of God? Are you taking them to Sunday School so they will know that Jesus Loves Them?

I know it’s hard to get up on Sunday morning and get everyone ready to go. Sometimes it all seems futile. But it’s not. You are setting a precedent. You are showing the importance of knowing God and placing Him first in your life. Here are some tips to help you get to church on time.

I encourage you to work on the disciplines. Pick up Anne’s new book today. It will change your life.

Mandy Farmer


How to Make Your Marriage Last Forever

 

A Marriage That Lasts Forever

In honor of my own marriage that we have committed to last forever, I share some notes I have found along the way. They have worked well for these thirty years. I expect them to continue keeping us Lovestruck.

Lovestruck! Yes, that would be a good description of my husband and I. Definitely, Michael was lovestruck from the first day we met. That Sunday in August 30 years ago began as normal as any day could. My pastor’s wife, Charlotte, drug me to Georgia to retrieve her daughter who had spent the summer with her grandmother.

However, Charlotte had ulterior motives – to introduce me to some preacher. (As a side note – I did not intend to marry a preacher.) I went along just to make Charlotte hush about this “Michael” whom she thought I needed to meet.

Michael, on the other hand, had no clue at all that he was being set up. I was just a friend of Charlotte and I would be singing at church that morning. Boy, was he in for a surprise.

Twitter-painted!

Yep! Just like Bambi, he was “looking neither to the right nor the left” when “Boom!”, he came face to face with me. That’s how it started.

Many Waters

But marriage is more than that mushy feeling you get when you are dating. Marriage is a covenant “to have and to hold… from this day forth… ’til death do us part.”

You do remember those words you recited at the altar ‘x’ years ago? Right?

Those emotions and all the chemical reactions going on make for a great start but the covenant seals the deal.

“Marriage is about a covenant with the God who intertwines two souls with the thread of his presence.”

— Sharon Jaynes

The Covenant – Forever Words

Have you read those promises recently? Let’s remind ourselves of the words and promises we made. It probably went something like this…

I, (Name), take you, (Name), to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy law, in the presence of God I make this vow.

www.weddingwire.com
2 Imperfect People

God’s plan for marriage is that it will last forever. We can look around and easily see what happens when marriage vows are broken. It leaves not only broken hearts but pure disaster in its wake. Mark 10:9 says that marriage is forever. I believe that God created marriage to show the world an example of His love for us. So we need to enter into those vows with that purpose in mind. Divorce should never be an option. No easy outs here. It takes work and the work we must do.

The “Work” of Marriage

First, Love is not always easy. Love means giving in to the other’s will and giving up what we want to please the other… even when they aren’t returning that kind of love. What if we did that? I’ve shared before from Gary Thomas’ book, Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?

Sacred Marriage reveals how marriage trains us to love God and others well, how it exposes sin and makes us more aware of God’s presence, how good marriages foster good prayer, how married sex feeds the spiritual life, and more.

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More that to Make us Happy?

Oh goodness, marriage exposes sin? You better believe it does. You see, when we are dating we always have our best foot forward, right? But once the wedding bells have chimed, we slack off and those fairy tale ideas are found to not be so true. Our own desires come floating to the top and the next thing you know we are fighting, screaming, yelling because we want our own way. {sin of selfishness}

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.


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.

Marriage Fosters Good Prayer

Additionally, there is likely nothing better for a marriage than prayer. In the past, we often heard this adage… “A Family that PRAYS together STAYS together.” It’s still true is you implement it. Prayer brings you together. Praying together helps you hear what the other one desires, it helps us bring those desires together as we search for God’s Will and agree together to live it.

We also should be separately praying for our spouse. I have been using Sharon Jaynes’ book, Praying for Your Husband From Head to Toe since it was released in 2014. (I’ve also purchased it for nearly every bride I have known since then.) Sharon admonishes us…

As a wife, you have the power to open the floodgates of heaven through prayer on your husband’s behalf. Whether your husband hasn’t yet decided to follow Christ, has a lukewarm fledgling faith, or lives a fiery firm faith, there is no one more qualified to pray for his relationship with Christ than you.

Sharon Jaynes, Praying For your Husband From Head To Toe, page 6

The Importance of Intimacy

significance of sex

Ultimately, intimacy is highly important. It must be treasured and enjoyed always.

Songs of Solomon is an Old Testament book that we tend to gloss over. But there it is right in the middle of the Bible. So I’m thinking. God put it there for us to find instruction. It’s a love story of a King (Solomon) and his bride. It gets a little juicy but it also deals with handling health issues and those “little tiffs” we can get into.

Sharon Jaynes’ newest book, Lovestruck: Discovering God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, & Sexual Intimacy from the Song of Solomon offers much hope for our marriage. Sharon talks frankly to us about encouraging one another, Speaking life into each other, withholding intimacy, becoming indifferent, extending forgiveness and grace, fulfilling one another’s desires, becoming best friends, and so much more.

The Short List For a Forever Marriage

  1. A Commitment to Forever
  2. Love That Lasts Forever
  3. Prayers That Have Forever in Mind
  4. Lifelong Intimacy
  5. Working Together Forever
  6. Uplifting Words Toward and About Each Other
  7. Most Importantly, God is in the Center

This list is only the first few foundational and necessary actions we must take to have a forever marriage. As I have said before, it takes work and lots of it. it takes commitment to stay the course to forever. I pray that you are committed to the plan just as I am.

Let’s Do This!

If you desire to ignite your marriage, check out any of Sharon Jaynes’ books on marriage. I especially encourage you to pre-order your copy of Lovestruck before the Release date (Tuesday, August 6th). You will receive a free downloadable study guide and more. Just follow instructions at www.lovestruckbook.com

I’m praying you will find new ways to spice up your marriage.

It takes intentionality and ingenuity to make lifelong intimacy a reality. #lovestruckbook @sharonjaynes Click To Tweet
Mandy Farmer

How many years have you been married? Share in the comments.




Want a Male Point of View?




Book Review The Jesus Who Surprises

How Distant is Your God?

My God is Not Distant… Ever

In today’s society, many would want you to believe that God is distant or uninterested in our lives. That’s is if He exists at all. But I find Him very near to my heart. Ever watching and directing my life.

book cover, The Jesus who surprises
My God is Not Distant.
Recently released book by Dee Brestin

Today, I’d like to show you how God strives to be near us. I recently read Dee Brestin’s new book study, The Jesus Who Surprises. In the past, I have seen Jesus throughout history but this book study brought new excitement about how much Jesus (and God) has been involved with us since before the creation of the world.

Thou has formed us for Thyself,

and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee.

Augustine, The Confessions

God has always desired to be near us.

He created us for the very purpose of having a relationship. In the very beginning, God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit existed together as one. They were (and are) the epitome of LOVE. That love grew to the point of desiring more fellowship. So They, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, together created the universe.

Puritan Richard Sibbes wrote that the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost were happy in themselves and enjoyed one another before they created the world but that this kind of love cannot help but spread. He spoke of the living God as a life-giving, warming sun who delights “to spread his beams and his influence in inferrior things, to make all things fruitful.

Dee Bristen, The Jesus Who Surprises, chapter 2

His spirit hovered over the darkness waiting for someone with whom to be relational. God created the earth, the waters, the mountains, the skies. He said, “It is good.” (Genesis 1)

Then finally, He reached down with His hands and took the dust from the earth and created Adam in His own image. He bent low to the earth and breathed breath into Adam’s lungs. [Genesis 2:7] [He was not distant.] Because He didn’t want the man to be alone, He took a rib from the man and created a woman for him to love. Then He said, “It is very good.”

God Maintained Fellowship with Adam

Every evening God came down to earth to fellowship with Adam and Eve. God loved Adam so much; He did not want to force Him to return His love like a robot. So He gave man the opportunity to choose for himself. He set rules before him that would give him a wonderful life and would allow him to fellowship with Him continuously. There was only one DO NOT given, Do NOT eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [Genesis 2:15-17]

Fellowship was Broken by Man

Sadly, Adam and Eve thought what would be the harm of eating from the tree. So they ate. And then they knew the harm. They suddenly felt the shame of their disobedience. And they covered themselves with leaves and hid in the bushes. [Genesis 3]

When God came that evening to fellowship together with them, they could “not be found”. God called to them, “Where are you?” But their shame made them fearful to present themselves to God knowing that they had sinned. God’s desire for fellowship never changed, but Adam and Eve chose to be distant.

But God Did Not Want to Be Distant with Adam and Eve

This post was inspired by the prompt "Distant" and the book The Jesus Who Surprises
This post was partly inspired by this prompt

So he provided a way for them to restore that fellowship. Again, He remained near to solve the problem. He killed an animal to use the skins for a covering. The spilling of blood would be the only way to cover the sins of man. At least for then, God promised that one day He would provide a perfect lamb to cover their sins.

Yes, God could have remained distant right then and left a chasm between Himself and Man. But He came down to them. He gently brought their sin to their attention, but then He provided clothing. And He promised to provide an advocate, Jesus.

God Works Through History to Restore Man to Himself

All through the centuries, He came near to them, guiding and directing their lives. They would turn away and become distant from Him and He would gently draw them back to Himself. He promised to take their hearts of stone and live within them. So many times, mankind turned away, but God came close again and again. [ Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10 ] Again let me share the words of Dee…

The Bible isn’t about us but about Jesus. Jesus is the greater Adam, who resists the temptation that felled teh first Adam. He is the greater Isaac, who is sacrificed for our sin. Jesus is the greater Moses, who leads His people out of slavery and into the Promised Land. And Jesus is the great sacrificial lamb, the perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Dee Brestin, The Jesus Who Surprises, Chapter 6
The Bible isn't about us but about Jesus. -Dee Brestin #theJesusWhoSurprises Click To Tweet

Finally, When the Timing was Perfect…

He came to earth to live with us. His son, born of a virgin, he came as a man, yet still God. His name was Jesus. [ Luke 1 & 2] He lived among them and taught them. But mankind again turned away. They refused to believe it was God in the flesh. They crucified Him on a cross made for thieves and murderers.

BUT GOD, raised Jesus to life again, defeating the grave, death, and evil. [Matthew 28] Once again and for all time the chasm between God and man had a bridge. The Distance was removed and we can fellowship with Him once again. Our sins are covered because Jesus paid the full price of the punishment.

He Desires a Marriage-like Relationship with us

Throughout the Bible, you will find descriptions of the kind of relationship God desires with us likened to a marriage. That is how much He loves us. Think of your first love; how you wanted to be with your love every moment. And when you were apart, you could only think of them. This is how God desires to be with us. God created marriage as a beautiful relationship so that we could understand the possibility of having a relationship with Himself. Songs of Solomon is the perfect Biblical example. There is nothing distant about a marriage relationship. God desires the ultimate love story with us. Dee Brestin put it this way.

This earthly love storypoints to the ultimate love story, that of Christ and His bride. A metaphor that the bride uses in this Song [of Solomon] to describe her beloved has penetrated my heart and helped me to trust Him when He hides.

Dee Brestin, The Jesus Who Surprises, Chapter Two

There are many more marriage metaphors within the Bible: Ruth and Boaz, Hosea who married a prostitute to and kept redeeming her to show us how God keeps running after us even when we sin, and absolutely we can look to Revelations 19 and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

The metaphor of the bride and her beloved has penetrated my heart. #deebrestin #thejesuswhosurprises #bookreview Click To Tweet

God Remains Not Distant

We can find God in so many ways today. He is in every sunrise, in every flower and tree, in little kindnesses that people afford us. In her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp learned and shared that finding God’s gifts to us was the way to bring joy into our life. She offers 3 prompts for every day. Dee Brestin spotted four specific ways to spy God in our every day lives.

1. obvious answers to pray

2. Any unexpected evidence of His care

3. Help to do God’s work in the world

4. unusual linkage or timing

Dee Brestin, The Jesus Who Surprises, Chapter 13
Four ways to spy God in every day life. @deebrestin #thejesuswhosurprises Click To Tweet

God Has Chosen us, But we Must Choose Him Also

God has given us the choice to be distant from Him or not distant. He has given the choice throughout scripture. The most obvious is when Joshua told the people to choose.

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Joshua 24:15

in the Psalms

King David shares in the Psalms many times that God is guiding and directing us. Showing us the way to go. He desires us to choose Him but ultimately, the choice is ours to make.

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.

Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Psalm 119:30; Psalm 119:173; Psalm 25:12

In the Gospels

When he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Mark 8:34

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

in the Epistles of Paul

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-11; Romans 13:2

In Revelations

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Revelations 3:20

And Finally, in the New Earth

As we study the Bible and see Jesus in everything, we will realize that this world is not our home. our Desire to be united with Jesus will increase more and more. This world and its evil will be destroyed. God will renew all things. The New Earth and the New Jerusalem will come down. We will live in the New Eden in perfect fellowship with God once again. The prophet Isaiah said and is quoted by the Apostle Paul.

No eye hath seen, nor ear heard, not the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9

What a day that will be! C.S. Lewis said,

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Let me close with one last quote from Dee’s book.

But indeed, the invitation to our real home is open to all who choose to receive the free gift Jesus offers. He paid the price He did not owe so that we could have the life we do not deserve. It is a free gift, but you must come to Him in repentance and faith…. This is the Good News of the Gospel.

.

My hope is that seeing this same story from Genesis to Revelation will give you great confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures and the truths they hold. For Jesus that surprised the two on the road to Emmaus, and surprises us in our everyday lives, is not at all finished surprising us.

Dee Brestin, The Jesus Who Surprises

God is Not Distant

I pray that you know Him today. If you are skeptical or if you love Him and just want to celebrate His beautiful plan, Please get your hands on one of these study books. You won’t regret it.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. Dee Brestin’s book is available now for purchase as well as her free videos studies. Find them here.

Salt in my Soul

Cystic Fibrosis – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

What is Cystic Fibrosis (CF)?

Cystic Fibrosis is a chronic genetic illness that affects many parts of the body. It operates like this: A defective protein caused by the cystic fibrosis mutation interrupts the flow of salt in and out of the cells, causing the mucus that’s naturally present in healthy people to become dehydrated, thick, and viscous. This sticky mucus builds up in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, causing problems with the respiratory, digestive, reproductive endocrine, and other systems. In the lungs, the mucus creates a warm and welcoming environment for deadly bacteria like Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia. The vicious cycle of infection, inflammation, and scarring that comes from the combination of viscous mucus and ineradicable bacteria leads to respiratory failure, the most common cause of death in cystic fibrosis patients.

It’s progressive, with no cure, which means it gets worse over time. The rate of progression varies from patient to patient and is often out of control.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, page x

I have a cousin with CF. So when I was asked to review this diary of Mallory Smith, I was glad to read it in hopes that it would help me understand more about what Andrew deals with on a daily basis. I have a chronic illness as well and I know that most people just don’t get it when you talk of pain or not being able to do everything you desire to do.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life definitely opened my eyes to the “good, bad, and ugly” of CF. Young Mallory Smith kept a journal beginning at the age of 15 until her death at the age of 25.

What a trooper she was. She at most times had a very positive outlook on life and didn’t let her diagnosis define her.

For me, it was a hard read feeling her pain and realizing that I didn’t know the half of what my cousin faces. I could only read one or two entries at a time. But it was worth the read.

 

If you ever wonder what having a chronic illness is like, read a patient's diary. #saltinmysoul #cysticfibrosis #chronicillness Click To Tweet

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Cystic Fibrosis

In the following paragraphs, I would like to share a few of the things that caught my attention about the life of Mallory Smith.

The Good

Staying Active is a Plus

Mallory was able to stay very active for most of her life. When a patient is able to do this it is helpful for their lungs and other organs. She loved playing volleyball and swimming. Fortunately, she lived near the ocean which made her feel alive. Her parents were able to take her to Hawaii several times in her life.

From her diary,

Ever since my parents threw me in the water at age three, the ocean has been my escape, my passion, and a powerful healing agent. I’ve always faced complications of cystic fibrosis, from malnutrition to frequent and aggressive pneumonias. For years, I’ve had the unshakeable sense that being in nature ( specifically, the ocean) somehow heals me. Clears my lungs. Prolongs my life. Maintains my sanity. Restores my soul.

My intuition was right. While I was swimming, surf, and fighting CF; researchers in Australia were discovering what I always knew; CF patients who frequent the ocean live longer- ten years longer.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, page 101

A Positive Attitude

I have to remind myself not to envy those whose lives look normal because their mountains do exist, even if they’re less obvious than mine.

It’s given me empathy, and gratitude, and courage, and humor, and heartache, and happiness.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, page xiv

Mallory had a very positive attitude, always appreciative of those who cared for her. At times she hated that she was dependant on them. Sometimes she felt sad or guilty that her family gave up a lot to help her live. When she thought about death she seemed more concerned about how those she would leave behind might feel.

Mallory didn’t let CF stop her. Her love of nature and how healed her caused her to want to make a difference in the environment. She attended college and did studies about saving our universe.

The Bad

Risk of Opioid Addiction

Chest pain is a real issue for the Cystic Fibrosis patient. Even the treatments themselves are rather difficult. I have watched my cousin apply treatments on his son. Beating and vibrating the chest to loosen the mucus. But I’m sure the real pain comes with the infections and pneumonia. Mallory wrote one time that she never thought she would love the feeling of being on opioids.

I never thought I was at risk before. But now I realize it can happen to anyone and I need to be careful and I’m happy the doctors don’t want to send me home with oxy. They say if I have pain that severe, I should come to the ER. It’s a valid point.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, page 142,

Scheduling at Home Treatments

Often Mallary would need to have nurses come to the house to give her treatments or change her PICC line. Scheduling these in a timely matter sometimes became a challenge. The nurse would not have the right supplies and the pharmacy would want to supply them (you know insurance issues we all have). But in her case,

Managing Medications

As with many, chronic illnesses, one medication doesn’t continue working all through your life. Medications constantly need tweaking or changed completely.

During her college years, Mallory participated in a drug trial. She never knew if she took the real drug or the placebo but one thing she knew, she felt much better when she was on it. But then, an infection caused her to be removed from the trial. She begged her doctors to allow her to stay on the drug but it was not to be.

Ugly

Cystic Fibrosis Does a Lot of Taking

Mallory missed a lot of classes and would often head to the hospital right in the middle of a project or a great stream of athletic accomplishments. This could be very frustrating. The constant changes in life, due to hospitalization, found Mallory convincing professors and coaches that she needed more leniency than the typical student.

..It’s hard to look forward when we must always be looking at the ground beneath us; we’re more lurching than walking, stumbling to stay upright.

..

Being frustrated and angry that something was taken from you hurts creativity, the very same creativity that could help you reinvent your possibilities and achieve your ends. understanding this trap is important-knowledge is power.

So yes, CF does do a lot of taking. It’s a complex, unpredictable, irreversible, progressive, painful, suffocating, choking weed of a disease and it’s okay to have it.

Salt in My Soul: An Unfinished Life by Mallory Smith, page xii

Losing Friends

Mallory shared how she became friends with other CF patients. It was good on one side that they could relate to one another’s issues and encourage each other. They had a whole second family within the health community. But it was also painful to watch her friends die. Most of us don’t have that trauma in our twenties.

My Final Thoughts

It’s been a long, long time since I have read about someone’s life who did not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. While Mallory had a beautiful spirit and a zest for life, she did not believe in the existence of God. To me, this was the core thing missing in her life. Her grandfather, apparently Catholic, discussed the existence of God and faith but Mallory chose her own path. This makes me sad because while she felt free here on earth, I must wonder if she is free now.

On Atheism

Typically, an atheist denies the existence of God. Whether they admit it or not they feel anger toward God for allowing bad things to happen or that they feel God restricts them from their own choices.

According to the Bible and my own faith, God is a God of love. So much so that He does allow us to make our own choices. The problem with free will is that our choices not only affect our own lives but others as well. Therefore, our decisions create pain in the lives of others and vice versa.

The good part is that God warns us of the consequences of our sin and He gives us second, third, and more chances to make things right with Him. But our choice stands.

In the end, He will be a just God. If you chose to live without Him in this life He will allow you to live without Him in the next.

Need Some Convincing?

I pray that whoever reads my words have made the right choice and if not that they will study it further. I suggest reading some of C.S. Lewis’ books. His autobiography, Surprised by Joy, would be a good place to start.

Lewis called himself a reluctant convert to Christianity. Meaning that he fought against converting until there was just no denying that God existed and had a plan for his life. Alister McGrath wrote a wonderful book set up like a conversation with C.S. Lewis. McGrath, also an atheist, converted to Christianity after attending college to learn and prove the non-existence of God. Along with other books on Lewis, he wrote If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis. I think you would enjoy this read.

May God Bless You Richly,

Mandy Farmer
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MY REVIEW OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED BOOK, If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis, CAN BE FOUND HERE.




book Review Lunch with lewis

If I Had Lunch With C.S. Lewis

If you could go back in time and talk with anyone, with whom would you talk? #cslewis #lunchwithlewis #bookreview Click To Tweet

My first desire would be to talk with one of my grandparents. I would love to sit on the porch swing one more time with my grandmother and, this time, talk about things that matter. I would ask her about the day she got saved. Perhaps I would ask her more questions about her life and my parent’s lives. Then definitely, I would be sure to ask for a few recipes.

If I were to choose someone outside of my family, C.S. Lewis would rise to the top of my list. I would want to dig deep into his brain and understand life better. I stumbled upon a book recently that caught my interest, If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C. S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life, by Alister McGrath.


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A Great Conversationalist

book review CSLewis
Book review #CSLewis #bookReview

What we may already know about him is confirmed on the jacket of this book. A few lunches with Lewis would be interesting in the least… possibly eye-opening and heart-revealing.

… his mind traveled through a wide and varied terrain: from atheism of his early life to his conversion later in life; from his rational skepticism to his appreciation of value of human desires and imagination; from his role as a Christian apologist during World War II to his growth as a celebrated author of classic children’s literature.

If I Had Lunch with C.S. Lewis by Allister McGrath

Who is Allister McGrath

McGrath like Lewis started out as an atheist. He wanted to go to college to study science and prove that God did not exist. He kept being pulled back to reading Lewis’ works until, he too, could resist Christianity no longer. Before he knew it he had become quite a student of Lewis to the point of writing on him in several articles, books and even a biography of Lewis.

He states in this book (Lunch with Lewis) that he likely wouldn’t want to ask questions as much as he would just like to thank him for his guidance all along the way.

A Synopsys of Lewis’ Books

This book discusses many of the writings of Lewis in the form of answering questions posed. To this point, I had only read The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, and Surprised by Joy. “Lunch with Lewis” gave me a great amount of information and interest in several other books. I found myself often making a note “to read this book”. Indeed, I recall reading Mere Christianity and wondering to myself why I had waited so long to read it. Before I finished it, I was saying, “I must read this book again.”

"Lunch with Lewis" prompted me to read more of C.S. Lewis. #bookreview Click To Tweet

Questions Discussed in “Lunch with Lewis”

McGrath developed 8 different “lunches” with C.S. Lewis where he discusses different topics. Using the works of Lewis, McGrath shares what he believes Lewis would say to us about these topics.

on Friendship

Right off the bat, McGrath finds Lewis asking us more questions than we are asking him. But these questions are somewhat rhetorical, that is, they make us step back and think.

How are my friends influencing me? What task lies ahead of me that demands a community of support? How can I support my friends? Am I spending enough time and energy cultivating real friendships? And is friendship an end or a means—something good in itself or a good to be consumed?

page 52

Our Part in the Stories of Narnia

As you might expect, it takes more than one “lunch” to discuss Narnia. McGrath suggests that before we are even able to ask our questions about Narnia, Lewis would ask us, “Where do we fit in these stories?”, and leaving us with this thought…

The story we believe we are in determines what we think about ourselves and consequently how we live. For Lewis, Christianity doesn’t just make sense of things. It changes our stories. It invites us to enter into, and be part of, a new story.

Page: 78

Lewis as an Apologist

And what of finding the truth in Christianity? Many would say that C.S. Lewis was instrumental in bringing them to their faith. Lewis, also, credits other apologists for pointing the way for him. And so, Lewis challenges us to be apologists as well, so that, others may come to know God. We must find ways in our own era/culture that will connect with people in order to pass the faith along.

Christians can’t just tell one another that their faith makes sense. They’ve got to get that message over to their culture at large.

Page: 125

Other Topics Covered

And there’s more. More “lunches with Lewis” that I will leave for you to discover. To whet your appetite, let me just mention the topics of education, suffering, and the afterlife. All of these have excellent discussions you won’t want to miss.

What of Our Own Legacy?

This book is more than just “cliff notes” on a book. Lewis, through McGrath, challenges us to think and re-think your faith. More than just your faith, you will begin to consider…

  • What difference are you making in the lives of others?
  • What memories are you leaving behind?
  • Has our influence changed lives?

Remembered by God

Yet Lewis himself might helpfully remind us at this point that the most important thing is that each of us, whether remembered by others or not, is remembered by God. And that’s what really matters. Human history may forget about us, as it has forgotten so many. But our names are engraved on God’s hands, and written in the Book of Life—a fitting, even inspiring, thought with which to end our series of lunches with Lewis.

Page: 208

I suggest that you go find a few C.S. Lewis books and read them. If you don’t know where to start, start with “Lunch with Lewis“. Perhaps it will guide you to where you want to begin.

Reading to Strengthen What I Believe;

Mandy Farmer

I purchased this book and I am giving my own honest review on my own accord. *****

Written as part of our Summer of Legacies Series






Same Kind of Different review

Movie Review: Same Kind of Different

movie poster - Same Kind of Different as ME

This Movie Stirred My Soul

I just finished watching a movie, The Same Kind of Different as Me. I had to come to tell you about it immediately while my heart was still moved. This movie is based on the true story of an international art dealer who cheated on his wife. His wife forgave him but for penance, she required him to come with her and serve at a local homeless shelter. She dreams of an angry homeless man that is very wise. Low and behold he showed up at the shelter. Deborah tells her husband to befriend him. It took time and several tries but he finally makes friends with him and the story begins. I don’t want to spoil the story so I will stop there.

I will say that the homeless man taught me two things I hope to not forget:

  1. We are all homeless, just looking for the way Home. Everyone has a past we are not proud of and we are homeless because this world is not our home. We need to look beyond what we see (race, status, education) and realize that God is the only way home. We are all the same kind of different and we need to come together to help each other make it home.
  2. Some people need to have the “hell” loved out of them.  Sometimes, we must look deep, really deep to find the good in people. But it is there. We can’t give up on them. Keep loving them until they find the God that loves them.

Watch the Trailer

Same Kind of Different Touches all Emotions

This film will have you learning, laughing, crying, and finally, searching your own attitudes of the heart. Check out the 4-day devotional plan available on YouVersion.


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Rent on Amazon Video

At the time of this writing, rent it for $2.99. However, Sign up for a trial month on Amazon Video membership for only $3

Same Kind of Different is based on the book written by the actual people that experienced this God Story. It has some great actors like Jon Voight, Greg Kinnear, and Renne’ Zellweger. You will also love a beautiful song by Brad Paisley, Stubborn Angels.

Brad Paisley’s Stubborn Angel

True Story Told by Those who Experienced it.

If you are more of a book reader than a moviegoer, you can pick the book up in hardcover, softcover, Kindle, audiobook or CD MP3. There’s is even a children’s version to help you teach your children about kindness.

Mandy Farmer
This movie stirred my soul. #samekindofdifferent Click To Tweet

Do a Book Study

book review, lies, truth

Debunking the Lies that Confuse the Truth

I stood there confused before our two boys as they each wove their own tale about what caused their most recent altercation. New at this mothering thing, I acted on my own determination to always listen to all sides of the story before deciding on who received punishment. It was something I determined back when I felt I was being unfairly punished.

But I was fast learning that this plan led only to more confusion and lies. I wasn’t able to sift through their stories and find the truth at all. Their stories were not matching up. There was little truth to be found.

I don’t think I ever really figured out how to get to the bottom of things between the boys. They used both paid the penalty though sometimes the truth could be seen by looking in their eyes.

Oh, the Tangled Web

Today’s society seems to weave the same kind of tales to catch us in their web of deceit in order to have their own way and to justify the life they want to lead. It’s nearly impossible now to find the truth anywhere. Certainly, not in the media and sometimes, not even from smooth talking preachers who like to bend the Word of God for their own advantage. The Bible warns us against such.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

So, where do we look for the Truth?

1. Turn to God


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.

James 1:15

King Solomon knew where to find wisdom. He was now the new King of Israel. And the first thing he did was ask God for Wisdom. God made him the wisest king ever and gave him much more for having his priorities straight. We need to follow Solomon’s example. Pray for wisdom.

“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”

– Ephesians 1:16-17

As Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus, I pray Christ gives you spiritual wisdom that you may grow in your faith and knowledge of Him. I pray your heart remains humble and teachable and that you always look to Jesus as your wisdom.

2. Seek Wise & Godly Counsel

These are the ones from whom we should be asking godly counsel. I’d start with your pastor, your parents. or church leaders and then from books written by godly leaders who won’t lead you astray.

Be careful about the books you read. Be certain that the author is credible in the area in which you need wisdom. Again, ask trusted leaders which authors they trust. Some author’s reputation goes before them and there is no doubt. For instance, I doubt that you would worry about being led astray by Rev. Billy Graham.

As you read and study, pray each time and ask God for His guidance. Ask God to raise up flags if there are questionable thoughts and attitudes. He will lead you in the right direction.

You Might Start Here to Find Truth

Book Cover Lies Women Believe

The Women at our Church began a study of Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth’s updated and expanded book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free. I would suggest that this book is an excellent resource to debunk Satan’s (and Society’s) lies.

Nancy wrote the first edition of this book ten years ago. But things have changed a lot and she wanted to speak on those changes and in some cases more clearly share her thoughts based on Biblical precepts.

45 Lies Exposed

Nancy exposes 45 lies that woman are accepting hook, line, and sinker today by bringing out scriptures that tell us the TRUTH. She divides them into several categories.

  • Lies about trusting God
  • Seeing Myself as God Sees Me
  • Understanding Sin
  • Setting Priorities
  • Understanding God’s Design for Sexuality (a completely new section written with the help of author Dannah 0resh)
  • Lies about Honoring God in My Marriage
  • Raising Children
  • Handling Emotions
  • Dealing With Circumstances
  • Walking in Freedom

Extensive Coverage of Satan’s Lies

As you can see, Nancy has covered it all rather extensively. And I would submit that the first topic of trusting God probably gets right to the basic problem. We don’t trust God with our lives. Do we REALLY believe that God is Good and that He loves us implicitly? Can we REALLY be complete in God?

Nancy will take you through the scriptures and prove point by point that Satan is a liar and the author of confusion. She will present to you the TRUTH and back it all up with God’s Word.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not being paid to write this or being told what to say.

What Lies Are You Believing?

It’s likely that there is a chapter or two here for you. You may be surprised at which lies you have swallowed whole. I would encourage you to pick up this updated and expanded version of her book and start reading it soon.

Oh, and be sure to purchase the workbook along with it. This will help you go deep into The Word and Find the “Truth That Sets You Free”.

Finding the Truth in Him;

Mandy Farmer

P.S. Have you read my other Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth book review?

I loved this deep study of the Titus 2 Woman, Adorned. The best study of Titus 2 I have found. ADORNED: Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together


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Women Leave a LEgacy

How Your Simple Life Can Leave an Eternal Legacy

You had a great life planned out. But here you are changing diapers, running a vacuum cleaner and planning daily meals. Or maybe typing business notes for your boss or scrubbing floors at a restaurant. How did you end up here? And how are you going to make any difference in the world doing this? You only have one life.

You had a great life planned out, but here you are doing menial tasks. #leavingalegacy Click To Tweet

Challenge Accepted

A retreat speaker once said she had chosen “GG” to be her grandmother name. It stands for “Godly Grandmother”. My mind drew a picture of a saintly old woman in her rocker with her Bible on her lap. Yes! I want my children and grandchildren to have a godly grandmother. One whose voice and advice echos in their mind long after I am gone.

I have always looked up to my grandmothers and I want to follow in their footsteps. I decided then and there that “GG” was my desired grandma name also.

What Makes a Godly Godmother?

I returned home from the retreat and God began to talk with me about what does that mean? Are you suddenly a godly grandmother just because you have 3 or 4 grandbabies? A grandmother is loved and treasured. She makes cookies and treats for her grandkids but how do you get that “godly” word to form in front of “grandma”? God began to show me that to be that Godly Grandmother, it had to start now. Now before my children are even raised and having children of their own.

Actually, it doesn’t really have anything to do with being a grandmother. It has to do with living a holy life before God and man. Studying His Word. Spending time in prayer, listening to Him, obeying His commandments and instructions to you, worshiping Him on a regular basis. Living life before your children and grandchildren that exemplifies God. This is the definition of a godly grandparent.

It has to do with living a holy life before God and man. #LeavingaLegacy Click To Tweet

Only One Life

There’s a familiar poem by C.T. Studd. You may only remember these two lines. But really, they say it all.


Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. – C.T. Studd


https://paulhockley.com/2016/05/24/quote-only-one-life-twill-soon-be-past-poem-by-c-t-studd/

I recently picked up a book by Jackie Green and Lauren Green McAfee. You may know them from the largely publicized fight for rights ~ Hobby Lobby vs. Obamacare. Jackie and her husband is the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby. Or more recently they have been largely involved with the creating and opening of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C.

Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy

Mother and daughter teamed up to write this precious book about legacy. They share about the matriarchs in their own family and how they themselves have been challenged to continue the legacy to new generations of the Green family.

There lives alone would encourage us to live godly legacies but they don’t stop there. They submit that there are many ways to create a legacy in our lives by showing us a dozen different roads to legacy. This alone creates an excitement that, “yes, indeed”, no matter where you are in life, you can create a lasting legacy. Legacy comes from the courage we live out through our struggles. It comes from lives of generosity, wisdom, compassion, and of course, the faith and prayer that we might first think of.

"yes, indeed", no matter where you are in life, you can create a lasting legacy. #bookreview #legacybuilding Click To Tweet

Jackie and Lauren create this excitement by sharing stories of women. Stories of Biblical women, known and little known, that made a difference all the way to the cross.

Legacy Builders of All Times

There are also so many women of history that encourage us that we can make a difference for the next generation. They share about Susie Spurgeon, Elizabeth Elliot, and Corrie Ten Boom, and many more down through history.

And then there are those leaving legacies right now in front of our very eyes, such as Joni Eareckson Tada, Mary Beth Chapman, and Christine Caine to name a few. And the list keeps going and going.

Even if you have no legacy to fall back on. You can lean on these and others to encourage you to build your own legacy for others. Even if you have no children to whom a legacy can be left, others can see your life and be encouraged.

I recommend this book, Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy It would be an excellent place to begin to find leaders that leave you an example for building a beautiful legacy for the next generation.

Concluding With the Authors


“We believe that God will multiply our days and shape an eternal legacy.

So, women of God, together let’s be a generation of legacy-building leaders—of generosity and prayer, through loyalty and witness—wherever God calls us to go. A great adventure lies ahead!

Only One Life: How a Woman’s Every Day Shapes an Eternal Legacy

CHALLENGE: Let’s Make a List

Summer LEgacy Link-up ~ Will you join us?

So, who has built a legacy for you?

We want to know. Michele and I are planning several legacy link-ups this summer. We’ll begin with women who have built your legacy. Start thinking about who that is and write a tribute to her. Post it in your own blog and then come back here and link up with us. Share your post and read about other legacy builders from our readers. Michele and I are excited to learn who has built a legacy in your life and why they encourage you to continue the legacy.

Leaving a Legacy;

Mandy Farmer

Subscribe before you leave to be notified when the link-up is live. We can’t wait. How about you?

I purchased this book after seeing the Greens interview on the Huckabee Show. The above review is my personal and honest review. Following you will find the Huckebee Interview.

Huckabee TV Show

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The Rest of God

Book Review: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

the rest of god

A book everyone should read … probably more than once to be reminded of the importance of rest.

Buchanan took a sabbatical to research the subject of the rest of God. And found so much that pricked his own heart about taking too little rest. He noticed that “the harder he worked, the less he accomplished.” and he realized that “the Sabbath was a form of mending”.  There is some renewal that only comes from resting in the Lord and being still.

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