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”

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notes of comfort

This Light and Momentary Pain

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

I know! It’s strange to write these words [light and momentary] when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And I wonder, “Is this all I have to look forward too?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

Here is the first interview with my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert. Bettie struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to RA, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diagnoses. Keep reading to learn about her struggles and her faith.

curleque by Coffee at pixabay
interviews with chronic pain warriors; notes of comfort
image created at Canva.com with free images

Bettie, Thank you for sharing your story. You are always such an encouragement to me so I know this is going to encourage many others.

Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

In the late summer of 2014, I noticed that my fingers and thumb had some strange swelling and aching, but did not think anything about it until later that fall. I had been helping my neighbor garden and I woke up with my right hand locked up in a fiery pain that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This happened three more times before my yearly physical in December of that year. My G.P. sent through the blood-work for Rheumatoid testing, and sure enough, 3 of the 4 markers came back positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. They rushed me to the Rheumatologist the very next week, and I began this journey of chronic pain.
A year later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis. Then 3 years later I was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and Occipital Neuralgia.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

I ran to God with my questions and my doubts. I didn’t have anywhere else to turn, because the doctors gave me very little information about what was happening with my body. But I am actually thankful for that because the Lord has become even more intimate and close to me than He was before my diagnosis.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?

Early in my diagnosis, I found myself apologizing to everyone that I had gotten sick. It became such a constant response in me that one day I realized I had begun speaking that to the Lord also: “Jesus, I am so sorry I got sick. I am sorry I need Your help again. Forgive me for being so weak.” About a year into my diagnosis, I began to hear Him calling me, “Come to me, come inside (The Kingdom of God is within you.) I am already here, and I am not offended by your pain.” That whisper from the Lord began such a process of surrender and fellowship with the Lord that is continuing to grow to this day.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

notes of comfort; chronic pain warriors
image created at Canva.com free images

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?

Listening to Christian music with a heating pad wrapped around my wrist and arm has become a calming time for me. Reading books is so helpful, and I am blessed to check out the resources of hope offered at the Chronic Joy Ministry Website too.
Sometimes I watch silly You-tube videos when my mind is so foggy that I can’t keep track of anything. And on other days, when my pain level allows, writing and journaling help me to process what is happening inside of me. I try to begin every day by moving very slowly and taking the time to read Scriptures. Even if I can only read one verse, just to know that His Word is still my solid ground brings me such help.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

Calling to check on me, and offering to pray with and for me is a huge blessing for me. Receiving and sending note-cards in the mail has brought amazing blessings from God for me. When someone brings me a pot of soup, it feels like a gigantic gift! And my husband fills in so many things for me that I cannot do any longer. I am so grateful for each gift offered to me.

Are you participating in any ministries that encourage other chronic pain warriors?

Over the last year, I have joined with the team at Chronic Joy Ministry as their Volunteer Prayer Coordinator. I am so blessed to be able to pray for requests as they are shared at the Prayer Pond.  I enjoy sending out #PenToPaper notes and emails in response to those prayer requests. I also write posts on Scriptures and Prayer there.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.

Our Lord has told us that He would never leave us or forsake us. So I would encourage you to put that Scripture to the test. Cry out to Him, ask Him for His mercy on your darkest day. And when you pause to listen, He will meet you right there to bring encouragement. Keep your eyes open to watch for moments of His beauty. What seemed small in the past, during your busy days, will shine so much brighter now, bringing God’s grace to you.

Bettie, thank you so much for this encouragement. It will help many of us as we face these ‘ light and momentary ‘ struggles. A wonderful reminder that one day, we are promised ‘no more pain’ (Revelation 21:4)

Readers, I encourage you to join Bettie at Chronic Joy. Click here for her latest Prayer Prompt. You can also respond to Bettie here on the blog by commenting below.

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

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How to Be an A+ Student

Psalm 119:10-16

I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.

bolded words my emphasis

It’s Time to Put on Our Thinking Caps!

As school is about to begin (or already has for some), I would like to share some thoughts on how to become an A+ student. It is quite a challenge these days. I think most of us that have finished our education will agree that we wouldn’t want to go back to school now and have all the demands that the schools expect today.

But “Trying Hard” isn’t what “cuts the mustard.”

I often think of a story my cousin shared about attending medical school. He asked his father, “How am I going to memorize all this information?” His father’s response was “memorize Scripture”.

Your first response might be like his, “How is more memory work going to help me memorize what must be memorized?”  It’s a mystery, my friend. All I know is that placing God’s Word in my mind makes room for everything else. Much like tithing, giving God the first 10% of our study time makes the last 90% go further.

For those of us “getting up in age”, I propose that if we would continue to set our minds to memory work, it is likely that our memories would remain sharp.

There’s only one way we can apply knowledge to life. Know it – inside and out! As I read Psalm 119 today these directives came to mind on How to Study .. (your Bible or your schoolwork)

How to Become an A+ Student

  1. Work hard, Don’t let your mind wander. – Stay focused. For some of us this is difficult but keep training your mind.
  2. Hide His Word in your heart. MEMORIZE!
  3. Be teachable. Psalm 119:18 says “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instruction.”
  4. Recite His Word. Deut. 6:4-9 says to speak of it all day long.
  5. Celebrate Learning (Spiritual and educational) We will often celebrate a good report card. But when was the last time you celebrated your spiritual birthday? Or when you met a spiritual goal?
  6. Meditate on it. Think about it all day long. Carry cards with scripture or facts you need to learn. Find ways to remind yourself of certain facts/scriptures.
  7. Take joy in learning more. Don’t count it as drudgery. Don’t neglect your studies. No procrastination.

Let’s work together to never stop learning!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Pastor appreciation

UNAPPRECIATED ~ 3 Actions to Change Your Heart

A Bottle of Bath Wash.

Who doesn’t enjoy the wonderful smell and the softness obtained from using it?

But it seemed precious little payment for the hours on end that I spent learning and perfecting the wedding music chosen for this wedding and the entire weekend my husband and I gave for rehearsal, decorating, flower deliveries and, of course, the wedding itself.

Have you ever felt unappreciated?

It’s easy to fall into the trap. We work hard to do our best and no one notices, maybe they even criticize our hard work. I’ve experienced that before!

But, remember my pastor’s wife, Charlotte, who taught me so much in the beginning? She brought home the truth one day while we were talking. She did it gently by suggesting that I make the time and hard work my gift to the bride and groom.

The truth of the matter is that it was my attitude that needed adjusting.

The big question is, “Who am I serving?”

God’s Word says,

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

You see, I had my priorities upside down.

I wasn’t doing all that preparation out of love for the couple (or God). I was doing it for my glory. To receive praise or a few dollars. And when it didn’t pay off, I was upset. No wonder I felt unappreciated.

It was time for an attitude adjustment. I needed a heart transplant. My heart of self-service needed changing out for a heart of service.

As we come to the end of October (Pastor’s Appreciation Month), perhaps some of us are needing a heart transplant. Maybe we feel unappreciated this year. It is possible we feel what was given was too little and too late causing us to wonder if it was all quickly put together at the last minute.

pastor appreciation
photo credit: Canva modified by Mandy

Here are a few ways that I have found to make an attitude adjustment.

Three Steps to Avoid Feeling Unappreciated

Look Up

Look up to God Realize how much He loves me and does for me. Thank Him for all the blessings He has given me even when I don’t deserve it.

Look Around

Look around at all those who are serving with me. This would include associates, widowed pastors/spouses, retired ministers, and their spouse. Send a handwritten card or note expressing your appreciation for them and what they do. Remember that joy comes in giving more than in receiving.

Make Pastor Appreciation Month truly a Pastor’s Appreciation of Others.

Look Back

Remember those who have paved the way for me. Write a note to the pastors and wives in my life that have encouraged me along the way.

Also, don’t forget the leaders above me. In our church, there is a District Superintendent that guides all the churches in our state. I’m sure he would accept a little appreciation, as well.

Next year, try entering the month of appreciation doing these things. I think you will find a greater feeling of joy over your situation.

Feeling Grateful!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA
Love your pastor all year long

How to Love Your Pastor All Year Long

Does your Church Have a Special Day for Pastor in October?

I’m hoping that your church does remember the pastor(s) during Pastor Appreciation Month. If not, I hope that you remembered to reach out to him personally. If you haven’t, it’s actually not too late. The truth is, we really should love our pastor all year long. Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

The truth is, we really should love our pastor all year long.

Pastors are usually far from home and family. They need you to be their family and friend.

Four decades of pastoral ministry is a pretty good perspective from which to share some thoughts with you on how to love your pastor all year long. You might think, “Hey, we had pastor appreciation day. Isn’t that enough?”

Isn’t Pastor Appreciation Day Enough?

Now, anytime is a good time to express appreciation for our pastors. You and I know; however, that unless we put some things on the calendar, they just never seem to happen.

So, someone did just that by designating the month of October as the time for local churches to show their pastors that they are appreciated.

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures today.

Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move.

They are expected to

  • have ideal families,
  • be perfect people,
  • always be available,
  • never be down and
  • of course, have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward.

Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet

most of us are disappointed when a pastor

  •  becomes overwhelmed,
  • seems depressed,
  • lets us down
  • even preaches a bad sermon or
  • subsequently, completely burns out.

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17 NJKV).

It’s always a good thing when church boards plan a special day for pastors in October for the entire church.

Believe me, this means so much to pastors!

Here are a few meaningful ways you can Love Your Pastor All Year Long:

  1. Love his family. Remember their anniversaries and birthdays. Not only his birthday but his wife and children as well. This should include the anniversary of his arrival and other events such as his ordination.
  2. Make his family part of your family. Whenever you have something happening in your family, include the pastor’s family. Invite them to special family events. Invite them to your family reunions, graduations, etc. This is how you will build a friendship and cause them to feel loved and important.
  3. Get to know him and his family personally. Establish a real friendship. Invite them to join you for lunch or other activities. Your pastor is a person, too. He would love to just get out and play golf, or go to a ball game. Many pastoral wives and children are very lonely. They feel like they have no friends. When they are out among others, they feel separated because “They are the pastor’s wife/kid”. Try just being a friend. You might find you like them! 🙂
  4. Give words of encouragement. Send a card or make a call occasionally when you are inspired by his sermon or are impressed by something he does. It would surprise them if you just called to see how they are or just to chat.
  5. And discourage any negative talk about him. When you hear others cutting him down, stand up for him or at least stop the negative talk.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, pray for him and tell him you are praying for him. Your pastor has troubles and needs prayer just like you. Pray for him often. Pray that God will bless his studies, his preaching, but also pray for him emotionally, financially, physically, personally. He has the same issues in life that you have.

Your pastor needs to be loved throughout the year. Be sure to think of him all year long, not just in October. Put a monthly reminder on your calendar if needed.


Mandy Farmer

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Notes in the Mail

4 Simple and Easy Ways to Get Those Notes in the Mail

Originally posted on GGMandy dot com in her series “Treasure Trove for Ministry

There’s nothing better than going to the mailbox, pulling out the mail, and finding an honest to goodness note from someone among the bills.

4 Simple Ways

It’s becoming an oddity in this day of social media. But tell the truth, isn’t it a blessing to receive a handwritten note in the mail? To me, it just seems much more special than a shout out on Facebook. Somehow, that is just too easy. But stopping and writing a note takes thought and says you really care.

My top spiritual gift is encouragement.

I have loved to write notes to people most of my life. Just a couple sentences to say, “Hey, I thought of you today.”  You have no idea how often it has been a blessing to someone. A kind word just at the right time.

From as early as they could hold a pencil, I have required that my children write some type of a Thank you note when they receive a gift. People really still do appreciate getting a thank you. Somehow, the world has told us that writing a note and putting it in the mail is no longer necessary. [I beg to differ.]

the world has told us that writing a note and putting it in the mail is no longer necessary. [I beg to differ.] #thankyou Click To Tweet

“thank you’s”

“glad to see you”

“how ya doing?”

“Happy Birthday”

Get Those Notes in the Mail

  1. At the beginning of each month, take a calendar and randomly write the name of different people each day. Then during your quiet time each morning, pray for that person and write a quick note to them. I did this all through college. I didn’t even have to pay for postage then because I could mail them through the college post office for free!
  2. If you have lots of thank you’s to write, set a deadline. Count the number of gifts you need to send thank you’s for, divide by the number of days till your deadline, then write that many thank you’s each evening as you watch the news or your favorite program. You can get them done during the commercials! I did this after my wedding with 200+ gifts and I had them all done within 2 months.
  3. If you are crafty, start making your own cards. You’ll be so proud to mail them to friends. Every so often, a friend and I get together and make the most beautiful cards. It’s a lot of fun and great fellowship. Some years, I save the Christmas cards that I receive in the mail. Then after the first of the year, I create a new card from their Christmas card. I read the card and say a prayer for the family and mail the newly made card with a note inside.
  4. Shut-ins are especially glad to receive notes in the mail. A few years back, I realized that one day, I would be that forgotten widow of a pastor. So I started writing notes to all the widows of pastors in our district. I thought, maybe, the thought will be returned one day. Guess what …. they started writing me back! How awesome. A gift that gives back!
handmade cards 
Notes in the mail
a couple handmade cards my friend and I made.

I’ve been writing this month expressly to ministers and those in leadership. Let me emphasize to you… an occasional note to your people will bring forth dividends. Send birthday cards, handwrite a note to your visitors or students. It really doesn’t take much of your time. But it DOES show that your care. Give it a try.

Mandy Farmer
A handwritten note brings forth dividends. #encourage #mail Click To Tweet
Linking up with Kate Motaung and the #fmfparty Community today.  Five Minute Friday gives us the chance to dive right in and share what He puts on our hearts! Click here to read what others have to say about MAIL
FMF: Mail
Five Minute Friday
 The FMF lodown: The gathering happens on Twitter on Thursday nights & then we write our hearts out & hit publish all over the interwebs on Thursday & Friday (& sometimes on Tuesdays!) It’s where we encourage & uplift… where we share prayer requests & praise reports… where we talk about food & friends & we find support & kindred hearts. It’s where we are reminded that life is good & God is good & we’re not alone… & then we all write for five minutes flat, a flash mob of wordsmiths letting our hearts & our fingers do the talking  & we hit publish before we can second-guess it all away.