5 Steps Toward Joy in Adversity

It’s easy to lose our joy in the world we live in. 

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on November 10, 2016 
 

Just watch the news or even just look at your own life, your failures, your unfulfilled dreams, the junk that life is throwing at you, and boom! you’ve fallen into the pit of despair. But I believe that we have a choice whether we stay there in the muck or find joy in the moment. The apostle Paul wrote of that joy sitting in a prison in Philippi. (Philippians 1:3-7) So if he can do it .. we can do it! Right? 

But how can we have joy in adversity? 

That is the question. And that is what I have been searching for this year. Let me share a few steps I am learning to take … 

1. Understand that joy and happiness are NOT the same things. 

You can have both or you can have one but not the other. The difference is the source. Happiness is a result of some outside force. It is dependent on our “happenstance”. We are happy because of what is “happening” to us. We are happy the day we graduate or get married or when we receive a gift. But joy is much different. It comes from inside of us. The scripture says … 

 The Lord is my strength and shield. 

    I trust him with all my heart. 

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. 

    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) 

If you take a look at the context of this verse (as with many of the Psalms) you will find that David was crying out to God. His circumstances were anything but good. He had enemies all around him, yet .. he was “bursting out in songs of thanksgiving”. Wow! Just knowing that the Lord was with him was enough to sustain him, to keep his joy. 

Steps Toward Joy Through Adversity: Understand #Joy and #Happiness are NOT the same Click To Tweet

2. Read a Psalm every day. 

As I mentioned before, nearly every Psalm begins with distress, speaking out the trouble he was in; but before he gets done, he is praising the Lord. There is nothing better for us than having an example set before us and the Psalms are it. Read one every day and you will be reminded of how awesome our God is. How much He loves you. 

3. Praise the Lord. 

We were created for praise. God made us for this sole purpose.

Psalm 148 says ” let every created being praise the Lord.”

Praise opens the door of communication with God. And that is what He desires. Being in His presence, in communication with Him fills us with joy. If we start looking for something to praise the Lord for, we will find it. There is always something to praise him for. I am reminded of a song the Imperials sang many years ago. “Praise the Lord“. It said,

‘When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams … Praise the Lord.” Every word of this song is on target. 

Praise the Lord by The Imperials

Let’s go back to that prison in Philippi.

Paul and Silas began praising the Lord. What happened next? An earthquake opened the prison doors, broke their chains, and ultimately the prison guard and his family were saved. That’s what happens when others see us being victorious in and through our struggles. We are always wanting God to take us out of the situation, but maybe God has placed us there to bring others to Him. 

4. Additionally, Give Joy to Others. 

shut-in crochet joy in adversity

I recall when I was single and lived far from home and family. I would get lonesome and depressed. So I would call home. Mom told me time and again, to get out and do something for someone else and it would help. You see when you give joy to others it comes right back to you. It’s one of those “reap what you sew” ideals. If we go around complaining and grumbling, we get grumbling and complaining in return. When we start doing for others and see the joy it gives them, guess what, we find that the joy rubs off on us! 

Since my health began to fail, I took up crocheting again. I learn to crochet way back in high school through the 4-H program. Never really got the hang of it. But I decided to give it a try once again. But I need a reason to crochet. So I started looking for who I could make something for. First there was a new baby, then a wedding. Then I decided I would make a shawl for all our shut-ins. That has kept me plenty busy. But here’s the catch … the absolute best part. When I finish a shawl. I can hardly wait to give it away. I am beside myself while I watch them open the package and take out the gift. And it’s not just a blessing that one moment. every time I see them, they speak again of how they love the shawl! And there it is .. abundant joy! 

5. Finally, some practical advice … 

A. Eat right. I know we don’t like to hear it; however, our tendency when we get down is to go eat a bucket of ice cream! Come on , you know it’s true. And I’m not saying that you can never eat ice cream. But do it with moderation. Slow down and eat a few bites. Be sure to enjoy it. And then get right back to eating right. 

B. Get your vitamins. Most of us are vitamin and nutrient deficient. So eat those fruits and vegetables. Resist the grains, bread, sugary desserts. You may need to have your doctor check some of those vitamin levels, such as Vitamin Bs and D. 

C. Spend some time outside EVERY day. Soak up some natural vitamin D. Take in God’s beautiful world. 

D. Do what your doctor says. Take you medications faithfully. 

E. Exercise. (Did I have to mention that one?)  Sorry. But it can help you feel better! 

Okay. I am #preachingtomyself here. But maybe you can come along for the ride and find your joy too! 

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every opportunity

How to Make the Most of Every Opportunity?

Ephesians 5:15 Make the most of every opportunity

15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-20, NLT

The summer before I started college at UW Whitewater I came across this verse. As a new student- I was really excited to start this adventure and verse 16 really stuck out to me “make the most of every opportunity… being filled with the Spirit…”

But what does that mean in the midst of dark circumstances?


How do you make the most of a bad situation?

make the best of every opportunity
  • being ill,
  • losing your job,
  • suddenly being homeless,
  • or whatever this bad opportunity is?

Most people see the word opportunity and think of it as something positive- an opportunity to travel, an opportunity to experience something new; but there’s another meaning to opportunity. Often in my working world, I use it as a language to communicate an area of growth. If something isn’t working properly and has the potential to be faster or better in some way, I speak of it as an area of opportunity… an area to grow…

If we look at life in the series of opportunities that are presented to each of us,

  • day to day,
  • week to week,
  • year to year-
  • there are SO many opportunities to grow.

Making the Most Requires the Holy Spirit


Making the most of times of growth- the hard opportunities that are presented to each of us in life- can be done by being filled with the Spirit. The fruits of which are:

love,

joy,

peace,

patience,

kindness,

goodness,

faithfulness,

gentleness,

and self-control.

Knowing that in times of opportunity, we are to fill ourselves up with the Spirit. With these fruits, He will guide us through those opportunities.

And in the moments of anxiety – we can search for peace.

During moments of sadness– we can hold to joy.

In the moments of frustration we can practice patience and self control.

In the moments of anger, we can practice goodness and gentleness.

And in times of uncertainty, we can cling to our faith in SomeOne greater than it all.

Making the Most Requires Action

All of these fruits require intentional action on our part. But when we make those intentional actions, these intentional actions can lead us to make the most…

of every opportunity…

and we will grow…

for the better!

-Jess Bongiorno

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International Day of Happiness

Originally posted on ggmandy dot com March 20, 2018

Who Knew There was a Day of Happiness?

So, today is the International Day of Happiness.

What is happiness anyway? The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines happiness as:

 : good fortune: prosperity

all happiness bechance to thee —William Shakespeare

 : a state of well-being and contentment: joy

: a pleasurable or satisfying experience 

I wish you every happiness in life.

MIriam-Webster Dictionary

The thing about happiness is that it depends on your circumstance.

You are only happy when things are going well. It is relative to your happenstance. Such as being happy on the day you graduate from high school. But that kind of “happy” doesn’t last long because your circumstances can change in an instant.

I submit that we should rather strive for joy.  The dictionary gave the same type of definition as for happiness but what they fail to tell you is that joy is not dependant on what’s happening around you. Joy can be constant in your life, regardless of the situation.

Here’s a short video where I shared what joy is and where you can find it. You might be surprised by the places where joy can be found. Take a few moments and listen in.

Scriptures from the video

Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.

Philippians 3:1

You will show me the way of life,

    granting me the joy of your presence

    and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:11

Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.

Philemon 7

Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!

    The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.

Psalm 41:1

I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

3 John 4:4

For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

2 John 1:12

The watchmen shout and sing with joy,

    for before their very eyes

    they see the Lord returning to Jerusalem.

Let the ruins of Jerusalem break into joyful song,

    for the Lord has comforted his people.

    He has redeemed Jerusalem.

Isaiah 52:8,9

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,

    who have no confidence in the proud

    or in those who worship idols.

Psalm 40:4

“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.

Romans 4:7

In Conclusion

In short, joy is found through accepting Jesus Christ as Your Savior. If you would like to learn more, click here.

Have a happy Joyful day!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA
international day of happiness
humankind

How to Create Space With Those Who are Different

I wanted to melt into the floor.

Once again my mouth had opened before my brain engaged and the words I said came out to be insulting. When will I learn? When will I think about what I am about to say before I say it?

Have you been there?

Too often, we think we know it all; but seldom do we know what and where another person is coming from. And then, our words can come across demeaning and cruel when maybe we didn’t mean it to be that way at all. [Of course, there is always the chance that we did mean it that way because we have held ourselves in higher esteem than we ought to.]

Ah, and there’s the key.

Humility is the toughest discipline to grasp and fully enact in our lives. I see it as the main principle for Christian living. Without humility, we are never going to “get it right”. Without humility, there won’t be kindness or understanding or compassion or any of the other traits we so desire from our Lord Jesus.

Especially in today’s culture of racial unrest, humility is needed from both sides of the fence. Ah, we don’t like to hear about humility mainly because it is a lot like the bad “S” word… SUBMISSION. It’s likely, we all think we are a little better than most people. But what does the Word of God say?

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3&4

These are hard words to swallow. But this does not mean we belittle ourselves. It is more that we “think about ourselves less and think of others first”. Life isn’t about “me” and the world does not revolve around me.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

C.S. LEwis

And Andrew Murray suggests,

“The only humility that is really ours is … that which we carry with us in our daily conduct.”  

Andrew Murray

Humility is the beginning of kindness and compassion. With humble attitudes, we will find it natural to act in kindness towards others. So, let’s get back to how we cultivate that humility and grow kindness.

Steps before we open our mouths

STOP

Before we speak or give our “wise suggestions” to another, perhaps we ought to get to know them a little. Make sure that we understand a bit about their culture and the things they deal with on a daily basis. I’m finding you can “know” someone rather well but not REALLY know them. Try these scriptures on for size.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 17:28

LISTEN

If we really take some time to listen to others and learn about them. We might just realize they don’t need our “suggestions”. And it could be that we don’t really have anything to offer them anyway. When we let our tongue fly, this is what brings on hurt and anger which is followed by arguing and bad-mouthing, all this is not acceptable for a follower of Christ,

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 12:18

CONSIDER

Now that you know more about a person’s situation, consider how you would want to be treated and do likewise.

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:20

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12

CREATE SPACE WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS

Possibly, we are a bit too close for comfort. Backing up and acting in love and kindness create the space people need to understand where you are coming from. Creating space allows both parties an opportunity to consider the aforementioned steps. If you are the one receiving ill words, give the benefit of the doubt. Think like Jesus, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34

Consequently, acting in kindness can make a difference for everyone. In her book, Humankindness, Ashlee Eiland states,

Kindness may be a mushy word, but it’s the dark horse of our humanity. It’s not loud or demanding, but given enough time, it wins.

Humankind - AshleeEiland on Kindness

About the book, Humankindness

create space Humankind Book

Ashlee Eiland was raised in an affluent African American home but struggled to find her place to belong. In this book, she writes about instances throughout her life that were “uncomfortable” in the least. How she handled it and how she gave space for others to learn about her culture and also about attitudes and actions that weren’t as easy to get over.

Ashlee encourages us to create space and act in kindness and “rediscover our own humanity through another lens. She shares that sometimes sacrifice is needed to create that space. She shared at one time as a small girl having a white babysitter that didn’t know how to comb her “black” hair. She was doing her best only to become frustrated, creating an even worse mess. Ashlee concluded in that chapter,

So, we have a choice. Either we can resent the fact that some people can’t give us everything and demand that they try harder, that they sacrifice even more of themselves.

Or we can sit under the comb, knowing in our hearts that the outcome might be less than desirable – but also knowing that trying is the best offering some can give.

CREATING SPACE ~ Understanding and bearing up under it.

This goes both ways

Do we subject others to our own standards? In middle school, my family moved from a medium-sized town in Ohio to a very small town in Wisconsin. My original school had a dress code and the girls still wore dresses in most cases. The school in Wisconsin had no dress code. I still chose to wear a dress because I was most comfortable in a dress. After the first few questions, it became more my signature because I gave them space and they gave me space.

I see this same type of thing in The Church. A stranger comes to visit but they aren’t wearing the right clothing, they are too loud or outspoken. God forbid, they sit in “your pew”. These things shouldn’t matter to us. We should reach out in love and friendship and if there are things that need changing, God will do that work.”.

create space Humankind Quote

Ashlee says,

Our work is to learn how to stand in awe of each created being without making modifications or trying to bring out something that’s not ours to call forth.

We need to be cautious when what’s true for us isn’t true of someone else’s life, avoiding the conclusion that it’s not just that we differ or respectfully disagree but that their choice makes them unrelatable.

Unrelatable can become unworthy, or inferior if we aren’t careful. It all comes back to humility and creating space for each other. With this attitude, we can go far.


Making space. this is what true friendship is about and also how we learn about cultural differences and help each other learn and understand

Will you create space with me?

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

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.

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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!


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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


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Hate is strong and mocks the song 🙁

Do you hear the sound of Christmas bells this season? Sadly, 2019 this has been the Christmas song on my mind. I look at the headlines and watch the news. It saddens me that we must be at each other’s throats. We can’t seem to find anything to agree upon. If we do, we don’t dare admit it.

Longfellow wrote this poem in the years of the American Civil War. In many ways, we are again fighting a civil war. Lives are being lost and hate grows strong. May we find peace in Christ this Christmas.

I pray that God will help us find commonality in our lives. In so many ways we all want the same things. I know that true peace will only come when Christ returns to rule the world. I ache for this day. But I also know that God is waiting so that He can save as many as possible.

Do You Hear the Christmas Bells?

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

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.”

Longfellow’s Complete Poem

Longfellow wrote the poem on Christmas Day in 1863. “Christmas Bells” was first published in February 1865, in Our Young Folks, a juvenile magazine published by Ticknor and Fields.

In 1861, two years before writing this poem, Longfellow’s personal peace was shaken when his second wife of 18 years, to whom he was very devoted, was fatally burned in an accidental fire. Then in 1863, during the American Civil War, Longfellow’s oldest son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, joined the Union Army without his father’s blessing.

Longfellow was informed by a letter dated March 14, 1863, after Charles had left. “I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave but I cannot any longer”, he wrote. “I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good.” Charles was soon appointed as a lieutenant but, in November, he was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church, Virginia, during the Mine Run Campaign. Charles eventually recovered, but his time as a soldier was finished.

Wikipedia

Let’s listen for the Christmas bells and find the true peace only in the Christ of Christmas.

Longfellow’s Poem Set to Music

In our hymnals, music by Jean Baptiste Calkin, 1872 sounding somewhat like this by the Spartan Dischords

Recently by Casting Crowns

May you find true peace this Christmas

Mandy Farmer

Continued Thoughts: Defiant Joy

coming of the lord

Prepare for The Coming of the Lord

Is your heart prepared?

“Live by the Spirit . . . The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:16,22-23

It seems that once we have finished with Thanksgiving, we are suddenly barreling headlong toward Christmas. At times it can feel like we’re on a runaway train and can’t find the emergency brake.

photo image credit pixabay

Stop.

Breathe.

Close your eyes.

Sit for a moment in quietness.

Give thanks to God once again for His many blessings. Now, think on the blessings yet to come.

Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord.

As we get all the physical preparations tackled for Christmas… the decorations, the shopping, the parties, the gifts and wrapping, the food, the programs… let us not forget to prepare our hearts!

Approach this Christmas with a heart already full of the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus came to earth so long ago, the tiny Prince of Peace, so that we could live lives full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Be thankful for the Coming of our Lord and Savior this Christmas, and let your life glow like a Christmas tree with the fruit of the Spirit!

Are you ready for the coming of the Lord?

Glenae Atchison

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Finding Joy in the Pain


Weeping may tarry for the night,

but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 ESV

Finding Joy in the Hard Places

FInding Joy in the Hard Places
photo credit Canva
Modified by Mandy

Throughout my years of reading the Scriptures, this verse has been one of my favorites. It has brought such comfort and joy in so many hard places. When night fell it seemed that the problems always loomed much larger in the dark than in the light of day. And as my heart ached with the weight of so many burdens, I held tightly to the promise that the Lord would bring the dawn of His light–the night of the trial could not last forever. And He did bring such peace to my heart as I watched the light dawning in so many of those dark, hard struggles.

The Hard Place of Chronic Illness

However, when chronic illness fell upon me several years ago, I found this verse taking on a literal meaning that hit me in a new way. The physical pains brought new tears in the evening. Every time I lay down, needing rest so deeply, the throbbing would heighten. Every time I finally drifted off to sleep, a jolt of fresh pain would awaken me. And the anxiety that accompanied so many of the medications brought nightmares and levels of pain that finally left me weeping before my Lord.

“How long will this night last, Lord Jesus? When will You bring the rescue?”

Finding Joy in the Morning

Finally, every morning, when the rising of the sun would finally light up my window, I could hear His words echoing in my heart:

“Rejoice, my child! We made it through one more night! My own heart is filled with joy to see you trusting Me even here.”

I could hear His words, and I could rejoice in the sunlight, but I could not rejoice at the coming night that I knew would fall again, all too soon. Recently though, He has been asking me to offer even that pain in the night up to Him as an offering. It has made little sense to me until I came across these Scriptures recently. Words that again, I have read so many times, suddenly jumped off the page for me:

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Jesus Feels Our Pain

Additionally, Jesus endured the cross, and suffered that shame for us, but why? For the JOY that was set before Him. He offered Himself, every pain and every burden that was taken for us, and He gave it all over to God, for the joy of bringing us to His Father. Could I offer my own pain in that same way? Could I see my own sleepless and pain-filled nights as a place of offering to Him?

“Oh Lord, how I long to be able to offer it all to you? But even that offering is too hard for me. I don’t know how I can do that.”

Into the midst of my tears, He brought His Words to me yet again. This time they were ancient words, uttered to God’s people who had been long at work, obeying the Lord to rebuild His dwelling place and the wall of protection around His city. And God had called them to celebrate their place with Him:

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

Finding Joy in the Morning Through Jesus

Consequently, it was the very answer that He had been whispering to my heart every morning. It is the JOY of the LORD that will be my strength. I cannot strive to attain that. But He has already won it for me. He bore all that pain for me, and now He is the One who can show me how to offer my own pain back to Him again and again, every dark night.

And always, the morning of HIS light of Joy will dawn in my heart, because it is His gift, His fruit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22,23 ESV

Bettie Gilbert


Your Turn… Legacy Link-up!

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One More Thing – Featured Posts

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Here are the featured posts from October 2019 Legacy Link-up. Kudos to Tammy Kennington and Karen Sebastian.

Most Clicked

Tammy Kennington had the most clicks last month. Go check out her post What Freedom in Christ Looks Like.

What Freedom in Christ Looks Like

My Favorite Linked Post in October

My favorite post was Karen Sebastian’s post. Karen was participating in the 30-day writing challenge. She wrote on the theme “How to Live 101 Wonderful Years” in celebration of her father. This post on Joy was a perfect segue into the November theme of joy.

How to live 101 wonderful years. Joy in the Hard Places

peace through the storm, feature

My Peace Through the Storm

Hurricane Season is approaching

In Savannah, we all know what it is like to be awakened in the night with blaring horns warning us that there are severe storms in the area. I recall into the midwest that storms and tornado warnings could come upon us quickly as well. Either way, it’s a frightening experience.

Just like in a tropical storm, we have no control of where or how the storms come in our lives. It may barrel straight through us or it might skirt around us. Some storms may be strong and dangerous and others are slow and become just a thunderstorm or even just a bit of rain. One never knows.

Isn’t Living For Christ a Cake Walk?

We would like to think that if we are following the Lord, life’s path will take us through smooth sailing. But this is not true. The Bible says, “In this life, we will have trouble.” (John 16:33) The Promise we do have is safety through the storm.

Oh, how we must learn that God is faithful through the storm.

God Sees us THROUGH the Storm

pathway through the waters, peace and hope
image built in YouVersion

He will be right there with us, our haven. His path will help us grow and learn. We will be strengthened to face another day. He provides for our every need in every situation. There is Hope in the Hard Places.


We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:1-2 ESV

Why do we worry and fret and not live in the peace that He offers us? Why do we allow the projected path of a storm to get us all worked up? We aren’t showing the world a reason to follow Christ if we fret and worry over our situation.

We aren't showing the world a reason to follow Christ if we fret and worry over our situation. #peace Click To Tweet

But when we have peace in the storm, THAT is when people stop and wonder what it is that makes us so calm. This is when we exemplify the peace that Christ provides. 

When we have peace in the storm, THAT is when people stop and wonder what it is that makes us so calm. #peace Click To Tweet

Let’s rest in Him through our trials so that He gets the glory and we get the peace that passes all understanding.

Let's rest in Him through the trials so that He gets the glory and we get the peace that passes all understanding. Click To Tweet

Enjoy This Hymn Favorite

P.S. I’ve been introducing the old hymns lately. This seems like a good time to share a hymn…

“There is Peace in the Midst of the Storm”

When the world that I’ve been
Living in collapses at my feet
And when my life is all tattered and torn
Though I’m wind-swept, I’ve been battered
I’m gonna cling unto His cross
I’ll find peace in the midst of the storm

-by Stephen Adams

There is peace in the midst of the storm-tossed life
There is an Anchor, there is a rock to build my faith upon
Jesus Christ is my vessel so I fear no alarm
He gives me peace in the midst of the storm

Peace in the Midst of the Storm: Performed by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

Mandy Farmer
Elisabeth Elliot

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

Welcome to the first of four LEgacy Link-ups for the summer of 2019! We are so excited! With Mother’s Day coming up, We would like this link-up to be All About Women who have or are Leaving a Legacy for us to follow. I started us out writing about Susie Spurgeon and Susanna Wesley. Now read what guest writer, Michele Morin from Living Our Days wants to share with us. Then write and share your own legacy story at the bottom.

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Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming; however . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the will to do it was lacking.

“Maybe I’ll call a friend,” I mused. “Or this would be a great day to wash windows!”

An Example to Live by

When I’m pondering the possibility of veering off course in some small way, I remember the faithful example of Elisabeth Elliot, who readily admitted that she was also subject to all the usual distractions and reluctance when it was time to sit down and write. She spoke of “taking herself by the scruff of the neck” and sitting herself down before the task at hand.

SHaping of a Christian Family
TSOACH, Updated in 2005

Raised by attentive parents who set high standards for her behavior, Elisabeth inherited a “habit of order” (TSOACH, 73) and a love for uncluttered efficiency that I have had to live my way into as an adult. Then, in the Ecuadorian jungles, Elisabeth witnessed the patient diligence of tribal people whose very lives depended upon their hard work through mud, thorns, snakes, steep climbing, and deep forests. Measuring her own small inconveniences against the lot of women who regularly carried hundred-pound packs on their backs, she was startled into an awareness of her tendency to complain about small inconveniences.

A Cracked Pot

Elisabeth had no illusions about her own status as a sinner, “a cracked pot” whose supreme privilege it was to reveal in her own life “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) By grace, however, she was able to speak truth with grit, even on topics that are usually off limits. For example, with wry humor, she noted that no one is actually qualified to address self-discipline around eating habits because if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!

"..if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!" #Elisabeth Elliot #LegacyLinkUp Click To Tweet

Naturally slender, Elisabeth found to her surprise that as she aged, she could pick up a few extra pounds when she traveled. To avoid gaining weight unawares, she weighed herself daily, reasoning that (1) it’s better to keep weight off than to shed pounds once they have been gained; (2) it’s easier to lose five pounds immediately than fifteen pounds later.

Who Left a Legacy for Elisabeth?

A Lamp For My Feet

Mentored by the writing of Amy Carmichael, Elisabeth endeavored to apply the counsel that shaped Amy’s perspective in doing things that were not to her liking:  “See in it a chance to die.” (ALFMF, 30) The small offerings, tiny deaths to self that we make every day are a way of cooperating with God, and this is a theme that ran through Elisabeth’s writing and speaking ministries—because it also runs through Scripture. She described it as the “interworking of the will of God and the will of man.” (ALFMF, 21) Responding in self-discipline is an opportunity to participate in God’s work here on earth as surely as those who filled the water pots in Cana or distributed the loaves and fish on a grassy Galilean hillside.

So, I’ll do the next thing today, trusting God to put words on the page and grateful for the example of a mentor from afar. Elisabeth Elliot blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins.

-Michele Morin

Works Cited

{affiliate links}

A Lamp for My Feet, 1985 (ALFMF)

The Shaping of a Christian Home, 1992 (TSOACH)
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