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! 

images created in canva for free

Trials – It’s All Relative

We all have trials in life. Sometimes they can be overwhelming. But truly it is all relative when we take our eyes off ourselves and look around. Even better Look to Jesus.

1 PEter 5:10

Stand firm … and be strong in your faith. 
Remember that your family of believers all over the world 
is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
In His kindness, God calls you to share in His eternal glory
by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while,
He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and
He will place you on a firm foundation.  1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)

1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)


Alone in Our Trials

Our trials can cause us to feel so very alone. No matter the trial, many times our friends disappear after a week or so. It may seem that no one understands what you are going through.

For me, doctors were baffled. The testing all came back normal. We were tempted to feel that even the doctors did not believe me. Some doctors were compassionate, some were not.

We Are Not Alone in our Trials

One thing I learned while sitting in waiting rooms of the doctors’ offices, labs, clinics, especially Mayo Clinic, was that I am not alone. It was overwhelming to see how many people are suffering and they are suffering much more than I. Not to use their pain to ease mine, but it does put it all into perspective.

When I looked around, I saw that I had little to complain about and so much to thank God for. My suffering was inconsequential compared to what many have had to deal with.

Alone is Relative

Alone is relative

If I expand the scope of sight to Christians around the world that are being tortured and killed for their faith, I really have nothing to say at all. And ultimately, when I look at what Jesus Christ did for me, I am ashamed that I would even want to put myself in the same category.

However, I am comforted to know that He knows my pain and He holds me up. He is my support, my strength through my trials. And that my “light and temporary suffering” will not last long. After a little while, He will lift me out of the miry clay and put me on a firm foundation.

Let’s Consider… how can we trust God to support and strengthen us when we go through various trials?

1) By leaning on His promises. Reading scripture has lifted me up so many times through my trials, but listen, there are times when you are not able, for whatever reason, to actually read the scriptures. This is why I have always encouraged scripture memory. If you have hidden His Word in your heart, he can bring it to mind when you are unable to read it for yourself. Meditating on memorized scriptures has been my main support when I am having procedures or injections that are painful. I was able to concentrate on the scripture instead of what the technician/surgeon was doing.

2) Resist the devil Quoting scripture is one of the best ways to give the old devil a beating when he tries to get his foot in the door. And believe me, he will try to bring you down. He will whisper all kinds of lies in your ear to convince you that you deserve this pain, or to become angry at those who have been the cause of your pain, or to get you feeling sorry for yourself. He has so many ways to deceive us.

3) Singing His Praise. We’ll get more into this down the road. But I just want to mention that praise is a key element in the survival of the fittest. If you can’t sing; that is, your trial is so deep that you are unable to make music,  then just meditate on the words of a hymn. Godreminded me this old hymn which has become so meaningful to me … as if I had never heard the words before. 

Click to Read the Words and Listen to this Old Hymn…

Until next time;

Mandy

legacy link-ups

It’s Your Turn Legacy Link-up

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
Easter in Place

How To Celebrate Easter in Place


This year we are facing a completely different Easter than any other year in our lives. I’ve celebrated different Easters but not like this… everyone in their own homes.

I am so grateful for the ability to gather together electronically. But you may say, “It won’t be the same”. However, this morning I happened upon a shared video of chapel service at my Alma Mater (Asbury University). The chaplains were still having chapel for the students even though they were spread all across the nation.

One chaplain noted that in a certain language the word “crisis” not only means impending trouble but “opportunity”. We have an opportunity to make something wonderful of this time. We can create new traditions and memorable moments together in our little families right in our living room.

Celebrate Easter

Sure we may not have new dresses or egg hunts and candy, but maybe, just maybe, or attention will turn to the hope of Easter. The Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. That He can restore hope and joy to our lives that may have been missing for a long long time.

Below I share several links to other suggestions for celebrating in place this Easter. But before that, I share this prayer from Romans 15:13…

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How to Celebrate in Place

Family Life ~ Stuck at Home for Easter

Soul Stops ~ 5 Tips for COVID-19

Mississippi Mom ~ 7 Ways to Prepare Your Hearts for Easter

One Thing Alone ~ 10 Ways to Prepare Your Heart for Easter

Chuck Lawless ~ 8 Practical Ways to Celebrate Easter

Awana ~ 5 Ways to Easter in Place

Ever Thine Home ~How to Celebrate Good Friday and Easter at Home

Participate in Easter Worship “in Place”

If you would like a small church effect, I invite you to “attend” one of our services on Facebook. Godd there now and “LIKE” us and you should get notified when they go live.

Harvest Church of the Nazarene in Savannah, GA

Bloomingdale Church of the Nazarene

If you would prefer a larger church experience, I suggest Greg Laurie’s Church which also happens to also be called Harvest Church.

Harvest Church

May God Bless you this Easter!

Mandy Farmer
Sometimes you will find us linking up with these places.

Looking Back Can Direct You Forward


te for five minutes. Today's prompt is BACK

Lysa Terkhurst’s book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way reminds me that our trials are not just troubles along the way. God intends for us to learn and grow from those tough times.

Looking Back

I thought about the recent struggles our family has been going through the past 5 years. I would rather push the memories away and try to forget but Lysa has been reminding me that “we are comforted to comfort others“. God wants us to use those times and how God got us through to help others get through the same kinds of things.

We often look around and think we are the only ones struggling, but indeed most of us are struggling. If we look back and direct our learning to others, we can be a source of compassion and encouragement. That’s what it’s all about … learning, growing, coming alongside others to help them through similar situations.

Acting Forward

I encourage you to look behind to get direction about your future. Dig deep into your sorrows and trials and find the gold nuggets that God wants you to share with others. I’m going to try to start doing that.

stop~ Five minutes up.

When life ripped away our livelihood, our home, our jobs, our identity. Satan tried to rip away my esteem. He tried to dredge up old feelings long gone. But God, through the Holy Spirit, reminded me whose I am.

Let me share a few nuggets from Chapter 5 of Lysa’s book

1. God wants us transformed, but Satan wants us paralyzed

2. God doesn’t expect perfection, so we sholdn’t expect it from ourselves and others.

3. We must get to a place of self-compassion if we hope to ever have true, deep compassion for others.

4. People need to know God’s compassion is alve and well and winning the epic battle of good versus evil. {and we are the ones to show it}

It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa Terkhurst

In closing, here’s a prayer Lysawith which closed the chapter. Pray it with me.

Father,

I don’t want to let disppointment and heartbreak cause me to approach this life more cautious than creative. more critical than compassionate. More cynical than surrendered. Thank you for the ways you tenderly meet me in my brokenness and my pain. Ant thank you fo reminding me that I still have light and beauty to spread over this world. Today, I am choosing to grab the brush. No attempts at perfection. No apologizing or strategizing. Just me. Lighting this world with me color. Showing up with Your compassion and grace.

in Jesus’ name, amen

Mandy Farmer

This post was prompted by the gang at Five Minute Friday Each Friday we take five minutes to write on the same prompt. It’s a lot of fun to see what others are inspired to write from the same prompt. Give it a try or click and do a bit of fun reading.


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.


#godsstrength #myweakness #hymn

I Boast In My Weakness ~ In Christ I Am Strong

It’s Friday. Time to join the crew at Five Minute Friday and write on a prompt. Prompt: Weak Weakness

Five MInute Friday PRompt Weak
image provided by Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday

This post was originally published in 2018 on Leaving a Legacy, [GGMANDY dot COM and linked up on the Five-minute Friday Link-up.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Sadly, I can relate to the Apostle Paul. He had some type of ailment or thorn in the flesh as he called it. He asked God to remove it several times, but God said,

“My grace is sufficient ..” 

Yes. It is true. His grace is sufficient.

First, I just reached the 8-year mile marker of a journey with chronic pain. And I have learned that this pain causes me to rest on Him. In the past, I trusted in my own strength, but now His grace is sufficient for me.

Secondly, even in ministry, I found myself doing everything from my own wisdom and my own strength my weakness. So God had to take me down a few notches. He needed me to look to Him for wisdom and strength. Oh, how it is so much better to lean on Him. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. And it is so much more exciting to see Him do it!

it is so much better to lean on God. So much more can be accomplished through Him when I allow Him to do the work. Click To Tweet

Been There, Done That

Consequently, I have been there with Paul asking, “Can you take the pain away now? I have learned my lesson.”

And God responds,

“Really? Do you really think that you would continue to lean on Me or would you fall back into your old ways and begin again to trust your own strength?”

Regrettably, I think I know the answer.

I believe that no matter my good intentions, I would fall back on my own power.

So I accept my weakness, this “Thorn in the Flesh”.

I accept my weakness, this Thorn in the flesh. #chronicpain #weak #justathought Click To Tweet

For me, it is very literal. But I accept this pain and I lean on Him. Because His grace is sufficient. And His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Mandy Farmer
It is true. His grace is sufficient. Click To Tweet

Hymn Favorite by Mosie Lister

(1)     Many times I’m tried and tested 
As I travel day by day 
Oft I meet with pain and sorrow 
And there’s trouble in the way. 
But I have a sweet assurance 
That my soul the Lord will lead 
And in Him there is strength for every need. 
 
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 
 
(2)     When the tempter brings confusion 
And I don’t know what to do, 
On my knees I turn to Jesus 
For He’ll always see me through 
Then despair is changed to victory. 
Every doubt just melts away 
And in Him there is hope for everyday.
 
O, His grace is sufficient for me. 
And His love is abundant and free. 
And what joy fills my soul, 
Just to know, just to know 
That His grace is sufficient for me. 

Here’s a version of the song I grew up hearing on the old Magnavox record player.

workingout

Working out My Hurts and Pain

When I’m working out-

I also work out my mind. I work out the hurt and the pain these last years have brought in my life.

I workout forgiveness toward myself- for unhealthy coping mechanisms that kept me stuck for so long.

I workout experiencing those low points and how now I have a deeper understanding of those who are going through dark times.

Working out Loss 

I workout that friends, even one I had half my life, can walk away and because of that, I learned the healthy boundary of relationships. And that I have the gift of forgiveness and to love but also not to expect that in return.

I work out that being on this path is rare– most don’t take the time to find themselves apart from identifying as something-

  • a wife, 
  • a mom,
  • a success,
  • college student etc.

Instead, I am working that out from the other end, finding myself, then success in what I want, and so on and so forth.

It’s empowering.

It’s empowering because I am not relying on anything to tell me where I “should be” or on anyone to make me feel valued.

I value me- because of all the humbling experiences that led me here and help me to show others their value too- and that to value yourself- it must come apart from anyone or anything.

-Thoughts from Jessie ❤️✊️

divider

Thank you, Jessie, for these words of encouragement. Back when I was swimming a mile a day, I found it to be very beneficial in working out my hurts, pains, emotions.

Friends, How to you work out your pain and emotions? Share in the comments.

comfort able

Does God Comfort Us to Make us Comfortable?

Comfort

Spiritually, when we think of comfort, we probably think of consoling someone in their grief or loss. And this would be something that we naturally do. We also think of how God comforts us through our sorrows. But let’s think for a moment about how much comfort we should expect to receive. As Christians, should we be “comfortable” all the time?

In today’s society, we are told that we all should be able to live in the lap of luxury, be comfortable. If we are living right then God will bless us. But I wonder how much this is what God really wants for us. I’m thinking that when we are comfortable we tend to forget God. So maybe we need to just be more content wherever we are in life.

God’s Word says

“In this world, you will have trouble.” John 16

And in James …

2 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1
If we are always comfortable, we usually tend to stay put and not really grow. It’s like the birds with their babies. The nest is made soft and comfortable when the baby birds are born, but when it is time for them to leave the nest, the mother will stir things up, make it uneasy so that the baby bird will decide they want to leave. In doing so they learn to fly, learn to hunt for their own food and fend for themselves.

In her book, Unashamed, Christine Caine says that

God gives us comfort to make us comfort-able, not necessarily comfortable.

So What Do You Think?

How is it for us?

  • Do we want to stay in the nest, nice and cozy?
  • Do we complain when things get uncomfortable in our life and ask God, “Why is this happening?” and beg Him to remove us from the trial?
  • Maybe it’s time for us to grow up and learn from the trials and then pass the blessing on to others.

 

What do you think? Share your comments below.

 

Mandy Farmer

Different EASTER

In the Dark ~ A Different Kind of Easter

Easter, for me, has always been a great day of celebration. A day of basking in the joy of the resurrection. But this year, it was different. We were in the dark.

You see, life has changed a lot for our family recently. Easter 2015, my husband was pastoring a church as he had been for nearly 40 years. Our children and I were deeply involved in his ministry, especially when it came to planning a celebration service such as Easter. The four of us spent much time studying the significance of Easter. We spent many hours reviewing videos and music finding just the right words to make Easter fresh, new, and alive. Something that would draw the people into the celebration, helping them realize what God had done for them. By the time Easter Sunday arrived, we were already filled beyond excitement. So ready to share the story and bring people to a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

But this year, it was different.

This time, we found ourselves on the other side of the picture. No longer in ministry, we were now sitting in the pews taking in a completely different view of the celebration. We were not involved in the planning and therefore; though we had read our Lenten Devotions, the excitement was much different.

Saturday before Easter

This time, our hearts felt the sadness of Saturday. Saturday, when hope was lost and followers of Christ wondered, “What in the world would happen now?” Everything that we had spent many years working toward seemed to be for naught.

The blinding darkness of a rainy day enveloped our day. Tears clouded our view and the ache in our hearts kept us from seeing beyond Saturday.

This was our own personal Saturday. 

But our church community was held stuck in “Saturday” as well.

That particular Saturday, was to be a joyous day of celebration. A wedding celebration, but instead we were saddened because the young bride-to-be was in a hospital having had a heart attack (at the young age of 35). She would indeed go home to heaven on Sunday. This was not the kind of resurrection Sunday we had been looking forward to.

It certainly did not feel like a time to celebrate.

Possibly, we could now relate to how the disciples may have felt on that Saturday.

Or maybe we felt much like the friends and family that stood around Lazarus’ grave only a week before wondering why did God allow this to happen?

Why did He not come to our aid?

Where was He?

—–

Oh, how we dread being in the dark.

The Light is always preferred to darkness.

We want to be able to see what is going on; to have at least a little bit of control of our situation. But the only way that our faith can grow is in the dark. Like a seed that must be planted in the cold, dark ground and remain there for days in order to sprout and come to life.

On Easter, we like being the one outside the grave, anticipating the resurrection. Watching and waiting, in the light. In the light, we know what’s going to happen. We know the end of the story and we can wait with anticipation.

But oh, it’s another thing to allow God to place us in the darkness to wait there.

 We can’t see what is happening, so we resist the dark. We get claustrophobic and resist the plan God has for us. Why can’t we understand that God places us in the dark for our own good? Sometimes, it is for our own protection because He loves us. He wants us to know we can trust Him in the darkness.

God is able to do His greatest work in the dark. Click To Tweet

Come. Think about Lazarus and his friends with me

Lazarus and his sisters were close friends of Jesus. (John 11:3)They loved Jesus greatly and He loved them. They spent a lot of time together whenever possible. Just as we, as Christians, can have a wonderful relationship with our Lord. We have lived for and with Jesus maybe for years. We love Him and we serve him expecting his blessings. But there is much to learn and the place to learn it is quite possibly is in the darkness of a Saturday.

Jesus stayed away so that God could be glorified. (John 11:4)

On Saturday, in the darkness, it may feel that Jesus is not there. And we wonder why does He not come to rescue us? Sure Jesus could have gone to them immediately and healed Lazarus. But how long would that last? How quickly would Lazarus and his friends have fallen back into the daily routines of life? Would their faith have been stretched? Would they have really grown to a new spiritual level? I think not. They had seen many miracles of healing and for Jesus to perform another miracle of healing would have only been par for the course. To raise Lazarus from the grave after 4 days ….. Now that would and did bring great glory to God because the impossible had been accomplished.

Jesus stayed away so that the disciples could have greater faith. (John 11:15) 

The disciples, Lazarus and his friends would soon need great faith. Jesus was just one week from going to the cross. They would need a strong faith to get through this trial. They would need great faith to hang on through Saturday. Maybe, if they had not just seen Lazarus raised up, they truly would have given up hope and lost all faith before Sunday came and God raised Jesus from the grave. Maybe, it is what got them through their next Saturday.

Imagine a surgeon, if you will.

If he were to take you to surgery and allow you to be awake for the procedure, most of us would not allow him to touch us. We would fear the pain of it, we would see the surgeon’s knife coming and run away. But when he “puts us in darkness” through anesthesia we remain quiet and still for the work to be done. We, too often, fight against entering the darkness. Why? Because we do not have enough faith in what God will do.

We really don’t have to fight Him, you know.

He really does have everything under control.

He knows what is best.

And when we look back at what he has done, we are amazed.

We celebrate in His Resurrection in a much greater way. And our faith grows to a new level just as promised in James 1

you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

So, you see. It may be Saturday for you right now, but Sunday’s coming!

Let God do His work in the dark. Have faith.

Expecting Great Things!

Mandy Farmer