I met Mandy Kelly of Worshipful Living through Periscope and got to know her through HomeschoolScopes, a Facebook group for homeschoolers who enjoy live broadcasting. I got to meet Mandy in person at the 2:1 Conference in 2015, worked with her in sharing one another’s materials, and enjoyed keeping up with her on Facebook. On Tuesday morning, March 21st, 2017, I heard the news that Mandy and three of her family members had died in a house fire. It was a shocking tragedy that had everyone who knew her (and even many who didn’t) reeling.
A friend told me what a pastor had said at her husband’s funeral after his tragic death:
“Let’s not focus so much on how he died that we forget how he lived.”
Those words are so appropriate to Mandy and her family. To honor Mandy’s memory, I want to share with you how she lived and what I learned from her about worshipful living.
#1 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:24
My first impression of Mandy was that she was a kind lady. I watched a broadcast she did on what to wear to the 2:1 Conference. At first blush, that topic doesn’t seem very spiritual. But Mandy was trying to make nervous newbies like me feel comfortable by telling them what to expect. She also clearly communicated that she would befriend us there if no one else would. Mandy was a teacher — a kind teacher. It’s my desire to share the kindness of Christ with others in my teaching the way Mandy did.
#2 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Mandy was a Christian woman, a Christian blogger, and a Christian speaker at a time when Christianity is becoming less and less popular. While I shrink from sharing my faith on Facebook (where it is often reviled), Mandy let her light shine for all to see. She could because there was no hypocrisy in her. I aspire to be the light that Mandy was.
#3 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
Mandy’s post on Jesus having a quiet time reminded me that my time with God needs to come first each day. The truth is that too often I don’t wake up thanking God and seeking prayer first, but my phone and social media. I am living worshipfully now first thing in the morning, thanks to Mandy.
#4 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12
I saw Mandy go through the disappointment of infertility and an adoption that didn’t happen. But I didn’t see Mandy give up hope. Her article on biblical joy and her attitude in trials has taught me to persevere in tribulation, too.
#5 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11
I am so inspired by the way Mandy blessed her daughter with these words on Instagram. It is my prayer that they will comfort her daughter and guide her all her life. I do try to bless my children with my words, but I’m not sure I do it to this level. It’s my aspiration to spend more time blessing my children and just listening to them instead of always being in a hurry.
#6 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
I hadn’t seen Mandy’s Periscope on finishing well until after she had gone to heaven. She explained that when we are face to face with God, we know that death is better than life. I so often live like this life is the best there is, when that is at odds with the truth of Scripture. Mandy’s eternal perspective (which is so like the apostle Paul’s) has reminded me to stop sweating the small stuff. I know that I will see Mandy again. I will be able to rejoice with her at how her time spent here (thought short) glorified the Lord in a mighty way. I will be able to thank her for all she taught me.
I am tempted to feel sorry for myself that Mandy has gone home. But I choose instead to focus on gratitude for having known her. I encourage you to spend time on Mandy’s Worshipful Living website and her Periscope channel. Mandy with her kindness, light, glory giving, patience, child blessing, and eternal perspective will teach you worshipful living just as she has me.
Please read what other blogging friends of Mandy’s have learned from her.
I have had times of profound peace in my life and this isn’t one of them! Because I know what it feels like to have no worry and no hurry, I am determined to find it again. If you want to be able to rest in the Lord, no matter what storms rage around you, I have help for you.
First, I want to share a story with you. I was seriously ill. My chronic nasal allergies were the worst they had been. I had the most severe heartburn I had ever had and I wasn’t pregnant. I had other major GI problems, including trouble swallowing. I was losing hair. My right leg and the right side of my face were numb. One day when I was out running, I found myself going off the road and I couldn’t stop.
I was terrified that I had multiple sclerosis. I hoped that it was related to a food allergy, so I ate only the most obscure foods I had never had before. I lost tons of weight, but the symptoms remained. I took hundreds of dollars’ worth of supplements. I stayed up all hours of the night researching my condition.
I did not have peace.
After prayer and fasting, others’ prayers and fasting included, I knew what the problem was: I was afraid. I was afraid that I couldn’t trust God. I was afraid that I couldn’t trust my husband to stay with me if I did have MS. I was afraid I was going to die. I was honestly afraid of just about everything. I noticed for the first time that my gut was twisted in knots every time I was running late for something, every time someone seemed mad at me, every time I had messed something up.
But when I realized what the problem was, I prayed and repeated “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding” every time the fear came. Not only did all my physical symptoms disappear, but I had a profound sense of peace. I had a speaking engagement at the time and forgot my notes. Normally, my stress level would have been through the roof! But I felt completely and totally calm. I was able to have my son email me the notes and all was well.
In the years since then, I have lost that complete, blissful sense of peace I had. I want it back. I need to practice the principles I described in the article I wrote for Intentional in Life. I pray that you and I are both blessed by pursuing peace in the right places.
I wish I had known about truth journaling when I was in graduate school, pursuing a degree in psychology. I was overweight, living in a disorganized mess, and in debt. I’ll stop there because the list would be very long otherwise. I tried many things to change my life at the time, like a new diet and New Age teaching. But nothing had the power that I needed to change my life.
I had wandered away from God. But even once I’d made my way home and was established as a Christian psychologist, I still struggled. I felt helpless in my fear, anger, and sadness. When various things went wrong in my life, I would lie awake replaying words and events. Even a few years ago, I procrastinated projects like Grammar Galaxy because of multiple fears. I wasn’t making progress in changing bad habits.
Truth journaling reminded me of the assignment I often gave to anxious clients (and used myself). I asked clients to record everything they were anxious about and to write next to it an action step they would take. That action step might be to pray or to take a small step to address the problem. This process is very helpful for people who ruminate about things. But truth journaling is different.
In truth journaling, we write down what we are thinking that is upsetting to us. For example, one I used early on with truth journaling is:
My friend hasn’t called me back, so she is mad at me.
Before I began truth journaling, I freaked out over thoughts like this. Sorry to destroy your illusions about psychologists! I would respond by imagining every terrible interaction I might have with my friend. I would have trouble sleeping. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. But after truth journaling, I would talk back to this thought in writing.
She is probably busy. If she is mad at you, it’s her responsibility to tell you. There have been other times she hasn’t called you back and she wasn’t mad. If she is mad at you, you’ll work it out. Even if she never spoke to you again, you’d be okay. God has gotten you through much worse.
After truth journaling, I feel immense relief. The process of getting thoughts on paper is so powerful. Thoughts sequestered in our heads can wreak havoc. Once on paper, these thoughts reveal themselves to be lies and distortions. A phone call not returned does not prove anything — not even death, which is another thing I’ve feared.
How Truth Journaling Changed My Habits
I recently wrote about time management lies homeschool moms believe. One of them is that we’ll have time to do this later. Now that I’ve been truth journaling, I can recognize lies without writing them down. When I tell myself that I’ll have time to hang my clothes up tomorrow, I know this is a lie. I won’t have more time or energy tomorrow. The truth is that habits are created by what we do every day — not what we do when we feel like we have loads of time and energy. So I hang my clothes up right away.