Monday, January 09, 2012


Judy, I’ve known you for a good number of years. And I’ve watched as your sweet spirit reaches out to those around you. You are definitely a person making a difference. I’m privileged to call you my friend. I’d love it if my readers could become better acquainted with you. Can you share a little about your background, and can you tell us who Judy Gann is?

Thank you for the warm welcome, Bonnie. I’m humbled and honored to be a participant in your “Make a Difference” series. I hope my story will illustrate that God can use us to make a difference in our sphere of
influence—regardless of our personal limitations and obstacles.

I grew up in a loving, close family near the beach in San Diego. I became a Christian through the ministry of The Navigators while in college. After college I taught elementary school and later became a children’s librarian.

I’ve lived with chronic illness most of my life—immune system problems. Although at times I want to shout, “There’s more to me than my illness!” I know my health issues have been used by God to mold me into the person I am today. Stubborn and independent by nature, I know, if not for my illnesses, I would rely on my own strength, not the Lord’s. Because of my own health issues, I have a great understanding and compassion for people with physical and emotional limitations.

I’ve been told that my spiritual gift is encouragement. My greatest joy is found in offering hope and encouragement to others—whether through friendship, mentoring younger women at church, writing, or speaking.

And an encourager is exactly what you are. I’ve been the recipient many times. Thank you.

You were involved in a ministry called Rest Ministries. Can you tell us about this ministry and what your role has been in this valuable organization?

Rest Ministries ( )is an international Christian support ministry for people with chronic illness and chronic pain. Lisa Copen, the Director of Rest Ministries, runs the ministry from her home—in spite of her own chronic illnesses. Rest Ministries provides Christian hope, comfort, and encouragement through a variety of resources: daily devotional, support groups, articles, e-mail loops, prayer groups, etc. It is the first resource I give to friends and acquaintances who are diagnosed with chronic illness.

For several years I had the privilege of serving as Writers’ Coordinator for Rest Ministries. I monitored an online group of people interested in helping others by sharing their experiences with illness through the written word. In addition, I represented Rest Ministries’ HopeKeepers Magazine at writers conferences. I loved meeting with aspiring writers. God’s lead me in new directions now, but I’ll always treasure the time I spent with Rest Ministries.

Rest Ministries has been a great help to me. I receive their daily devotionals and often pass them on to twitter or to friends who can use a word of encouragement. It’s very helpful.

Your book, God of All Comfort is still in print many years after its original release. What motivated you to write this enriching devotional? How did you come to write it and why do you think it is still in demand?

Books and words were always a part of my life and I always dreamed of writing books like the ones I read so voraciously. But busy with the priorities of daily life, I stowed my dream of writing until I had more time.

Then several years ago a brutal allergic reaction to medication severely impaired my cognitive abilities. After spending nearly a year bedridden, I returned to work, only to find I’d lost the ability to write even a simple memo. My dream of writing crumbled.

Over the next seven years my cognitive abilities—including writing—gradually improved. I came to view my ability to write as a gift from God. God is the God of second chances. He gave my writing ability back to me, and I now have a responsibility to use it for Him.

These thoughts were in the back of my mind when one day a few years later, a friend asked me, “Judy, which Scripture passages comfort and encourage you when you’re battling poor health?” My friend’s question stayed in my mind long after I’d given a list of verses to her. Later, they became the basis for The God of All Comfort: Devotions of Hope for Those Who Chronically Suffer(AMG Publishers).

My purpose in writing a devotional book for people with illness was to draw them into God’s word to find the comfort, strength and hope for living with chronic illnesses. It’s my way of comforting others with the comfort God’s given me. (2 Cor. 1:3-4) I interviewed seventeen other people with illness so the application is broader than my own experience with illness.

I think the reason this book is still in demand is that illness is, unfortunately, one of those “evergreen” topics. Chronic illness doesn’t go away. We’re living longer and the large population of baby boomers is dealing with the effects of aging.

Judy has graciously consented to give away a copy of her book, The God of All Comfort. Leave a comment and I’ll make sure to include you in a drawing for this wonderful devotional.

• You are a busy woman, involved with your family and numerous other ventures. It seems you’re always jetting off somewhere. Can you tell us about some of your activities, including the fabulous novel you’re presently working on? Taking into account all of you’re enterprises is there one that is closest to your heart? And what do you see yourself doing in the future?

I’m hoping this year involves a bit less “jetting off” as you put it. LOL
It’s a bit of a toss-up, but I think writing my novel is closest to my heart for 2012. I’ve always loved to read fiction and been a firm believer in the power of stories to convey biblical truth and hope. While attending an American Christian Fiction Writers Conference to teach a workshop on marketing to libraries, I took a beginning fiction class and was hooked on writing fiction. But, it wasn’t until a comment from a member of my writing prayer team collided with a news item that I knew I had my story. It’s very much a WIP, but I’d like to finish my manuscript by next July.
Another project dear to my heart is Library Insider ®, an innovative tool to assist authors and publishers in marketing to public libraries, in partnership with Books & Such Literary Agency. Library Insider consists of a regularly updated database of major libraries in the United States along with the contact information for the book purchasing decision makers, usually the acquisitions librarians. Training and additional marketing resources are also available. For more information see

For the future, I’d like to continue writing fiction and assisting authors and publishers in marketing to public libraries. I’d like this year to be a year of reconnecting with my church, family and friends. I tend to be too focused on tasks and sometimes let relationships slide.

Is there anything you’d like to add to this discussion? And how can we best pray for you?

I’m continually in awe of God’s provision of strength in the midst of my physical weakness; the ability He gives me to do all He calls me to do. I pray that your readers will be encouraged to examine their own spheres of influence and see where the Lord is calling them to make a difference. You may feel limited. But, God’s strength shows up best in our areas of weakness.

Each year, with much prayer, I choose a word for the year. This year’s word is “savor.” Please pray that I will savor what the Lord has for me in each moment and experience as it’s happening, rather than getting caught up in busyness and thinking about the next thing on the agenda.

Thanks so much for the privilege of sharing with you!

Thank you, Judy, for sharing your life, wisdom and vision. You are an inspiration to others.


  1. So glad to get to know more about you Judy. We're fb friends, which is great, but we don't really get to know that much about each other. Thank you Bonnie.
    Janet Harllee

  2. Wow! I would be honered to receive a copy of Ms Gann's book.... and thank you for the opportunity :)

  3. Great interview, Bonnie and Judy. I've met Judy and she is an encourager. Thank you, Judy, for sharing your experiences and your trust in the Lord. May you savor many blessings in the year ahead.

    I tried commenting once already so hoping the other comment doesn't suddenly appear out of the netherworld.

  4. Would love a copy of Judy's book. Think of it often in dealing with a close family member and always wish I had read it...

  5. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I enjoyed reading the interview with my friend, Judy Gann. I agree that she has the gift of encouraging others. I've been on the receiving end of her sweet, gracious, giving spirit. May God bless Judy as she continues to minister to others. Jan Edrington

  6. Thank you for your wonderful comments, old and new friends.

    Becki, many readers have told me that The God of All Comfort helps them better understand a family member with a chronic and/or serious illness. It's difficult to watch loved ones deal with illness.

  7. This was a great interview! I have Judy's book, "The God of All Comfort," and it is wonderful. Thanks, Judy, for being such an inspiration to us! ~Anna Popescu

  8. Judy, you and Bonnie are both dear friends. I enjoyed reading this interview.
    You are an encourager--and a very helpful friend.

  9. Thank you, Ann & Anna. BTW, Anna graciously let me tell her story in a devotional in The God of All Comfort.

    Thank you, "Anonymous Jan", my long time friend. Sat. lunch soon.

  10. Thanks for this wonderful interview, Bonnie! Judy, I rejoice in all the Lord is doing in and through you. It's so encouraging to hear your story and know that God's plan always prevails. :)
    Love and blessing to both you precious saints of the Lord!

  11. WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT! Anna Popescu, you have won a copy of Judy's book, "The God of all Comfort".


    I'll need your mailing address. You can hit the contact button on my website and leave it with me there. I'll make sure to get your name and address to Judy.

    And Judy, thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom with us.

    God's blessings.