Life is all about change. When you trust an unchanging God - you have the ability to embrace change and trust Him in the midst of it. Join me as the Lord leads me through a new phase of my journey.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Musings - The Power of our Words

We had a guest speaker at church yesterday.  He had a good word for all of us.  This was not a new word - but always a good one.  He spoke about the tongue - the power of our words for good or for evil.  As he put it, we all carry a concealed weapon!

The average person speaks 16,000 words a day.  That is a lot of opportunity!  We always have a choice as to what we do with our words - we can choose hasty words, harsh words, hurtful words, words of gossip, critical words and words that are less than truthful!  We can also choose thankful words, loving words, encouraging words and kind words.

What's the key to choosing our words carefully?
"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."  Matthew 12:34

So the key seems to be the condition of our heart.  When we get jostled, what spills out is truly what resides within us.  Sometimes - it is not so good!  Always a red flag as to my spiritual condition.  We not only need to "walk the talk" but we also need to "talk the walk!"  Our words, our actions and our faith need to line up.  Our lives must be a consistent picture of Jesus to those around us.

"The words of the wise bring healing."  Proverbs 12:18

We can choose to use our words to wound others.  It is easy, actually.  Critical, sarcastic and judgmental words seem to flow out easily - even effortlessly.  We have to choose for our words to bring healing.  We have to listen more, choose our words deliberately and carefully and generally speak less!  I never cease to be amazed at how powerful a good word  is to one who is wounded.  It can literally turn their life around.

"But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger."  James 1:19

Too often - I get those mixed up!  We tend to be quick to speak rather than quick to hear.  I have been learning to just be quiet more often - to really listen and think before I say anything.  I have also learned that it is okay to just be quiet.  Every thought does not have to escape my lips and every comment does not necessitate a response. 

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."  Ephesians 4:29

"The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin."  Proverbs 13:3 

We can not do this on our own!  It is impossible to tame the tongue without the power of the Holy Spirit!  We need to lean into the Lord and rely on Him for every word that comes out of our mouth.  We need to be aware of situations where we know we are at risk to join in on gossip or criticism.  We need to continually ask the Lord to show us the good in every situation and every person.  Is it challenging?  Yes!  It it impossible?  No - but only because of the power of our Almighty God.

This Christmas season - you could give no greater gift than the gift of encouraging words.  On that gift tag, include a word of blessing.  In that Christmas card, include a word of thanks or encouragement.  What if when you hand someone a gift, you hand them a word of blessing also.  Wow - what a difference we could make.  Let's do it!!!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Thanksgiving is such a great time.  I love a gathering of friends and family along with some fabulous food.  We were fortunate enough to have Ashley and James here with us.  We also had about 20 from our church here.  One thing about moves is that you learn that family is a much larger concept than you previously thought!  We have a great church family here.  Here are just a few of the things I am thankful for when I look over the last very eventful year.

*the fun times with Heather preparing for her wedding
*working along side Heather in her classroom
*all the kind and thoughtful things my friends did in preparation for the wedding - I have the greatest friends.
*the wedding of Heather and Cooper
*sweet times shared with Ashley and just watching her great love for ministry and people
*summer in Colorado - YAY!
*moving to Chicago
*finding Destination church and such great friends
*my neighbors here in Chicago - so wonderful
*Ashley's engagement to James and all the fun that comes along with that
*God's unwavering presence through all the changes
*His goodness and faithfulness to me even when I am not faithful
*Alan - such a good man and a wonderful husband - living life with Alan is a great adventure
*opportunities to serve and enjoy being God's hands and feet in a variety of ways
*Life - lived to its fullest - such a blessing

Having just celebrated my birthday and Thanksgiving - I am truly overwhelmed with all the people that the Lord has placed in my life.  I don't deserve it - it is purely a gift of God's grace.  Sometimes I think my heart will burst with such JOY.  Thank you for being a part of it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Musings - Thanksgiving Week

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year!  I love a week that focuses on being thankful and is all about family, friends and food.  Hard to beat that!

I love Christmas too - because one of my love languages is gifts -- I LOVE TO GIVE GIFTS -- but I know that can also be a source of stress for some people.  The great thing about Thanksgiving is that we can do for others and just enjoy each other without any expectation of reciprocation (I like that phrase!)  

I was born Thanksgiving week and I get to celebrate my birthday on Thanksgiving day every so often which is particularly fun.  My sweet friend, Heather Sweetman, gets the Thanksgiving Day birthday this year and I get to celebrate it with her - that is a pretty sweet deal :-)  We are having a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  It will be a very special time with family (Ashley, James and Alan) and our church family that are in town.  Lots good food, lots of fun and great fellowship.  So very much to be thankful for.

If there was ever a week for an attitude of gratitude - it would be this one.  Count your blessings.  My friend Kerry, who lost his sweet wife Jill in August due to a motorcycle accident, is facing his first Thanksgiving without her.  He is struggling but he is looking for the good - he is thankful for his kids and for all the years he shared with Jill.  It's hard - but he is doing it.  

Hebrews 13:15 says, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess His name." 

For some, this Thanksgiving may be a really tough time.  Like my friend Kerry, you may have lost someone dear to you and facing your first holiday without them is a daunting task.  For others, you may be experiencing a difficult circumstance in your life or you may be facing a huge disappointment.  In those kinds of situations, we have the unique opportunity to offer a sacrifice of praise.  How very pleased the Lord must be when we acknowledge that He is what we are thankful for - above all else - regardless of our circumstances - regardless of our pain - He is still worthy of our praise.  
Thankful Thursday will be on Thanksgiving this week - double attitude of gratitude.  Celebrate with me.  Take time to write down some things you are thankful for and share them at your Thanksgiving meal.  Honor the Giver of all Good Gifts. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Ashley and James

What an amazing week!  I have been so busy with all my secret keeping that I didn't even have time to write a blog on Monday!  

I have known that James was going to propose to Ashley on Tuesday for 6 weeks.  Now, I'm a great secret keeper with all those years of youth work behind me, but this one was tough!  The excitement about this day built up like crazy over that 6 weeks. It was such a relief when we got on a plane last Saturday to head to Texas.  Of course, we had to be sneaky and lay low until Tuesday, so we landed in Dallas and immediately drove to Tyler.

We had a great visit with Heather and Cooper.

Not to mention my granddog Miles.

We got to hang out, go to church and I got to help in Heather's class on Monday.  I love to watch Heather teach.  She is so wonderful with her kids.  I loved every minute of it.

We headed to Southlake on Monday night.  My parents, Alan's folks and my niece Hannah were already there.  James had all of Tuesday planned out.  He came to see us on Monday night and we all got very excited about the big day!!

Ashley got her first surprise on Tuesday when we picked her up for breakfast.  She didn't have any idea we were in town or that all this wonderful stuff was about to take place!  She cried - I cried.  It was great :-)  We took her to breakfast and when she walked in, she saw the rest of the family.  So much fun!  She got to have lunch with her closest friends and then shopping to get her ready for the big night.

She looked drop dead gorgeous!  James had planned out a very sweet proposal and a nice dinner at one of Ashley's favorite places.  There was an engagement party at one of their favorite cupcake places.  It was so much fun.  What a very special day!  So - another spring wedding at the Goad household.  We could not be happier!

I forgot to mention that it was James' birthday - he chose to make his day a special day all about Ashley.  I can't even tell you how much I love that.  

Time with my girls is such a treasure to me. 

 I am so very thankful for my sweet girls, their sweet guys and all the good times ahead.  Welcome to the family James!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness today.  I just feel like jumping up and down and hollering -" Yahoo!  I serve an awesome God and He is accomplishing so much all around me!!"

It has been such a great people week - which always makes for a good week in my life.

Friday - I got to have brunch with Karen, Kara, Rachel and Heather; go to the Chicago Art Institute with my friend Beth and then meet her husband and Alan for dinner.  Rich conversation and delicious food :-)
Saturday - the 1 hr. 15 minute spin class (so much fun); coffee with Christen; had Rebecca, Jennifer, Alison, Ryan, Jamie and Kevin over for dinner.  These friendships are becoming so precious to me.  
Sunday - Destination church and lunch out with Karen and Steve.
Monday - coffee with Lisa (more great conversation); painting at Hamilton Elementary (hilarious conversations with students!)
Tuesday - coffee with Meghan (such a sweet soul); painting at Hamilton Elementary; dinner out with Karen; chocolate fondue party with a bunch of the girls at Heather's house.
Wednesday - boxing class; Target (that just makes me happy); visit to the dentist (good checkup and a chance to talk with Carly - the hygienist - super sweet girl); small group at my house with 15 absolutely amazing women.
Thankful Thursday: spin class, lunch and great discussion with Julie; Costco :-) and then a benefit for NEST -(an organization that gives small business loans to women in third world countries)  My neighbor Rebecca is involved with this effort and it was fun to go and support her.  I got to spend time with my neighbors Alison and Jennifer there also - and I got to meet Rebecca's sister.  To top it off, as Alison and I were talking outside on our street, a guy came by with a beautiful Bearnaise Mountain Dog.  We started talking to him and learned his name is Adam - he lives just a block from us and he and his girlfriend Tess are getting married in Avon, Colorado in January!  He was so nice.  I think we found a new friend.

Now - most likely that was more information than any of you wanted to know.  My point is - people make life rich and I am thankful for the amazing richness of my life this week.  I never get over how many wonderful people are all around us all the time - sometimes we just have to initiate a small conversation and there you go - a new friend.  I have decided that I am a relationship millionaire and I'm going to share the wealth with as many people as possible! 

One of these days, I'll get to see the heavenly interest that has been earned on such an investment.  Join in the fun.  Hope your heart is overflowing with thankfulness too.  It sure is good. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Musings - Remember the Orphan

November is a month set aside to remember the orphan.  There are approximately 147 million orphans in the world.  WOW  That is a number that is hard to get your mind around.  So - what can we do?

Scripture tells us that we are to care for the orphan. Period.  It is a mandate - not optional.

What does that look like?  It can take on many 
different looks.  

*For some - it means adoption.  Once someone adopts, they become adoptions biggest advocates!  I haven't met anyone yet who regretted adopting.  International adoptions have grown tremendously in the last few years.  More countries are opening up their borders to international adoption - others are really slowing down . . . It is an emotional, difficult journey - but one that is well worth the fight, the wait and the money spent. Is this your calling?

*For others - it means helping couples adopt.  Some people are called to financially help those couples who are adopting.  It is an expensive endeavor and if you can give financially to help someone fulfill their calling and their dream - do it!!

*For others - actually for everyone - we can pray for the orphan.  If this is all you do, it is something huge.  We can intercede on behalf of these children who do not have an earthly advocate.  We can pray for them to find families; we can pray for their caregivers; we can pray for their daily provisions; for their health; for their precious souls.  We can pray for God to move on behalf of each orphan and move the process along as quickly as possible - removing seemingly insurmountable obstacles such as government bureaucracy, paperwork and financial mountains.  We can pray for the many orphanages that are tirelessly working to provide care and future families for these precious ones.

*For all of us - we can be an outspoken advocate for the orphan.  Let others know about people that you know who are involved in adoption.  Their stories are inspirational!
     Bill and Lynsay - friends of mine who run an orphanage in Ch*na.  They take in babies with serious medical problems and they see amazing miracles all the time.  It is exhausting and trying, but they are faithful.  Bill was adopted and they have adopted two precious girls from the states.
     Dwight and Linn - friends of mine who have adopted 7 children from different countries and the USA.  They also have 3 biological children.  Their oldest daughter is coming home soon with her new baby son from Ughan*a.  What a legacy this family is leaving!
     David and Amy - friends who adopted a sweet baby girl "E" from Ethi*pia.  They are in the process of adopting a second baby. 

There are many others with amazing stories.  Just being aware will perk up your ears to hearing more and more about these families.  

Orphans -- we have all been one.  What?  When we were apart from God - we were orphans in need of a Heavenly Father.  He chose to send His Son so that we could become His children.  He adopted us into His family.  We now can call God Himself - Daddy.  Who do you know that is still a spiritual orphan?  Let's remember those orphans too.  Let's continue to let people know that they have a huge family in the body of Christ.

I want to encourage you to seek God about what part He would have you to play.  He very well may want you to adopt a child.  He may point you in the direction of financially helping someone else to adopt.  I know He wants you to pray.  That's a no brainer!!  Let's all lift up God's precious children and see how our Heavenly Father will move on their behalf.  Wouldn't it be amazing if as a body of Christ - we could bring that number down to 0?  I think it is possible.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Purpose

I was thinking today how thankful I am for my life here and all that has happened in the last 2 1/2 months.  To say that life has been full would be an understatement!  

In Ephesians 2:10 - we are told that the Lord has prepared good works for us beforehand so that we should walk in them.  What a privilege it is as a believer to know that our life has a purpose and that there is a plan.  

I have had such a heightened awareness of what the Lord would have me do since moving.  I guess that a brand new start just gets your adrenaline going!  Of course, part of moving somewhere new is discovering why the Lord has brought you here and what it is you are supposed to be investing your life in.  Day by day, that has been made very clear to me.  One baby step at a time, I am seeking to follow the Lord's lead and be just where I need to be.

So many people today talk about having no purpose in life.  Life has no meaning and they are just miserable in their job, their home and generally in their life. People do a lot of crazy things trying to find their purpose. That just breaks my heart.   We have to slow down and seek after God longing to hear His voice.  Without Him, we will not be able to discover our true purpose.  We need to act on what we know at the present and trust Him with each step.  When a change of direction or big decision comes along, you have already been in step with the Lord and what comes next will make sense.  He will prepare you ahead of time in ways that are truly mysterious!

Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite scripture of many and for good reason.  The Lord tells us that He has a plan for us - plans to prosper us and not harm us - to give us a future and a hope.  Wow!  That is great news.  It goes on to say that we must CALL on Him, PRAY to Him, SEEK Him and SEARCH for Him with all our heart.  FAITH IS SO VERY ACTIVE!!  

So, what is your purpose?  How are you investing in the kingdom right now?  Take time to pause and thank God for the good works that He has prepared beforehand that you have the privilege to walk in them.  Honor Him in that walk.  Thank Him that you have the privilege of calling on, praying to, seeking after and searching for God Almighty with all your heart.  He longs to be in relationship with you.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Join me in a big THANK YOU to our God for His purposes in our lives.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday Musings - God is at Work

I had such an amazing week.  It was one of those weeks where I could see God at work around every corner.  I just love that!  I'm amazed at what can happen from a Monday to a Monday.

I had my first small group study at my house on Wednesday.  What an amazing group of women!  There are 16 of us all together and we were only missing one person that first week.  We are going through a book called "Undefiled."  It is a book about sexual redemption.  It is very good - very challenging and definitely gets in your stuff, if you know what I mean! We had such good discussion and just a good spirit in the group.  I see many good times coming with these women.  It is a privilege to know them.  God is at work.

Friday was the wedding at my house.  I had a blast getting everything ready and trying to make it special.  My sweet friend Beth came over and helped me get everything together.  She was a lifesaver.  The night could not have gone any better.  This sweet couple was so excited and it was so meaningful to see them make this decision to commit to one another and to commit their relationship to the Lord.  Although they have been together for some time, this is a brand new beginning for them.  It is a choice to put the Lord at the center of their home.  We had such a great time all being together and celebrating.  It was a gift.  God is at work.

Saturday, I got a text message from one of my neighbors on the street that she needed some help getting ready for a Halloween party.  She needed Fran Dresher hair (aka The Nanny).  Rebecca is adorable.  She came over to the neighbor party I had a couple of weeks ago.  I spent a hour teasing her hair and spraying it to withstand a hurricane.  She looked hilarious.  What is so special about that?  I got to have some great conversation with her and deepen our friendship.  God is at work.

Also on Saturday, Steve and Karen Cunningham came to stay with us for two nights. We had the best time hanging out and getting to know them. They moved into their apartment today just a few blocks from us.  They are a couple our age (YAY) who knows our pastor's wife from her days in Kansas City.  Steve got transferred up here.  Coincidence - I don't think so! (that is for you Kay.)  We know that the Lord has purpose in moving the 4 of us here.  We now make up the senior group at Destination Church!  We are so excited about getting to know them better and serving along side of them.  God is at work!

Where do you see God working?  He is busy all around you.  Open your spiritual eyes and just be amazed.  Jump in where you can and be a part of it.  What a privilege we have as God's children to be involved in His work.  Pray for me when it comes to mind.  I am jumping up and down with Holy Anticipation!