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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Ashley

My first born baby girl turned 27 last weekend.  
Wow - hard to believe.

Bless her heart - I had to learn to be a Mom with her!  I was crazy in love with her from the first second I saw her and I just couldn't believe that I had a baby.  She was an emergency c-section, so my first glimpse of her was when I was coming out of recovery.  She was beautiful - so tiny and so fragile.  I could hardly believe that they were going to allow me to take her home from the hospital.  

Ashley was feisty from day one.  That girl had a few opinions and she did not mind letting me know about it.  Of course, I didn't know very much about what I was doing, so that could have contributed . . . 

Even as a little one, Ashley always knew who she was and who she wanted to be.  She was very sweet, kind, caring and helpful.  She was a strong willed child, but that proved to be one of her best characteristics as she grew up.  She was so smart and so artistic - even as a wee little one.  She used to cry because her kindergarten teacher would not give her homework.  

We moved around a lot during Ashley's school years and she was a trooper!  She went to 4 elementary schools, 2 junior highs and 1 high school.  She learned to meet new people, stand on her own two feet and to include others.  She learned to be flexible and to trust God from early on.  At the age of 4, she was singing the hymn, "Trust and Obey."

She loved the BSF children's program and she loved church.  She hungered for more of the Lord always.  She had such a steadfast faith - never wavering, even when it meant she might be left out.  She loved Jesus then and she loves Jesus now.

She was a wonderful sister to Heather - even when Heather didn't want her to be.  She had a fierce love for Heather, felt very protective of her and always wanted the best for her.  What a sweet friendship those two share.

Ashely is so many things . . . daughter, friend, wife, sister - she is smart, artistic, creative, kind, caring , giving, discerning and faithful.  She is passionate about what the Lord has for her to do.  Every time I see the quote, "She may be small, but she be mighty" I think of Ashley.

Thank you, Ashley, for being such a blessing to my life.  You mean more to me than I could even put into words.  Seeing you grow into such a beautiful, passionate follower of Jesus is my greatest gift.  I love you.

Happy Birthday

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Musings: Freedom

I felt like today's blog needed to be dedicated to those men and women who have served our country in the past and continue to serve today.  We have extraordinary freedoms in this country.  If you have traveled to other parts of the world, you know what I mean.  Even with the struggles and problems that the USA has - we are very fortunate.  Let's be grateful - let's praise rather than  complain.  Let's honor those who insure those freedoms.  Let's pray for those who have served, those who have given their lives in service and those that serve us today.  I just want to say thank you.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday: 30 years

Every year of marriage is a blessing and a testimony of God's grace - but there are those milestones that cause one to reflect and 30 years is one of those.

I married Alan Goad on May 22, 1982.  We were kids in adult bodies and we thought we were very grown up and wise.  We were about to learn that was not true, but the good news is we grew up together and have learned a lot along the way.

God knew what He was doing.  We are a good compliment for one another.  We often comment that we are just not sure what would have become of either of us without the other.  

Alan is practical where I am NOT SO practical.
Alan is quiet when I can be too chatty.
Alan is wise where I am sometimes clueless.
Alan sees the long term where I might get a bit too excited about something without taking in everything I need to consider. (Picture me saying that really fast)
Alan can often see to the heart of another where I can be taken in by outward appearances.
Alan can slow down and think when I am jumping up an down.

I am wholly optimistic where Alan can be pessimistic (or realistic, as he likes to call it.)
I can meet and engage just about anyone where Alan would prefer to be more of an observer.
I can often see the possibilities where Alan may only see the problems.
I can be very enthusiastic when Alan needs that energy.
I can see the potential in others when Alan sees the problems that currently exist.
I can stay up when he is bogged down.

Do you see the balance there?  We have often said that together - we make a whole, well rounded person.

We both love hiking, biking and being in the mountains.
We both appreciate the differences in each other and embrace them.
We both love to serve - whether it is in our community, our church on on the mission field.
We both love our family.
We both cherish our friends.
We both love to give of our resources.
We both value our friendship.

I believe that these things we have in common allow our differences to enhance our relationship rather than hurt it.

Most importantly, we both love Jesus.

Without that, I don't know if we could have made it through some of the rough spots. We made a commitment to each other before God and honestly, there are a few times that we simply stood on that and it was more than enough.

Alan is my best friend.  I admire him tremendously.  One of the things I love the most about this time in our life is that I can step back and truly see him for the man that he is.  Of course, he is a great father and a great husband, but I have to say that I just think he is a great man.  He is loyal, honest, giving and caring.  He has a heart to serve others.  He is funny and he is fun.  He is a man of integrity and godly character.  

He makes a difference in this world.  

He makes a difference in my world.

Happy Anniversary, Alan.  I am blessed to be your wife.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday Musings: Life Handbook

What does the Christian life look like?
How do we know what to do?  

What if my life doesn't look like your life?

Hmmm . . . good questions.  I will occasionally hear someone say that the Bible just isn't practical in this modern day.  Someone else might say that there is just so much in there that they don't really know what to do.  Someone else may say that need to read the whole thing before they can really live out the Christian life.

I was reading 1st Thessalonians this week and I eventually landed on my favorite chapter, 1st Thessalonians 5 - specifically verses 11-24.  

Living out God's call on your life is a very personal thing.  I don't know that any two lives look the same.  BUT - there are things that we are called to do and to be and this chapter gives a great description that I aspire to obey.

Verse 11:  Encourage one another; Build up one another
What a difference we can make when this is our objective.  There are so many opportunities every day to encourage and build up someone.  Take them . . .

Verse 12:  Appreciate those who diligently labor among you
Verse 13:  Esteem them in love; Live in peace with one another
That is a great word for those that minister to us - serve us in our churches and in our family.  Let's esteem them - let's do everything we can to create an environment of peace. Write an encouraging note - give a word of affirmation.

Verse 14:  Admonish the unruly; Encourage the fainthearted; help the weak; be patient with everyone
Well - that about covers it - doesn't it!  Admonish means to caution, advise or counsel.  This is always in the best interest of the other person.  Again, we see the word encouragement and this time, it is all about those who are struggling.  Any of us can find ourselves feeling fainthearted or weak.  Be patient with everyone?  Really?  Everyone?  Apparently so.

Verse 15:  Don't repay evil for evil; Seek after the which is good for one another
This is so counter cultural.  We live in a very "me" oriented world and payback is a popular concept.  What a revolutionary difference we can make by seeking that which is good for one another - even those that have treated us with "evil" intentions.

Verse 16:  Rejoice Always
Yep - ALWAYS.  Even when things are not looking good - Even when things are not going my way - Even when I am overwhelmed - because the reason for JOY is my relationship with Jesus, and that is available each and every day.

Verse 17:  Pray without ceasing
Yep - without ceasing.  Prayer is a constant conversation with the Lord. It is making Him a part of every decision you make.  It is talking over the events of the day and how you will respond to each one of them.  It is lifting up the people you love to Him - because only He can meet their needs and provide them with the strength and joy that they need. It is getting to that place in your life where Jesus is not set aside as a separate part of your life - a quiet time or prayer time - but He is present in every moment of your day.  Each breath is taken with the acknowledgement that He is the giver of that breath.  That, my friend, is praying without ceasing.

Verse 18:  In everything, give thanks
Yep - we are well acquainted with the words ALWAYS and EVERYTHING.  They are words that we don't throw around lightly.  That being said, I believe that embracing this command is the key to living out God's call in your life.  It is really difficult sometimes and depending on your circumstances, it may seem impossible.  Giving thanks in all circumstances is a direct result of your relationship, trust and dependence on the Lord.  It is impossible apart from Him.  It is more than possible with Him.  

Verse 19:  Do not quench the Spirit
We do have a choice as to how we respond to the Spirit.  He is constantly guiding us, counseling us, convicting us and giving us life.  We can, however, choose to ignore Him.  We can choose to continue in our sin and eventually, we don't hear the voice of the Spirit anymore.  He hasn't gone anywhere.  We have just quenched Him.  This is not a place that I want to find myself.

Verse 20:  Do not despise prophetic utterances
Verse 21:  Examine everything carefully; Hold fast to that which is good.
God speaks through His people.  When someone has a word from the Lord, we need to pay attention.  That may be during a sermon or it may come through the voice of a friend.  The Lord speaks to me in many ways. I want to be paying attention and I always want to take everything back to Him - place it before Him and test its truthfulness.  The Lord will not speak to me in ways that are contrary to His Word.  

Verse 22:  Abstain from every form of evil
This is a tough one.  There are some things that just shout "EVIL" and we are pretty good at staying away from those things, however, the real danger is in the things that whisper "evil" hoping that we won't hear it.  What are these things in your life?  If you are like me, you know.

Verse 24:  Faithful is He who calls you and He also will bring it to pass
YAY!!  This is such good news.  Looking over these verses can feel a bit overwhelming, but the good news is that Jesus is the one who calls you to this life and He is also the One who empowers you to live it.  He is committed to complete the good work that He began in you. (Philippians 1:6)

I don't know everything there is to know about Scripture.  I still have so much to learn, but I know enough from this passage alone to set my life on the right path.  There is more than enough here to keep me busy.  

So - next time someone says, "I just don't know what the Lord wants me to do?" you can point them to this passage.  So much of who we need to be and how we need to live is laid out plain and simple in the Word.  

Don't worry so much about what you don't know.
Live out what you do know.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thankful Thursday: God's Goodness

I have had such a great week.  My parents arrived one week ago today and they left this morning - Thankful Thursday to Thankful Thursday -- seems appropriate! 

In the midst of that week, we celebrated Mother's Day, Alan's birthday and my Dad's birthday.  It was a fun week!

Also, Vicky (one of Heather's Baylor roommates) came to stay with us for 5 weeks while she is doing a Physicians Assistant rotation at Rush Hospital.  We love having her here.  It is nice to have a "daughter" in the house.

I was reading Psalm 95 this morning and it seemed like a Thankful Thursday kind of Psalm.

O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord.
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving.
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God
And a great King above all gods.
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.

I don't know how to even express how thankful I am for all that the Lord is doing right now.  I really stand in awe of the people and opportunities that He places in my life.  Each day is a gift.

Embrace the gift of your today - praise Him in all circumstances.

Be thankful.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Musings: Faithful Ministers

Who do you know that is serving the Lord and making a difference in the kingdom?

Do you hear from people on the mission field, in churches and serving in other kinds of organizations  that just amaze you?

"We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing 
in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ 
in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, 
brethren, beloved by God, His choice of you."  
1st Thessalonians 1:2-4

When I read this scripture last week, it made me think of all the people I know who are diligently serving the Lord where they are -- in all kinds of situations and at all kinds of costs.  Their service to the Lord is truly a labor of love.  They are truly hoping in the steadfastness of Christ.  They are indeed beloved by Him . . . chosen.

Serving the orphan . . . Dwight, Linn, Lynsay, Bill, Kim and Amy to just name a few.

Serving the church . . . Dennis, Cindy, Kim, Curt, Kurt, Theresa, Sarah, Matt, Aimee, Larry, LaVon, Dan, Julie, Aaron, Ashley, David and Amy, Nanette, Mark, Jill, Seth, Maria, Jon, Leeza, James, Ashley . . . just to name a few.

Serving in student ministry . . . Dave, Molly, Shelly, Brian, Brian, Jenny, Holly, Emily  . . . and many more.

Serving as volunteers . . . Kyle, Greg, Andy, Adam, Kez, Heather, Sheryl, Mike, Kay, Jana, Ray, Ann, Heather . . . and many more.

Serving as teachers . . . Heather, Kateland, Ashley, Ellie, AJ, Ruth, Carrie, Carla, Carli, James, Yolanda, Brynn, Melissa, Jady, Amanda . . . and many more.

We are all on a mission.  I don't have any kind of an official title, but God's call on my life is not any less than those who do.  The same can be said about you.  We are all minister of reconciliation wherever we are.  We are all called according to His purpose.  

Chicago is my current mission field and within that calling - there is a school, a neighborhood, a church, a gym and friends.  I want to serve the Lord diligently while I am here -- making the most of every opportunity.

Where is your current mission field?

An office, a neighborhood, a classroom, a church, a hospital . . . or maybe it is a bit more figurative, such as a long road that someone is walking or a heartache that painfully beats.

Sometimes ministry is very visible.  Sometimes no one will ever know that you were on your knees on behalf of another.  Your ministry may involve HUGE things - or it may involve a lot of small things.  It may be a step by step, prayer by prayer effort.  You may see mountains move, or you may see one heart change.   

No matter . . . be humbled . . . be grateful . . . be awed by the Lord's choice of you.

I am giving thanks for each one of you today and for the purposes of the Lord that are being accomplished as you yield to Him.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Habitation

I love reading the Psalms.  They are to scripture what comfort food is to a diner (does anyone but me get that?) I find myself sighing and smiling and any weight that has settled into my soul begins to dissipate.  

I was reading in Psalm 71, marveling at all the names and descriptors of God in these verses.

In You, O Lord, I have taken REFUGE
Be to me a ROCK OF HABITATION to which I may continually come
For You are my ROCK and my FORTRESS
For You are my HOPE
my PRAISE is continually of You
For You are my STRONG REFUGE
My mouth is filled with Your PRAISE
And with Your GLORY all day long
my soul which You have REDEEMED


Indeed, who is like our God?  When I find myself feeling anxious, helpless, stressed or hurt, I can turn to this Psalm and gain perspective.  I can rest in this good news.  He cares for me in ways that I can not even comprehend.

When I was reading this today, I was particularly struck by the phrase "rock of my habitation."  I looked at this phrase in several different version of the Bible and I really loved the way The Message put it -

Be a guest room where I can retreat -- 
You said Your door was always open.  
You're my salvation, my vast, granite fortress.

I love the image of dwelling and abiding.  It is a picture that the Lord gives us over and over again all throughout scripture.  I think it must be important!  The words abide and dwell are used in the Bible over 300 times.  When you get right down to it - that is the heart of the Christian life.  We must abide in Jesus - we just rest in our God.  Godly living can only come out of this kind of relationship. Godly influence is a byproduct of abiding.

Note that we are invited to "continually come" -- that the door is always open.  Learning to abide and rest in the Lord is a life long process.  I am thankful that I can continually come to this place - that the guest room is always ready for me.

One day, I will dwell in the house of the Lord.  I will have a permanent place in His house.  But for now, I will rejoice and be thankful that I have a place with Him that I can continually go to - a place of refuge, hope, confidence, praise, glory and redemption.

O God, who is like You?

No One.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musings: Eyes Wide Open

They said to Him (Jesus), "Lord, we want our eyes to be opened."  Matthew 20:33

Jesus came upon 2 blind men as he was leaving Jericho.  A large crowd was following Jesus, so they must have been crying out pretty loudly in order to be heard.

"Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"

The crowd was "shushing them" - you know, SHHHHHHHHH!!  They didn't want these blind beggars to bother Jesus.  

But, the blind beggars persisted and persisted and persisted.

Jesus stopped and said, 
"What do you want me to do for you?"

They responded with what they perceived to be their greatest need - for their eyes to be opened.

I think that they had no idea all that their requests would do.  They were immediately physically healed . .  but their heart response was to follow Jesus.

I can identify with these men.  I feel like so many times, I can't see.  My sight is so earthly bound when all of heaven is beckoning me to see more.  To see behind the grouchy behavior or rude comment - behind the tears that seem to flow for no good reason - behind the unresponsiveness to the deeper hurt and need.

 I want to see other people and my own circumstances from Jesus' perspective.  I need His spiritual eyes.

Jesus -- I, too, request that You open my eyes to see you clearly - to see the Jesus in others -- to have compassion and mercy.  Help me to see beyond the obvious.  Help me to see where the behavior is coming from and to not be sidetracked by the immediate impact that it has on me.

Help me to see as You see - 
with Eyes Wide Open.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Shadow of His Wings

There are a lot of images in scripture that are so encouraging and comforting to me, but one that I am always drawn to is the image of being safe and secure in the shadow of the wings of the Almighty.  Wings are a pretty big deal in scripture and there are a lot of references to them, but this protective, loving picture is always so dear to me.

Keep me as the apply of the eye.  
Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 17:8

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God.  
And the children of men take refuge 
in the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 36:7

Let me dwell in Your tent forever; 
Let me take refuge in the 
shelter of Your wings.
Psalm 61:4

For You have been my help and in the shadow 
of Your wings I sing for JOY.
Psalm 63:7

Be gracious to me, O God.  Be gracious to me.  
For my soul takes refuge in You and in the 
shadow of Your wings, I will take refuge until 
the destruction passes by.
Psalm 57:1

He will cover you with His pinons and 
under His wings you may seek refuge; 
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
Psalm 91:4

When Jesus walked the earth and He knew His time was short, He said, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem,  . . . how often I have wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings . . ."  Matthew 23:37

I am so comforted by the fact that the Lord wants me to nestle in under His wings.  That is is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of healthy dependence on my Heavenly Father.  

He is Safety.  

He is Security.  

He is Strength.  

He is Peace.

I can rest assured of His great love and care for me as I rest under His wings.  I am so grateful -  so thankful for that kind of a Heavenly Father.

Rest in the shadow of His wings today.