A wrestling match, much given grace, and a miracle!


Childbearing in this fallen world is full of pain and difficulty.   A few weeks ago, during a Bible study, I was reminded of the specific consequence of Eve’s sin in the garden.  The “pain” mentioned in Gen. 3:16 seems to be an all encompassing pain ranging from literal pain to baroness, loss of life, and much more – the range is immense.  Keith and I have experienced a lot of this type of pain, first hand.  We’ve experienced many years of waiting and wondering if children would be possible, high risk pregnancies (due to my congenital heart disease), c sections, a season of postpartum depression, the incredible grief of a miscarriage, hemorrhaging during the miscarriage and needing emergency blood transfusions, extremely difficult postpartum recoveries, and finally wrestling through the difficulty of being told that a third, much desired child, was extremely unlikely.

The past couple of years have been years of praying and seeking the Lord as to His will for our family.  We’ve longed for a third child but we just kept waiting and wrestling with the desire and praying the Lord would grant us contentment in His perfect plan for us.  When we looked into my health further it turned out that my hormone levels showed that my childbearing years were indeed coming to an end quickly.  In many ways we grieved the news and wrestled with it all and yet the Lord walked patiently with us and granted us peace.  By His grace we were granted contentment in the Lords plan and we began to rejoice more fully in the precious 2 daughters He had given us.  We were able to cherish, with even greater joy, the wonderful gifts they were and began to move on as a family of 4.  Even though the desire for another child was present, we joyfully (by His grace) persevered, resting in Him.  The Lord was incredibly gracious and patient with our longings and questions throughout the entire season and we praise Him for it.

Much to our surprise the Lord had another plan!  On a Sunday morning (Keith was already at church and preparing to preach) in September I realized I was pregnant.  We were in complete and utter shock for days (and still are!).  In His kindness He has given us another girl!  We are rejoicing and praising Him for this unexpected gift.  We are truly overwhelmed by His goodness to us and praise Him for it!  We see this little girl as a true miracle and pray that her life brings the Father much glory!

Introducing, Baby girl, #3!


Proud big sisters, announcing its a girl!



My Grandma, Great Lillian

This past spring my precious grandma, Lillian Pierce Taylor (age 95), went to be with her Savior.  For months we had experienced a dreadful anticipation of sorts.  Dreading the goodbye and yet longing with her for the day she would see her Savior face to face and finally rid herself of the overwhelming sufferings of this broken, sinful world.  Through tears we gathered to remember her on a chilly morning in Corning, NY where her husband was buried over 20 years before.  We smiled knowing she knew greater joy than ever and yet cried missing her dearly.  We grieved the tragedy of sin and death and praised the one who conquered it.

We mourned with great hope because she’s a daughter of the King. What an incredible example she was to me and to so many of a faithful and sacrificial Christian life. She was the wife of a pastor, a mother of 5, an evangelist, a faithful Bible teacher, a missionary to prisoners, and the list goes on and on. My mom recently received a letter from an organization my Grandma labored for letting us know of part of her incredible legacy.   We didn’t realize that she took a local prison outreach and turned it into a national ministry sharing the Gospel with prisoners.  She sacrificed in every way to share of the goodness of the Lord.  She had a rock solid faith and a passionate love for Christ and for this reason we named our daughter Lillian after her. I’m truly thankful that my daughters got to know her well and called her, fittingly, “great Lillian.”  

I continue to grieve the loss of my grandma.  I often think of her on Sunday mornings at church while singing.  Songs such as “O Church Arise” spur me on to keep the faith and anticipate the glory that is now her reality.  The lyrics read:

“As saints of old, still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls, and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in Glory.”

My husband was called to pastor a church here in VA about 6 years before her passing and I see it as grace from the Lord that we were able to more regularly visit her.  By this time her health had failed enough that conversations about ministry were difficult for her to have but something about just being with this faithful saint encouraged me to persevere in the challenging work as a pastor’s wife.  During the final years of her life when great Lillian grew more tired, the girls had a unique ability to bring a smile to her face.  We always held her hands tightly.  I feel like I memorized her hands and they became a meaningful symbol to me of her years of faithful labor for the King eternal.  Great Lillian continued to share of Christ until the Lord called her to heaven and the nurses who diligently cared for her had all heard of her precious Lord and His salvation.  She was a joy to serve, especially in her elderly years when she grew even more pleasant and full of complete peace in her heavenly Father.

Not only did my grandma leave a legacy she also gifted us with hundreds of her poems.  One of her poems was read at her funeral and I cherish it. It reads:

“My eyes no longer see the flowers that nod
The Bible says I now see God.
My hands now feel cold to you-
Rejoice as there work is through.

My feet no longer will be swift.
For where I am they will never drift.
The sweat that was once on my brow
Won’t appear, Dear ones, where I am now.

The heart that once beat in my breast
is silent now with no more stress.
The great creator of this earthly remains
Prepared a place where there’s no more pains.

He sent His son to pay your debt.
Bow down today so you’ll never regret.
Some, my friend have waited too long
Now they have no redemption song.

Remember Jesus paid for your debt of sin
That precious blood will take you in.
I hope this will be read when I am gone-
For I will still be loving you after I pass on.”

I pray that the Lord will continue to be glorified through Great Lillian’s legacy of faith and that my testimony of His grace will be similar to the end. We love you Great Lillian!

Psalm 73:23-24 “Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”


My 13th anniversary of sickness and being overwhelmed by my Savior’s grace

As September comes and goes each year I find myself reflecting on my life with chronic illness.  13 years ago, this month, my body experienced a drastic change.  The anniversary causes me to reflect on the trial I’ve been called to but mostly God’s goodness and grace to me in the pain and loss.  I’m reminded of the day when I tried to go for my usual run and my body told me I couldn’t (and haven’t since), of black outs that caused me to sit on the floor in the grocery store with my head down wondering if things would ever be the same, of fatigue so intense that moving my arms felt nearly impossible.  I’m reminded of how in those first months of marriage I went from a vibrant bride to a weak wife wondering what my purpose was.  I struggled, especially early on, wondering how I could ever serve the Lord with my life and He was quick to show me that I was bringing Him glory when I joyfully persevered and pressed into Him.  Even when my body didn’t allow me to get out of bed I had the opportunity to testify of His power in weakness and to bring Him glory with a heart of thankfulness (even though sadly there are plenty of times my heart battles for a posture of thanksgiving).  Truthfully the overarching memories are of the Lord’s constant care and provision.  Whether through a promise of truth from His word, my loving faithful husband, an understanding and praying friend, a Gospel rich song washing over me, a kind insightful Dr, my mom driving an hour to fold my mountains of laundry, or the Lord’s comforting presence, I am cared for and it’s humbling.  My shepherd isn’t going to let this weak sheep wander away or fall behind, even if He has to carry me.  I’m reminded of God’s kindness to me as He keeps my heart from bitterness and anger and promises to perfect the work He’s doing in me (Phil 1:6).  He is gracious.  There are many days when I think of the hopeless mess I’d be apart from Him.  His patience and gentleness in the midst of my questions and doubts is pure abounding grace and I praise Him for it.  I love how He grows my faith through those shaky times and makes me more aware that He is the rock I’m standing on.  Friends, He is GOOD.  So on this 13th anniversary, instead of mourning my losses I am declaring that He is gracious and powerful, a God of comfort who is quick to forgive and eager to speak if we will press into Him and allow Him to reign over us.



Divine Love placed you where you are

One of my favorite quotes by Charles Spurgeon is one I think of weekly, sometimes daily. It’s easy to forget in the midst of trials and suffering that we are exactly where the Lord would have us to be. He is doing a good work, even when it doesn’t look or feel that way. His loving hand prunes us, allowing us to bear fruit.  This quote has become engrained in me, it’s a part of the way I process and think about my circumstances.  After sharing it with a friend yesterday I was reminded that I should post it here.

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” ~Charles Spurgeon

The context of this quote, one of Spurgeon’s “Evening” devotionals, is just as rich, reassuring and comforting to the hurting and feeble soul.

“Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, “Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?” His answer would be, “Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel.” So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, “Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows.” Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!

‘Trials must and will befall-
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me.'”

Your sweet way, Lord

It’s been many months since I’ve updated or posted.  I am in a season of life where almost all energy the Lord grants is poured out into the care of my sweet family.  I’m tired and extremely foggy, but truly thankful.  The Lord impressed on me a sense of purpose in suffering at an early age.  I was born with 2 heart malformations.  At the age of 2 I had one of the malformations, a coarctation of the aorta, surgically repaired.  Without the surgery I would’ve only lived into my teenage years.  In the future I may need a 2nd surgery on my aortic valve which has 2 cusps/leaflets instead of 3.  I realized as a young child that the Lord was incredibly merciful when he granted my first surgery a success.  When I was baptized at the age of 15 I remember thinking, “He must have a plan for me.”  Little did I know that much of His plan for me would be to keep me fully reliant on Him for the strength and grace for each day.  My health struggles multiplied into adulthood beginning with a mono infection at the age of 23, just months into marriage.  I now battle with POTS, Chronic fatigue, allergies/asthma, chronic migraines, seasons of anxiety, insomnia, neck/shoulder pain, etc.  After living in this reliant position for many years I must say that although it’s very difficult and my sinful heart wants to fight against it at times, living humbly and fully reliant is a wonderfully refreshing place to be.  Where else can I be and see daily displays of His grace, strength and resulting peace?  At the age of 35 now, I see all the more clearly that in my weakness, He is faithful and uses weakness/trials for my good and to remind me of my helplessness.  He is so gracious and knows my heart better than I do.  He knows that I constantly need to be reminded that I have no strength apart from Him and that He is glorified in my weakness.

Last night I read this devotion from Susannah Spurgeon.  Her words resonated with me.

“My blessed Lord, how tender and pitiful are you to me!  What a delight it is to tell of your mercy and grace to one so unworthy!  Yet it is no singular story, for this is your sweet way and will, dear Lord, towards all who put their trust in you.  When depression and sadness come to me, by reason of the sin within, or the discouragements without; when the thorns and briers of daily cares and vexations prick and tear the weary pilgrim’s feet and hands; then you turn my footsteps to where the pines and myrtles of your loving mercies grow, and in their shelter and fragrance my troubled spirit finds rest. 
No, more than this, dear Lord, your power is so great that you sometimes transform the very things that hurt and grieved me into means of grace and blessing to my heart and life.  Disappointments in my work, obstacles to its performance, the estrangement of friends, conscious incompetence and weakness, and often an overpowering sense of deepening responsibility — these experiences are all like thorns and briers, which irritate and worry by their persistent and close contact; yet all these vanish when you, my gracious God, give the word, and I wonder as I find myself walking peacefully among the fir trees, where the pine needles lie thick upon the ground, spreading the softest of carpets under my tired feet; and where the myrtle’s snowy blossoms and glossy leaves promise perfume and sweetness even to those who bruise them.  Your ways, O Lord, are past finding out, but they are very gracious and tender; and this turning of seeming evil into good, of making your children’s trials grow into triumphs, and their pains into pleasures, is a wonderful proof both of your pity and your power. 
‘It shall be to the Lord for a name.’ My Father, can this be really so?  Does your great Name receive added glory when you thus manifest your sovereignty on my behalf?  When I come to the next sharp thorn hedge in my path, will it honour you if, instead of trying to force my way through it, and getting wounded for my pains — or attmepting to avoid it by some roundabout course, and plunging deeper into the thicket, I should just calmly sit down before it, and pray, and wait for you to wither it up, or turn it into a myrtle grove?  Yes, I believe it will, and I seek faith and grace from you to do constantly this otherwise impossible thing.  Past mercies and deliverances should strengthen me to expect yet greater displays of your marvellous love.                                                                                                                                      Dear Lord, when troubles come, I should like to learn to look upon them as ways and means of glorifying you, to accept them as tests and trials of my faith, and to meet them with a brave heart, expecting the salvation of God!

If my path were always smooth and pleasant, with never a thorn or brier to vex and trouble me, there would be no opportunity for the glorious exercise of your love and mercy in deliverance from them. 

Courage, my soul!  Your God will give you grace to say as did his servant Paul, ‘Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me’.”

Oh how I pray Lord that your “great Name will indeed receive added glory when you thus manifest your sovereignty on my behalf.”  Your power is indeed so great that you  “transform the very things that hurt and grieved me into means of grace and blessing to my heart and life.”  What a great and merciful God you are!


Ivy’s First Year

Sweet Ivy turns 1 on the 31st and we are all remembering this day last year when the Lord poured out this little blessing on our family.  It’s truly hard to believe that a year has already come and gone.  Oh what a joy this little one is.  If we had to choose one word to describe her it would be “sweet.”  She’s also joyful, curious, funny, and we just can’t get enough of her!

As with Lillian, we took pictures of her each month (and each week at the beginning).  Here she is… =)

Ivy's 1st year-062

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Ivy's 1st year-080

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Ivy's 1st year-088

Ivy's 1st year-094

Ivy's 1st year-103

Ivy's 1st year-105

Ivy's 1st year-108

Ivy's 1st year-113

Ivy's 1st year-117

Ivy's 1st year-120

Ivy's 1st year-122

We love you Ivy Susannah Goad and praise God for your life!!!!!

Quick picture update

Whew, a lot has happened since my last post!  We were able to take a trip to Duck, NC thanks to a generous family from church who gave us there timeshare week.  We had SUCH a great time together and found it extremely relaxing.  (Thankful!!)  When we got back we celebrated Lillian’s 4th Birthday.  I just can’t believe my sweet girl is already 4!  Ivy is changing and growing quickly.  She continues to overwhelm us with her sweetness and joy.