Marriage

Saying Goodbye to Baby PeachPit...

First, I want to say thank you for all of your love and support over the last couple of weeks. Across an ocean and many time zones, we have felt so cared for and thought of. Grateful is the word that comes to mind over and over when I think about you. We are so blessed.

It is a bit difficult to describe what it is like to be pregnant. There is a rich hope and expectation that is quite unlike anything I have ever experienced. There is also a sense of responsibility, an awareness that your body is growing another human being. Even in such a short time, it called forth this nurturing warmth in me that felt so natural and beautiful. It is a bit like having a secret...the best kind of secret...shared between you and a little being who does not yet know you but relies on you for its well-being. Wow. Incredible.

Even in the midst of the pain, loss and disappointment, I have found myself thanking God for the gift of being pregnant. Sometimes I can't get my mind around the fact that He designed me to carry life in this way. 

And so, just like pregnancy is difficult to describe, so is losing a baby. For me, it has felt like a sudden emptiness. As my womb emptied, it created an expanse in my heart where love and hope and anticipation had been woven together. There will not be another first pregnancy. That has come and gone with many wonderful memories and quite a few tears.

I know God is my Healer. I have experienced Him this way many times before. I will again. I trust Him and share my heart with Him completely. He is able to speak truth and life to me like no human being can. He listens to my anger and hurt. He KNOWS me. I love that about Him.

So as I walk through these weeks, however long the process takes, I wanted to share a few thoughts I have in the midst of still processing:

  • I will always remember PeachPit as my baby who craved ketchup. That is the one "food" that consistently sounded good in the early days.
  • I believe that there will be other babies. My grieving heart cries, "But I wanted to hold and love and know THIS one."
  • I loved watching Jacob so excited to be a dad. He would talk with PeachPit and took so many steps to make sure I was taken care of and that we were preparing well. I am so blessed by him.
  • Seeing pregnant women, babies or even young families creates such a bittersweet ache of longing in my heart. Painful but I want to be a woman who rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourns. I need God's help for this... 
  • Sometimes I feel like I failed my baby and my husband or that my body is broken. I know this is not truth but it likes to creep in. Prayer helps replace its lie with reality.
  • I miss being pregnant. I miss PeachPit...a lot. At the same time, I have moments (amazingly) where I feel excited about being pregnant again one day. I call this HOPE. =)

 So welcome to my head and heart. Hopefully it wasn't too personal. Thanks for listening and sharing this journey. If I could, I would give each of you a big hug and say thank you in person for being you. 

With love and joy,

Noelle

NYC 09 *Official Post -- VIDEO*

A couple of weeks ago, Noelle and I visited New York City.  As most of you know, we are moving to Cambodia come March 3rd, so this was our last vacation for awhile.  We had an absolute blast!  We stayed outside the city thanks to a timeshare a friend of mine let us use free of charge.  Driving into the city each day was so much fun.  I love a good challenge.  I can probably speak for Noelle and say we almost saw everything we wanted.  We did lots of planning so we could maximize our time.  And the weather for this little adventure was absolutely perfect. 

Anyways, this is a video recap of our trip.  It's a bit lengthy.  I'm still learning how to edit, so I was able to shrink 30 minutes of footage to 10.  I know, that's still not that great, but I'm learning...

Hope you enjoy!

 

NYC 09 from Jacob and Noelle Goodlin on Vimeo.

 

Weighing on My Heart

Last night, Noelle and I had a pretty intense planning time for Cambodia.  It was great, but setting your independence aside when you get married is a daily decision...catch my drift?  You guessed it -- we both had our ideas of how something should flow, and conflict came crashing down.  After working through our little disagreement, we moved on - thinking about newsletters, support, strategy, cause - we found ourselves thinking about our next season of life.  It was such a rewarding evening and reminded us of how close Cambodia is.  In fact, it's creeping up so quickly that my palms get a bit clammy thinking about it.  I just can't believe it sometimes!  Noelle and I are leaving everything behind to live out the best for us.  We've been preparing our move to Cambodia for what seems like forever!  The truth is, we got engaged with the understanding that America was a temporary home for us.  The reality of long nights thinking through decisions, praying, contemplating wisdom and faith is on our doorstep. The move is nearly within reach.  I was even looking online for one-way tickets - how crazy is that!

Can you tell a few things are on my mind?  Well, I don't want to tell you about my fantasies of going off the beaten path to find a King Cobra, dropping by villages to visit orphans or even counseling young men.  I want to tell you what's weighing on my heart. One point of contention before we got started last night was a talk about our "cause."  I found myself being superficial in my responses and not really communicating the breadth of my heart.  I got to thinking and wondering: why do I respond superficially sometimes, especially when discussing deeper ideas?  Don't get me wrong, my heart is sold on the idea of restoring the brokenhearted, proclaiming Jesus' name, and equipping young leaders...but I need to know why.  Is it only because God has commanded me to go? Am I just being obedient?  Originally, that was it for me and the extent of my thought process.  Today, I've been mulling through our discussion last night and this is what I concluded.   

Not only am I being obedient to what the Lord has commanded us to do, but I'm longing for HIS heart.  He so desires to have relationship with the Cambodian people, to see them set free from sin and bondage, to see them restored and following Him.  I believe sometimes that we can get too caught up in strategy, logistics and planning that we leave the heart out.  In retrospect, I consider myself warned.  I can't let that happen.  I have passion and I want people to see it all the way to my heart.  My desire is that you see God's heart in me for the Cambodia people.  Oh how I can't wait to spend my life in a place where there is a need beyond belief for truth, love and restoration.  I count it a privilege!

My question for you: what's your cause?  Are you ignoring the unadulterated passion the Lord has placed in your heart?  

 Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn...

 

Jacob

5 Tips for a Successful Marriage: A Perspective from a Newlywed

I can't believe it.  I have been married to my beautiful bride, Noelle for over a year now.  I know we fall into the "newlywed" category, but it feels like we've been married for years!  

I won't lie and say it's been the easiest year, but I will say it's been life-changing.  This past year has presented hefty challenges and there have been many hard lessons - lessons I'm still learning, but this is how the Lord refines us, isn't it?  It is intriguing to me how God uses marriage to do major heart work. Not only do I have a best friend for life, but I get to wake up to a mirror day after day.  Believe you me - it's not always easy, but I wouldn't change it for the world.  I love how Noelle is honest with me.  I love when I screw up, she's the one to let me know.  I thought since I'm classified as newly married, I would voice my perspective on the recipe for a successful, lasting marriage.  Here are 5 tips for making your marriage last.


  1. Make yourself available: I was 30yrs old when I got married, so it's fairly easy to fall back into the rut of a single 30yr old.  Obviously, when you become a Christian, it's about laying your life down for God.  Well, as we lay our lives down for Jesus, you should also do the same for your bride. 

  2. Become a Master at serving: Foot rub? Back rub? Take out the trash? Serve, serve and continue to serve when you think you've served enough.  It's not easy, but leading a marriage is all about serving.

  3. Affirm, affirm & affirm some more: I learned in the first weeks of being married that affirmation is key in communicating value.  It's important to me, but it speaks volumes to Noelle.  If I start the day out with, "Noelle, you are so beautiful," there is a good chance it would make her day.  It would definitely put a smile on her face.

  4. Be the spiritual leader:  I'm being somewhat vulnerable sharing this one.  As the man and head, you must be the spiritual leader of your marriage.  I haven't done a great job of leading our marriage in this area and need to step it up.  Being married to a pastor, it's easy to let things ride and get comfortable. I've been recently convicted of this so that's why I'm including it in my top 5.  

  5. Rest: When you date, you should balance your personal/social life with your dating relationship. This doesn't end when you get married.  In fact, it's just as important from my perspective. Stay engaged with your friends - together and separately!  But make sure you have specific times set aside for just you and your spouse.  And of course, rest.  Noelle and I got married and then found ourselves completely consumed by work.  We were both working full-time jobs and then we were heavily involved in church activities.  This is not a good start to a marriage.  We could ride it out for a season, but quickly realized this was not a recipe for success.  The Bible is very clear on this matter.  In fact, the Bible mentions the word sabbath 151 times.  Do you remember the ten commandments?  

In retrospect, as I sit here and blog these "practical tips" for the world to see, I feel as though I'm writing my own accountability plan.  Knowing some of my closer friends will make comments in jest, I'm excited to look back at this blog to reflect - to see what was important to me in my early years of marriage.  My prayer is that I will wake up one morning, years from now, look into my mirror and see nothing but smiles.

 

Our First Newsletter


Friends, it brings me great joy to be able to write and say we have officially completed our first newsletter.  Yes, it's just a piece of paper, but it's a tool to communicate our hearts and what the Lord has called us to.

It's vibrant - full of wonderful photos and words that account for the responsibility we feel to go to Cambodia.  Noelle and I really can't express in words how excited we are to finally be reaching our goal of making it to Cambodia.  No, we are not leaving tomorrow, but all the pieces are slowly coming together which we are super excited about.

Please continue to pray as we prepare.  Once you read the attached newsletter, you will have all the juicy details but a few of the next steps are:


  1. Hack away at our debt.  We still have $20K plus to plow through, but we are taking steps to make sure we are out soon and hit our target.

  2. Move in with my Dad in March.  This will enable us to save and contribute more to our debt.

  3. Support strategy.  As a man, this is a big challenge for me - knowing I have a wife to look after.  We are changing the way we do life - living by faith and trusting that the Lord provides our month to month financial needs.  I continue to battle with a strategy to effectively raise adequate support to meet our needs.  Our goal is raise above and beyond make it possible to sow into In His Steps.

 

We want to thank you.  Your prayers and financial support have further confirmed in our hearts the direction God is leading us. 

To receive updates, please continue to check out this blog.  You may also subscribe if you are interested in automatically receiving updates.

Download Jan - Feb Update

Blessings,
Jacob & Noelle