Last year, I took some time to gather the posts that I’d written through the year and put them in one place.
It’s amazing how much of a journey, a story is told through listing one writing after another, seeing God at work in the different months and moments of a year.
As I sit here now, I find myself in a new country, new season of ministry, new time of parenting and a new journey of growth with Jesus.
A place I didn’t know I’d be yet a place that I know God has directed, planned and designed for such a time as this.
Isn’t life with Jesus that way sometimes?
Looking back at 2021, I can see Him at work.
Each post tells part of the story, part of the adventure we’re on in this crazy, emotional, transitional, overseas life.
In January, the world was still so full of unknowns. We all held our breath to see what another year of a pandemic might look like. We wondered and hoped and waited and prayed. A little bit like Noah sitting on the ark in the middle of a flood. His story teaches us 5 Things to Remember in the Unknown. Things that are forever relevant to us right now.
If this pandemic has taught us all anything, it’s that we need to number our days, hold our plans open before God and rest in His timing. There are ups and downs to planning, lessons to be learned and tips to get us through the crazy as we all plan and cancel, plan and change, plan and wait.
In February, I shared a few thoughts on motherhood and the value of second hand faith. There is power in sharing our stories and living out our faith in front of our kids.
“A secondhand story, a heard miracle, a quiet testimony, a precious rescue, a needed provision … these are ways secondhand faith translates to a personal, real, deep foundation in the life of someone else.”
In March, I shared some upstream basics for overseas workers. From the book “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen” by Dan Heath, we get a glimpse of how overseas workers can think in a new, upstream way. Whether packing, moving, parenting, leading, planning, working, language learning or simply living overseas, the expertise of thinking ahead can be a game changer. Imagine the possibilities of taking the time to think forward instead of always fighting backwards in our lives, our teams and our work.
In April, I wrote about pain, failure, hurt, loss, challenge and unknowns… the beauty that remains even in these seasons. There is beauty in the process and new growth that will come from our winter moments.
May brought a post about marriage and stress and how overseas life magnifies both of those things. I shared 12 things that have really helped Jeremy and I through the many stressful moments we encounter, a post with a few principles that help us still give high fives at the end of the day.
In June, we made a big announcement about a very, very big change in our overseas lives. Out of that transition came a post called, “All This Because.” All this because means remembering that in every dire moment we experience, Jesus carries the weight for us. He wins the battle. He fights for us. He comforts, helps, supports, uplifts and encourages us to take one more giant leap of faith forward, one day at a time.
Also in June, I wrote about 5 Handholds for when life is hard. And, life was really hard. What do we hang onto when life is slipping, turning, and changing? How do we hold onto Jesus in moments when life is out of control and just plain hard? If you’re there, read that post.
July is a post about lessons we learned while living in West Africa. Wherever you live in the world, I’m sure God has taught you new things through the many new experiences, words, cultures and peoples you encounter each day!
August. Oh, August. In this month, we took our oldest daughter to a new state for college and then flew away to a new country just a few days later. I can’t even describe the level of hard that was for me as a mom. But, even in the most difficult times, Jesus is faithful, present and good.
Through that experience, I wrote 22 ways to prepare your TCK for college. There is so much that our kids need to know, experience, do, have and learn before they venture out on their own for college! Third culture kids have a vast list of skills, knowledge and world experiences but there’s some basic things like returning a shirt, using a credit card, or remembering their address that can be daunting. Let alone learning to drive! If you have high school TCKs, read that post.
September was simply getting our feet on the ground in a new place.
October was a journey through forgiveness. The times and people in our lives that cause grief, hurt, brokenness and weakness are very, very real. Whether in your host country or passport country, in your family or organization, in your team or with local friends, the opportunity is ripe for new, tough things daily. Forgiveness is a huge topic for overseas workers. It’s deep and complicated and raw.
November helped us take a look at the soil around us. It’s a walk through Mark 4, the parable of the sower and the seeds and the soil. This post is a deeper look at how that can apply to our life overseas in the teams, the fields, the organizations, the groups that that we work with each day. Does your field have good soil? There’s a printable to help you with that important question.
Also in November, I felt the Holy Spirit asking me if I really rejoiced, prayed and gave thanks in everything. It was a private conversation with God during a sermon on I Thessalonians 5:16-18 that turned into a question in my instagram stories which turned into a post, a prayer, a thought for all of us in whatever season we find ourselves right now. In everything, Lord?
There’s also a printable in that post to help you remember the sweet promises of God as we rejoice, pray and give thanks in everything.
Finally, in December, I wrote about an untold miracle of Christmas. From the perspective of Mary, how can we learn, grow, be encouraged and find strength in her story? Mary, a normal woman like us, allowed God to do something amazing and unprecedented in her heart. She grew into a mighty woman in spite of great transition, deep loss and drastic changes. Her heart repeatedly pondered the call of God and she said yes every time. She made a daily choice to raise the Son of God, a daily choice to walk out the life that God had planned for her to live. That, my friends, is part of the miracle of Christmas, an often untold miracle of Christmas.
Although I’m not right here on Our Goodwin Journey blogging all that often, I’m still writing and sharing around the web and on instagram. Really, you’ll find me the most in Instagram stories.
I’m not yet sure what to do with this space here, this home I’ve built online. I’m praying and waiting and asking God to show me new ways to take you #behindtheprayercard into lessons I’m learning and ways that I’m growing.
As my girls get older, this is a more personal journey and less about parenting, homeschooling and mothering. Although those things are still a part of me, God is doing a deep work in just me… Jenilee.
How that will look here, I don’t yet know but the journey is here in posts scattered across the web.
Thank you for always journeying, praying and going with us.
I’m praying for you and for all of us as we journey into another new year and whatever it will bring.