What a mix of emotions this morning. Ron flew out to preach in Philly. I’m sitting in our living room with tears flowing as our baby daughters sit here watching their precious morning video that they love, it’s filled with worship songs and I’m praising the Lord as these songs come through the TV, yet aching for our dear son Jordan, who was born 24 years ago today. Oh how we miss him.

Ron wrote a wonderful tribute blog this morning, here is a link, such fitting words for our extraordinary young son, gone from us too early, but fully alive and well in the Kingdom to come.

Jordan Alexander Lewis, we will love you forever.


I’m sure you have noticed my blog posts are rare these days, with growing twin babies and adjustments in our family, seldom are the moments to focus on writing!

But I’m on a flight alone right now, headed to speak in Minneapolis, and just answered a letter written via my website by a young mother who is also going into the military soon. She asked about how I balance stress, deal with criticism, and stay positive. Thought perhaps my thoughts shared with her would encourage you as well, so here goes (and please excuse formatting issues with run-on paragraphs)…

Dear Shari (not her name)
Your questions are so valid, and very real for most of us. BTW, congrats on entering the military, what a noble calling and one I’m sure you will find adventurous and a challenge yet rewarding too. Even more than this congrats on the birth of your precious baby, wow, your most noble calling to date. I can only imagine how little sleep you are getting which doesn’t help on the issues of balance and stress you mention either!
Coping with stress and pressures will always be a challenge. Sometimes we get more breathing room but it comes in moments vs. days or long seasons, from what I’ve experienced. Nowadays I try to grab these precious moments of alone time, be it out on a morning jog, or even just moments of quiet before the rest of my household wakes up. Like this morning, I looked at my Bible on my iPhone for just a few moments, trying to grab a little Word before the babies got done watching their video and were fussy. Not my preferred time with the Lord but essential and helpful. Kind of like I shared at the event where you heard me speak, you eat nuggets of food when you aren’t hungry but have the chance, knowing you’ll need the nourishment later.
Another perspective that helps is recognizing that every part of life is seasonal, babies grow up so fast, learning seasons at work turn into seasons of being a veteran, people come and go, and every single season comes laden with special gifts, many are surprise gifts, often those we wouldn’t even buy for ourself yet those we need to have. So I try to receive the season and ask God to open my eyes to see things how He sees them and has ordained them for me, and I ask Him to give me a grateful heart for all He is bringing.  This helps me feel rich vs. cheated, and helps me stay on the receiving end with gratitude vs. on the demanding end where nothing is ever quite enough.
Sometimes I do well at this, other times I miss the mark big-time, get frustrated, impatient, and discouraged. Many many years as a single were wrought with tears of anguish, disappointments, etc. But looking back I see so many special gifts I was being given even then. I think tenacity and hope are like muscle groups, the more we use them and choose them, the stronger they become and the more stable we are in enduring and hoping no matter what. I desire to be a cheerful, hope-filled, joyful woman. I actually practice smiling, because when we smile it brightens others’ faces and changes how we feel ourselves. I wrote a blog awhile back on the effect of practicing smiling, you may enjoy it.
In regards to not letting what others say bother us, that is a tough one and is often simply a choice to let them roll off our back and move on quickly, not dwelling on what others say or do, especially when they’re not in our close inner circle of trusted advisors, and counselors. It’s easy to obsess on the negatives, but fretting is a dead-end cycle and there is always hope anyway, and help, and supernatural interventions that we get to experience when we stay strong in faith and believe.
These are a few of my strategies in a nutshell.  Thanks again for writing and keep remembering that you are strong and set apart, prepared ahead of time for ALL the Lord has brought you TO and will bring you THROUGH!
I’m cheering you on…
Lynette

 


When Ron asked me months ago if I’d give the Mother’s Day message at King’s Park, I immediately said YES, but as the weeks got closer and I was reflecting on what might be said, there was little inspiration and not much content, or so it seemed.

As is often the case, just days before Sunday while on a morning run, a theme emerged. I was pondering what people ask me most these days, “How are you doing?” and “How do you do it?”

So here are my answers under the seemingly fitting title,  ”Agony, Ecstasy, and the Boring In-Between.”

My prayer is that you will be deeply encouraged, whatever agony or ecstasy you may be in, realizing that you’re never alone, and that gut-wrenching tears of both joy and sorrow are sure to come laden with unexpected gifts.

http://bit.ly/1t6LYKB

 


So we move on, move on from the memorial services, the hosting of friends, the receiving of flowers and cards and gifts. Move on and forward with hope, with daily pain and anguish and heartache and wondering how we will honestly make it through.

At the same time we stand still. Still enough to remember and reflect. Still enough to hear Jordan’s voice, the way he always lifted our hearts, even til the very last breath.

Still. Still hurting. Still bruised. Still trying to sleep when sleep won’t come. Still confident in our ever-loving, always-knowing God and Father and Comforter. Still confident that we will make it through..through and new, though we have no idea how.

Still. Still amazed at the outpouring of so much love, kindness, mercy, hope.

Hope that every tear counts. Every memory stays. Every lesson and revelation and Truth holds true. True and sure and immoveable.

Moving on and standing still. Both.


We just finished a whirlwind week of family time, two memorial services for Jordan, travel to and fro, and lots of emotions, as you can imagine.

I was hoping to write a blog that could capture some of my ponderings of late, but then last night I read my dear friend Carol’s amazing blog about Jordan and Cady. It so captures the richness of their love story, the tension between faith and not getting our prayers answered the way we wanted, and much more.

So I’m posting this link to her blog today, trusting you will be as inspired as I am, by a girl named Cady — our dear daughter-in-law, who is one in a billion as my husband always says, and who never left Jordan’s side even once throughout his fight.

Thank you Carol, for being such a fabulous mentor to Cady, for loaning your dear daughter Joy, Cady’s best friend, to be at her side for these many days, and for being one of my great heroes of the faith.

 


Image 2On Thursday evening, our valiant son Jordan, just 23 yrs old, breathed his last breath on earth and his first breath in Heaven. Surrounded by family and his adoring wife Cady, he won his battle against cancer, though not the way we hoped he would win.

Now we face life without Jordan, an impossible thought to comprehend. How can we possibly live without him? We need him, want him, miss him terribly already.

Perhaps living without is about living within….the memories within, the parts of Jordan that remain with us forever, places inside our hearts and minds and memories and rooms where only he dwells and never dies.

Why this way? Please Lord, another way? Yearning for that different path, one less treacherous, less costly. But then these are the exact paths Jordan loved. On missions trips, in work, life, service, and brotherhood, Jordan Lewis has never been deterred or daunted by the dangerous.

He and our one-in-a-million daughter-in-law Cady, arm in arm, locked in a grip of love that few will ever know, faced the giants, resisted them tirelessly with never a complaint or bitter edge, laughed their way through, smiled and thanked and praised their way through. Not naive laughter, but laughter that believes, regardless of what appears, we win. As our dear friend and pastor, Jim Laffoon, said to me yesterday as I wept at the airport, “Death never beats us, because Jesus beat death, and whether we beat it this side or that side of Heaven, we win.”

I’ve always wondered how people deal with the death of an immediate loved one, and now I know. Don’t know everything. Don’t claim to know how each of our other family members are feeling, but can honestly vouch for Peace that passes understanding. An Anchor that holds. The Grip that prevails. Near to the brokenhearted, His Presence near, along with the comfort and support of friends too numerous to count. Friends who pray, agree, cry with you, stand, and cheer across the finish line.

Jordan lives. Alive. Well. Glorious. And with us. Always…abiding…and richly with us. See you soon our beloved son.


Ever feel like something about your life is just weird?

Weird job, weird interests, weird wacky break-up, weird to be waiting this long for that dream.

When Ron and I married 9 years ago, it felt a bit weird for all of us. Weird for the boys to have a new woman, not their mom, in the house, sometimes saying weird things, in her own weird attempts to do this Mom-thing right.

Weird for me to be a pastor’s wife, no complaints, but going from weird wacky Wall Street to this, took some weird figuring out how to do it well amidst my own weird notions of what marriage and motherhood should look like.

Seems we all consider our lives weird in some regard.

The dictionary offers a different perspective though, defining weird as: adjective, suggesting something supernatural; uncanny.

I love that. weird becomes supernatural, different yes, but different good, different better, different interesting. Different than what we thought, better than what we imagined.

As all of us gathered around our kitchen Christmas morning, just after the news of our baby twin girls being born, we talked about how much we love our weird family. Over nine years weird became wonderful, marvelous, something none of us would trade for the world.

I think Dr. Seuss’ description sums it up perfectly:

dr-seuss

So whatever you consider weird in your life today, just hang on and wait a little bit. until weird becomes wonderful, supernaturally wonderful.

 


IMG_9542After four weeks of cocooning with our new little darlings, this weekend represented their “coming out parties,” with friends and festivities.

I was struck by the memories of days when my arms were empty and my heart felt sick. Times when the showers were for everyone else, and staying at home seemed a more viable option than going and dealing with anguish and pain.

But go I did, to dozens and dozens of showers, many hosted myself, and entering into countless conversations where talk of pregnancy and children meant I had little to add.

Now our house is overflowing with gifts galore, packages and bows and so much pink that Ron was extra excited when the camouflage onesie emerged!

What you sow, that will you reap. It’s true for everyone. Not just some who appear to have it all, but all who appear and show up and invest when they’re running on empty. In those empty moments we pull from a Source bigger than ourselves. We pour out of His supply. Step into grace and the recognition that even when we simply move toward investing He moves lots of provision to us, so we won’t run dry.

One Sunday memory sticks in my mind just a couple of years ago. It was Mother’s Day, and baby dedication. The stage was lined with couples and grandparents with arms full of babies. As the Pastor’s wife it was appropriate for me to accompany Ron on stage as we went down the line praying for everyone.

I hardly had energy to get out of my chair. Truly happy for everyone, yet longing for a baby of my own, my body moved but my heart stood still.

I felt like a fake with only crumbs to offer, smidgens of nothing worth much, maybe a forced smile or a hand on the shoulder.

Something happens though, in those moments, like a new tributary of water that opens up, multiplying the outflow. Flow that is less about us and more about them, Him, the giving away becomes the act of courage and the badge of grace. Grace that is sufficient, making us graceFULL, full enough to feed others.

As I looked at our gorgeous shower cakes this weekend (red velvet and Martha Bollinger’s famous almond white), I was reminded that any little crumb in His Hands, offered in faith, or sometimes not in faith but in fortitude, is like a widow’s mite that brings might. Mighty not of ourselves. Might that may feel like madness but turns into gladness in its time.

Time to celebrate now. Time to lift glasses, hold up babies, wipe away the cake crumbs and count the gifts. Gifts galore, born out of nothing but crumbs of faith. Crumbs that count in Almighty Hands. Counting on His faithfulness and never our own. Owning only to have more to give. Give away hope. Hope for all who call on His ample supply.

You WILL be supplied for whatever you need today, yes you will.

 

 


I still remember the night….

Standing in front of our bathroom mirror. Washing my face. Thinking about the day’s diagnosis. Rampant endometriosis. The likely culprit of the miscarriage two years prior. Misdiagnosis had turned into two more years of trying, waiting, and failing at pregnancy. Two years that felt totally wasted now.

Now here we were, faced with the need for surgery. Aging ovaries looming, feeling like a slow hour glass losing all sand.

Looking in the mirror, pondering, wondering why it’s so hard for us and so easy for others. Is it somehow my fault? Could we have done something more, tried sooner?

Then, like a bubbling up from nowhere, two stories came to mind….the first, Lazarus, dead and in the grave four days. All hope gone. His sisters questioning the Lord. And Jesus says, “This happened that Glory might come to my Father.”  The second story involving the man blind from birth. People asking, “Is this his fault or his parents’?” Again Jesus says, “Neither, but this happened that Glory might come to my Father.”

Deep in my spirit I heard at that moment….”Lynette, your story, My Glory.”

Yes, yes, that’s what I want Lord. But how, and how long, and what will it demand?

Now years later, long after I quit praying passionately, hoping vigorously, believing constantly. Having laid it down a thousand times. Finally resigned to accepting the mystery this side of Heaven. Now it happens.

Glory, this story. A story we would not, could not have written, nor would we have wanted to. But one we love, one we wouldn’t change one small little bit. Little faith turns into big bust-wide-open miracle, two of them.

The story for His Glory has been shared with thousands in just 10 days. Different than we thought, better than we imagined.

So whatever desperation you feel in your story, get ready. Your story for His Glory too.

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After 2 weeks of cocooning in NYC at our little place there, we packed up the rented mini van and headed south.

12 hours later, we drove in the driveway and were greeted with GIFTS, abounding gifts, gifts that can’t be seen nor counted, but gifts galore.

Double pink bows everywhere, posters, ribbons. Completely clean house minus the Christmas tree and garlands that we left in a flurry when the news of our darlings being born, meant we rushed out for a flight, leaving the house looking like a fright!

Now we’re walking back in, arms full of babies, with a pot of scrumptious chicken noodle soup waiting on the stove, flowers at every turn, and boxes to unwrap and enjoy.

These gifts point to the real gifts….people who love and lavish. Friends who’ve stood with us during the dark hours, the tear-stained hours. The times when hope was gone but they showed up. The hands of friends raised in prayer for us when we couldn’t pray anymore.

Now these same hands went to work, preparing a place for us, hands of applause, cheering, high-fiving, knowing our win means we all win, in His perfect timing and perfect way.

Which reminds me yet again, that dreaming big is about dreaming together. Putting it out there for others to own too. Team dream. Dream team.

We’re home. Home and happy. Little sleep. Lots of love and laughter. Laughing our way through. Through the long road together. Together is better.

Speaking of together, that’s the amazing song by Steven Curtis Chapman that’s on our video which has now been seen by over 39,000, here is the link again, for anyone else you know needs a big dose of hope and faith.