Galatians 2:20

Thursday, December 8, 2011

WORSHIP!









L.I.F.E...
it is in me
abundant
grace abounding
freely given
sustaining
saving power
eternal, everlasting
BUT...
it is NOT about me, none of it...it is about HE, The Life Giver

His response, Job's...this is what my heart has been challenged with and what my mind has been meditating on for the past few days. NO matter what the circumstance, my heart aches and longs to respond with the same prostrate heart of WORSHIP!!! For is this not what we have been created to do? Isn't safe to say that this very "verb" is our Purpose?

In the first chapter of Job we find Almighty God sovereignty giving satan permission to strip job of all that he had other than his very breath. It is what he does with his breath that drives me to repentance...he falls to the ground in WORSHIP! Job understood that everything was given by God and therefore belonged to God. Job passed the test and proved that people can love God for WHO He is, not for what He gives! His greatest concern was not about his circumstances or what his eyes could see, but instead his heart burned with a desire to see the Name of the Lord be PRAISED!

When we do God's will we are not guaranteed a comfortable life, but we are promised that EVERYTHING, even our Discomfort, has Meaning and Purpose!!! Purpose to point to and magnify King JESUS!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Growing & Grateful!

For all my begging belly friends...here's a little growth tracker of our sweet Laine! :)

14 Weeks!

18 Weeks!
22 Weeks!

Yes, we have a name! Not a middle, but at least a first...LAINE! It's the name we prayed for! We also found out that it was my great-grandmothers middle name, so that's kinda neat!

I actually don't remember Lily being quite as active as this sweet one is! She can literally take my breath away with some of her kicks and punches! It would be nice if we could give them a little "labeling" lesson on all the organs they're sharing space with, so they at least know the bladder is off limits! :) In the same breath, I say kick away sweet girl because I love feeling every move you make!

I've been able to share with a few of you our Laine praise! At our last dr. appointment we had an ultrasound and it showed that my placenta has moved up and is in the exact place it needs to be! I've been given permission to no longer be restricted on my activities! ALL praise to the ONE who is the giver and sustainer of Life! We were also blessed with a surprise free 4D ultrasound. We got to lay eyes on her precious face! Michael and I both looked at each other at the same time and said, "that looks like our little Lily!" She and her sister definitely both share the same button nose and chubby cheeks! There are truly no words, but to be left with a heart that is awe struck to be able to get a glimpse of God's masterpiece...and oh how we can't wait for Laine's perfectly knit self to be in our arms in less than 2 1/2 months!

The sweetest thing right now is to watch God grow Lily's little heart of love for her sister. Laine is usually the first person she wants to greet in the morning with her lips pressed against my belly yelling cocka-doodle-dooooooo!!! She makes us laugh so hard and then melts our hearts when she tells her, "you're my Laine and I love you sooooo much!" I can always count on my belly getting a good rub down several times a day from the sweetest 3 year old hands I know!

The Lessons from the Lord during this pregnancy journey have been spiritually stretching! I am incredibly grateful that God continues not to leave me the same! I have been reminded over and over again that circumstances are uncertain to man and can either be tightly anchored to happiness or JOY! In Philippians, Paul reminds us that our happiness will either be rocked by happenings or our JOY will be rooted in the ONE who orchestrates every happening for HIS ultimate glory! JOY is having QUIET CONFIDENT ASSURANCE of who God is, His love, and work in our lives whether we feel it or not.

The enemy loves to "blind" us with our present conditions, but God sees the grand picture! So whatever circumstance you find yourself in today, He is after strengthening your Faith and TRUST! Let me encourage you and leave you with a powerful acrostic for TRUST: To Rest Under Severe Testing or Trials! HE IS TRUSTWORTHY!!!

Dancing!

I almost can't remember a time when our sweet girl hasn't been kicking up her legs, twirling, and bowing in the the feminine ballerina way! Her feet are definitely "happy" and she can make a "stage" anywhere! We have officially put her in her 1st dance class. She is "eating it up," and I could in return "eat" her cuteness self up in her dance outfit!





Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kicking off Fall!

Fall is by far my most favorite time of the year! From the cool crisp air, smells, pumpkins, fall food, baking, craft sells, craft making, trees changing...I become one giddy girl with an extra pep in my step!! I was a little sad to have to delay some of our Fall fun due to our move being in the middle of October. So, guess what our first GA weekend called for...pumpkin patch picking and a little mum shopping! It didn't matter if our house wasn't completely settled, I just couldn't wait to add a little fall "welcome" to our front steps...makes for one happy momma!
We told Lily she was the official pumpkin picker outer! We told her she could pick out a big, medium, and small pumpkin. It didn't take her long to claim the big pumpkins! When it came to the small one, she definitely exceeded her limit and got a little "small pumpkin happy!"Thankful they were the super cheapos, so we ended up bringing home about 5 of the little guys! Our side steps are a little "pumpkified" this year and I love it!






Monday, November 7, 2011

Before.After.Now

...just feel like writing a little bit about everything now that we have an Internet connection again and have surfaced for "air"...or should I say from being buried 10 feet under in boxes! Oh is it a glorious feeling to be able to pull your clothes off a hanger in a closet as opposed to a suitcase or a box!
We are settled...
For those of you who don't know, the Lord has moved us from serving in a church in OK back to our home turf to serve on staff of our former college church in GEORGIA! Those of you who have faithfully prayed for us, we are so appreciative! We are BLESSED!
I've had some time to reflect back over the last month of transitioning and it has been medicine to the soul to be reminded of His sweetness and care in the smallest of details. It makes me want to testify, smile, rejoice, and simply rest knowing that God is always going before us. When our sight is limited to see the "now" His infinite wisdom, care, love, and goodness is already in the "next!" We have been taken great care of from the beginning. We were blessed to have movers. Friends have shared horror stories about their moving company experiences, so I was preparing myself to have to be a "momma hawk!" Instead, we ended up with a team of packers and movers who were the nicest and most thoughtful from the beginning to the end. So, I guess you could say this is also a little plug for North American Van Lines for anyone out there who may need a moving company in the future. Oh, and the best mover and packer I could have asked for was my mom! She came a week before the actual movers and served us well!
We prayed so much for Lily and her little transition! We knew the 17 hour car ride (or should we tack on a few hours for the prego lady stops) across 4 states could cause some "waters" to be tested! Can I tell you, she was definitely more of a trooper than all of us combined! We were blessed with sweet friends to think of her and bring her travel gifts the day we pulled out. One of the gifts was a set of four little dolls! Let's just say that the car ride proved that she doesn't lack an imagination or the ability to talk, talk, talk! Those little girls got a 17 hour ear full! Mom and I were blessed with the sweetest entertainment! She traveled beautifully!
One of our travel goals was to make it to Birmingham, AL by Saturday evening so we could worship with the church body at The Church at Brooks Hills on Sunday morning. It was incredibly refreshing to sit under David Platt as he always so faithfully divides the Word! He finished up a series out of 1 Timothy 6:17-19 titled The Gospel & Materialism in the first half of the service. The second half consisted of a special interview with a young girl by the name of Katie Davis who is a missionary in Uganda! She is 21 and has adopted 13 girls who she is now a mother to! Her testimony definitely sounds radical, but this is her response, "People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people." Check out her blog and be challenged to live obedient in the day to day things that God puts before you...www.kissfromkatie.blogspot.com
We were also sweetly surprised to run into several seminary friends. We were left fueled physically and spiritually to make that last leg into GA that afternoon!
We were able to have a few down days at my parents to rest up before the moving truck arrived.
Days later we found ourselves moving into our very first home! No, not ours, but a mission home that is owned by the church. The church is graciously allowing us to live here temporiarily until we can buy a house of our own. Despite it not being ours, the Lewis' are giddy and full of thankfulness! In our 10 years of marriage, the Lord has never allowed us to buy a home, because He forsaw the many transitions that would occur in our lives and bring us to this point. Our apartment kitchens in the past were deemed with the nickname a one "hiney" kitchen, so we are beyond thankful for the extra "hiney's that can now fit in our kitchen! We are loving all of our new space! I have to pause here and interject a quick story about Lily.
Just before we left OK, a friend of mine had Lily over one morning to play with her girls so I could tackle some of the packing. When I went to pick her up, Lily's friend Olivia had a huge scrape across her face. My friend Ashley proceeded to tell me that Olivia got her scratch from climbing trees in their backyard all morning as my little "girly girl" stood back and watched in amazement! It hit me at that moment that our overlooking "parking lot yard" apartments never provided opportunities for her to explore her adventurous side. Well, I am now thrilled to say that our sweet Lily has her pick of trees now in our backyard. Not that I would encourage her to become a tree climber, but we are just beyond excited that she now has a yard of her own. I can't keep shoes on this girl to save my life, so I'm sure the face scrape will be in the near future!
We are beyond grateful for this God-given home and have dedicated it to Him to use for His glory!
We are now in the midst of diving in and getting to know, love, and serve our new church family! More stories of His goodness and faithfulness to come...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What's Fresh!

So much to catch up on...

But for now what's fresh on my mind stems from a conversation I just had with a dear friend! I've actually been meaning to do a follow-up post on this anyway. Previously, I mentioned a parenting book I was reading in an earlier blog titled: Give Them Grace by: Elyse Fitzpatrick. I was only in chapter 5 at the time of the first post. I can testify now that the last page has been turned, that my heart has been hammered so hard with the Truth! As a result, change has occurred in so many areas of my life! It has totally made me seek the Lord considering the motivations of my heart and how I view parenting.

Obviously now is the time to follow-up since this recent conversation made me go back to the book once again to read and re-read all the sentences/paragraphs I underlined (yes, this is one of those books. Before you know it you've changed the whole page to yellow with your highlighter, because the Truth is so rich on every page). It's the Powerful Gospel-centered Truth that saturates each page that has once again stopped me dead in my tracks! Once again TODAY I have been reminded that my GREATEST need is the Gospel!

I. AM. CHANGED
MY. PARENTING.HAS.CHANGED
MY.MARRIAGE.HAS.CHANGED

Simply because the Gospel message through this book has wrecked my "moral ism"... forcing all of my "weight" to lean on GRACE!

Back to my conversation with my friend...

We were talking about the "terrific" 2's! If you're a mom, you know what I mean. Even if you're 2's weren't terrific, just change the number because that extra special "terrific" season will eventually come!

Why!?...simply because our kids have absolutely nothing "good" within them that drives them to obey from the heart, because they can't! Just to make it clear, neither can I and neither can you! That's why Jesus had to die!

My conversation was very transparent with my friend as we shared all of our fleshly thoughts when our children act out in public/home...have you had any of these?
  • What have we done wrong in our parenting?
  • Their children would never act this way (comparison).
  • What kind of mom do they think that I am (approval)?
  • I am a terrible mom. My child is ruined.
  • I'm just going to act like I didn't see that behavior, because I am just simply exhausted in the correcting department.
I am learning though that God's design of parenting is NOT to show off or display our STRENGTHS as parents, but the complete opposite...to MAGNIFY OUR WEAKNESSES.

No, not something that I beg to be magnified. But oh how humbling to understand that my performance is meant to be crushed. I am not to be praised, but only Christ who can only transform the heart.

2 paragraphs from the book that I want to leave you with. I hope they not only challenge your heart, but bring freedom as well.

You're a Christian Parent, but Is Your Parenting Christian?
"Grace, or the free favor that has been lavished on us through Christ, ought to make our parenting radically different from what unbelievers do. That's because the good news of God's grace is meant to permeate and transform every relationship we have, including our relationship with our children. All the typical ways we construct to get things done and get others to do our bidding are simply obliterated by a gospel message that tells us that we are all (parents and children) both radically sinful and radically loved. At the deepest level of what we do as parents, we should hear the heartbeat of a loving, grace-giving Father who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message that your children hear from you, if the message that you send them on a daily basis is about being good so that you won't be disappointed, then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too."

"Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another. You can not raise good kids, because you are not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and He had only One good Son. Together, this Father and Son accomplished everything that needed to be done to rescue us and our children from certain destruction. When we put our faith in Him, He bestows the benediction upon us: "These are my children, within whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17) Give this grace to your children. Tell them who they really are, tell them what they need to do, and then tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good. Give this grace to yourself, too!"


Saturday, August 27, 2011

BABY LEWIS IS A............!!!

A funny story...
Monday, the day before our Dr. appointment I was telling Lily that we were going to go to the Dr. for a special appointment.
ME: Lily, tomorrow the Dr. is going to look inside mommy's tummy and tell us if we are having a baby boy or girl.
LILY: So we get to see if it has a "tee-tee" or "wee-wee?"
ME: Yes, you're right!
LILY: Oh it has a "tee-tee!" (with such confidence)
ME: Well honey what if God wants to give us a baby boy?
LILY: No thank you, it's a girl! :)

Most people were saying, "You're definitely having a boy!" I guess when you hear something so much you start to believe it. So I have to say that I was the only one in the family that was a bit surprised. Michael kept saying it was another girl all along, and of course I guess Miss Lily had her mind made up that she was going to give it back if it was a boy!

We are thrilled that God has blessed us with another girl and sister! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Almost 5 Months & FAITHFUL!

When Michael was in seminary, I jumped in and took a few classes myself while we were awaiting the arrival of Lily.

I'll never forget an illustration my Old Testament professor shared. He said, "Life is like a horse and cart...the horse representing God and the cart representing man." We so often put the cart before the horse and get ahead of God. Meaning, when we are going down life's journey and hit a "bump" in the road (which is inevitable) with the cart leading, it will (we) always will hit the bump and spiral out of control and ditch every time! But if the horse (God) is leading, the cart will still feel the effects of the bumps, but the horse (God) will steady the cart every time and by Grace it will miss the ditch!

I share this because we have experienced a few "bumps" in the road with this pregnancy. I was told early on that there was a large amount of blood built up behind my placenta, which could cause me to miscarry. Later, around 14 weeks my ultrasound showed that my placenta was starting to tear away from the lining of my uterus, causing a greater alert for a possible miscarriage.

I simply share all of this so the Greatness of God is penned down and proclaimed! God IS GOOD in ALL HE does and He is also PURPOSEFUL in ALL HE permits! He promises in Romans 5 that if we are born again that we CAN "rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope will not disappoint us."
I am learning that it doesn't matter what the suffering or the circumstance label may be (big or small), but that the unified purpose is for my sanctification and Ultimately so that I may KNOW HIM more (Philipians 3:10)!

Let me be the first to say that I am the weak one and can't claim to be super spiritual in and of myself. Both times the news was shared, yes the tears flowed privately and my mind's first reaction was to spiral into anxiousness and worry. But the beauty is that it's in moments like these that my heart is gripped to remember that with every breath that I take, my greatest need is HIM! I am so thankful for His Grace to reveal my true heart and that it is always prone to wander. This truth profoundly reminds me that I am a weakling and He is All Powerful and Strong. I am powerless and He is SUPERIOR over ALL and SOVEREIGN in ALL! The Lord couldn't have allowed me to study the book of Colossians at more perfect time!

So I just paused for a moment to regain my thoughts. I have to admit that I've had to fight the flesh even in those few moments. My flesh said, "How silly of you to write about this and make it such a big deal, you should delete all you've just shared. Women around the world deal with alarming things in their pregnancy every day and some far greater than you have every experienced." But then the spirit whispers, "I care about the big & small, because it's about the work and transformation of your heart and for My Glory!"

I praise Him that His Word is True and the order in which He has designed things to work...WORKS! I have learned more deeply about the true defense weapon that PRAISE is after I had Lily. I struggled with some postpartum depression and simply wasn't motivated to read anything, but I did ask God for one verse to meditate on. He gave me Psalm 34:1 "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Daily I am reminded that God commands our praise whether the feelings are there or not! After meditating on the this truth for 3 years now it has changed me and has brought health to my soul! Why? Because when we give God praise it causes us to seek His face and be reminded that He alone can satisfy our hearts. Only then can our heart be aligned to Him to Trust Him! The beautiful result is that peace can once again reign!

So many of you have faithfully prayed for us and we are beyond grateful! I can honestly say this has been a sweet time of drawing closer to the Lord. He alone has kept my mind in perfect peace!

Just Tuesday we received the most recent results... GOD has mended my placenta and uterus...PTL!!! So I wanted to share some ultrasound pics of this sweet miracle baby so far!



Butter bean @ 6 weeks - heart rate 134

10 weeks and 2 days - heart rate 178
13 weeks 4 days - heart rate 166

17 weeks 3 days - heart rate 157


Happy 3rd Birthday Lily!

We are So BLESSED to call this beautiful 3 year old our daughter! My heart is melted at the start of everyday by her sweet little face as she faithfully greets me EARLY every morning with a great big smile and some crazy hair (we are convinced that she has little "rat" friends that make her hair their nest at night)! She always taps me on the shoulder and says, "Mommy, the suns up...it's a beautiful day!"(even though sometimes I wish my little sun/rooster alarm clock would snooze a little longer) Then in some sense my heart sometimes hurts to realize how fast she's growing and that she's only getting older.

Three is hard ya know! Realizing that she is no longer really seen as a toddler, and then for it to sink in that 3 is only a year away from from pre-K! Is it ok to say...I just don't like it! :) But in the same breathe I can truly say that every passing moment of watching her mature is only sweeter and funner than the one before! Oh how she makes me smile, because in her book everything is "wonderful" and "awesome"!

I am so thankful for the discipline she has brought to my life and how her little life is constantly pointing me to JESUS! She challenges me to make my time count in striving to obey Duet. 6! Realizing that 3 was the number I was saying just yesterday when she was 3 months...wow how time is fleeting!

We are so thankful to the Lord for giving her a tender heart for those who are hurt, sad, or sick. It blesses us every time we hear here tell them that she will pray for them, because Jesus will make it better! We are also thankful for her deep belly laughs that are simply medicine to the soul! Her dancing feet also keeps us smiling. She has become quite the professional twirler these days. We love how when she really gets into her dance routine, her eye close and she "gets in the zone!" She takes her dancing very serious! :)

This year we opted just to celebrate with our families. She asked my mom for a Strawberry Shortcake party and Michael's mom for a Dora party...to be honest I think she fared better this way and her mommy loved the stress-free planning!

We ended up having a little mini party a day before her b-day in the Bahamas, so Michael could get in on the celebration before he had to fly back to OK.



Her second party was in Nashville at her Nonni and Papa's with an extended Strawberry Shortcake theme. Uncle Clint and Aunt Sarah gave her a singing princes card. She thought that was the coolest thing and had the song memorized by the next morning!



The third party for the 3 year old girl was at her Granny and Ooo-Ooo's! We laid down to take a nap after church and woke up to a completely transformed kitchen all decked out in Dora!

I documented all of her many faces of surprise and excitement as she took it all in!











Some of the youngest party guest! Lily loved loving on her new baby cousins, Lexi & Brycen!




We love you Birthday Girl!