Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When It Rains It...


As I grew up I heard this phrase a lot.  My "bad luck" was infamous among family and friends and still comes up as a joke quite a lot.
When I married Drew he disliked this jargon.  He was quick (and right) to point out that our lives are not marked by luck and bad luck and that God's hand is not to short to ordain each moment and day.

Then in a class it came up again when the prof talked about how God will do everything and anything it takes to conform you into the image of Christ.

I latched on to this idea and has brought me comfort in hard times again and again
This sucks... but am I looking more like Christ?
This suck... but there is a loving plan.

However, there are times when trial after trial comes and my faith begins to quiver.  I begin to compare and complain in my heart.

I struggle to see people who seem to have a charmed life with out bump or bruise (I know it's not pretty!).  Things just go right for them.  I can't understand why this seems to be true based on the every day evidence and yet doesn't seemed confirmed in Scripture that talks about God's love for all people and his plan in my personal formation.

I want to feel his gentle love flowing over me in every moment but sometimes I don't.
It doesn't mean it's not there... but I'm numb.

So what now?

I retrace my steps... back to the Bible and in an instant my heart is humble again, soft again, refocused on what truly matters... not others... but Christ.

I am thankful that this season is all about focusing on Christ.
It truly is a wonder to think about GOD coming as an embryo and then tiny babe in the womb and then born in a manger and raised by humans... WHY WOULD HE DO THIS?!?
The only thing I can think of is love.

Not because some one told me the answer is love but because it makes no sense otherwise.

Why would he go to such lengths to save a hardened and sinful world.
Why would he sacrifice himself for some one like me that struggles and sins in the same ways again and again?


And in that word, in that truth, there is a sigh of relief...


Please pray for us this season!  We are on the cusp of leaving for France and many days it seems like if it can go wrong, it does!
We need financial support, health, and a place to live in FR and the patience to wait for each of those things to unfold in their time.

Blessings this Christmas.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


When we arrived in Dallas, a day later than planned, we dumped everything from the truck into the "front room".  Boxes and bags hang over arms of chairs and lean on each other, creating a maze of chaos.
We were able to extract the boxes full of kitchen spices, pans and food and load them up in the kitchen.  (Yes, my mother in law is a patient patient woman... and I cook her dinner =)  )
Then you have our room, clothes and blankets and pillows spilling over and under every surface.


It is often said that the way we respond to those we love or events in life reflect our relationship with our Lord and Savior... they reflect where our heart is.

"For out of the abundance ofthe heart the mouth speaks."  (Matthew 12:34)

As I began to see emotions bubbling out of my soul I started to try to look deeper and met with static.
You know that fuzzy screen you got back when TV channels were turned manually and most of them didn't work?

Just as my stuff is mixed and jumbled, so is my heart.

Away from my rhythms and routine, away from all the things that make me feel like me, who am I?
When I am not feeling on my mark and ready to sprint across the ocean, am I qualified to be a missionary?
When my child doesn't like me and is struggling and my husband is stressed and overworked and I still respond poorly, how can I call myself a Christian wife and mother?


Ah, breathe a sigh of relief here.

When an angry mob, full of adrenaline and blood-lust rushed to Jesus and threw a woman at his feet, ready... wanting to kill her and trap him at the same time... what did he do?



"Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7)

Where are the accusers? Gone.


I am not accused.
I am loved.

Just thinking about the peace and calm Jesus had during this exchange brings peace and confidence to my heart.
This is the Jesus I am following and trusting.
This is the Jesus I want others to know!

I am blessed beyond words.

I am so thankful for all of the blessings I have had in Louisville (and still have).
I am thankful for a wonderful place to stay in the meantime and time to spend with family.
I am thankful that even when life turns upside down, my Savior is there with peace and grace for my wayward heart.

Today I sorted through some boxes, literally and spiritually and am feeling a little less chaotic.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Little Bruise

The day after driving from Louisville to Texas I bumped my knee and fell to the floor sobbing.
Granted, I did bump it very hard and there is already a bruise, but I have a feeling the tears were not about the bump.
I barely slept the night before, waiting for my daughter to wake up crying in the night, sweating through my clothes and not knowing where I was.
I never sleep well the first night away from home.
Then I woke up to a very needy and moody preschooler, who was ready for the day long before the sun.  And despite this wake up call, I was still managing to run late for our new preschool appointment.  It is twenty degrees warmer here than the home we left and thus I have nothing to wear... nothing that isn't packed in random, unlabeled bags and rashly packed boxes.
So, it was sorting through just such a bag or box that I managed to totally abuse my knee and fall into sobs.
Up to the day of our departure I shed nary a tear.  I was happy, excited about our new journey.  I was confident each of my amazing friends would stay in touch and continue our friendship (and still hope).  I was amazed at the opportunities already being presented for us to meet people and get SJ into school.  I was too busy to bother with tears.  It was obviously the Lord!
However, packing up our truck on that gray day was more sorrow-filled than I was ready for.  But even then, in the hustle and bustle I only shed a few quick tears and then was forced to carry on.  So, bumping that dreadfully boney knee was my first chance to let the flood gates open.
In those five minutes of tears I mourned not seeing my fellow mom friend every day as we take our daughters to the same quirky preschool class.  I mourned our fabulous fridays filled with other moms and their kids and the amazing fall weather of Louisville.  I mourned my home with my kitchen and my room and my stuff organized my way.   I mourned our amazing community church where we had been served and served.
Then I got up, changed clothes...again, and headed out the door to begin our life for the next two months.  Our life in-between two worlds.  That weird blank page after the last page of your favorite novel that is between you and your next story.
Despite all the bruises, I am actually relieved to cry and let it out and admit that there is sorrow amidst the joy and excitement.  I am praying we fill this blank page with meaning and memories and that there will not be a single page wasted.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

Four Weeks

We have four weeks left in Louisville.
When I turned my calendar from September to October I just stood still in the kitchen and stared at the page.  Black numbers with bright pink words dashed all around.  How did we get to October and how is my calendar already full?

October is one of my favorite months.

Yes, I am weird and have favorite months and favorite days and favorite times of day etc.
So, October is one of my favorite months because it represents all things fall.  Pumpkins and apples are ripe for picking.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes are everywhere.  The wind is cool and the sun is warm.  The days are shorter but still long.  You may need a jacket and you can wear boots.
We were married Sept. 30, which is basically October too!  (Happy 7 to us! 7 is one of my favorite numbers!)
October is also when SJ was born!  So we will have a house full of wild princesses very soon.

This October is special because it is our last month in Louisville for a long while.
We are having a dance party to raise support for our mission.
We are going to farms and fall festivals.
We are having a going away party.
We are having a birthday party.
And in the mix, we are packing up our lives and moving.

Random Praise Story:
Friday I was having a hard day being a mom (I had no clue four year olds could argue and act sullen like 14 year olds!)
So I was just about to call Drew and let him know about my day and ask for prayer and encouragement ... but first I needed to go to the bathroom and I could talk to him on my way to pick up SJ from school.  Then PLUNK... phone into the toilet.  SERIOUSLY?!?!  What timing!
I shot D an email and we both posted on Facebook that we needed a phone for the next two months.
This quickly turned into a praise because 1. when I picked up SJ we were able to have a heart to heart moment and I was able to reverse my own attitude and enjoy some time with her and 2. had to rely on God more than others to comfort me in my need and 3. a friend of ours offered me her old iphone on loan!
So after many years with only the most basic phone I am in the iphone world and what a world it is!
The reason this story is relevant is that one of the hard things about having so much going on is it is hard for me to keep up on the day to day.  Last week alone I missed two appointments just because I forgot and was busy with other things.
So now I can keep my calendar with me and add to it as things strike me... b/c they rarely strike me at home but weird places like pick up line or highway or line at the grocery!

Quick Update on France and Funding:

HUGE PRAISE!!!  We are very close to reaching our full goal for our $45,000 launch fund!
We still need $2000 in monthly support, which can also be viewed as approximately $24,000 in one-time gifts for the next year.

To give:  bit.ly/sojournlyon-lewis

Another praise is that we have several options open to us for SJs preschool in the DFW area.  This was something I had almost given up on and then all of the sudden several opportunities arose!  I am happy we can keep up that routine for her.

Please continue to pray for our financial support to come in.  We are planning to leave by the end of the year.
Please also pray for our team leaders who are already in France and recently found out a family member here in the States has terminal cancer.
Pray for our other team members who are also raising support and raising two little boys at the same time!
Pray for us as we move and pray for SJ as she makes several hard transitions.
Pray for us as we parent her, we need constant guidance and grace.

Thank you for joining us on this journey!

Monday, September 16, 2013


Well our not-so-little SJ started "real" preschool this year! She is on her fourth week today and I am amazed at how grown up she already seems.
The first week of school she was a little apprehensive upon arrival but never really cried but just wanted to hold on to me.  She was happy when she came out but obviously exhausted and emotional.
The second week she would sometimes complain about having to go to school in the morning but then by the time we were dressed and ready she was anxious to go and happy and bubbly coming out.
The third week was smooth sailing... other than forgetting her backpack twice!  oops
She got to bring a snack on Wednesday and the person who brings snack also gets to  do show and tell, be the line leader and have special paint time.  Needless to say, Wednesday was an amazing day and she continues to talk about it.
I feel so blessed to see that she is happy and adjusting.
At first I felt guilty and questioned our decision to send her.  Was I being selfish? Was I neglecting her?  Thankfully God was quick to speak to my heart (while I was mopping) and remind me that this adjustment is so small compared to the school adjustment she will have in France.  We didn't put her in school so mommy could take a break, though it has been nice to run errands and clean house etc, but we enrolled her so that she would already be familiar with having to say bye to mom for part of the day and sit in class and participate and make new friends etc.  I am already witnessing God preparing her heart!!  The first two weeks she only talked with the friends from our church in her class, but now she has made a handful of new friends and knows their names!
Her favorite thing about preschool is definitely the snack time.  We gave up morning snacks this summer and she is overjoyed at the treat each school day!  This girl loves to eat.
Her least favorite thing are "the boys that break the rules".  She is always telling us how they "break her heart" when they sin and disobey.  So serious.
We have noticed that our girl is no longer a toddler but an official big girl.  She is so sweet and serious. She cracks us up with her humor and "good ideas".
Her goals in life are to be a mommy and a big sister......and maybe a pilot, or a teacher or a dancer.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Long Time; Big Changes.

(our team being commissioned by Greater Europe Mission)

I can't believe how long it's been since I last blogged.
I think I am just now coming up for air since January (thanks to preschool mornings).
So much has happened... so much IS happening.

In April we had training with our sending agency, Greater Europe Mission.  They are a great organization that trains and supports missionaries on the ground in Europe.  They don't contribute money but they contribute support (advice, counseling, training, team meetings/support with other missionaries) and strategy.  They also enable people, LIKE YOU, to give to us in a tax deductible way!

If you would like to partner with us go to:  bit.ly/sojournlyon-lewis

They also taught us a lot about partner development... aka fundraising and that's what we've been doing ever since.

Greater Europe Mission and Sojourn Community Church have both officially commissioned us (along with our team) as missionaries to Lyon, France!

Back to the fundraising.  We need approximately $5000 a month in addition to the salary Drew will be receiving.  This is the basic minimum for a family in France according to several missions agencies(accounting for the 30% cost of living increase as well as the strength of the Euro over the dollar).
We also need approximately $45,000 in launch funds to cover training and support costs with Greater Europe Mission (GEM), language school for a year, relocation agencies, and basic set up in our apartment.  "You can't take it with you"...we are applying that principle to just about everything we own!

Since April we have met with people on average 5 out of every 7 days in the week in Louisville.  We travelled through Texas during the month of August to see family and raise support.

Today we are thankful to be at 50% of our total need.

However, this is still 50% short of where we hoped to be by this date.  Our original plan was to move to Lyon in July, but because of things on the business end of things we were postponed until October.  Now we are having to postpone again until we can finish raising the support we need to live once we are there.

Our new launch date is January!

We will remain in Louisville through October and head back to Texas in November and stay until we leave for France.

Sad is not even an accurate word for how I feel about leaving Louisville.  This is my home and I love this city.  I love our church and our community.  I am thankful for SJ's new preschool and all her sweet little friends.  I LOVE fall in Louisville.
However, I am happy to have more time with family.  I am happy SJ gets more cousin time!  I am thankful it won't be 100 degrees while we are there this time.
I am also confident.  I am confident this is what we are supposed to do right now.  We were planning on saying goodbye to our Louisville family in October anyway and so this is not much different.  I am thankful for the amazing renters we have to live in our home while we are gone.

Even though this was not our plan A, we are confident this is His plan!
We are forgetting what lies behind and looking at what lies ahead!
We are savoring all our favorite things in Louisville.  Favorite restaurants, picking apples, watching the leave change, walking in all our favorite parks and spending time with our community and church.
I am rejoicing that I will get to see another nephew brought into this world and get to see The Hunger Games movie!  I rejoice that I will have a true Thanksgiving with my wonderful family and celebrate birthdays and Christmas with them one more time.
God is so good.  Even in the midst of major changes and uncertainty about the future, He reminds me of the joys I have ahead of me and the love He has provided both in Louisville and Texas.

Please pray for us through all these changes and please pray about partnering with us in financially support.  

To give:  bit.ly/sojournlyon-lewis

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1 Timothy 2:15

And women shall be saved through childbirth...

I've never known what to think exactly about this passage and it has always irked me a little.  I have heard pastors and fellow moms expound upon the meanings and I have looked up the commentaries and all that but never has it really meant anything to my heart until this week.
My heart has been heavy to the point of breaking.  Many tears have fallen and many prayers have risen.
My daughter needs Jesus.  And so do I.
SJ has always been a serious child.  I think this contributed to her colic as a baby.  She is easily over stimulated and over whelmed by people and new situations.  She likes formula, routine, consistency, rules.
However, once we sort of figured each other out... somewhere between one year and 18 months, life with her was such a joy.
She is terribly cute and funny in her seriousness and very communicative at an early age.  We had normal girl drama and fussiness but up until her third birthday, toddlerhood was pretty easy.
At the three year mark we started to get some of the stronger will coming out.
Then, since my return from the most recent visit to France the tantrums began.  However, they were few and far between until the past week or two.  We could usually avoid them by avoiding situations where she might be overtired, overstimulated or over hungry...  however, life is not perfect and predictable so even that wasn't fail proof.
Since returning from Christmas, they have been every day, every bed time and many times in-between.
For some one who is naturally compliant and sensitive, this is a struggle.
When SJ hits me or screams in my face I just want to cower and cry.
I am not saying this to say my nature is better than hers... absolutely not.  I'm saying my weakness is perfectly fitted with her weakness to create quite the storm of emotion.
However, once I hit the bottom of the parenting barrel, I looked up.  Since then, I have been trying to fix my gaze on things above... on the One above who I desire to please more than SJ, Drew or even myself (gasp).  I am fixed on the loving gaze of the One who loves my daughter right in the midst of her rage and who loves this mama right in the middle of her weakness.
And each day I have felt His strength through me.
The strength to not take every fit and act of defiance personally (though I still do sometimes).
The strength to hold the raging child with peace and love and patience.
The strength to remember to pray pray pray... and then pray some more.
The strength not to give in to my self pity and depressing moods but to keep persevering.
None of that strength is from me.  I am not a boot straps person.  I am a call the husband weeping in the car with a screaming child strapped in the back seat sort of person.
I am a curl up in a ball and cry or watch TV until I forget person.
Only in Christ is there any good, any chance of a glimpse of good parenting, any ability to love beyond what naturally pleases me or makes me feel good.
And I have seen Christ emerging from me little by little day by day and then this verse comes to mind and I see Him saving me.
Not that my salvation was in doubt until now but I see him making me look more like himself.  I see the changes this struggle is bringing and hopefully will bring in the future.  I see that with out this challenge... with out this hardest thing I've ever done called parenting thing... I would not have this growth in the same ways.. I would not taste the sweetness mixed with the bitter and sour.
Today I am encouraged that though I am one step forward and two steps back with my toddler, than I am ever forward on my journey with the Lord and that HE IS FAITHFUL.  yes.
And He is LOVE.