Lewis’ story

A story of PROVISION, PRESENCE, PRAISE, and STRENGTH~

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

-Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

“You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.”

-Psalm 8:2 (NLT)

This verse has captured my heart the past few days…my kids have really been praising Him…during a time when I have been struggling to focus on Him.  I love both translations here, because both tell a different piece of the beauty of God and His Strength.    Lewis has been singing songs of praise continually for Him…songs that are completely made up, straight from the heart, and so very genuine….it keeps bringing tears from my eyes…really, I wish I could praise God like he does….

Yesterday, Lewis kept telling me, of his own accord, “mommy, God gives me strength every day.”  I reflected on this most of the day…and I realized THIS was not only a joy for my heart to hear, but also a new insight into the Lord’s IMAGE and a beautiful answer to prayer.

I have been praying for a VERSE for Lewis…to see his story through the lens of God…differently…and not through my own painful, more human memories.  I knew the Lord and sought Him, but wasn’t pressing into Him as much when I was pregnant with Lew…nor during labor…not like I did with Hannah and Emma…and they have these beautiful Scriptures for their births and for my pregnancy and these amazing stories…insights into their lives that God has given me.  The Lord lifted my head and told me that He was there during that time and He has a special Scripture and story for Lewis as a babe as well.  I have been longing to hear this from Him.  What is Lewis’ verse?  What is the Lord’s plan or focus for Him?  How does he reflect God’s FACE…His image?

He spoke powerfully to me yesterday and this morning about it….His strength…kept popping up in my mind.  I shared the insight the Lord gave me with Brian early this morning…  And then, shortly after, the subject of strength came up again when Lewis woke up, saw the living room rearranged a bit, and asked how daddy managed to move mommy’s rocking chair all the way across the room…the boys lifted their arms, chuckled, and said “Arrghhh”.  Brian then shared a beautiful father-to-son explanation of what true strength is, ‘in the Lord‘.

Brian and I talked about his name…Lewis…it means “strong poet.”  It means a few other slight variations in other language translations, but this one captured our heart, along with the unique family heritage of his name.  Brian looks very much like his maternal great grandfather, Lewis Alexander…a very special man.  And this characteristic of the Lord is what He continually shows us in Lewis…HIS STRENGTH.

Brian shared with Lew that strength is not just about the physical aspect (SAMSON), but the mind (DANIEL), and heart/spirit (DAVID) too.  He told Lewis that he sees God’s strength in him, in all these ways, but especially in Lewis’ spirit.

Here is my more human memory of Lewis’ story…but even in the painful parts, I see God’s grace, His provision, His blessing.  I felt prompted to write about this today…to remember HIS PRESENCE throughout it all..and to allow Him to transform my mind…to see the past through the eyes of God.

~~~~~

….I thought about Lewis’ pregnancy….strength was undeniably the theme throughout.  I was in Camp Hovey, Korea, in the Army, pregnant, living in a one-man barracks room with my husband, working on brigade staff together. Prior to this time, we had about 3 1/2 years separation…with a few months in between when we were able to spend time with each other.  He gave us strength to live in such close quarters for the first time and work right next to each together…without getting too overwhelmed 🙂  Korea was the option we chose after being given our only other option–Iraq, with hopes to be stationed to a FOB within a certain distance of each other…I had just returned from Iraq…we quickly asked for Korea and tried to be thankful.  We were not able to have a car.  I had to show up for PT at 0530 every morning…feeling so sick…the unit had a high optempo and I was in the field several months at a time as well.  He gave me strength to persevere.  On a beautiful cherry blossom day..April 16th, when I found out I was pregnant, I told Brian first 🙂 , and then I told my immediate boss, who was happy, but concerned…and told me with hesitation in his voice…to go directly to my brigade commander to inform him of my…news…  Up until this point, the commander was very supportive and cordial with me–personally and professionally…but his warmth quickly turned to disappointment upon receiving my news and he told me frankly of his expectations of me and that when the time came, I could go to the hospital when I was well into my labor…a hospital that was 3 hours away.  Needless to say, after a day where I had a slight scare in the pregnancy, the Lord put it on my heart to ask my immediate boss to see if I could return to the states just to be safe.  My boss was totally on board, the brigade commander was not…but told me he had never had a pregnant officer under his command, so I couldn’t expect much!  He was disappointed I was pregnant.  He was not happy with my husband!  But, he graciously sent me home and HRC provided an incredible job for me at CID at Fort Belvoir, VA.  I stayed with my sweet in-laws for 2 months and moved in at 7 months pregnant into my new home on post.  He gave me strength to move in.  Lewis came one month later, at 33 weeks gestation.

….I thought about Lewis’ birth.  It took 56 1/2 hours to bring Lew into the world.  Such strength He provided for me throughout those days of delivery.  My body was not ready…  My water broke in the locker room after swimming at the pool.  I went home…my thoughts racing…I was fearful…I knew it was the moment.  I felt the first contraction right after getting home.  I packed my bags, called my in-laws, called Brian (his new command was so mercifully sweet to let him go, and he got a plane ticket from Korea right away), and drove to the hospital.  They let me know that labor had started and put me in an ambulance for Bethesda, MD.  The doctor who saw me told me that his wife just had a baby at 32 weeks and all she did was bend over and get a newspaper and her water broke…he told me their baby was doing fantastic 🙂  It was such sweet encouragement and relief to my conscience.  Another wonderful provision and surprise–Brian made it 7 hours before Lewis arrived, during the toughest part of labor!  I hadn’t spoken to him since I called him and really wasn’t sure how long it would take him to fly home.  The doctor told me–after some critical moments had passed in labor–that she was leaving now because she had some greater concerns to attend to 🙂 This was really good news to hear!  A resident delivered our baby boy and Brian was able to cut the cord.  Then…a second to look at his face…and off to the NICU.

I thought about Lewis’ time in the NICU… they kept telling us how HUGE he was…5 1/2 lbs and 20 inches long…such sweet protection and strength God knit in him for these early moments outside the womb….they thought he was doing fantastic…a little too fantastic…they took him off CPAP after two days…and his lungs started collapsing.  I had been denied the lung shot when I came in because he was past 32 weeks.  His body was so big…but his lungs weren’t ready.  They gave him surfactant, put him back on CPAP, and he stayed a total of 12 days in the NICU–a sweet, sweet blessing and visible sign of the Lord strengthening and preparing Lewis’ body so quickly.

I thought about 2 months later, when Lewis got sick at his term baby mark…right at Christmas.  He got sick with RSV. Lewis was denied the RSV shot when I requested it at his first few appointments.  After a few days in the hospital alone with Lew, he was breathing on his own again and the two of us ventured home together.  I was so thankful for the holidays-and my gracious command- to be able to take off of work to be there with Lewis during this time.  Once again, the Lord provided.  Once again, the Lord healed and strengthened Lewis’ lungs to persevere through sickness.

I thought about the provision God provided through my mom and my grandmother to watch Lewis at my home those 3 months after my maternity leave ended and before my ETS leave began.  Lew came much sooner into our lives than we had anticipated 😉  What sweet love and nurture they gave him while I finished out my time in the Army.

When Lewis was 5 1/2 months old, my ETS leave began, and Lewis and I prepared to PCS together at last to join Brian in Korea!  We lived in Brian’s barracks room for 2 weeks and then moved into a beautiful Korean home in the countryside.  Brian assumed command soon after we arrived, which was so wonderful to be a part of with him…in a different part of Korea…south at Camp Carroll, near Daegu.  And so began a most wonderful season of GRACE into our lives, together as a family at last 🙂

All these memories flooded my mind…some still quite painful, knowing what Lewis had to go through, how scary so many of these experiences were, but God gave him “strength upon strength.”   The Lord was THERE…in so many ways.

***Now these little lungs are overflowing with PRAISE and JOY for His King and everything He has done for him…silencing the enemy.  The other day, he sang for about 15 minutes in the car…”God, I love you so much, you are everything…you carry me.”

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

This is our strong poet’s story.  A story of strength.  A story of dependance.  A story of trust…Lewis’ spirit reflects HIS image–a joyful, beautiful, sensitive spirit…full of praise…and so very strong.

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