Sometimes we think we have life all figured out, until life’s journey takes a surprising turn from what we expected. During a Christian Women in Leadership Luncheon in February, Lynette Lewis, author of Climbing the Ladder in Stilettos and How to Hold Out, Hang On and Marry the Man of Your Dreams shared how God has fulfilled her dreams in unexpected ways and on His own time schedule.
While attending Oral Roberts University, Lewis always assumed she’d meet her future husband some time during her senior year, they’d fall in love, graduate together and marry a year or two later to begin having a family: one boy and two girls. As her friends began to marry and have kids, Lewis said, “I found myself celebrating everyone else living my dream.”
She began to wonder about the words in James 1:4, that declare say that we can be complete, lacking nothing.
“I knew God to be faithful, but how do I define completeness when my dreams are not being realized? I didn’t want to just say something that I didn’t truly believe about God,” she said.
A dream career
While she was waiting, Lynette poured herself into her career. Lewis said, “I was determined not be a desperado.” After working for 10 years at Oral Roberts University, she pursued her dream job at Deloitte and Touche in Tulsa and eventually transferred to their New York City office.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Lewis had been forced to move her regularly scheduled marketing meeting to a location in Hartford, Conn., because there were no rooms available in the in the Financial Building next to the World Trade Center where they had previously met. By the hand of God, her team had been removed from the disaster that struck there.
An unexpected answer
Three days later a team came into the city to plant a church in a theater in Time Square. They called it Miracle on 44th Street, and the pastor had raised $17,000 to run ads in a major Christian magazine with hopes that they would get at least 50 people in New York. Lynette was the only one who responded to the ad, and it was there, amidst the smoke from the World Trade Center disaster, that she met her husband, Ron Lewis, a divorced minister with four kids. The 9/11 attack, as tragic as it was, brought them together. And at 42 years old, she finally found the love of her life and suddenly became stepmother to four boys ages 12 to 20.
Dreaming of babies
Hoping to realize another dream, Lynette and her husband wanted to have their own baby. So at 45, Lynette became pregnant but lost the baby two months later only to discover after infertility testing and surgeries that she would not be able to bear children.
“For months to come, it was so hard. There were so many days when I thought, I just can’t get out of bed,” said Lewis.
“It was about this time that child sex trafficking started burdening me,” she said. After she committed to fast and pray, Lewis started an organization called Stop Child Trafficking Now and for four years it became her 8 p.m. to midnight job. “It came in a sense as an offering in my grief,” said Lewis. Their key fundraiser was a “Stilettos Run” in the heart of New York City.
Yet one morning during her devotional time, Lynette said she felt God told her she would have twin girls: Victoria Joy and Isabella Grace. She wrote the promise in her journal and continued to dream. Over the years her friends supported her dream with gifts of baby items, including two Christmas bibs she had tucked away.
“Women are made to birth things,” said Lewis. “We carry in our heart and soul the very heart of God.” But to Lewis this twin thing became a mystery. “I felt crazy and wondered, why can’t I move on?”
A difficult journey
That summer their third son, Jordan Lewis, a junior at Oral Roberts University, went on a missions trip in Tanzania, Africa. Over the summer he had 21 nose bleeds. Though he had been prone to these, he visited the doctor when he returned and on the day before his 21st birthday, Jordan was diagnosed with stage 4 sinus cancer. He had a tumor the size of a fist wrapped around the optic nerves between his beautiful blue eyes. They were only able to remove 80 percent of the tumor, and Jordan endured 71 rounds of radiation. He stayed in school completing online course work when he was so sick. But five months later Jordan was miraculously declared cancer free and retained his 20/20 vision, which Lewis said was a miracle.
Back in school in January, Jordan received the Overcomer of the Year Award, was crowned homecoming king, graduated on time and began a great job at a bank. The morning that he went with his father to purchase an engagement ring for the girl of his dreams, Jordan had a routine doctor’s appointment and discovered the cancer had returned. This time it was in his lungs, lymphatic system and sinuses. Jordan’s fiance, Cady, responded with faith saying, “Let’s get married quickly so we can fight this thing.” And they married a month later.
“I pictured King David and his mighty men sitting by the fire resting after the battle when an ensign comes up and announces, ‘The Philistines are back!’ They are out of strength, but they get up and fight,” said Lewis.
A glimmer of hope
In the midst of this second battle, Lynette received a phone call from a friend who told her of a pregnant young woman who thought she was having a boy and had placed him for adoption but had recently discovered she was actually carrying twin girls. Although it was a long shot, she suggested they put paperwork in to be considered. “Now I understood how Sarah could laugh at the news that she would have a child in her old age. I was finally at peace to move on and had put the baby things in boxes for a garage sale,” Lewis said. Hesitant to get her hopes up, they told no one.
Then on Christmas Eve, they received a call from the birth mother announcing, “I’ve decided to pick you.” Unexpectedly, the babies arrived early on Christmas morning, born just outside Bethlehem, New York. Retrieving the baby items tucked away in the garage, they wrapped them up and gave them to their boys on Christmas morning as a way to announce the news that they would have twin sisters. The emotional video tape of this moment was posted online and went viral with over a million views.
Your story, My glory
After learning that she was unable to bear children, Lynette said she felt God told her, “Lynette, your story, My Glory.” And at the time she responded, “God I want your glory, but not this story.” Now she understood. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). And when Jesus’ disciples asked him why a man was blind from birth, Jesus replied, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him” (John 9:3). God was displaying his glory.
“When the babies were three months old, Jordan went to be with the Lord,” said Lynette, “And God knew we would need Grace and Joy.” They learned that the birth mother had a brother who had been her hero, and she had selected their family because the twins would have big brothers. The birth mother wrote them a note that read, “It was my great privilege to carry your children.”
On the twins’ birth announcement card Lynette generously distributes to everyone she meets is printed Habakkuk 2:3 “For the vision is yet for an appointed time. It hastens to fulfillment and will not disappoint. Though it tarries, wait for it, for it will surely come. It will not be behind on its appointed day.”
Lynette Lewis has been inspiring women on the topics of vision and purpose for over twenty years. For more information on her books and speaking engagements or to view the video announcement that went viral, visit www.LynetteLewis.com