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Guest Blogger :: Maddie Grace

My sweet Madeleine asked if she could share a portion of her story here. I was happy to oblige. I am so thankful and grateful for all that God is doing in her life.


Hi everyone!! I’m Maddie, and in 8th grade Bible this year, we were given the assignment to write milestone moment speeches. Basically what these are is you think of a time in your life where you felt God working in you. I shared my speech with the class and many people were inspired. I hope that my story can help inspire you as well. Hopefully it’s good 🙂

I’m just an average girl, I live with my mom and my stepdad and honestly, I’m extremely grateful that God has blessed me with such a great Christian family now, but life hasn’t always been easy.

Earlier in my life, I really struggled with the fact that my parents were getting divorced. I was really young at the time, about 3 years old, with a younger brother only a few months old. I don’t remember much, but in the midst of all the arguing and confusion, I do remember feeling really alone.

Things got even more complicated in 2008 when my dad remarried to a woman was abusive to my younger brother and me. I remember her telling me, you’re not beautiful, you’re not worth anything, and she told me I didn’t deserve anything special. Being only 8 years old, it really affected my self-confidence and I remember being in tears most of the nights I spent with my dad and stepmom. To make things more confusing, my dad NEVER took up for me, the man in my life who is supposed to tell me how beautiful and treasured I am, just stood there and let a woman ruin my confidence. But, one night I remember my mom sharing a verse with me that really encouraged me to not care about what the world says about me, but to know that I am God’s masterpiece, created in Christ to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

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My relationship with my dad is very damaged because of my stepmom’s influence. I honestly couldn’t trust him anymore, and I still have trouble trusting other people, even if they seem completely innocent. Somewhere in the middle of my broken relationship, I realized that what I needed was a strong relationship with God. I knew that in the book of Psalms it says to call on God and He will rescue me.

So in 2011, I really began to pray and read my Bible and figured out what it means to have a meaningful relationship with God. I especially began to pray that God would work things out with my dad.

In 2012, my dad and stepmom announced that they were getting a divorce. It took them 7 years to realize that their marriage wasn’t healthy. I saw them getting a divorced as an answer to prayer. I thought that maybe, a new, restored relationship with my dad would be made possible. But I was wrong. My dad has continued to make some very bad choices and he recently made a huge mistake that has again, affected my brother and me in a very negative way; but I will definitely keep praying that God will continue to teach me through these tough spots.

God is truly amazing. I’m so grateful that He is always there and I know now that even in the darkest points in life, I can fully trust him no matter what. I’m also very thankful that he gives me opportunities to share my story and show his unconditional love to others.

~Maddie Lewis

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But, God.

I am simply overwhelmed at the faithfulness of God. Undone. Blown away.

I was sitting at my piano tonight, just stringing together random chords — not playing anything in particular. I am so grateful for the gift of music that God has given us to use as an expression of our worship. Music is woven into story after story through out Scripture. The first mention of an instrument and musician is in Genesis 4. His name was Jubal.  I think that’s SO cool.

The past weekend was full of music. I was invited to play piano for a wedding. Play. And sing. Um, what’s that now? In front of people? Yes. In front of people. Sunday, there was worship. I played keys and sang (at the same time). What’s the big deal? I told people for years, “I play the piano, but not in front of people and not if I’m singing.” Sometimes, I still cannot believe that I do that very thing on a regular basis. But, God knew that I would.

I took lessons when I was younger. When we didn’t have a piano in our home I had to practice at church. I’d go over and practice for awhile. I didn’t like to practice at the church because I wasn’t supposed to turn on all the lights. It was kind of spooky. So, I quit piano lessons and didn’t play much after that for a very long time. There were days I would go over to the church and pull out a songbook, Lift Him Up: Volume 3, and pick through some worship songs. I couldn’t have imagined what God had in store. I did not fully understand what He was pouring into me; nor, did I understand that He was preparing me. Even then. Way back then.

It is remarkable to look back and see the God moments — and to recognize them. There were seasons of my life where there was no song. No music. No worship. Sometimes, even now, I find myself wondering if I’ve missed something. But, God.

But, God was working. He always knew where I was. He surrounded me with people whom He would use to speak life, speak encouragement, to teach and train.

I will never forget the moment I sang my very first song in church. I was young. And it was empty. I would sing along with a cassette tape in the microphone while my parents cleaned. I always picked the microphone with the blue foam cover (or windscreen, if you’re a tech geek). I don’t know if the microphone was on, but it did smell funny. (Now, I know that was the smell of spit!) I remember the moment I sang in front of people. “The sun will come out to-mor-row…” My momma made me do it.

I will never forget the moment that God confirmed the specific calling He had on my life for worship ministry. It’s in me. He put it there.

I will never forget the moment someone referred to me as a musician, a good musician. Wait. What? That’s not how I would describe myself. Sure, she was and is one of my dearest and most favorite friends. But, she has mad skills on the piano. When she said it, it meant something. I may have cried, and she may have poked fun at me. But, still. She spoke life, encouragement.

I will never forget the moment that I played piano while I sang — in front of people. It was my Mamaw’s funeral. I was petrified.

I remember the first time I led worship. I remember the first time I led worship from the piano. That was . . . well, I have no words.

I could go on. Moment after moment. Specifically and divinely designed moments because I am His, and He is mine. He is always, always working. And, He’s promised that He will equip me. And as I played tonight, He reminded me of this: He is for me. He will never leave me. He will never forsake me. He loves me.

But here’s the thing: He loves me because He is love. I have done nothing to earn or deserve His affections. He loved me before I sang my first note or played my first chord. He loved me before I was even born.

That always gets me. Every. time.

That’s why I sing.

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{Letters to My Daughter – No. 1}

Remember our first mom-daughter date. We put on nice dresses and went to a fancy restaurant. We talked. And laughed. I might have cried a tiny, little bit. We had fun being together.

You looked beautiful. Your sweet smile lights up the room. I love your smile.

Do you remember what we talked about? It’s been quite some time since our date. So, I want to remind you. We talked about being a girl who knows that she is God’s masterpiece. I reminded you that being this girl means that you make choices for yourself that reflect that very important truth. This girl knows who she belongs to. She cares about modesty and purity. She values good character and integrity.  She is the daughter of a King.

You are valuable and beautiful simply because you are YOU. You are created by the God of the universe, the Master Creator. You are unique. A masterpiece. That is what Scripture says, which means that what God says. About you!

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that and even harder to really believe it. There is so much pressure to look like everyone else and fit in. There are so many competing voices and ideas. It’s hard to make choices about some of the important things – like modesty and purity – without worrying about what all your friends will think. After all, we all want to belong. To be accepted. We were created with that basic desire (every single one of us). And you, my sweet girl, belong to God.  That is the truth. When it seems hard to make choices that reflect that truth, come talk to me. And, talk to Him. He hears you and sees you and is concerned with all the details of your life.

Let me also remind you that real beauty is not about what you wear or how you fix your hair. Please do comb your hair. And brush your teeth. And wear clean, stylish clothing. But always remember that there’s more to it than that. It begins with a heart that loves Jesus. It begins with believing what He says about you and carrying those truths with you into every moment of your day.

Remember who you are and who you belong to. Make choices that are wise. Be the girl God created you to be. Make those wise (sometimes really hard) choices even when you don’t feel like you are that girl. Then pray that God will help you really believe what He says about you.

You were created on purpose. For a purpose. You are highly favored. You are valuable. You are His masterpiece. Believe it. Live it.

I love you. So does He.

Remember that time when . . .

Every now and then, something will happen that reminds me that God is concerned with the details of my life. He is concerned with the details because He has a plan. And I know that The Lord will work out His plans for my life. . . (Psalm 138:8)

I love that. You, too?

Someone asked me not too long ago if I felt called to lead worship. At first, the question caught me off guard and it took me a moment to form words. On the inside, I wanted to jump up and down and scream, ‘Yes!! Of course!!’ But I was able to exercise a bit of self-restraint and answer the question with a simple “Yes!”.

[Sidebar: I just dumped my iPad over onto my wireless keyboard. Of course, it managed to “post” my draft…oops! And, I’m sorry if you received a link to a half-baked, unfinished post!]

I walked away from that conversation feeling encouraged because it seemed someone else recognized that God had a specific calling and plan for my life that involved worship. God always offers encouragement at just the right moment. I needed it that day.

So, I started thinking.  I’m writing this to serve as a memorial of one time in particular that God blew me away. A time when He reminded me that He was aware of and concerned with the details. A time when He reminded me (again) that He is working and has always been working.

He gave me a piano. A brand new (off the showroom floor), beautiful piano. Delivered, free of charge. I had a beautiful baby grand piano, but I was going to have to sell it. The baby grand was purchased used a few years earlier. I rarely played the piano during that season of life, but found comfort in knowing it was there. (Weird, right?) I was going through the painful process of divorce, downsizing from a giant house to a tiny house. Space was limited; the baby grand piano simply would not fit. I tried to figure out a way that I could use it as the kitchen table, but that just seemed like a bad idea. Besides, the kitchen was too small! I was sad.

I called and left a message with the piano dealer asking if they would be willing to broker a deal on my behalf or even take the piano back. When they called me back, I hesitated to answer. I simply did not want to talk about it in that moment. I answered anyway.

“Mrs. Lewis, we would be glad to help you sell the baby grand; but, first let me ask, would you be interested in a trade?”

I had no idea that was an option. Of course I was interested in a trade. I assumed I would get a much less expensive, much smaller piano. We talked a few minutes and arranged for pick-up of the old piano at my old address and delivery of the new piano to my new address. I had no idea what I was getting. The new piano showed up, and I thought there must be a mistake.

It was a brand new, full-size, professional grade, upright piano. Shiny. Beautiful. Perfect. Unbelievable! What’s the big deal, you may be wondering. This new piano was far more valuable when compared than the original value of the piano I traded in. So, if I had walked into the showroom to buy either piano (brand new) the baby grand would have been less expensive (at full cost). Am I making sense? It would be like taking a 10 year old car to the dealer and making an even trade for a brand new 2015 model, When does that happen!?

After the delivery guys left, I sat down at my beautiful, new piano – eyes full of tears, fingers fumbling across the shiny new keys – and was overwhelmed with gratitude. Even though I was too shy to play with people watching, i played for Him.

It would be years before I stepped onto a platform to play while people sat and listened. (Never mind playing and singing or playing and leading worship.) But He saw that moment well in advance. In His perfect faithfulness, He worked out the details like only He could. So, I played (and sang) at my mamaw’s funeral, in honor of her – but still, playing for Him.

Here’s the thing: Not only did He see that moment, He has seen every moment since. And, He’s working out His plans for my life.

I am so thankful that I belong to Him.

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1

To My Little (not-so-little anymore) Brother…

Yesterday was little brother’s birthday.

Sometimes I forget that we are grown-ups and not little kids running around in the yard or playing basketball in the church parking lot. Time flies.

I am sure I would have never earned the “Big Sister of the Year” award. I was most likely being bossy or sassy. On a good day, I was probably making you play some kind of game that you didn’t really want to play or curling your hair and dressing you up like a life-sized barbie doll. And, I laughed when dad plugged up the vacuum and gave you a bad haircut with the flowbe. (You have to admit, it was funny!) It’s a wonder you survived. You were a good little brother. And I know you thought I was cool – even if you won’t admit it in a million years. You still think I’m cool, right?

I joke about how I taught you everything you know and how you got all your coolness and wit from growing up with me. The truth is – I think you really are awesome.

You. Are. Awesome.

I am so glad that God picked me to your big sister. I’m so glad that we grew up to be friends. Sometimes, I wish you lived right around the corner so we could take our fabulous spouses and go on a double date. Or, we could get together and make music, just for fun. I wish my kids could spend more time with you and Auntie T. They would be crazy about you. Even more than they already are. But, it’s ok. Why? Because God is using you right where you are to do great things.

I love watching you do and be what God has intended for you to do and be. I admire your courage and your patient endurance. I admire your obedience.
I love watching you lead worship. Above all, I admire your love for Jesus. You are a beautiful picture of God’s grace – a masterpiece, a treasure.

We are celebrating you from across the miles. We are thankful for you. We love you. Happy birthday!

Don’t Forget to Remember

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of celebration. Let’s see – there is turkey, dressing, dumplins, and pumpkin pie. After we feast, we usually spend a bit of time flipping through the newspaper ads, pen in hand, marking our favorite things. Christmas is just around the corner, after all. We play games. We take naps. And, we remember.

I remember Tyler’s first Thanksgiving. He was 7 months old and the life of the party. He most likely had his hands in everyone’s plate getting his first taste of the delicious goodness that is Thanksgiving dinner. I remember the laughter. Lots of laughter.

I remember where I was standing when I received a phone call from the hospital just a few days later. I remember the heaviness in the room when I arrived there. It was suffocating. I remember being told, “He didn’t make it.” It was SIDS.

He. Didn’t. Make. It. The reality of that moment hit me in a way I cannot begin to explain.

I remember walking back to a different room. My eyes landed on my lifeless baby boy and pain pierced me to the very core. It would become a familiar pain. I wept while I begged God to “fix it.”

I remember walking away from that hospital without my baby. I can tell you it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

I remember losing a second child 15 months later. I remember my marriage falling apart. I remember being angry, confused, and feeling completely abandoned by God. The pain was relentless and I crumbled.

I also remember the moment I gave up and laid all the brokenness and pain at the feet of Jesus. I remember the moment He turned my mourning (YEARS of mourning) into joy.

And, I am so thankful.

I belong to a sovereign, perfect, faithful God. I am completely in awe of Him. He heals. He redeems. He restores. There is not one moment of my life when He has taken His eye off of me. (Or you!) He sees us. He loves us. Even in our darkest, most desperate moments. I know that now.

I know it.

So, don’t forget to remember. Remember who He is and what He has done. Remember the cross. Remember His lavish love and perfect grace. And in everything, give thanks…That can be a hard one to take in and live out until we remember Christ. Then suddenly even our most difficult moments pale in comparison to the pain and suffering He endured. For the glory of the Father and for us. 

Honor to Whom Honor is Due

This is my Dad.

Dad & Me

Today is his 60th birthday.  Woo-Hoo! Hooray! So, I am writing this one for him – to honor him and to remind him that he is loved beyond measure.

Dear Dad, you are one of my heroes. I am thankful that God picked me to be your daughter. I admire your strength and courage. I admire your perseverance. You have shown me what it means to love and care for others above yourself. Even those who may have hurt you or mistreated you. You have shown me how to be bold and courageous. I’m not speaking of a boldness that is brazen and arrogant or a courage that is proud. It’s a boldness and a courage that come from a place of humility. I’ve watched you make mistakes and get back up. I’ve watched you say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong” or “I need help.” You taught me that it is ok to be imperfect and that God’s grace is greater than all my weakness.

Thank you for raising me to understand who Jesus is and what He came to do. Thank you for loving Him and putting Him first in your life and teaching us to do the same. Thank you for teaching me the importance of worship and the power of prayer. I used to creep over to the church office to steal your ink pens and hear you praying, you know. Sometimes, I would hang back and listen, realizing that I had stumbled upon a holy moment. Sometimes I would run off determined to come back and steal an ink pen later. You had the best ink pens!

Thank you for teaching me how to laugh. Now, little brother and I are funnier than you. Thanks for teaching me how to shoot a basketball, grab a rebound, and pass a volleyball. Thank you for telling me to sing. To work hard. To write.  To love BIG.

Thank you for believing in me. For praying for me. For loving me unconditionally. For being my biggest fan. For having tough conversations with me. For speaking truth and wisdom into my life. And now, you do all those things for my husband and my children. We are blessed beyond measure to have you near.

We love you. We honor you. We celebrate you. We are so very grateful for all that you are. You are one cool-smooth-God-fearing dude. And we are all the better for it!

Happy 60th birthday, Dad.