A New Decade Begins

I am heading into a new decade today with an overwhelmingly grateful heart.

My twenties went nothing like I had planned. I’m so thankful that God’s plan is so much greater than I ever could have imagined.

When I think of my twenties, I first think of graduating from Baylor College of Dentistry and becoming a dental hygienist- my dream career! I then think of marrying the greatest man I know at 24 years old.

A lot of my late twenties I think of struggle and heartbreak. I think of sickness and trying to figure out our “new normal” and being an organ transplant recipient.

I think of a husband and family and friends who literally walked hand and hand with me through the darkest hours of my life.

Many dreams didn’t come true in my twenties. I could no longer travel to Africa safely. I didn’t get to start a family with my precious husband.

However, when I look back through the hard times of that decade, the most incredible gift that I was given in my twenties was the gift of life!

I will forever be grateful for the gift of life so selflessly granted to me by Courtney Ray Sterling and the grace of God. It truly makes me weep that I get to celebrate another year of life because of the gift of organ donation!
I pray I have made Courtney & God proud these last four years with the extra time they have given me on this Earth!

Two weeks ago, I faced another surgery. A complex cyst on my ovary lead to removal of the cyst and my ovary. I was absolutely dreading another surgery (6 major surgeries since I was 25 & many skin cancer removals in there too). Needless to say, it was dreadful for me. God spared me from ovarian cancer and I am so thankful for that.

I was able to go back to work this past Tuesday and I was overwhelmed by the fact that I GET to work! God provided me the strength to be healthy enough to get up, get ready for the day, to drive, and to work! THAT is a gift. We so often take for granted our everyday mundane days. I hate that sometimes it takes that gift being taken away for a while to remind us of the everyday provision that the Lord grants us!

“The soul knows a glory that the body cannot rob. In some ways, in some cases, the more the body revolts, the more the soul shines through.” -John Ortberg

I LOVED this quote. I cannot control my body and the many ways I feel like it has failed me and taken so much from me. But, the more it has and the more suffering I’ve endured, the joy of the Lord truly being my strength can shine through. I grow closer to Him, I desire and seek Him greater, I hear from Him, He teaches me… teaching me more recently that pain is a gift from Him.

This is the lane that God has me in. I desire to stay focused on my lane… running the race He has prepared just for me. I do not want anyone else’s story… I want HIS story for my life!

God, as I head into my 30’s, I will look back seeing you are faithful. I will look forward knowing you are able!

I am expectant of what my 30’s and this new decade will hold. I have dreams of becoming a Mommy through adoption and dreams of no more procedures and surgeries, & complete health with my organ transplant.

Dreams are good. But what I have learned is that EVEN IF none of these dreams are fulfilled, my God is still a GOOD, GOOD GOD!

My situations may change, but my God does not. He is sovereign. He is not surprised by the trials I will face or what joys and dreams will be granted to me.

I pray today that through whatever you may be walking through, that you will truly find JOY and your strength in God alone.

Cheers to the gift of life & starting a new decade today!

Celebrating 30 Years

February 24 is always a special day. February 24, 2018 is special with Reid celebrating a milestone birthday…the Big 3-0!

Today, I wanted to take a moment to thank my husband for the man that he is.

I am so grateful for another year of living not-the-life-we-thought or imagined but still-the-life-we-love and getting to share it with you all!

Reid is a man of God. He lives out the gospel daily, especially in our home.

We always say dating for 7 years before we got married laid a beautiful foundation for what the Lord had in store for us.

Going into marriage, we had so many dreams. Dreams of having our own biological children, continuing mission trips to Africa together, and the dream of adoption at some point in time.

God’s plan looked different than ours. At 25 years old, Reid would walk through nearly losing his wife, a liver transplant saving her life, finding out I would not be able to safely travel to Africa with him any longer, that our dream of having our own biological children would not be a reality, having an ill wife to care for, and learning to live a “new normal” at such a young age.

As an incredibly young and new husband, Reid stepped into the role that God had prepared him for. He loved and served his bride as Christ loves the Church.

At 25 years old, he put my every need ahead of his own. He cared for me in ways that he should not have had to do until we were in our 70’s.

There has not been ONE day that he has ever made me feel guilty for the new life we have. He continues to serve and care for me day in and day out and makes my health a priority. He is grateful for each extra day we have. He has encouraged me to use our story and glorify God with every single detail of it. He has embraced each change so compassionately.

Two weeks ago, we had my four year liver transplant follow-up at Baylor and were overwhelmed with God’s goodness. We received an amazing report. Courtney’s liver is still pristine, my kidneys looked the best they have in four years, and I am overall feeling well. My medicines are treating me well for the most part. My health will be a forever-life-long journey of monitoring levels, etc. and taking anti-rejection medications and other medicine, but, together, Reid and I have created a system that works for us…keeping up with everything and walking hand in hand and I would not want to travel this journey with anyone but him.

He serves others on a daily basis as well. Ensuring that the small group he leads at Church consisting of sixth grade boys will come to know the Lord. Each day at school, he is constantly pouring into his students and athletes. His hearts desire is that they would grow to be women and men of character and integrity. He leads by example. He is a witness, often times without even having to say a word.

I cannot wait to see him as a Daddy through adoption. He is an outstanding Uncle and I know he will embrace Fatherhood boldly…relying on God to equip him each step of the way.

His life radiates the glory of God!

I am blessed to call him my husband and I am thankful that God has given him 30 years of life!

Thank YOU all for supporting, encouraging, speaking life and truth into us, and being our prayer warriors through every step of our journey!!! We are forever grateful!

Reid- thank you for being obedient and walking steadfast with the Lord daily. Thank you for loving the Lord more than you love me. Thank you for leading us well.

I am SO expectant for the next 30 years with you. I pray we continue to walk in obedience and embrace every journey and opportunity the Lord sets before us!
I don’t want to pursue comfort with you, I want to pursue Jesus with you!

All my love,
Lisa