WILLING VESSSEL

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Jennifer K. Lewis

 

“All Things Come Together For Your Good To Achieve My Purpose.”  Jeremiah 28:40

At first, when I moved into my condo, I just didn’t feel things were the most ideal in the world.  Devotion to my eighteen-year marriage had just been shredded and ripped-apart, my business had been forfeited to another, my ability to continue my passionate foster parenting with precious children had been relinquished.  I even lost Heidi, my beloved doggie.

However, as God had planned the precise timing of things.   My replica of the prayer of Jabez, (I Chronicles 4:10) was quietly answered as God had already enlarged my territory.

Many future days were devoted establishing and nurturing a close friendship with an older lady, Doris, in this building.   Doris is 90.  She’s shared with me how she had learned to drive in a model “A.”   We laughed as she recalled how hard it was to steer as there wasn’t any power-steering in those days.  She said, “as she listened to her instructor, Dad, the car bumped along and jostled them about as they had to teach her to drive in cornfield away from any traffic.”

Her teaching experiences were gained in a one-room schoolhouse.  Boy,  she has had some wonderful, funny, days.  She told of one youngster who liked to ‘bully’ the other students.  Her wisdom taught her to simply ‘ignore’ the boy and she said, “he straightened right up!”

A few days ago, Doris came to see me.  While we were visiting, she took note of some things in my curio cabinet.  She spotted this Red Apple I have saved as a memento from my college days.  (ironically, Doris is also a former schoolteacher.)  (usually, the student is giving an apple to the teacher.)  But, in my case, it was being manifested as another ‘backwards’ event my ‘lefty’ world

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My Red Apple has a hand-written message from one of my professors.   Professor Williams came to know me well because my schedule landed me in several of his classes.  (because of my diligence in prior achievements, he most likely had greater expectations of me.)   His message on the apple says: “ I’m so glad you came back to graduate 1st in your Marketing class!”  “You have made this an exciting and challenging year for your fellow students as well as for the faculty.”  “ Most of all, I want to say ‘thanks’ for the Superior Work!”  (I was in my early thirties when I graduated college.)

So why on earth did I share this with you?  (well, since you asked🙂  It’s never too late to accomplish a dream or your goals.  The ONLY requirement is that you BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!  NEVER QUIT!   If you give-up, or stop – who wins?   It sure isn’t going to be you!  On the flip-side, when you persevere, YOU can do anything.

POINT:  God can take ANY situation and turn it around for HIS Glory!  Your part is to be his ‘Willing Vessel.’  TRUST in him and know he has specific plans for you.  Even when you are in the muddy muck and mire and you can’t see a darn thing … HE CAN!

Multitudes can be impacted through your life IF you ‘choose’ to follow Him forever.

“Follow Me and I Will Make You Fishers of Men.”      Matthew 4:19

You CAN make a difference.

GO FISHING!!!

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Growing In  Christ,
Jen

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FREEDOM’S PRAYER

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Jennifer K. Lewis

 Psalm 35 ~ The Lord the Avenger of His People

                                                  1 Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me;                                                     Fight against those who Fight against me.
Take hold of Shield and Buckler,   And stand up for my help.

On uncharted soil, we stood together, we fought, we battled against the well-armed British, and we won.  Our fierce determination gained our religious independence and the right to claim and pioneer an uncontrolled territory.

“Let their way be Slippery and Dark, And let the Angel of the Lord pursue them.  Psalm 35:6

Upon establishing our freedom and thus gaining liberty to create our new homeland, our founding father’s gathered in a small building named Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, PA.

Some founding fathers present were U.S. Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison along with about, 90 other delegates.  Not only were many of the most prominent founders not conservative; they were also deeply divided among themselves.

The First Continental Congress, met briefly to sign our proclamation listing our rights and responsibilities in a document that was originally known as The Articles of Confederation; eventual ratified amendments superseded the Confederation and our law(s) of the land became known as The Constitution of The United States. 

Courageous defiance ultimately led our Continental Congress to convene in Philadelphia. And our first President, George Washington, offered 3-hours of prayer giving “Thanks” and asking for God’s continued direction and blessings in this newly established country and nation.

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Did you know that George Washington chose to base his supreme words on Biblical principles found in Psalm 35?   (Psalm 35 is known as being one of the more popular Psalms because of its expressed faith and trust in our Lord.)

                       “I humbled myself with fasting; and my Prayer would return to my own Heart.”  Psalm 35:13

IF our unassuming President felt it necessary to get on bended-knee and give “Thanks” to our creator, for his Psalm 35 ‘hand of protection’ during this American Revolutionary War, do you think we also need to continue in this faith?  Don’t we still need God’s divine guiding wisdom over our nation?

During this volatile election season, coupled with the onslaught of terror throughout our nations, as well as national, state, and local social unrest, we have a plenitude of valid reasons to follow George Washington’s unpretentious, symbolic act of reverence!

27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
28 M
y tongue shall speak of Your righteousness And praise all the day long.

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Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

 

Introducing Content Options: An Easy New Way to Make Visual Changes to Your Site

The WordPress.com Blog

We’re excited to announce a newly launched Customizer panel called Content Options.

The Content Options section gives you an easy way to make small visual modifications across your site—like hiding the post date or displaying an excerpt instead of a full post, with no custom CSS needed!

There are three main features for now:

  • Blog Display: choose between displaying the full content of each post or an excerpt on the blog and category, tag, and date archive pages. A “default” option is also available for themes that mix excerpts and full posts based on post format.
  • Author Bio: Hide the author bio on single posts.
  • Post Details: Show or hide the post date, tags, or categories.

You can see Content Options in action in this video:

Check out the full support documentation to learn more about how these new theme options work.

Not all the themes support all these features…

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SNOWBOUND SUNSHINE

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

It was Christmas morning of 1963.  It was bitterly c-o-l-d outdoors across the rolling hills of our majestic and peaceful Missouri countryside.

We had lived here for about ten years; but, we had never the seen such an intense snowstorm.  Over a period of ten-hours, we had received the most severe, white-out conditions we had ever experienced.

Daddy anxiously listened to the man on the radio,  “our local area had received nearly ten inches of slippery ice and hazardous deep snow.”  I remember how hard it was for Dad to walk two steps in this.

Our views from all directions – seemed to reveal no end to the extent of this blizzard or the storm’s unyielding magnitude.

From a child’s perspective, the best thing I got that year was a dolly I aptly named, Jill.  She was dressed in a bright red dress adorned with white lace, and like a tiny version of myself, she had thick, blonde, curly hair.  I still have my baby Jill.  Over the years, she has become rather tattered,  but I still remember how I cherished this baby-doll.

We had numerous funny, tender and compassionate caring times spent with many various needy animals and barnyard livestock.

One of the most vivid impressions that my brain captured, is that of Sunshine, our pet calf.  We nurtured that weak calf until she could, literally, stand on her own two legs.  Sunshine quickly took rich nourishment from our crudely fashioned nipple.

I remember, for a couple of days she seemed to be doing okay.  Then, all of a sudden, she took a turn for the worse.  Daddy shouted for us kids to help him get Sunshine in near the warmth of the oven.   The boys held her head in their diminutive arms and Daddy cradled her weakened, ravished body.  We kept kissing her and reassuring Sunshine “everything was going to be okay- she need not worry.”

Can you imagine this scene?  There we were, four little kids facing what we thought was the end of the world.  Our very own superman, Dad came to the rescue and convinced  us “we could nurse our pet back to health.”  Whatever happened ahead, we knew we were not going to give-up on Sunshine.  She needed us!

As time marched on, Sunshine became stronger and more and more active.  She stood-up and started walking-around in the house curiously checking things out.  Was this a good thing, or not?  As hopeful kids, we thought so.  However, it seemed rather questionable as Mom tried to create boundaries limiting where Sunshine could roam.

A couple of weeks had passed and Sunshine was well on her way to rejoining the rest of the herd.  She was jumping over furniture trying to find the nearest escape route.  I remember Mom yelling, “get that calf out of here!”  It was clear – it was time for her to go to her permanent home.

Since we lived so far off the beaten-path, we didn’t always call the vet.  We often chose to nurse animals of all kinds and hurting livestock back to wellness.

It is impossible for a child to see a sick animal,  or rejected animal and not take care of their prized possession.  Those kind of dejected livestock quickly won our compassionate Hearts and instantly managed to capture our time and attention.

On a more personal note, I vividly recall a little white lamb with brown markings rejected by her mom.  She was in dire need of being bottle-fed nutrient rich milk and I joyously answered her heartbreaking, cries.

As the smallest and weakest, my frail lamb was left behind.

When an animal got adopted into our family, one of the first things we did, was name the animal. Following protocol, I decided to name her.  It seemed fitting to me to name her Duckie.  “Why name her Duckie?”   Well, that is another story in itself.

My Mom had made me this cute white dress with rick-rack trim all around the ruffled skirt.  It was appliqued with an orange duck.  That dress was my favorite.  Mom even made stylish clothes for our fashionable Barbie, Midge, and Tammy dolls!

As soon as the school bus let us safely exit, I would run up the long drive to find Duckie  waiting.  Her little tail would be wagging so fast that I could hardly contain my giggles!    DUCKIE & JENNIFER

Duckie took to my glass Pepsi bottle rather hastily and soon she was well on the way to being able to be on her own.  That meant I would have to dismantle the temporary fenced-in area I had made for her as she could return to the larger barnyard grounds to join her unknown friends.

As usual, Mom was at hand with her trusty camera!  My treasured prize is a picture of me in my special duck dress bottle-feeding my sweet, little lamb, Duckie.

“Yes, our farm was our own glorious piece of Heaven! ”

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Growing In Christ,

Jen

 

My Heritage

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, are children born in one’s youth.
  Psalm 127:3-5

My Father came from a family of twelve active and busy children; and Mom was reared under gentle, yet firm-hands guiding eleven inquisitive kids!   (Daddy always jokes they had 2-umpires, nine-baseball players, (all boys) and 3-cheer-leaders.)

Grandpa Lewis and his nine boys performed their daily chores and labored every day into evening on their large dairy cattle farm.  Besides their massive herd of cattle, they raised many pigs, sheep, chickens, and maintained an abundant and fruitful garden.

My Grandpa Lewis left this earth before I was born.  Stories I have heard of my  G’ pa Lewis was that he was a very hard-worker, devoted to providing for his wife and twelve kids, and a very passionate man.

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However, I clearly remember spending many fun-filled days and over-night stays with my Grandma, Mary Jane.  Grandma valued church and sought to instill those Christian morals in her thirty-six grandchildren.  She used to walk around in her home humming and singing the old-fashioned hymns that are beloved by so many.

Dad’s mom ‘welcomed’ many folks to her table to share her mouth-watering home-cooking.  (back then, men that were transient workers offered their skills to make ‘repairs’ or finish some small ‘fix-it’ jobs.)  Most likely, these men would inquire of the locals as to “where they might get a good meal?”  Well, Grandma’s warm hospitality would answer their hungry call!

As for Mom, her Dad, my Grandpa Harry always put-out the largest garden that I have seen to this day.   (remember, Grandpa and Grandma had eleven kids to feed.)  

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

I recall that as soon as the onions were picked, Grandpa was replanting that area with some kind of brilliant annual flowers.   The once empty rows or ‘hills’ were replanted with some colorful annual flower.  Thus, G’ pa’s signature gardens always remained a dazzling montage of vibrant hues well into the fall.

(I remember once when I was a teenager, I asked my Grandma, “why did you have so many children?”  Her blushed, red-face, sheepish reply was, “well, Harry couldn’t help it!”   Just from the extreme RED of her face, I figured that I best not ask any further curious questions.)

Mom’s parents, became my Mom and Dad’s built-in baby-sitters.  Mom worked as an RN in pediatric nursing helping to deliver babies.  (since Mom’s mother, Virginia had raised her own eleven, I figure it was pretty-much a ‘no-brainer’ that Grandma could care for us four until Mom’s shift would mature.)

May I share this indelible, memory of my Grandpa Harry?  When one of us kids got into something, or did something ‘unapproved,’ we found ourselves beholding to G ’pa.

He used a bit of psychology in having the ‘culprit’ kid climb up one of his willows or maple trees to get a specific branch he spotted  so he could ‘whittle’ the branch into the shape of a ‘whip.’  Then, he could  inflict  his corporal punishment.   (Grandpa Harry was often seen sitting on his front-porch whittling the time away.)   (it must have been some sort of quiet therapy?!)

Anyway, we followed his grim command and came back to him meekly crying.  (just getting that branch was ALL the ‘punishment’ we needed!)  He never had to touch us – just the idea was torment enough!  Grandpa only held an eight-grade diploma.  But his wisdom was well-beyond any college degree.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “and now you know the rest of the story.”

Growing In Christ,

Jen

My Life FARMER

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.       Galatians 6:9

Proudly, I was raised on a hustle and bustle working farm sprawling a couple-hundred acres.  We had ten ponds on our farm and a wandering creek divided our land almost in half.  We were passed the life my parents had so well-known as they both had grown-up living similar traditions.  My parents and their parents embraced values of planting and harvesting crops and cultivating huge varieties of garden foods.  As four little Lewis kids, we were fortunate to learn valuable lessons from Mom and Dad and both sets of Grandparents.

As many of you who read this will also testify, the farm-life manages to keep you busy from before the sunrises until well-after sunset!  Our farm would easily be akin to those descriptive images.   Oh sure ~ there are plenty of fun-filled times to treasure as we compiled memories of yesteryear days.  If there weren’t any planned activities, when you put four inquisitive, inventive growing brains together in children, creative adventures are bound to be discovered.

Two little girls and two younger boys seemed to have no boundaries.  Our parents kept us heaped in what seemed endless ‘fix-it’ projects, and repair tasks.  But, as our ages dictated, they also spoiled us rotten with colorful bikes, all-terrain motorcycles and well-trained quarter horses, so we could easily traverse and crisscross our many acres.

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Children are a gift from the Lordthey are a reward from him.  Psalm 127:3

“Thank goodness for binoculars.”  Mom and Dad could stand on our Victorian front-porch and scout the land to, hopefully, spot their kids.    Think of turning loose four rambunctious young kids over two-hundred acres of investigative beckoning, land, it’s hard-telling where your youngsters may have landed.  Furthermore, it’s common knowledge that when things get ‘quiet’ you better find-out where your kids are and what they may be up to.

Often, our Mom would go to town to buy groceries and other staples we needed.  Typically, Mom would forego her own needs, and selflessly purchase for her children.  She liked to surprise us with a spiffy new outfit or the newest in shoes.  One of her inquisitive little kids would often ask of Mom “where did you get this?’  Mom’s witty and funny answer would always be, “at the ‘gettin place.”

And, as the warming sun rays and the spring rains permitted, Daddy would plant the corn and beans and walk through lengthy fields as he sowed oats.    Our father toiled long, hard days well into evening clearing the land of rocks that seemed to just keep multiplying and growing and out of thin-air.  Arduously, Dad methodically planted and as the unpredictable weather dictated, maybe Dad had to replant crops.  ALL FOR HIS WIFE AND FOUR CHILDREN!!

All summer, our superman, and hero Dad would walk down the rows cutting-down weeds and clearing paths for his combine to straddle the rows for harvest in fall.   (his only request was a Pepsi now and then.)  Then, we all Prayed to be blessed with bountiful harvest

The coziness of winter would creep-in with a kind of ragged sigh of relief.   We girls liked to create to artfully designed snow-angels and the boys would build the most elaborate snow-forts in the fresh white blankets.  On days we were stuck inside, we frequently played monopoly or put 1000-piece puzzles together, after shoveling snow from our long driveway.  (those Big complex puzzles were our Dad’s brilliant idea to keep us busy!  He picked the hardest ones for us to assemble.  Thanks a lot ~ Dad!)

In search of the ‘perfect’ Christmas tree, our vast woods would surely offer just the right sacrifice.   Then, before we knew it, here came spring again.  With God at the helm, we got to start all over again.  Ours was a unique and treasured life.  Indeed, the life, fun, and work of a Farmer is never-ending, but it is also a rich inheritance.  I cherish those days and the tender memories we all made together growing and investing in our beautiful farm!

Oh; but if I could turn back time …               

 … then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.                                                                                                                                                          Leviticus 26:4

Growing In Christ,

Jen

 

LEGACY

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

LEGACY

“He cuts-off every branch in me that bears no fruit, While he prunes every Branch That Does Bear Fruit So That Will Become even more Fruitful.”          John  15:2

What Legacy do you want to leave?  Once in a while in the course of our ‘normal’ busy lives, we need to STOP to consider what we stand for and what we are giving back to society.   Today, I am taking time to reflect on the meaning of my life and I am asking you to Please do the same.

Several years ago, I found myself surrounded by confused, apprehensive, yet smiling little faces.  I had chosen to pursue the ever-changing world of Foster parenting.    At first, I thought this venture would be like a sort of hand-up and a help to the many children I came to adore.  However, the blessings I first thought would be theirs to cherish became mine to hold and keep forever!

Jesus reminds us in John 12-13: “Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no One than this, that he lay down his life for his Friends.”

Usually, when a person reflects on these words, one might conjure-up some image of a warrior gallantly fighting in some horrific battle-zone, or hearing about some average, run-of-the-mill Joe rushing-in to save another person’s life just in the nick-of-time.  Those were the stereotypical thoughts that first came to my mind, until I had the pleasure of hosting my thirty-one Foster children.

As my aging father, has recently reminded me, “Jen, in the end, it’s what you give away that truly matters.”

Deep in reflective thought, I analyzed Daddy’s meaningful words.  I also allowed my memory antennae to wander back to those exhilarating, happy days we shared in Foster care.  In doing so, I quickly surmised that it is no wonder why the memories of those eventful years provided so much warmth and even tears of joy to this day!  It is also an important part of Jesus’s command to “love each other as I have loved you” ~ I had done just that in giving unconditional love and supportive nurturing to those precious, children.

If your ‘passion’ is working with our youth, you may be well-gratified working within your church.  Do you enjoy assisting another person?   You might think about a rewarding unpaid assistant position with your local hospital.   Maybe you would rather offer your specific skills to a growing business.

Again, it’s all about Giving!  (it’s kind of like a boom-a-rang ~ good things just seem to keep coming back your way when you forego self and think of another.)    When we find our niche ~ we find ourselves and live for others.

      “Let me be Satisfied with your Favor and filled with your Blessing.”                                                                                          Deuteronomy 33:23

       “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”                                                                                                                     Romans 12:10

What are your values?  What are you teaching your Children? How you live each day will determine what you really want remembered about your days on this earth. Is your Legacy worth dying for?

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

“THE ELDERLY GENTLEMAN”

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by Jennifer Kay Lewis

7-4-2016 ~ The Elderly Gentleman

Several months ago, I was most blessed and fortunate to secure a volunteer position with a large local hospital.

Recently, I was enjoying regular daily events as duties were fairly ‘routine’, that is for most of the day.  Then, an elderly man came up to our station.

In a few short-minutes, my ‘routine duties’ were unpredictably changed; and, little did I know just how welcome the change was to become.  A tall, thin, elderly gentleman seemed barely able to walk over to our work area.  He asked, “can anyone help me to my car?

“I think maybe I need a wheel-chair!”

I quickly volunteered to help the older gentleman, as waves of compassion quickly flooded my tender heart.  (it was plainly obvious he needed me; and as it ended, I needed him too!)

He said, “I think I can make it to that chair over there. (I wondered ~ in his dignified manner, was he trying to maintain his ‘pride’?)

I helped him get safely seated and off we strolled to the parking garage.  He informed me, “it’s a quite a piece down there little lady … are you sure you want to do this?”  I assured him, “it’s no trouble and that he shouldn’t think twice about my ‘choice’ to help him as I was most Happy to assist.”

We had gone about half of the distance through the long, concrete, parking garage, and he INSISTED he could probably “make it the rest of the way.”  (silently, to myself, I was thankful it was an inside, covered garage.)

Then, he exclaimed, “there it is ~ it’s that old white truck with the blue tailgate!”

For his safety, I maneuvered the wheelchair right up to his door so all he would need do was to stand and scoot himself into his truck.  He lifted himself up and got in his vehicle.

As I turned to quietly walk away, he said, “I KNOW this wasn’t in your job description … so I’m certain you didn’t need to do this; but, I just want to say, “GOD BLESS YOU LITTLE LADY!”

He had tears welling-up in his eyes as I left to go back to my station.  (me too)

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In purposely “offering” to do this assignment, I had visions of my own elderly Father, of eighty-seven.  I sure hope and pray someone would come to Daddy’s aid if and when he might also need the support and assistance.

Although it was “quite a piece” as he put it – our walk that day, was the best, longest walk I have ever enjoyed!

Growing In Christ,

Jennifer

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

 

The most important lesson Christ left for us to shadow and reflect is his ‘Perfect’ Love.  Love each other as Jesus commanded.  Do you want your little ‘corner’ of the  block to be at peace?  What can you do to improve relations with your family and friends?

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A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”.  John 13:34-35 New King James Version 

 

Imagine a world where we actually knew our next-door neighbor.  What if we went-one further and actually helped our neighbor.  Wouldn’t it awesome if  everybody spoke to one-another in earnest love expressing compassion and care?

Doesn’t it seem all to surreal?  But what can you do, right?  Isn’t this what you are thinking?

Could you be a friend just like the kind friend you want to meet?


BE THE ANSWER

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Jennifer Kay Lewis

BE THE ANSWER

5-30-2016

 

Time is just t-o-o unpredictable! Things happen ~ and Life, as we SHOULD HAVE KNOWN IT can be snuffed-out in a second!! Should you nurture and hold tight to your grudges? Or, should you humble yourself and ask God to help you FORGIVE? It’s YOUR ‘CHOICE!!!’

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     Image by:  Christina Van den Bossche  ·

 My Prayer:
“Lord, help me!  Lead me in my Life so I can become more and more like you.”  “Let your Bright-light shine through me so I can be used as your vessel.”   “God teach me to truly submit myself and get on my knees in Obedience and devotion to your wise instruction(s) .”
Fill me up Lord!!”
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Growing In Christ,
Jen Lewis