Two women who have spent time in hellatious fires of life.
Two women who came out of those searing fires as pure gold.
Two refined, extraordinarily beautiful women.
Two women who reflect the face of Jesus.
Two women who don’t even smell like smoke.
These are the two women to whom “Refined” is being dedicated.
Debby Matthews Edwards and Cady Morgan Kendall Lewis.
May I tell you their stories?
Cady Morgan Kendall Lewis
Cady was my daughter, Joy’s, freshman roommate at college. Joy and Cady were more than roomies. They were kindred spirits ... passionate about life ... filled with the joy of youth ... and sisters to the core. Their room became command central for prayer meetings, wardrobe exchanges, chick flick parties and encouraging conversations.
Cady, a pastoral care major, was the intern for Just Joy! Ministries during the summer before her senior year in college. She was the sunshine of all of our days. She discipled the young women under her watch ... kept my kitchen clean ... dreamed big dreams for the ministry ... and taught us all the power of laughter. I remember that Cady was so thirsty for the Word of God ... she would gulp in every piece of wisdom, vision and encouragement that I spoke into her life.
Cady began to fall in love that summer with a young man who was in Africa on an extreme missions trip.
I’ll never forget the night that the second floor of our family home exploded in glass-shattering screams. When I ran up the stairs to make sure that everyone was safe, my youngest daughter, Joni, informed me that Jordan Lewis had just returned from his missions trip and that he had texted Cady! The friendship between Cady and Jordan had begun and before long it had blossomed into romance.
There was just one roadblock.
Jordan was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer before they went back to school for their senior year. He endured surgeries and dangerous chemotherapy. The doctor’s said that he might be blind or brain-damaged. He was neither ... he was strong and healed and triumphant!
Jordan returned to college for his final semester of college. Jordan and Cady were named Homecoming King and Queen and continued to serve God with an enthusiasm that touched everyone’s heart.
Jordan was in the process of buying an engagement ring in the spring of 2013 when the aggressive, angry cancer returned with a vengeance.
Without even pausing, Cady looked into Jordan’s face and said, “Let’s get married!”
Only 3 weeks after the second diagnosis, Cady Morgan Kendall became Cady Morgan Lewis at a wedding that was so lovely ... so enchanting ... and so miraculous that it was truly the stuff of which fairy tales are made!
Surrounded by family from around the world ... friends from college ... and a team of prayer warriors that makes hell shake ... Jordan and Cady promised to love each other and care for each other “ ... in sickness and in health.”
We all had the sense that we were watching a miracle in the making. We all knew that this was no ordinary wedding but that God was truly present on the red, Oklahoma soil. I wondered if we should all take off our shoes ... it seemed as if we were on holy ground for that singular moment in time.
I was reminded while at Cady and Jordan’s wedding, that the first miracle that Jesus ever performed was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. I asked God, with tears running down my cheeks, to perform another miracle at this wedding in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
I asked God to heal this dynamic, world-changing young man.
I asked God to give Cady more joy than is possible for one human to contain.
I asked God to give them children and grandchildren.
I asked God to let them get false teeth, social security payments and rocking chairs together.
When Cady and Jordan were married on June 29, 2013, Cady knew exactly what she was getting into. Cady heard everything that the doctors had to say and married Jordan anyway.
Jordan Alexander Lewis walked into heaven on March 20, 2014 … just 9 days short of his 9 month wedding anniversary. Jordan’s healing is complete and he now lives and breathes in the presence of Jesus! Imagine that!!
As I watched this couple valiantly stand in faith, hope and love over their short marriage, this is what I have learned from 2 young people, who although decades younger than I am, possess a wisdom and strength far deeper than anything I have ever tapped into.
1 – I have learned what true love looks like. I have learned that true love is not found in Valentine gifts, honeymoons and diamond rings. True love is found in the ICU, in choosing to sing rather than cry and in listening to what the doctors have to say but in believing for life anyway. Cady’s commitment to Jordan’s life and to his healing are what true love looks like. Cady loved her man deeply, passionately and thoroughly. She had the resolve and strength to love when others would have given up. I want to love like Cady Lewis has loved. True love will always look exactly like Jordan and Cady Lewis to me.
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
2 – I have learned how to stand in faith. Cady and Jordan possessed a gargantuan faith that was never threatened by worst-case scenarios, the grim diagnosis of medical experts or the severe symptoms that Jordan endured. They continued to believe for a miracle healing until Jordan took his last breath this side of heaven. Jordan had more faith in his little finger than most of us stir up over a lifetime. Whenever I need to stand in faith for a miracle again, I will remember the faith of Cady and Jordan Lewis.
3 – I have learned how to continue to trust in God’s goodness when my prayers don’t receive the answer I so desperately desired. My faith is absolutely not shaken in a God Who is always good even though Jordan now dances in the presence of Jesus and not on earth with his young and beautiful wife. I love Him even when His answer does not line up with my deepest desires. You see, I don’t believe that God said “No” to our fervent prayers for Jordan’s healing … I believe that God said, “I will heal him forever and ever!”
Cady Morgan Kendall Lewis is pure gold in my book. She is a young woman who has been refined by the fires of life and who lives to reflect the face of her Savior.
Cady … you are extraordinary in every way. Your life is a miracle in the making. You are my hero!
It is an honor to dedicate my new book,
“Refined … Finding Joy In the Fires of Life!”
Cady Morgan Kendall Lewis
Debby Matthews Edwards