Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Happy Birthday To My Forever Bofriend!

The saying "love is blind" is ridiculous.  Love sees deeper than the outside appearance.  My man's outside appearance is pretty great to look at and to love, but what I see is better than anything I could ever see with eyes, I see the heart of my man.  I get to see deeper and know more about this man than anyone else on this earth, and what I see is a strong faithful man that has a strong faithful heart that has been transformed by the LOVE of Christ.  Every year that goes by, God opens the eyes of his heart wider to see clearer and love truer.

 It's been a weird year for our family and we haven't seen a whole lot of Charlie.  He has been away from us about 90% of the time.  During this year apart, I have learned more about the heart of my man than all the years before.  I have seen him endure hard times, and do hard things throughout our 30 years together, but this year he has shown up, working 1000 miles away, with more sacrificial love than I thought was possible.

Charlie lives and loves selflessly, generously, and works tirelessly.  He loves sacrificially, he is a defender and a provider.  Charlie loves and cares for many close to him and around the world.

Charlie is a builder by trade.  He can build anything and everything. Everything  he builds is built to last. He builds strong and beautiful.  We don't have a house to call our own right now, and it seems a little (or a lot) strange, but I know my man is building something for this family that will last for eternity.  I trust the work God is doing in and thru this man of mine.

Most guys his age, in this business are slowing down a bit, getting a little more comfortable, maybe relying on the lifetime career and experience they have built up over the years to give them some security and a bit of a cushion. Not my man, he is still hard at it.  I guess you could say according to the world, Charlie has been foolish and made some pretty costly decisions, but according to the Bible, he has been a Kingdom builder, building on a sure foundation that will last forever.

Hebrews 3:4 New Living Translation (NLT)
For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.
 I pray we do get to live in a house that Charlie builds for us again someday, but even if we don't, I know he has been building and investing for this family into a Kingdom that is amazing and forever.

Luke 14:27-2927 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.28 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? 29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

Throughout his 56 years,  Charlie has been given a lot of talent and had many ambitions, and he has the  mind and body to bring it all together to great success, but every time he gets the chance to do something great for himself, he gives it away, he lays it down, he steps aside. His heart overrides his bright mind and his strong body and he lives for the LOVE that costs him everything.

If Charlie never builds another thing on this earth or if he gets the opportunity to build his biggest and best project yet....the work he has done and continues to do will survive.  God has done a work in my man's heart and it is a lifetime project being worked by the Master Builder.  The "project" can get a little messy sometimes (mostly by me), but I see what God is building and I love what I see.

1 Corinthians 3:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.

I don't know about you, but I see lots of rewards surrounding this man already!

I have looked over the last year of pictures and all I see is a man serving his family and loving them well. I see a man that loves Jesus and will travel the world to learn more about Him.  I see a man that is smart and strong and humble.  I see a man that gives everything he has ever been given to benefit others!  
Love is not blind!
                       I see you Bofriend and I know Jesus sees you too!
 Happy Birthday!
 Keep building!  Keep up the good and important work that lasts forever!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!!! Part 3 of 3.

It was on a Tuesday, July 9, at around 12:40pm, and we had only been on the road for less than 3 hours when things got CRAZY!!!  We literally got MIXED UP in a high-speed chase!!

We were happily traveling along in our rented 2019 Tahoe, with the music playing and just rolling along the Interstate.

We saw a car that looked exactly like the one we were driving, race by us driving reckless.  Mik and I were commenting on how this person was driving so crazy.  We watched them as they sped by us and they went to pass 2 semi-trucks that were both in the right-hand lane of a 2 lane interstate, just as the semi that was in the rear went into the left lane beside the first semi and blocked out the car.  We watched as the car tried to get thru and then zipped over to the far right and passed on the right-hand shoulder of the road.  It was raining and it was happening as we were all climbing a hill and as the car passed on the shoulder, they all dropped down on the other side of the hill, and the spray coming off of the semi-trucks tires made it impossible to see anything.  I commented to Mik that whatever was going on was not going to end well.  I was still shaking my head about what I just saw, and I looked in my mirror and there were lights - flashing lights - a bunch of them!

I went to pull over, but mostly just thinking I would slow down and get out of their way and let them by because they were coming FAST and looked to be in hot pursuit.  As I slowed down; I realized they slowed down too, ...I said, " OH @#*&$, they are pulling ME over!!" I  came to a stop I was rolling my window down at the same time, getting ready to find out WHAT I was getting pulled over for.  The lead police car went a little by us... threw his car in reverse and stopped it at an angle just off my left shoulder IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSTATE and pulled his gun out.  He was in firing position behind his car yelling - PUT YOUR HANDS UP!!!

I went into complete panic mode!   I couldn't make sense of what was happening.  The radio was playing worship music, and I was being yelled at to put my hands up.  There were 3 more police cars surrounding us,  with 3 of the officers out of their cars with their guns out and pointed at us.  One was pointed at me and the other 2 at the kids from behind the car.  Everything seemed so loud and fast and dangerous and out of control!!!  All I wanted to do was get out of that death trap!  I had my hands up, as did all the kids (including Cellie, the 4 year old) and I would move from hands up and looking at the police who was yelling at me, to  turning my head and yelling to the kids in the back to get their hands up, to taking my left hand down and desperately feeling for the door handle.  I had to get out and away from that car and get those guns off of us.  Since it was a rented hand could not find that door handle in all my panic. 

Mik was in the passenger seat in the front, with his hands up, and he says in the calmest and clearest tone I've ever heard come out of his mouth, "They think it's us."  That's all he had to say for it to ALL come together in my swirling brain!!!  I started frantically waving and pointing ahead of us, and yelling, "It's not us - they went that way."

The police heard me and came to the same realization at the same time (they later explained) and they got back in their cars and sped away.  We sat there stunned. We were sitting in disbelief..... By the time they got back in their cars and sped away, which was probably seconds and felt like an hour, there were at least 9 police vehicles in the chase with lights flashing!  Nobody stopped to explain to us what was going on.

We finally pulled ourselves together to get back on the road and within a minute you could see the car coming the other direction with the line of police chasing behind.  The car had taken the opportunity when the police were occupied with us, and they had crossed the median and tried to sneak by.  It didn't work, the police were hot on their trail. 

Charlie called the police from that county that night to get some answers as to what in the world was going on that had his family pulled over and guns were drawn.

They called him back the next morning and they also called me after they talked to Charlie.  They were so nice and explained exactly what happened and were sincerely apologetic.  They were chasing the car that looked like ours since Billings and once they had crossed state lines, they had to leave it to Wyoming to pursue the car and they caught sight of the car about the time we saw it and they lost sight of it when they passed the semis.  It really was the perfect storm, and we could totally understand how it happened.  They also sent a very nice and professional letter of apology and explanation.  The police were already looking for how to get ahold of us when Charlie called them first; they wanted to contact us, apologize and make sure we were ok.  They ended up getting the car stopped with a spike strip.  The officer that I spoke with said hindsight is 20/20 and someone should have stayed back after they pulled us over to explain what was going on and make sure everyone was ok.  If anyone understands ADRENALINE and HINDSIGHT these's I totally understand!

The car they were chasing looked just like ours and was a rented vehicle driven by a woman and it had Colorado plates....our plates were Colorado also.

***I spent a lot of the rest of the drive replaying the events that took place and asking the Lord to show me what I couldn't see, help me to see what is going on in the spiritual realm.  I feel like our lives are under attack, but we are surrounded and protected.***

2 Kings 6:15-17 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” the young man cried to Elisha.
16 “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

The importance of our "identity" also kept running thru my mind as I thought thru the events.  We are in a series at church and we are talking about "identity".  I mean to tell you, it was a super clear example of the dangers of getting identity wrong!!!

May we and everyone who comes into contact with us know WHO we are IN CHRIST and may we live our lives true to that identity! 

1 Peter 2:10 New Living Translation (NLT)

10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
    now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
    now you have received God’s mercy.”

Car Incident = Total(ed) Gift Part 2 of 3

Monday July 8, came like Mondays do.  I was supposed to leave for Texas on this particular Monday.  I just couldn't get it together....too many loose ends...too many emotions, too much to do....too much anxiety....too much of too much.

Charlie was my hero as usual, from 3 states away.  He did all the leg work, made all the phone calls, filed all the reports, did all the paperwork regarding the Debbie incident.  As everyone knows, when there is an incident there is a bunch to do.  My prayer was that God would make this smooth and I wouldn't be bogged down with paperwork and phone calls.  God absolutely 100% answered that prayer, unfortunately for Charlie he must have not prayed that (kinda kidding, kinda not) because he spent the day on Monday dealing with the details of the incident.

I had tried on several occasions to back out of our Texas plan.  It all sounded good when the plans were made, but over time I began to get anxious about driving that far, about the cost of the trip, and you name it I worried about it.  Every time I took a step backward (mostly in my mind and heart) God would gently and lovingly remind me of some truth that pushed me back into GO to Texas mode. 

I flipped and flopped all day Monday until I was talking to a friend on the phone and we just walked thru what I was feeling and why, and it became as clear as day that I needed to get over myself and my fear and my hesitation, and GO to Texas as planned, and I needed an attitude adjustment to boot!

I AGAIN, repented of my complaining, and got motivated to GO!!  I got so excited and motivated I went to get my toenails and eyebrows done.  I mean, a change of heart usually means some sort of action, and what better activity to show a change of attitude than a cleaned-up face and toenails painted pretty.

As I was getting shiny and ready to have an early B-day dinner for Charsie (mostly so I could hold my namesake before I left on my road trip) Charlie was chipping away at the broken car situation. 

I ended up having a great day, ending in a birthday party, SedonaLee snuggles, and a walk and prayer time with a friend.  God, not only changed my attitude but gave me gift after gift to get me ready and excited to GO!!

The day ended with picking up a BEAUTIFUL BRAND NEW 2019 Tahoe rental car, paid for by the insurance and arranged by Charlie for me to drive while all the details of the Debbie incident were being assessed and arranged. 

So let me get this straight God....You are loaning me a brand new car to drive over 3000 miles to Texas and back for free????  Yep!!  He certainly did that. 

Debbie Is Totalled. Part 1 of 3

It all started on Sunday, July 7, 2019 @ 2:46am.  It sounded like a bomb went off!  I jumped out of bed or rather jumped up on the bed because there is a window above our bed that faces the street.  The bomb was so loud it even woke/startled Charlie.....which takes a bomb, or something very similar.

Our car (we call her Debbie) that had been parked on the street had been hit and hit so hard it pushed her into the neighbor's mailbox that is cased in brick and filled with concrete (because it had been hit twice before.)  The mailbox was pushed a few feet and tipped over (it weighed 980 lbs.) and our car was sitting in the street 100 feet from where we had parked it.  The street and sidewalk and car were a mess.  There were pieces and parts laying all over the street, including the license plate of the truck that hit the car and drove off.   The police came and did a report and took pictures, mind you this is all going on at 3am.  Charlie parked our Debbie car back in her spot and the police left.

Anyone who knows my man knows he is a finisher, he got out of the car and just started following the trail of blood transmission fluid leaking out of the pickup that hit our car.

The pickup was only a few houses away, parked in a driveway.  Charlie called the same police back to let him know he found the vehicle.  The police came back and thru a series of unfortunate events, the dad of the guys that hit our car was arrested.

Charlie had to leave that morning just a few short, very short, hours after he got back in bed.

 As I walked into the church that morning, I felt on edge and unnerved - the adrenaline wouldn't level out.  As soon as worship started I felt the love and correction of my Heavenly Father come over me.  We had just finished a series at church on "loving your neighbor"  and right along with loving our neighbor is the Scripture about loving and praying for our enemies.
So whether you categorize the man who hit our car as a neighbor or an enemy, I hadn't done one thing the Bible teaches me to do:

Matthew 5:43-44 New Living Translation (NLT)

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!

Ugh!!!!  The beautiful part about the Christian life is, it's never too late to turn to Jesus.  I stood right there in worship and repented of my sin and acknowledged that the guy who hit our car, and his dad, were having a much worse day than I was, and I just prayed that God would show up for them in whatever way they needed.  This is one of the greatest benefits of following Jesus - I didn't have to fix one thing, I only had to let the Lord fix my heart and He is trustworthy to fix who needs fixing and heal and help "whosoever" believes in Him.

PS.  For those of you who have read my blog for a long may remember this happened to another car of ours in Billings a few years ago.  Click HERE for the blog post from a few years ago.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Laboring Thru Life - One Contraction At A Time

Laboring thru life is the lens I see thru right now.

Life, and the stages of labor are similar. Ups and downs, peaks and valleys, highs and lows. I’m entrenched in birth stories right now, it’s everywhere I turn, and I love it to the fullest. I have cried and rejoiced over all that goes right and wrong in laboring thru life. My heart tends to pound with fear and faith in the same beat.

We have a family texting thread that would make grown men cry; yet all the women thrive over the chaos of the thread. We go from outfit to body functions in the span of one text, and never miss a beat.  

Recently though, we have had two babies born within this thread of women. Can I just explain the detail of instruction we can give to a laboring mama thru text messages from across the United States of America. As I was fully engaged in the most recent birth via text, I began to understand that laboring and life should use all the same phrases throughout the different stages.

I have had some anxiety / stress as of late, and I could hear the birthing coaches giving instructions that can totally apply to me in my anxious state.

Take one contraction (day) at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed but take it one at a time. Don’t get behind or ahead of yourself. Focus! Breathe! Don’t tense up! Relax. Change positions!! Bear down!! Rest when you can!! Push thru the pain.
 Pray More!
 Praying Always!

Nothing in life or labor gets done without a fight and surrender at the same time. Fighting for life and the surrender to the process is all part of laboring thru this life. We have to fight for our lives and the lives of our loved ones and especially the vulnerable, the unborn.

We have to fight to focus on the giver and sustainer of the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE. We must not get distracted, but fight to surrender to the ONE who has WON!

Throughout the fight and surrender labor dance there must be adjustment and humility, whenever you are thrown a curve ball and the plan laid out, is changing direction. The result is what matters, but adjustment and flexibility are important to the process.

Surrender to the process, submission to the experienced, to the authority, and to one’s that have gone before. Surrender to the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE.

The fight is mean if it isn’t in love; the surrender is weak if it isn’t in the power of submission to the ONE with all authority in Heaven and on earth.

There is Nothing more humbling than labor and laboring through life. It brings you to your knees and  strips you naked and makes you grown, it makes you bawl in pain and weep with joy.

Life and birth will disappoint and exhilarate in the same moment. Life and birth are the same, in that you can go into it with a great plan and good ideas of how it should go, but ultimately you have to adjust and continue in faith in the situation and circumstances you are dealt.
This is my beautiful friend Brooke Bath!

Life and labor bring you to the end of yourself and also brings in new life and love you never knew before, it changes everything. Maybe this is one of the layers of meaning of the verse that says:
1 Timothy 2:15
But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

May we labor thru life in faith and love!!! May we fight for life and surrender our lives to LOVE and HOLINESS. May we cry for the unborn, and the yet to be born, and weep with joy at birth and rebirth. 

Psalm 30:5 (ESV)
Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Nobody Caught Her, But She Has Captured Our Hearts!

SedonaLee Jenay Lynch
 came blasting into this world on June 14, 2019 @ 7:29pm.
7 lbs. 4 oz. of a pure precious gift of life!

 Birth is one of my most favorite things in the entire world.  Lashae and I were honored to be invited into the delivery of my newest Grand and Lashae's first niece.  This has been the 13th birth I have been privileged to attend. I say that because I am very aware that each birth is different and beautiful and amazing EVERY SINGLE TIME!!  No matter how these babies get here, each story is special and unique, just like them.

Charsie's birth story was beautiful with a few twists and bad turns and a perfect outcome! 
 Charsie labored like a champ.  She was a "natural" thru the entire thing.  We talked a lot about birth and labor and she has attended a few and was feeling prepared before her big day, and was ready to embrace the experience.  
We have a family with a lot of women and a lot of babies and we love to talk and text all things labor and delivery all the time.  She was as prepared as any first time mom can be.
  Charsie labored like a pro.
  She was a textbook laboring Mama.  Everything progressed and went like the best case scenario birth story.  Lashae and I and Jesse, and of course Charsie, listened to music and laughed and prayed and breathed thru the whole thing.  Charsie walked and bathed and rocked and rolled and did it all with a smile/ grimace (depending on the contractions)  and was very calm and quiet, taking it as it came.  

See the laboring Mama in the tub!  :)
As things progressed and she was feeling ready to be done with this whole process and anxious to hold her baby in her arms and not in her body, we asked the Dr. to come in and break her water, as that usually is the beginning of the end.  We were informed that there would be no time to break Charsie's water as the Dr. had another delivery she was attending too.  It was probably the next contraction or 2 and Charsie's water broke naturally on its own.  We were thrilled and excited about that progress and how her body was just moving right along without the need for any assistance.  We laughed a little that she was sticking even closer to the natural plan than she intended. :)

 A few more contractions hit and you could tell things had changed and were getting intense and she was locked and loaded to push baby out into this world.  Charsie was getting tired and ready for her work day (labor) to be OVER!  We finally got news that the Dr. was finished with delivery and was on her way; she came in the room and we were all taking positions to help Charsie push this baby out when we were informed by the Dr. that she had a C-Section that was going to take priority over Charsie and her baby. We all melted!  But then the Dr. informed us that there is a mid-wife on duty and she could catch this baby, if need be.  We all rejoiced!!!!  We asked to meet the midwife and thought let's get this show on the road.  The midwife was so kind and just perfect for catching this baby .....but, you could tell there had been some sort of hallway conversation/power struggle about who was gonna catch this baby.  Everyone was very professional  but very very very "hands off" and "closed lipped".  We were so confused and trying to trust the system in place, but when you are in the intense part of labor  (whether Mama or support crew) you just resort to submitting to anyone in authority who may know more than you.  You always want the best outcome for mama and baby so you follow their expertise and assume they know something you don't.  We watched  Charsie decline...her contractions began to get further and further apart, she was losing hope and losing all control of her body that had worked so well for her.  She was getting sick and tired!  She was puking and falling asleep (during contractions!!!!! - with NO MEDS). 

 I had never seen anything like it.  When the Dr. got done with C-Section she came back and we again got in position, and then she left again...Lashae and I knew without words exchanged that this was going in the WRONG direction.  
  It was a survival instinct that kicked in that wasn't a decision or a discussion but an instinct of helping the innocent child and suffering Mama.  I grabbed Charsie's head and looked her dead in the eye and said YOU NEED TO PUSH THIS BABY OUT!!!  Lashae grabbed a leg and said PUSH and she spoke with all the authority and confidence that Charsie had been looking for from the professionals for hours!!!!!  For the first time, you could see Charsie gain some hope again, that this could be over soon.   She felt what a real push felt like and it gave her hope that she could do this and was almost at the finish line.  The nurse told Charsie to pant thru the next contraction because the Dr. was busy on a phone call with an emergency and Charsie said TOOOOOOOO #$@%^*&^% BAD!!!!  She pushed that baby out in one solid CrossFit push.

  Nobody caught the baby.

  Lashae had a leg and I was by Charsie's head on the other side.....and when the baby's head came out, a nurse saw it, and started yelling WE HAVE A HEAD IN HERE, before she could finish the sentence the whole entire baby came out at once.

Nobody caught the baby.

Whatever the power struggle or phone call was all about came to an abrupt halt when NOBODY caught that baby.  As soon as the nurse yelled head, there was a team of people there to clean up the mess that was made.  It was a mess. Charsie had pushed with a lot of power and no control.  There was blood and snot and tears flying from every end of Charsie and everyone on her team.  It all came out and was sewed back the mighty GRACE of  God!!!

I'm not giving names of anyone, I don't want to hurt anyone's career or reputation even though we have all suffered some PTSD over the situation.  Lashae and I have both woke up multiple times in the night not being able to breathe and feeling nauseous.  We are so thankful for the outcome, but we are traumatized by what "could have happened" and "how could I have prevented the blowout".  I have prayed about how to handle this whole thing that won't turn a beautiful birth story into a root of bitterness.  I have decided to tell the story with truth and thanksgiving with Charsie's permission and encouragement without giving names, because it's bigger than the names or individuals in this birth story.  

 The lessons I'm learning to a greater degree is trusting GOD, even when it's over and we made it thru but I wake up and feel like I can't breathe I have to trust that God never left us.  I have to trust that God saw us losing ground and hope and He gave Charsie the strength to push that baby out in one push. I can't get hung up on what went wrong and thank God for what went right and thank God that the Dr. came in and stitched things up with great care in repairing the damage.

 I also learned that when we are helping people, no matter what our position or title is or isn't, we can't worry about people's feelings and power and authority over what we know is right and wrong.  We must respect authority, but if we know there is something right and something wrong we must discern it, and do what we know to be right even if it steps on every toe and ego and title in the whole world.  We have to get over ourselves and our fear of man and help people when they are vulnerable and can't help themselves! 

 The last and best lesson is for THE CHURCH, 
(some people may not get what I'm saying, I'm speaking Christianese).
It takes THE BODY to help birth new life and support the ones laboring.  We weren't designed to do it on our own.  Individuals are designed to endure things that are hard; even when we are strong and healthy and things are going well, but it takes THE BODY to support a person and to usher in new life.  
We must give the person that is laboring hard, support and clear direction when they can't see the goal, we must continue to give encouragement when they want to quit!!!  We can't depend only on professionals and science and coping techniques to help the laboring and usher in new life.  
We need THE BODY to help each other and encourage each other and get into the mess thru the entire process, even when it is scary and unsure.  We need to stand beside one another thru the hard parts of life and speak up for those that are in the middle of pain and suffering and be brave to get in each other's business, at every end, and yell to all that will listen

Israel - Garden of Gathsemane

Only fitting to our journey thru Israel; we started the final day in the Garden of Gethsemane. We read Scripture together and remembered where we had been and how we got to this point. We knew we had a long day ahead, walking thru the events of Jesus’ crucifixion, and resurrection before we concluded our day and our tour. We couldn’t endure the day until we had spent some time alone in that Garden praying, reflecting and gathering strength and surrender for what was coming. May we start every day that we walk this hard road of life on our knees before God, may we stay awake, stand strong in full surrender.
God, thank you for all you have done. Thank you for what you did for me and for all mankind. Help us not to get sleepy. Help us to stand strong and watch, like you have told us. Strengthen our spirits that we may not give into the flesh. Help us to stand with you - believe In you - drink of the cup and eat of the bread of life that only you can give.
Your will Father, not mine.