None Left Behind

When I was in high school I was editor on our school’s yearbook. My friend Heather and I co-conquered it together, and she did most of the word editing and formatting checks, while it seemed as though I worked on layout templates and pictures to actually use.

My senior year I had a pretty cool idea. After being in yearbook for so many years, our teacher, Mr. Douma, decided to give me and the rest of the staff a lot of autonomy for our senior book.

One of the biggest issues I had noticed by my senior year in my high school was [separation]. All of these different social groups of friends were so starkly separated from one group to the other that infiltrating them was almost a covert-operation. Don’t get me wrong, there were one or two from each group that would serve as the liaison between them and others, but they had to trust you to let you in.

I (thank the good Lord) went through an interesting high school time. I had very good friends, but my very good friends all belonged to other groups that I was not completely immersed in, and also I was not the head of. I was fine with it; I had enough friends that I kept pretty socially full.

Coming back to my senior year in yearbook. The day has come for us to decide this year’s theme. It was my turn to speak, and I spoke about how I felt we were missing out on sales because certain students assume they aren’t in the yearbook aside from their school picture, so why spend the money.?But it really wasn’t about the money or sales. Mr. Douma humored me, and allowed me to open up the discussion. I told him that I didn’t like the fact that people one day would look back at their yearbook and not have pictures with their friends in there to reminisce about…. [pictures of actual things they were doing…. that didn’t include sports, and FFA]…and how lonely and empty of a feeling that would be- “I had so much fun, but where is the proof?”.

NOT ON MY WATCH! HA

So I made a decision!- I was going to take my camera, and write down every student’s name in our entire school, and I was going to go out and intentionally take pictures of these people being with those they loved, doing the things they loved doing, and I was going to put every single photo in the yearbook. Each student would get 3 photos plus their school photo, and if they were in a club or of the likes. And so it began.

We decided to run the main pictures we were taking as a filmstrip that would run from across the top of the front cover, throughout the entire book, and then ends upon reaching the spine on the back cover. We used the back cover for even more pictures, along with filling empty whites spaces on with them in the back index portion. We also indexed what page every student could find their pictures on. IT WAS HAPPENING.

Now, yearbook is not an easy task. You do not work on it for a month, and then send it off. You have to maintain your motivation and you have to stay true to the mission! While you are creating, you also have to go out to the community and get sponsors to help pay for what you are creating. We were doing very well with community sponsorship’s, but I had noticed that a lot of my helper photographers were starting to get a little lazy on me. I was receiving a lot of pictures that were just of students sitting in their chair in a classroom, by themselves. Don’t get me wrong, if this person is having a great day, looks great in the photo, and genuinely wanted a solo picture of them on the reel, by all means, LET’S DO IT[!]…but these were not those. It was time for me to step back in. This was a filmstrip, and it needed to tell a story. A million stories.

We were able to successfully pull the yearbook off that year. The inclusion of the entire school was a hit, and I rest easy all of these years later from that.

Here is where it gets a little funny.

On June 1st, God came to me, and he spoke. He told me I was to put together/write a book of the collection of testimonies and accounts of his influence on this earth. The good, the bad, and the ugly. He also allowed me to see and understand that a way to unify and to bring peace, not only among the people, but also among-st our own, internal self is through inclusion, unifying, listening, identifying similarities in miracles and hardships, and sanctuary. Common grounds in road to being saved.

Understanding that we are not alone in this is the key to the lock. Some of my loneliest moments have been when I have sat and felt the Holy Spirit, and looked around, and realized I didn’t have anyone that I felt close enough to to talk about it to. How sad is that? I had a million friends that I could call up and put down my significant other to, laugh at someone’s embarrassment with, to complain about work to, to brag to, to go out with, and yet here I was…a christian without any christian friends I felt safe enough with to talk to about christian things. Hear me right- I had christian friends, but I didn’t think they would take the time to truly appreciate my testimonies, and help me dissect my encounters, and I wasn’t sure if they would really respect how much of a blessing that being spoken to by the Holy Spirit truly is. My times with the Holy Spirit are much more than local gossip being revealed. My times with him are intimate and deep and revealing to a bigger purpose.

After June 1st I grew tired of trying to walk on lightly with my feelings for God and how cool I think he is. God came to me in my garage, shut my power down, told me to sit down, and to wait..he was going to talk to me about something. I sat there and waited, didn’t say a word, or really even move. Out of nowhere I hear him. My head jerks slightly to the left and up- I couldn’t see him, but I knew exactly what he looked like – I couldn’t touch him, but he could make his touch “felt”. Looking back, I am not sure if I took a breath for a very long time. I was in awe- I felt like my attention and my psyche were completely zoned in and focused like a magnetic field that I could almost see. He wanted my attention, and he wanted me to listen, that was FOR SURE.

God was with me for quite some time that night. He told me what I was to do. This is a huge task seemingly, but. NOT FOR ME. He told me this is for his people to see and share and read and recognize, and to believe. He told me to include everyone, and to not leave a single soul out. He told me to gather them, and as time passes he will reveal to me what to do with them next.

In the short time that I have been doing this now I have noticed a couple/few things. For as many opinions that there are on the internet…there sure isn’t a lot of people coming forward about their opinions or experiences…you’d think people would want to share an awesome experience they have had that is seemingly unexplainable? MANY people have had/still have a testament to a moment when they witnessed a miracle, blessing, or were spoken to, and they went to tell someone and they were met with rejection and humility. 100% including myself. I do not want to get too far into that though, because that is a message in itself.

God has put it on my heart and soul to be there for people to extend THEIR stories to. Yes, there will be exaggerations, and lies given and told to me. God has not tasked me with judging that, or given me clarity on how that will be sorted out up to this point in time. But God has continually shown me that everyone has a story about coming to God, and many want to shout it from the rooftops, but for some reason sharing accounts of the Good Lord and Holy Spirit and Jesus just isn’t ballpark talk yet.

It is beautiful to me that 14 years ago, God gave me…this tiny, young, little human from the middle of no where [Indiana]…this awesome idea to make sure that every person that attended that school that year had a chance to show how their walk looked.

To be trying to do this on such a larger scale now seems a little impossible, but nothing is impossible with God.

If you would like to send me your story about your walk with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Or if you have a story of a miracle, blessing, crazy coincidence, tragedy- anything at all that you wold like to share, please reach out! I enjoy getting testimonies in person, but in this day and age that just isn’t always possible. Please note that I want to know your stories, and that I care, and I know crazy things happen to us sometimes that we just cannot understand, but that is when faith kicks in, and I am here to talk.

Let me know what you all think about my ideas so far in the comments below.

Thank you, and God Bless!

The Road Less Traveled On

I am not quite sure why I was born. I mean that literally. My parent’s did not accomplish any major fetes while they were married. My mother and father met at a bar while my mother was still married to my half-sister’s father. It’s quite fascinating actually; my father had nothing more than an old trailer and a couple pair of old boots to his name when they met. My mother is a very clean person. She prides herself on her cleanliness, and cannot stand mess, clutter, or any of the sort. To think back and imagine her leaving her marriage for a poor addict, who lived in a trailer, and who also was working on his 5th DUI has never really made sense. I have never really looked too incredibly hard into it though, so it may reveal it’s-self as we go along. Keep your eye’s out for it, but I somehow never asked beyond what they told me. Maybe I was too selfish and self-consumed then? That was probably it.

When my mom left us, I was 4 years old. My grandma (Dad’s mom) came and stayed with us because my dad had to go to jail on the weekends for his 5th DUI. I cannot remember this, but I would assume that my grandma was who kind of help straighten me and my dad’s lives together. 1+1 was definitely not adding up at first.

When my memory starts to kick back in is during one of my grandma’s visits and she was trying to help me with potty training. My dad had pretty well adjusted. He didn’t have a license, so around 3:30 AM he’d wrap me in a sleeping bag and his buddy would pull up, and off we’d go. He would drop me off to the babysitter and I’d fall back to sleep until the other kids came. And that’s what we did.

I can remember at times being mad at him. I threatened to call the cops on him once because I was up to no good and he put me in time-out, haha! I was probably 5. This man had no idea what he had brought into this world. As time passed on we grew together. He grew a garden that we ate from, he started getting his money figured out. Our first Christmas together looked like the toy store had just thrown us one of everything to try. He would take me to his job sites with him sometimes. These were my favorite adventures! Where was he working this time? Do I get a hard hat? What is his office in this time? WAS THERE GOING TO BE A GATOR TO DRIVE!? Ohh, Heavens, I just loved it.

My dad is a brick mason, and was a superintendent for Eli LIlly for many, many years. Starting out was a different story though. This was a “kind of” recovering addict who was just left by his wife, and left with his 4-year old DAUGHTER, while fighting to keep that daughter out of the system over his 5th DUI, and trying to figure out how to work weekend jail into his new found “single” parent lifestyle. The good LORD worked him DOWN HARD! [“GET IT RIGHT, Kenny! This time.”]. And he stumbled, but we made it, one step, one day, and one obstacle at a time. As he started really figuring things out he started to rise at work. His talents were expert. He headed some pretty amazing projects, was pictured with political administrators, and received many accolades for his talents and abilities. As I got older I would ride along still on the weekend work days. I never knew where we were headed. Purdue? The “originally named” Conseco Fieldhouse? Wabash College? Colt’s Stadium? Indy 500 Track? Airport? Indiana State Museum? Lucas Oil Stadium? A parking garage? Where we going DAD!? – His hands were so strong, and his mind so smart, I could never even see him trying. It was effortless.

One day he and I were driving down Old Division Road and I was looking out of the window. I remember looking up, seeing the power lines, and behind them was the biggest, bluest sky with little accents of white fluffy clouds. I cannot remember if he said it out loud, but my dad let me realize that day that I could be anything I ever dreamed or wanted to be in this big, huge, fluffy cloud filled world. So I started my personal journey then and there.

Not long after things started to become routine for me and dad I had my first encounter with “status”. Two boys on the school bus looked at me one morning, and told me I was poor, and they asked me [why]. They said that it wasn’t good, and that it made me dirty. I went home that afternoon and I was sitting in the recliner and dad was at the kitchen counter going through his mail. I was nervous. Paraphrasing I said -[” Dad, can we get a new house?” He asked why. I said, “Some kids on the bus told me we are poor today, and kind of made fun of me for living in a trailer, and said it was not cool. They called me poor.”] – I will never in my life forget the look that came over my dad’s face and the feeling I got over that reaction. He told me yes, and that we would work on getting that new house, because we deserved it.

I never really considered “class” growing up. Not before I was told I was poor, and not after. Yes, it did make me feel great to get a new house, and I thought it was awesome, but I never considered the type of home or it’s size, I just thought it was awesome that my dad was able to get us a new home, and I was proud of him, and it boosted my confidence to transition to something so symbolic of my dad’s victories. Plus, it would get those kids off my back, FINALLY! For such a small town, in the middle of no where, I will say that I met a lot of different walks being taken in life there. It was almost as though the town was so small that each and every kid had to own their own identity, because there were so many identities that needed to be filled that we didn’t have enough kids to cover them all- just put multiple scenarios in one journey- and get a lot of similar, yet very different kids. No big deal. There was something for everything though. For my wandering mind and soul of curiosity, I found myself lost in the stories of those that seemed so “particular”- Little did I know that this was all just part of the bigger plan. God has looked at me many times, and said “Hold on Lynnsey! Just wait! This is about to get insane!”

My first encounter with my spiritual journey was when I was a young girl. My dad had met my step-mother, who had my step-brother, Lucas, and we were all starting to settle into our roles in one-another’s lives. My grandmother used to come visit us. After all, she was kind of the main reason I was still around, and the main reason my dad was too. She would stay for a while. She slept with me each night. She is who taught me to pray, what a bible was, why it was written [ to tell the story of our father, and Jesus, and to share his miracles for all generations to understand his greatness and abilities, and to help guide us to to and through our purpose], She more or less explained it all to me and told me who this “God” was, and who this “Jesus” was that I kept hearing about, and kept having to go to this place called “Church” to “learn about”. The first timed she opened my children’s bible, my eyes got about the size of ping-pong balls and they about popped out of my head. – WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS, GRANDMA!? – THIS IS TRUE? Yes? WHAT! – I could hardly comprehend that this all really happened. I was so excited!! AHH, Miracles, they are a thing, they happened, praise God for this! – Oh, I just knew God was going to give me a miracle. I just knew it!

Time goes on, and one afternoon we are outside and grandma is watching me play in the front yard from our patio area and she tells me “You know you can pray and ask for things, Lynnsey, don’t you?” I was looking up at the sky with my arms out and spinning in circles. “Huh?” the look of perplex contemplation and shock on my face was probably one for the record books. You would have thought she just gave me the secret key to the door that opens into a room filled floor to ceiling with gold. “Uhh, grandma, what are you talking about?” – She went on to explain that in the bible there are instances when people pray and God answered those prayers after they ask correctly. “Correclty?” She then went on to explain that I could not ask for material things, because that was not [Godly] desire. She said I need to ask for something special, a gift, and not one that I could touch. She then listed off a few examples. I was listening, and she said “wisdom”. I immediately felt this urge to just start praying for it. She didn’t need to say another word. I knew how to ask for it with my soul. I was saved before I was touched by any water or ceremony. My grandmother unlocked my mind that year. She made me realize that the Lord God’s capabilities were absolutely endless. As I stood there and talked to God about wisdom, he asked me what I thought that gift would mean. I thought about it and showed him pictures in my mind about what I thought it would mean. To this day one of the most common attributes that get tagged to my character is “Wisdom”.

So, I may not know why I was born yet, but I am starting to find out that my journey and the purpose of my existence may bring insight to that, and bring me back to just why those two parents of mine needed to meet that night, years ago, in that bar.