Pastor, It’s Time to Take a Lap

I knew after he had a heart attack last year that this day was going to come sooner than any of us wanted to. You can’t run a church you have overseen that has grown from just 30 members to over 3000 without it taking its toll on your body. His mind might be willing but the body just wasn’t gonna take it much longer.

So, our Pastor, Randy Weeaks, retired yesterday.

I’ve been a member of a church my entire life. I was raised that Sunday belonged to God and my butt better be there. Sure, I skip out here and there and sometimes I really do want to just sleep in, but after all the Lord has done for me over the years the least I can do is give him a few hours of my focus, worship and time with my fellow believers each week.

During that time I have had numerous preachers or pastors I have led by. Most of them have been great men that enriched my life in some form. Growing up in Houston Brother Judson Edwards was the first pastor that truly made that kind of impact. What he did with that little church south of Houston and those people, most of whom we still call friends all these decades later, was truly a work of God.

But no one will ever be another Pastor Randy.

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I don’t even have words to say honestly. He is hilarious, down to earth, loving, strong, bold, compassionate and a great visionary leader. Everything about him points people to the love of God.

We have been members of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church for 11 years now. My kids love the place and we have lifelong friends there now that have made a huge impact on our lives. As a group they helped us during one of our worst financial times as we were adopting Zane and trying to get him home. All of this because we had a pastor that demanded that we love each other and that we love the world around us.

I could write for days about who he was and the things he did, but unless you were around him this would just be another article about a good man. But in our day and age when so many Christians in the church are viewed as hypocrites (and yes most of us sure can be!) and in an age when too many Christian “leaders” are seen building “their own” kingdoms instead of building God’s kingdom, I had to share.

Coming from spending nearly a decade at the big blue roof church down the road where we were essentially booted out and threatened with a lawsuit by the pastor because I confronted him for financially screwing over a friend of ours in our class, Pastor Randy was like a shock to my system. My family and I had been mortally wounded by that experience and even I began wondering if there were any real churches left anymore.

I’ll never forget the Sunday I went by myself and we had just gotten home with Quinn from South Korea. Pastor Randy had completely changed the format of that Sunday morning so that he could focus the time that morning on adopting children. After the service I went up and introduced myself and told him we had just adopted and gotten home a few days ago. The very next Sunday we came back and he walked right up to Quinn and said “this must be Quinn?” and loved on him.

That’s my Randy story and 11 years later he hasn’t changed at all. He’s been like a father figure from stage all these years and in so many ways reminded me of my dad all the time. (For those of you that knew my father, just imagine some of the funny things he said coming from your pastor. They were cut of the same mold. For example, Randy would talk about when he and Doris started dating….he said they were “sniffing around on each other”. That was our Pastor Randy.)

Now he is moving on to the next phase God has for him and his amazing wife Doris. They are starting a new ministry called “Why Not Bless” and we will certainly be big supporters. I can only imagine the lives they will touch and change and I will encourage everyone I know to stand behind them and help them help others.

His legacy in Mansfield will live on. From the annual “Beast Feast” to “Community Outreach Days” each year and to the countless organizations he helped launch from Mansfield helping people all over the world, Randy has left us with the challenge of the great commission; showing others the love of God by being real, giving and embracing joy and laughter. Our good friend Erik Irby is set to take the baton and keep us all going forward into the next generation for Walnut Ridge and for that we are blessed and excited.

Pastor Randy was just a good ‘ol boy from Comanche, Oklahoma, who God supplanted from redneck country right into the heart of the Metroplex. His impact over the last 26 years will remain for decades to come as he “takes a lap” down into Granbury, Texas,  where he can spend some more time fishing for those elusive catfish.

Randy, my family is gonna miss you big time my brother. God speed. We will forever be “your people”.

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12 Years Ago I Nearly Lost My Daughters

As many know, we have identical twin girls. Born 12 years ago today in Arlington, Texas.

Little did we know how serious it was that we nearly lost them both and it’s a miracle that today we celebrate 12 amazing years with them by our side. Here is what happened:

We had a gyno visit and our doctor (yes I said “we” and “our” doctor…he was AWESOME!) in which he found something alarming. The girls were at 32 weeks and Chloe appeared to have stopped growing. Sidney was getting larger and Chloe wasn’t. Something wasn’t right.

He sent us over to a specialist we called “Dr. Scary” who ended up being a life saver, literally. Our doctor reassured us things were fine,  and we carelessly went about life waiting on this visit.

After spending an hour in a dark room at Dr. Scary’s office with him quietly looking them over he suddenly told us “I want you to go to the hospital right now so these girls can be monitored. We are going to have to go and get them this weekend. Don’t go home, just go right there and I will have someone waiting on you.”

After ignoring him and going home to get our stuff, we showed up Arlington Memorial an hour or so later with family right behind us.

It was then that we first heard about TTTS. Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Our girls had it and in many cases TTTS claims the lives of both twins. By the time the doctors become aware or discover it, they are usually gone or too far gone to save.

TTTS is when, for many unknown reasons, one baby begins to starve because of not getting enough nutrients and the other drowns because of getting too much. For many one day the babies just stop moving. Forever. And it’s usually well into the pregnancy too. Totally traumatic.

Friday night, August 19th was one of the longest nights of my life because I now knew the trouble our girls were in. I slept on the floor with their heart monitor machine blinking right in my face. Every few minutes I would see a pause and would nearly jump ready to get the nurses. They wanted us there so they could do emergency C-sections within minutes before it was too late if they needed too. I was on watch 24/7 for two days.

The day they were born I will never forget as along as I live. Chloe was pulled out first, pale, frail, small and not moving. Not a sound. For the first time our doctor looked scared too. Then Sidney came out, looked nearly twice her size. Red and swollen…but crying.

The seconds seemed like hours as the nurses tried to get Chloe to respond. I stood there behind Julie with video camera in hand in shock and awe at everything taking place. One daughter being footprinted and crying the other practically being beat to death to stir to life. As I write this fresh feelings come back and tears well up in my eyes again.

Doctor made several eye communications with his nurses. He was very concerned and he never, ever got very concerned about anything. My Lord, he offered me a cola right before we walked in to scrub!

Finally, I heard movement from that side of the room. It wasn’t much but our little fighter was hanging with us. They quickly whisked her away to the NICU along with Sidney. I followed them out and immediately wrapped my arms around my mom and dad.

We just didn’t know what the day would hold.

What seems like centuries later, the doctor came in and said they both were stable but would be in NICU for some time. The joy and tears at that moment were the result of seeing a miracle take place that day.

God was good and I still have the most amazing little girls on the planet.

I made this for them years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfI8_ePdit8&index=6&list=PLBCE331A0B49CEDF2