'Know who holds your hand'
Dolores Lynch doesn’t consider it hard to live a life of faith, and, over the years, countless members at Triad Baptist Church and beyond have received a card, pecan pie, or hug produced by her deep love for Jesus Christ.
Although back and other issues now make even simple acts like getting in and out of a car painful, the 89-year-old Lynch still hits the road of life with a smile on her face and an eye for others — including caring for a 71-year old neighbor with heart problems who marvels how Lynch can even do it.
And why shouldn’t she feel such joy, Lynch asks, given all God has done for her — everything from giving her the strength to endure a battle with breast cancer (she’s a 22-year survivor) to caring for her late husband, Jimmy, when he went through his own 15-month battle with cancer before he died in 2002, or nourishing her each week the Biblical teaching and fellowship she gets at Triad Baptist Church?
“I’m a hugger and that’s one of the ways I say, ‘God loves you,’ ” Lynch says. “Anybody who knows me knows that. They also know I tell everyone, ‘Hold to God’s hand and He will get you through but you have to trust and believe in Him.’
“Whether it’s sending cards to someone for their birthday or in the midst of a difficult situation or taking a pie to a new neighbor, I get a blessing out of it, and love to see if I can help someone else and brighten their day.”
Heritage Award winner
Now Triad Baptist is returning the favor, as Lead Pastor Rob Decker has named Lynch the church’s 15th Heritage Award winner in a series honoring senior adults that began in 2003.
“You can’t know Dolores and not think of Matthew 22:38-39 when Jesus said that someone who loves him will love His father with all they have and love their neighbor as they love themselves,” Pastor Rob says. “That’s Dolores to a T.”
Before her health problems set in, Dolores may have welcomed you at the doors on Sunday as a greeter or served you a meal during her many years of service on the Food and Fellowship Team.
She loves her Sunday School class, led by Darrell Fulp, and loves the teaching of Pastor Rob who she likes to call and pray with about things over the phone that God has put on her heart.
Faith roots and favorites
Lynch grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, as one of five children, and credits her mom, Georgia, with teaching her about Jesus and setting the foundation that eventually led her to accept Him as her own Savior as a teenager.
She got to North Carolinas through her husband Jimmy’s job with Burlington Industries and moved to Kernersville, home to her daughter Carolyn Marshall, after his death in 2002.
Lynch loves sports, particularly UNC basketball and football, and she and Jimmy personally witnessed many UNC moments in person — like Michael Jordan’s winning shot to beat Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA basketball championship in New Orleans.
Lynch and Carolyn both moved to Triad from another local church and joined in 2006. Afraid of water, Lynch had never been baptized by immersion but didn’t let that faze her.
“I don’t like to get water in my face so was incredibly nervous as I got into the water to get baptized but Pastor Rob put me at ease when he whispered, ‘I have only dropped one,’ ” Lynch recalls. “I was fine after that, and what a wonderful feeling it was to come up out of the water to signify what Christ had done for me and my eternal home with Him!”
In addition to regularly putting her faith into action with her cards, pies, hugs, calls and other acts of Christian love, Lynch also keeps her faith muscles strong by such habits as starting each day with devotions.
Asked what advice she’d give someone beginning their own journey of faith, she says, “Know who holds your hand, and trust Him. Then love others like He loved you. You have to have love for everybody. That’s what the Christian life is all about.
“I love everybody.”