Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A True Celebration

As I looked in the mirror this morning, the first thing that I noticed was my swollen puffy eyes & I was thankful for them.

You see, my eyes are swollen from a very emotional day yesterday. I had the honor of attending the most beautiful funeral I have ever seen. Yes, funerals are sad occasions, BUT they hold so much promise in them. If you are a child of God, this is not "good bye", its only "see you in the morning."

I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a funeral quite like this. Yes, there were tears, but there was also rejoicing, testifying, & people begging for sinners to be saved.

This dear man & his wife have been huge influences on me throughout the years. I enjoyed many hours in their home & under their leadership. Their daughter was one of my best friends growing up. And even though I haven't seen them as often as I would like recently, they have never been far from my heart.

The tears started flowing the moment I walked into the church and though they aren't a steady stream, they are bubbling up just under the surface even now. As I hugged Daniel, and he thanked me for coming, I told him that I wouldn't have missed this home going for anything. Amanda & I just fell into each others arms & I reminded her of our childhood joke "the 3 hairs on top of the shiny head of my Diddy". We just cried.

Then there was Mary, sweet Mary. Always smiling, always gracious. She embraced me and said "my precious Tracie" and told me how undeserving she was of my admiration. She then took a few minutes to encourage me to always support my husband in his ministry and remind me just how blessed I was to be a pastor's wife.

Can you believe it???? This new widow is encouraging me!! Isn't it supposed to be the other way around???

Well, if you know Mary, it's no surprise. When I picture the Proverbs 31 woman, I see Mary! I know she is not perfect, but she is just about as close as one can get on this earth.

Thinking back down through the years, I have many fond memories of Larry, Mary, Amanda, & Daniel. Church trips, sleep overs, haunted houses, hide & seek, passing notes when we should be paying attention, jumping on the trampoline late at night, boys, birthday parties, Carowinds, dances, weddings, & words upon words of wisdom.

I was on the phone with Amanda when her bedroom lamp exploded & she freaked out because she just knew her house was haunted. We weren't even teenagers yet.

I remember just how hard Amanda took it when Mary surrendered to God's will by only wearing skirts. She thought we would never get to go to Carowinds again.

I remember how Daniel used to aggravate us to no end. But that's what little brothers are for.

I remember being scared to death of their dog. We would always wait until he wasn't around and then run for our lives.

I remember thinking how intimidating Larry always looked when he was in uniform, but then I was one of the ones lucky enough to know he was actually a teddy bear with a heart of gold. I loved hearing him preach but I could never sympathize with being a preacher's kid.

Mary called me a few years ago after I sent her a gift that wasn't worth anything of monetary value. We talked for what seemed like hours. She was the one who told me how proud she was of me for homeschooling my children. She has always been the one to tell me to follow God, support my husband, & love my babies.

I could sit here forever telling stories of how much this family has meant to me.

It never really dawned on me that these saints were getting older. I wish that could have spent a few more hours with Larry before he died. I hope to be able to sit down and spend time with Mary soon. She has so much more to teach me.

Yesterday, I wasn't crying because death had claimed another life. I was rejoicing over a saint getting promoted. I was reminiscing many happy hours spent in love. I was concerned over an empty place at the dinner table & a huge hole left in hearts. I was also somewhat envious of Larry sitting at our savior's feet. I was curious to see who would be willing to take up his mantle & run for our Lord.

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