Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Two Funerals

(Note: Please don't let the title discourage you.)
Two funerals in two days, two men generations apart in age...
 Michael had just turned 39 in June and Lonnie would have been 100 on December 31.
The way the two of them lived their lives couldn't have been more different.

I'll begin with Michael, who was good friend of our son.
He was two years ahead of Aaron in school but they had much in common,
including the love for anything with wheels, working on anything with wheels,
driving (fast) anything with wheels, and sadly, eventually falling into the clutches of alcoholism.
I met Michael for the first time when he came to our clinic for physical therapy.
His body had become ravaged from years of heavy drinking after the death of his father.
It was during that time that I also became acquainted with his mother,
a sweet sister-in-the-Lord who loved her son so very much.
Long story short, Michael's teenage son also became a patient over the last few years,
along with another family member so the therapist and I became quite close to the family.
(When you find a great physical therapist, word gets around :)
Michael reminded me of Aaron in so many ways.
His mother and I bonded right away over the similarities in our sons.
We prayed for each other...and for each others' boys.

Last Thursday, Aaron saw it on Facebook and called me.
After being in and out of hospitals the past few years, Michael had lost his battle.
I had just seen his mom several weeks earlier and she told me how much better he was doing,
both physically and spiritually and that he had been sober for a good while.

Now, on to Lonnie...
...a precious soul that my family had been blessed to know for nearly 24 years.
Just a few short weeks ago, Lonnie drove himself to church for the last time.
You heard me right...he drove himself to 99 years young.
Scary, you might think but I'll tell you, he was probably a better driver than most younger folks.
As a widower, he lived alone and always looked like a million bucks...
regularly sporting a coat and tie, white hair perfectly combed, impeccable posture,
and walked with confidence in every step he took.
No one would ever guess the man's age if they didn't know him.
Lonnie had lived his life for the Lord and had been His faithful servant for over 70 years.
Many of you may have a "Lonnie" in your church, no doubt.
He was the kind of man who seemed to have a direct line to God,
one who was so filled with the fruits of the spirit that when you were in his presence,
it seemed like the world was a brighter place.
The Lord must have given him the gift of knowing who needed special prayer.
 Lonnie always had a special place in his heart for our Aaron, knowing a bit about his struggles.
Several months ago, during the time Aaron was at the Potter's Wheel, 
Lonnie (who always sat behind us at church) was asking about him, like he had often done.
He had no knowledge of his current situation at that time but then again, somehow he knew.
Here's what he said:
"The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with Aaron on my mind. Now I don't know why, but I knew I needed to pray for him so I did...the Lord knows why and that's all that matters."
Fast forward several months...
 ...that certain soul in need which Lonnie was awakened to pray for was sitting on the pew,
 right in front of him and has been now for several months...
...that is until a couple of weeks ago when Lonnie suffered a heart attack.
His 99 year old ticker was worn out and just couldn't handle any more.
Last Friday, Lonnie stepped over into Glory to meet his Jesus.
What an extraordinary life!

Two funerals home-going celebrations in two days.
At Michael's service, we were made aware in no uncertain terms that for the past several months,
he had been getting reacquainted with Jesus...
...regularly meeting with his pastor, attending Bible study and praying.
His pastor spoke highly of him and he was well loved by many,
and I am guessing here,  but it looked like about 400-450 in attendance at his service.
There was not a doubt in the minds of anyone that he was in the arms of Jesus, in perfect health.
As Aaron and I sat there, I know he must have been thinking what I was thinking...
...that this service could have just as easily been for him.

And as for Lonnie, his life spoke for itself...there was never even a question.
We will dearly miss the echoes of his bold "Amens" and "Praise the Lords" during our services.
After getting the news of these two men passing away just a day apart,
I couldn't help but think about their contrasting lives.
Nothing about the two of them was like the other, except for one thing...
...they both had a friend in Jesus.
One had known him most of his life and the other had just recently met him.

Two men, six decades apart in age, living their lives on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Both, rejoicing in heaven today.

Only by grace.

Sharing at 
Spiritual Sundays


  1. Big hugs coming your way. Praise they Lord they both made it home

  2. No your post title didn't put me off ... but I had my tissues ready!
    A most wonderful post full of love and warmth for all, which is how it should be.

    'Only by grace.'

    Sincere condolences to all friends and family of Lonnie and Michael.

    All the best Jan

  3. Sad for those left behind. Life is fleeting; 39 or 99 years, the Bible says our days here will be over in the blink of an eye. Rejoicing with you that their eternal destiny was secure through their personal relationship with the Lord.

  4. I too, read this beautiful post with tears in my eyes. How wonderful both men are now with Jesus with their tired and damaged bodies a distant memory. I am always blown away how the Lord's purposes come to be. It is very sad that such a young man has passed away, so hard for his marvelous he is now at peace. Lonnie, seems to be one of God's blessed saints whom lived for his Lord every moment of his life. Thank you for this beautiful and uplifting post, Debby.

  5. Safely Home...what a wonderful Savior.

  6. You've written a beautiful post for these two men and for us. God bless you my friend. I'll keep these families in my prayers. Hugs, Diane

  7. What an uplifting post! To know that both these men are in Heaven now is cause to rejoice.

  8. I was so thankful to read that Michael, too, was in the arms of Jesus! Praise Him! So thankful that God's plan for Aaron is more years to serve Him here. Grateful for the work that God has done in Aaron's life, and will continue to do!

  9. Praise God! Oh the power of prayer! I'm so thankful to read of these two men and their joyful homecoming with the Lord! Makes me think of the parable of the vineyard - how all come to work for the same price, and despite length of time and work, all were paid the same. I praise God that Michael's family will be able to think of him in the arms of Jesus, at rest from the throes of the addiction he fought his whole life. And what a blessing your dear friend was throughout his life. Ah yes... all because of grace! What a beautiful thought! I have been so encouraged by this post dear Debby, in the power of prayer! Will certainly be praying for the families of both as I know there is a gaping hole there where they once were. Hugs to you dear friend!

  10. The tears are flowing but such an uplifting post. I was of course also thinking about my young nephew who so recently ended his life. A beautiful post for these two not so very different men, they shared a wonderful love of our Lord. It was lovely to have some news of your son and thrilled he is doing well.

  11. Well, firstly I loved the contrast and yet the end results is always God's grace. I was just praying for your Aaron this morning!
    your photos and scriptures were so lovely and moving...
    xo Roxy

  12. Oh, dear friend! I am in tears. The part that gripped me most was when you said that you and Aaron both thought of how it could have been him...oh, your dear mother's heart! How I thank God that you still have your son, and that He has changed his heart and life before it was too late. God is so good....just way beyond words. I am so sorry for your deep losses, and I trust God to continue to comfort you and all who mourn. You always touch my heart with your posts. Sending you much love today!

  13. I so enjoyed reading the stories of both Michael and Lonnie, Debby, and how both were intertwined with you and your son, Aaron. Wasn't that special when Lonnie told you that he prayed for Aaron, by being awakened by God? Thank you for sharing this with us and now they are with Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
    Also, your post with you and your sister at the beach for your birthday was wonderful! What a blessing!

  14. They had the most important thing of all in common. The passing is sad but they are rejoicing.

  15. What a beautiful post Debby. Such a blessing to know they are both safe with Jesus.

  16. How beautiful...grace upon grace...

  17. Somehow I stubbled upon your blog.. I was surprised at the heading... But said to myself let me read it and see what happened. Quite touching. I hope your son stays well and close to God and Jesus.. The quotes are all what I needed to hear.. Gave me stronger hope and faith... Sometimes it is all hard to understand.. Then God shows you what you need to see or hear.. I'm going to join your blog. Please stop by and visit me as we. Have a blessed weekend. And may the both RIP. with love Janice

  18. So very sorry for your losses my heart goes out to you and their families. Peace comes with knowing they are in God's loving arms now and can truly rest.



  19. Funerals are never easy, saying goodbye is always excruciating. But, when it involves a child of God, we mourn with hope, with the strong assurance that we will be joined together again in eternity. My sincere best wishes to the families who are grieving now, and I pray that God will bring supernatural peace and comfort to their hearts.

    As for Michael and Lonnie, welcome home, good and faithful servants!


  20. A precious story of two lives and the power of prayer.
    Wishing you many blessings this weekend.

  21. Debby, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your two friends. A short life and then a long life but how wonderful to know they are with Jesus. That's all that matters, isn't it, my friend.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  22. This is just our temporary home and I'm so glad they both made it there.
    Reading your post, was such a testimony of Gods Love for both of those men and all they did while here on this earth.
    Praying for you and your family.
    Many hugs, Amy

  23. Debby, so sorry to hear about Michael and Lonnie. They will be greatly missed. Your tribute is heart-warming and sweet, beautiful photos, too. Thanks for sharing their stories.

    Warm hugs to you, my friend,

  24. What a beautiful post. Yes saddness at the loss of these two men but rejoicing that they are in Heaven with their Savior.

  25. This was a beautiful tribute....I look forward to meeting all these folks one day.

  26. This is such a beautiful post, Debby. These two men may not have shared much in common in this life, but I'm sure they will be the best of friends in heaven.

    Warm hugs,


Thank you for stopping by today! Your sweet comments are such an encouragement to me.

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