As I nervously met you for the first time, trying to impress you as the future bride of your son, I tried to imagine what Lonnie would be like in a few years. I quickly learned by watching you with your family that I was about to marry a man, who like his father was caring, humble, kind, loving and wise. I also learned the true fate of Lonnie's hair color in a few years! You welcomed me into this family with open arms and an open heart and showed me nothing but love. I also learned from the moment I met you that there was something incredibly different about you. I knew that you had the spark that so many people are missing. You had it right. You loved the Lord, you loved your wife and you loved your family with every bone in your body. You were a true servant in so many ways. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your family, I am a very blessed daughter in law.
Thank you for loving your wife with all of your being. Thank you for showing your son what it meant to love his wife with all of his being. What a comfort it was to your family, knowing how much you loved your wife. As I watched you with Lila, I could tell that you were still deeply in love with your bride. You would steal a kiss from her in the hallway when you think no one was watching and I even think I caught a little hiney grab in the drive way. Don't worry, we will take good care of her!
Thank you for teaching your son how to be an amazing father by showing him love, discipline and leading him in the right path. There is no greater gift that a father can give his son than to lead him to Christ. You lead a godly life and passed that down to your son. You showed him how to work hard and even if there were unfinished projects it was the quality time that meant the most. My husband comes home from a hard day at work, just wanting to crash on the couch and gets down on his hands and knees with his two boys. I know he learned that from you.
You left us too soon, but Jesus called your name, you are home! You're in a better place and we rejoice for you. It breaks our hearts to have to let you go so soon, it breaks my heart that you won't get to see your grandsons grow up, but you left them with lasting memories. Our hearts ache but God will give us the strength to make it through. We are homesick but find comfort that there are no good byes in Christ, just see you soon! You were swept away by His love and now you watch us from above but we can't wait to see you in heaven and wrap our arms around your neck.
I watched person after person at your funeral go up to your wife, son and daughters and tell them how much you meant to them, how you changed their lives and how you lead them to Christ. What a living testament to your life. There was one older man who had red eyes and was trembling, he approached Lonnie and grasped both of his hands in his tired worn ones. He looked him straight in the eye and muttered, "Your father would be proud."
As you leave us in the flesh here on earth, I know that God is uttering the very same phrase because you have made your Heavenly Father proud.
We love you. I love you.
See you soon!