My friend Sonnie passed from this life recently. I have been blessed with many friends as a minister’s wife, and they are like sisters to me because I never had any earthly sisters. Sonnie was not only my sister in Christ but also the closest (along with a few others) I have ever come to feeling like I had an earthly sister. She was a few years older than me, and I looked up to her like you would an older sister.
There were so many things that made her special and I would like to share a few of those things with you. They are attributes I believe would help all of us as we journey through this life.
- She was fun. She almost always had a smile on her face and could lighten up any dark moment. She never worried about looking silly to others, but she would put on a funny hat and parade around at a ladies’ devo and fellowship if she thought it would bring a smile to some otherwise sad faces.
- She was a hard worker. Anything she made up her mind to tackle would be done – and done well. If she wanted a goldfish pond in her back yard (which she did), she dug it and made it into a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy watching those fish. When the pantry, or a storage closet, or anything else needed cleaning in the annex at the church building, she would tackle it alone at a time when no one would know who had done the work. And it was done to perfection.
- She was compassionate. Her father came to live with her in her little house when he became a widower for the second time. She referred to him as her “live-in man.” (I told you she was fun). She would hurry on to tell those who didn’t know her that she was blessed to have her “daddy” living with her. She treated him like a king. She took the upstairs bedroom and gave him the one downstairs. She talked about what a blessing that was to her because at night in her little upstairs room, which was above his, she could hear her father praying by name for each one of his grown children.
She treated all of her neighbors well, often taking food to them and helping them with problems they may have had. Many of our older ladies looked forward to a visit from Sonnie because she cared so deeply for them and brought her happy disposition to them when she visited or cared for them.
- She was a planner. She could organize and carry out tasks in her family or at church like no one I have ever seen. She “headed up“ things like Ladies’ Day, Ladies’ Devo and Fellowship, refreshments for our annual Singing, and many other activities. When her brothers and sisters would come to visit – you guessed it – they gathered at her little home. Every activity she undertook was planned well and carried out to perfection.
- She loved frogs. She collected frogs of any type. She wore clothes that had frogs on them. She had frog jewelry of every type. She signed any announcement she had put in the bulletin with these letters — F.R.O.G. – and added a small picture of a frog. She had frogs sitting on her porch and frog wind chimes hanging around her porch. These were all reminders to her and to those of us who knew her to Fully Rely On God. She did. She taught us often that frogs only move forward, and never backward. What a needed reminder for every Christian facing a struggle!
- She was a faithful Christian. Some of the last words I heard her say following her relatively short illness were, “I’ve had a good life. I’m ready to go home.” She had “fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:7) I could depend on her to always be doing what was right. I could depend on her to be at every service of the church and every activity she could. I could depend on her because I knew she depended on God.
Her memorial service was held last week and many people attended: family, members at Central, members from other congregations, friends from her years in high school, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Many tears were shed. Much laughter was heard. Some of her favorite gospel songs were sung. A niece told of the things she had taught her, and Jim spoke about her great qualities and how happy she would be if each person there would make sure they are in a right relationship with God. The theme for the evening was her theme for life – F.R.O.G. – Fully Rely On God.
Help me, Father, to follow her example.
“Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which translated means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.” Acts 9:36