Friday, February 16, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Tillie

Tillie Seehusen was married to my Dad’s cousin Fred but she was more like an aunt to me; and in these last years, she became a special friend. Her husband died a number of years ago and in 2003, she buried her only son, Larry. Tillie shared with me that as a woman, you expect to bury your husband but not your son. When she talked about Larry, her eyes would water over but she wasn’t bitter. Tillie wasn’t into being bitter, resentful or petty. I never saw any of that in her spirit.

Tillie died on Saturday at the age of 95. Today as we sat in the church in Clara City, my mind wandered as I thought about Tillie. Many times when I introduced myself, people would ask “How are you related to Tillie?” Tillie and Freddie were not rich by worldly standards but Tillie’s influence in the lives of her neighbors and Sunday school students is priceless. In the last couple of years I have run into neighbor girls of Tillie’s who are now adult women. The mention of Tillie’s name always elicits the same response, “Oh Tillie.” Oh Tillie; she was a special woman. Today, one of Tillie’s Sunday school students was at the funeral—she is now 65 years old and still remembers Tillie as a special teacher. (If you are or have been a Sunday school teacher, will any of your students remember you 50 years later??)

My Mom died when I was 13 after a long battle with cancer. My Mom asked Tillie to pray for me and keep track of me. As a young man, I didn’t always take kindly to what I perceived as “Tillie’s meddling”. As an old man, I am blessed to have known her. Thank you, Tillie; thank you Lord Jesus, for I believe Tillie’s prayers and a gracious and forgiving God is the only reason I’m alive today and able to call myself a son of the Living God. Tillie was a prayer warrior and always showed concern, even when I wasn’t interested. I Samuel 12:23-24 says: “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” Do we realize the affect we can have on the life of young people just by being a prayer warrior?

God has been good to me to put people like Tillie in my life. I was preaching at Raymond one Sunday about six years ago when she surprised me with her presence. At the end of the service we hugged and cried. I remember what Tillie said, “The Lord is good. The Lord is good.” He sure is. Thank you Tillie for your love and example.

She was buried on St. Luke’s hill north of Danube on the banks of Beaver Creek. It was 6 degrees with a biting west wind. It was cold Friday afternoon but remember this, last Saturday the sweet chariot swung low and the band of angels welcomed Tillie home as she crossed the Jordan River. Well done, well done, my good and faithful servant.

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