Tribute To My Bride
“Tribute To My Bride”
Thursday, July 30, 2020
I would love to be able to personally say the following words as a tribute to my “Bride” but it would take up the entire service not because it is pages long but because I would have to stop then restart and eventually Pastor Don would have to replace me, so who better to read these words than Pastor Don who dedicated our children, officiated the funeral of my bride Ronda, then mentored Debbie and myself through premarital counseling, then married us, and now will read my final tribute to “My Bride in her coronation, graduation and her homecoming”
Debbie was born again in August 1979 at Perris Hill Park in San Bernardino CA through the ministry of Pastor John Miller of Calvary Chapel San Bernardino. When Debbie told me the date and location of her conversion, I realized I was also there at that very same concert. The night before that concert I had married my first wife, Ronda. We returned home the next day in order to take an unsaved friend to that very concert. That same evening my future bride, Debbie, would receive Jesus Christ as her Savior, forever changing her life and mine.
Debbie attended Harvest Christian Fellowship for 27 years. She raised her daughter Megan as a single parent. They lived and breathed church. Debbie worked for SB Court system, and later for the county schools. She later would tell me when opportunities came to work extra hours for extra money she would always opt out for more time with Megan. Debbie and Megan went to countless concerts, but it was not just to listen to the music but both her and Megan served selling the products of the various bands. Debbie was involved with the Women’s Ministry, Singles, Home Fellowships, Hospitality, Discipleship, and the Harvest Crusades from the very beginnings. When I began talking to her in July 2005, She said that her future plan after retirement was to volunteer full time for the church and to serve God. (I thought it would be better to have her serve CC Rialto than Harvest)
I married my bride on February 2, 2006 that day my bride became “The First Lady Of Calvary Chapel Rialto”
One of Debbie’s and mine personal standing jokes was me saying to her, “I am trying to be a good husband, I am trying to be a better husband!” Debbie would then respond by saying, “You are a good husband, you are the best husband” But one day she was texting me on her iPhone and the spell check wrote “You are a good Has-Been” She felt so bad, and would always say, “You know I did not mean to say that!” (But The Damage Was Done!) so from then on, I would say, “I love you, your Has-Been”
Debbie Never Ceased In Her Gratitude To God And Giving Thanks - Debbie said in April 17, 2017, in response to being diagnosed with stage 4 Colon Cancer, “I will not complain, but I am going to be thankful, grateful and I am going to praise Him!” That is exactly what my bride did for the next 3 years and 3 months. “Debbie was not only a woman of the Word, but she was a woman of her word”
She underwent almost 3 years of chemo with all the side effects, multiple surgical procedures, scans, labs, radiation. She never complained, she lived out the very definition of the term “Saint” which is “a true believer” She left behind a testimony of a woman who loved Jesus Christ with all of her heart and with all of her strength! “Her attitude of gratitude was my Bride!”
Debbie Was A Woman Of Prayer - One of the statements she loved to repeat came from her grateful heart that knew that God always hears our prayers. She was ever talking about those that were praying for us. She would say, “I am so thankful for all the prayers of the praying saints!”
Doctor Grace, a dear friend of ours from VEIM (Village Evangelization of India Missions) in an email to Debbie 2 days before she went to heaven said the following, “I fondly remember her message about Job & his suffering and especially about Moses where she very emphatically preached "I WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE!" She is so precious to me.”
“Well her prayer has been answered, she is literally seeing His face!”
Debbie Lived To Serve God And Others - Debbie really wanted to live and we both made the commitment to fight this cancer with everything. (She was a fighter) We said to each other many times that we hoped that God would allow us to go to heaven together at the same time. I want to share something personal that only Debbie, myself, the doctor and nurse witnessed. Several times in our appointments with the Oncologist Debbie would begin to cry and tell the doctors “I really need to beat this cancer and get better because my husband’s first wife died of cancer and I can’t put him through this again!” (So classic of her to not think of her own battle with cancer but to be more concerned about me having to go through my own battle of grief at her loss.)
Just a few days before she went to heaven she said, to me “I want to get better so I can continue to serve God alongside of you!”
Debbie Was A Worshiper - Debbie’s service has more songs than usual. Those that have attended or walked with the Lord for any length of time also notice that the songs that were chosen for the service are mostly the Maranatha, or other worship songs. Debbie loved the older songs because they were Scripture. She would say “you can never go wrong singing Scripture because Scripture always exalts the Lord.” It was common for me to come home and to hear praise and worship music in the background. Debbie would crank it up when she was alone. When I was home it was quiet because I was studying, but if she was alone, she turned it up! Debbie at times could not hear me entering into the house and I would find her in the kitchen or living room with her hands lifted up and eyes closed singing to the Lord. “That was Debbie! Worship was her life! It was not limited to a service or concert. She lived as an act of worship to God!”
Debbie Was A Woman Of The Word – Debbie spoiled me. When I was studying, she would constantly ask, “Can I get you something to eat? Can I get you something to drink? Are you too hot? Are you too cold?” Her thinking was that my husband, my pastor is studying the Word in order to feed us all so I will do whatever I can so that we will all benefit from His study of the Word.
Debbie was the one that would take my personal notes that would then be converted into the Power Point and she would make the corrections to my grammar and punctuation. She was so good at it, it made me look so good, but it was really Debbie who behind the scenes that would ask me, “What are you trying to say here?”
She was the model for being a student of the Word. She would print out the notes on Sundays and Wednesdays. She placed the notes into 3 ring binders. Debbie has binders of notes dating back to 2005. She sat in front row taking notes from me. She would say, regarding me, “He is not only my husband, but he is my pastor!” She already knew the notes because she edited them, but she would then take notes of the message. I knew that my Bride knew the Word and she loved me so much so her input and comments were important to me. God blessed her with insight because of her knowledge of the Word.
My Bride Was Loyal To Me – She was the one that had my back. “God have mercy on the person who misquoted me or misrepresented me, because the lamb became a lion!” Her love for God, her love for the Word, and her love for me made her the ultimate loyal God-fearing wife.
I can’t begin to describe in words how much I lost on Friday July 17, 2020. How could I be angry at or with God for taking my Bride to heaven? She experienced such great pain without complaint. God has taken her to heaven. Heaven is heaven because Jesus is there. God has so graciously given His life for such a sinner as me. God forgave my bride’s sins. God then blessed us with 14 years of marriage. I will forever be grateful and thankful to God for allowing me the privilege of being married to her.
I weep today alongside of many others. As I have said to others when I have conducted their funeral services, I say to myself this day, “It’s OK to cry. That means you love her, but remember you are crying for yourself not for her. She is in heaven no longer in pain, more alive this day than she has ever been, she is in God’s presence!”
I will see you again! Your Has-been,