Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Online Celebration of Life

I was supposed to go to Daryl Billing's Celebration of Life today in Joplin, Missouri. A former member of the Youth Group I led 20 years ago was going to fly in and we were going to drive down to Joplin for the service. Then Missouri weather, in typical fashion, happened and the young man didn't fly in and we didn't go. While I was significantly bummed, I knew it was the right decision. Imagine my JOY this morning when I saw that they were streaming the service on FB live. *grin*

When I initially heard Daryl Billings had Cancer, I thought he'd be fully healed. He lasted 5-ish years with Cancer. When he passed away recently, I wrestled with it. Well, I was wrestling beforehand. Then this past week Brian Pink released a song, "Welcome Home, Daryl" that helped me immensely. I think that losing dear friends this side of Heaven is the hardest thing we experience here. That song shifted my perspective and made me glad he's Home.

Even though I haven't had Daryl in my daily life for YEARS, He will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. People were able to share memories with Daryl today during the service, and I wanted to do a post about him. *grin*

I could literally write pages and pages of experiences in the Lord with Daryl (and Deb) mentoring me. Instead, I'll post highlights. That's what others did today during the celebration of life.

Daryl baptized me while I served alongside him and Deb at New Song Church in Joplin. We had an evening baptism service and several of us were baptized. It was priceless.

For a season we participated in Saturday night services at Joplin Church Alive (J.C.A.) and then we had services on Sunday morning at New Song Church. Defining moments in my walk with Him were made in that season. Daryl & Deb encouraged me when I was unsure, and let me know they believed in me. I was new to the Spirit Filled culture, and they taught me a lot in that season.

Daryl said a lot of things that have stayed with me all these years. One of my favorites was the fact that Daryl would always point me to God. When discussing various things, he would say, "What's God telling you?" He always pointed me to God, not to him or Deb. I try to do that when I'm mentoring young people now. That's helped shape who I am today. I think that's what good mentors do. They encourage & guide, but ultimately prepare you for success without them. Daryl did that very well with me.

I find it amazing what we remember throughout life. I remember a specific morning at New Song when Deb was encouraging a few of us, and she walked over to Daryl, put her hand on his chest, and told us not to settle in who we had for a spouse. She told us Daryl was worth the wait that she had between her first marriage & Daryl. That's been deep in my heart all these years.

Daryl was the person who encouraged me to play bongos at Crossroads House of Prayer. I remember the night he invited me up and how much I loved it. (Looking back, I was not good at it that night, but Daryl encouraged me in it anyway.) I've had some deep encounters after New Song on the Bongos at various events. If Daryl hadn't opened that door, I would have missed out on some amazing times on worship teams or at BYKOTA's Women's Retreats. I'm so thankful for that first night. *grin*

It's been MANY years (16 I think) since I served with Daryl & Deb at New Song. I have enjoyed watching Daryl & Deb do life together via facebook. I feel like we've been connected even though I've been in KC ten years now. I'm so very thankful for Social Media in this way because I enjoyed watching Daryl and Deb take adventures together. They inspire me.

I will miss him, although not in the way you might think. Over the years, when Bethel Music would come to KC or at the Onething Conference, I'd see him at the events. We would always hug (side hug, he was always a gentleman) and chat briefly. I remember the first time I saw him after I had moved up here, and we were both very excited to see each other and catch up. Whenever Bethel came, I would look for him. We both share a heart for worship music, so it was fun to see him at various events. I'll miss him when those events happen now and I won't see him. That's okay though, I'll think of him and smile. I think he'll be there in spirit. *grin*

Watching his Celebration of Life online today was neat. Not only did a get to see people from that season at New Song speak on Daryl's life, but I got to chat throughout the service via the chat feature on the web. In live time I was able to converse with some of those young people that were at New Song. I also met some new people too. I enjoyed hearing people share what an impact Daryl made on the lives of God's kids. There were A LOT of people that were blessed by Daryl. I wasn't surprised by that, but I was inspired.

Daryl was a man that knew how to unconditionally support people where they were at, but also challenge them to be more than they thought they could be. Daryl knew God and was able to impart the love of the Father into his kids.

As I watched the service, I was inspired to be used by God like Daryl was this side of Heaven.

Daryl, you will be missed this side of Heaven. May we all love people as well as you did while you were here. Love, T.S.O.

(My nickname with Daryl was T.S.O., The Short One. It made me smile)

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