We’re all on a trajectory and Lil was no exception to that. There was something about her, however, that was just a little different from the rest of us. You might have first noticed it by the way she always loved a
little more than seemed wise, or the way her thick blond hair was stick straight and kept waist length while the rest of us got the basic wavy brown curls. All things combined, she just had a presence that invited you to go deeper. She never verbally challenged you to be more bold or to take bigger risks, it was just something in her DNA, and somehow little bits of it would jump out at you and make you uncomfortably aware that there was more life out there than you were currently allowing in. There were deeper rabbit holes to explore. There was more vibrant air to breathe.
In 1957, she was the first born to Harry and Faye, who were newly married; Harry fresh from the Korean war and Faye just barely 19 at the time. Fast forward sixty-six years and she’s now the first one of us to be greeted by mom and dad in Heaven. It’s no big surprise. She wasn’t really known for staying in one place for too long. For some, that could feel like you didn’t really get to know her, or that you weren’t quite good enough to hold her attention for very long.
But relationships are more than a two way street. They’re often a maze of city blocks or a series of dead ends, one way streets or a confusing triple cloverleaf and sometimes you just take a wrong turn, but Lil approached every mile of her life with abandon, leaning into every curve…even though she may have been hitchhiking… on a Harley… with a stranger she had just met. That was just how she rolled. She was multifaceted and easily drawn toward the long stretches of road that you or I may have avoided.
And that’s how she met Jesus. He picked her up one night when she was still searching for deeper meaning. Greater experiences. Maybe even a way out. But she gave him nothing less than her signature meteoric light show…white hot and blazing her own trail. She joined a charismatic church and slowly learned what it meant to receive the Holy Ghost, speak in tongues and even to be slain in the spirit. While she went to bible studies and prayed for her family to be saved, we learned that her obsessive compulsive personality wasn’t just a limiting character flaw, it was the gateway to her complete surrender to God.
As you may have guessed, like the rest of us, she made mistakes on top of mistakes. She was a work in progress and she saw more than her share of hardships. She tried more than once in marriage; she lost her son, Jesse, to cancer as well as her one day old sister, Teresa, and her 11 year old nephew Griffen; she overcame alcohol and drug addiction; and she learned the hard way that her worth wasn’t tied to pleasing people or suffering abuse at the hands of those not truly invested in her story.
And yet in spite of these and other setbacks, she also got to experience the exhilaration of childbirth, to see her only daughter Melissa return to Christ and serve in her church in a greater capacity than she could have ever imagined. She was able to experience the blessings of the birth of two grandsons, Derek and Jacob. She held a special place in her heart for the weak and the suffering. She had a lifetime of love and support from her older half-sister Sylvia who took her in at the tender age of thirteen. She loved animals—especially dogs, and studying biblical prophesy. She never lost that special sibling bond with her brother Charles and she always demonstrated forgiveness in her heart for the people she clashed with the most—namely her baby brother, Mark, but we all know that classic sibling rivalry, so he gets a free pass this time.
In a way, we could say that Lil’s life was cut short. After all she had overcome, these next twenty years surely would have been her best ever. But human suffering often paves the way to spiritual chrysalis, and for this we can now say that Lillian has truly been changed into her final form. Her trajectory has been corrected and nothing can compete for her desire to glorify God without limits. Even now as you read this, her story continues to exemplify the transformative power of Jesus and how his ultimate sacrifice exists in perpetuity. Even for somebody like me, and yes, even for you.
Family will receive friends 4:00-6:00pm Sunday, August 13, 2023, at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel. Funeral service will follow with Rev. Dennis Donnally officiating. Graveside services will be held privately.