For those of you who missed our tribute to the most amazing woman I’ve ever known, I’ve embedded the video recording of the service below.
Although I tried to articulate to the very best of my ability the honor, respect and love I have for my Tina Lee, it pales in comparison to the actual love that we shared for each other.
She will live eternally in my heart and I will miss her greatly.
Notes From My Tribute to Tina Lee MacNamara
I met Tina in 1991 during a youth service at church. At the time, I wasn’t looking for a soulmate but instantly fell in love with her character, personality, radiant smile, beautiful blue eyes, curly hair and her incessant love for life.
Her devotion to God was true and her servant heart toward people was huge. I had never met another woman with so much passion for life, such an incredibly positive outlook on the future and unparalleled love for people.
As our relationship developed, I knew she was the one for me. However, since marriage is the most sacred commitment we humans can make between each other before a Holy God, I wanted to make sure she was the one God had chosen for me.
So I spent an entire day deep in the woods of southwest Arkansas seeking God’s face and His direction but, most importantly, His blessing. I left those woods with a total peace that she was the one. So on June 12, 1993 our journey as husband and wife began.
I have so many positive memories that I could share with you today but it’d take another lifetime just to articulate them. She was the total opposite of me but through the years we helped balance each other’s flaws through the grace of God.
She was sanguine, I’m melancholy. She was carefree, I’m more reserved and serious. She was the life of the party, I’m the one that shut them down.
No kidding. True story…
While in college, I called the police on numerous occasions whenever my neighbors got too loud on Friday nights while I tried to study. She would laugh so hard at me and told me that I would become more relaxed and forgiving the more I hung around her.
She was right. She changed me.
When we entered a room, her radiance would fill it. We could walk into a room full of people we didn’t know and she’d know each one of them by name by the time we left. The only introduction I’d make is to the most comfortable chair I could find because I knew the words she spoke would more than cover the one’s I had in my reserve for the entire day.
Today we celebrate her life, not her death. She may have left her earthly temple but I can assure you she isn’t dead but very much alive in the presence of our Lord and Savior.
Madeline, Creed and I already know that she’s been given two special roles in Heaven — both as the party planner as well as the “chatty corner” administrator. We can just see it now. She’s been shuffled off to the corner somewhere chatting up a storm with her Aunt Margie and grandmother, whom we affectionately call Momo.
As we celebrate her life together today, just know that she loved each and every one of you dearly. She lived her life to the fullest and made sure God was in the center of it all.
She lived a life of unwavering faith and had a passion to serve me and our kids unlike I’ve ever seen. She deeply loved her family and would only want us to celebrate today not waste it in pain.
2 Corinthians 4:16 through 5:14 (The Message)
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
1-5 For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
6-8 That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
9-10 But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
11-14 That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It’s no light thing to know that we’ll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That’s why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We’re not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we’re on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.
I Will Be Here
I’m including this video of the song ‘I Will Be Here’ by Steven Curtis Chapman because it’s the same song I sung to Tina during our wedding ceremony on June 12, 1993.
Michael Gandolfo says
Tina was an incredible woman with such a zeal for life. Inspiring how she took this head on and devoted her energy into making those around her better for it. Truly a divine outlook on life. Thank you for sharing her (and your) story with me. I’ll be praying for the repose of her soul and for your family.