Yesterday, a very dear friend passed from this world to be with Jesus. As hard as it is, I am thankful for this blessing. You see, Bill loved the Lord and he lived with severe back pain, and other ailments, that doctors said would never get better. Bill pushed through tremendous emotional and physical pain always hoping to get back on his Harley and ride again. Riding again on this earth wasn’t meant to be. Now, he is riding with the King! What a beautiful vision for all of us who will miss him so very much.
My husband and I met Bill about 9 years ago. Very quickly, he and my husband became best friends. We would talk about how they were very different men, but loved one another greatly. They couldn’t either one imagine not having the others friendship. Bill was a big Harley riding man with a HUGE heart. My husband is a guitar playing corporate man with a HUGE heart. These men are from very different backgrounds and experiences. In all His great wisdom, God brought these seemingly unlikely friends together to grow and learn from each other and to serve for His Kingdom together. Absolutely beautiful.
We all served side-by-side in Celebrate Recovery and there were many deep conversations over the years. Bill loved helping others come to know Jesus. He had an incredible testimony that spoke volumes to the people God brought into his path. Bill had a way of making you feel comfortable and always accepted. I love that he had a physical stature that could appear intimidating, but all he had to do was be in your presence for a few minutes for you to know that this was a tender hearted man of great character.
Bill’s recent years were a life well lived that we all should learn from. He didn’t hide behind pride trying to bury his past. He didn’t heap condemnation on himself saying he wasn’t good enough. He didn’t try to be someone he wasn’t. Bill owned his mistakes and he walked everyday in the love, forgiveness and saving grace of his Savior. Because of his willingness to allow God to use his past, many accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and were brought to God’s Kingdom. Bill helped more people than we can count to stay on a path of new life.
Bill served endlessly at Celebrate Recovery. Barry and I always called him a “rock” in the ministry. We could count on Bill without fail. We all hope our lives will have an impact in this world for good. Bill’s impact will live on well beyond his time on this earth.
Our Celebrate Recovery foundation scripture is Philippians 4:13: “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Bill lived true to this verse. May we all do the same in your passing. May your legacy of loving others unconditionally live on through each of us. May we learn from your example to always greet others with a smile, love them where they are and serve tirelessly as God calls us. May we never allow our pride to keep us from giving and sharing freely.
Hearts are grieving for this great friend we will no longer see this side of eternity. We will miss you tremendously dear friend.
In loving memory of “Wild Bill” Phillips