Bethany Church is saddened by the death of Sister Johnnie Mae Conlee who passed away to be with the Lord on March 27, 2014 after being in the hospital and three different Nursing Homes over the last few months. She loved Bethany Church and the doctrine of Sovereign Grace. She had always expressed a readiness to see her mansion that the Lord had for her and very other child of God. Paul said, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (Phil. 1:23). Â Paul knew that his time was almost at hand to be with the Lord whereas Sister Conlee did not have this perception but she just knew it was getting nearer every day. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (II Tim. 4:6). Sister Conlee’s health began to deteriorate rapidly after she broke her hip and went through surgery but there isn’t anything broken in the eternal abode of the righteous.
Sister Conlee was Â a very lovely woman. She had an outer beauty and an inner beauty that far surpassed the outward appearance. She was sweet and kind and always had that big smile. She endured affliction with a graciousness that adorned the inner beauty she possessed. She took great care in how she appeared in public with family and friends. She wanted to look her best but this was not a glorified pretentiousness at all. She did not do this to draw attention to herself but she just wanted to do her best, at that and anything she attempted to do which is in keeping with her hard working habit she exhibited all her life. She had proper natural attire and she had great spiritual attire. “Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Prov. 31:25). She had much rejoicing in many natural and spiritual things while living out her 90 years on the earth, but she is rejoicing in Spirit as never before experienced.
She was honored by many friends and loved ones as they paid their last respects to her at the funeral which was held March 29, 2014. She is survived by a daughter, Donna Mooney, who requested that Proverbs 31:10-31 be read as part of the funeral message. This was easy and appropriate as Solomon tells us how valuable a woman of virtue is in the eyes of the Lord. “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” (Prov. 31:10). Solomon goes on to describe how this virtuous woman is blessed and blesses those of her family and friends by exhibition of her virtuous nature. Her children call her blessed and her husband praises her and it was easy to recognize this is Sister Conlee.
She testified to her Pastor on numerous occasions that she said her prayers every day, thanking the Lord for His many blessings and asking for forgiveness of her sins. Her mind became confused in the latter weeks of her life but thanks be to God she is no longer confused in mind or body. The body rests in Ecru Cemetery and her Spirit rests with the Lord awaiting the resurrection. She always came through the handshake at the conclusion of services, and she had a very weak, limp hand shake but her faith was not weak or limp, it was strong in the Lord. She was like Abraham of long ago: “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;Â And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom. 4:20-21).
Sister Conlee surprised us by being at one of our services during the September 2013 meeting as she was brought by her daughter and the above picture was taken before service at one of those gatherings. She was lovely as usual in spite of her declining health. We pray the Lord will bless her daughter and family with peace and comfort in the days to come. “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:Â The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:Â The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Numb. 6:24-26)–March 29, 2014–Elder Larry Wise