Thanksgiving 2012

Dear Friends,

I almost can't believe how quickly the seasons roll by!! Here it is November again! Time for me to pause and reflect on the many things I am grateful to God for in this past year.

God!

First and foremost I am, as always, grateful to the Lord for His beautiful, boundless grace in receiving me into His Kingdom, accepting me as His child, and continuing to work on me and in me to bring about the good works He has prepared for me.

You!

It almost goes without saying, but I will say it again: Bernie and I are so grateful for each of you receiving and reading this letter! You are such a gift from God and a blessing to us, whether you simply read our letters, or pray for us, or support our ministry, or all three! You are continuing to enable us to fill a niche need in the Kingdom of God, that is being a catalyst for families to be better equipped to model evangelism to their children with the hope that it will enable them to pass their faith to the next generation. Just the other day I was hearing once again the sad statistic that upwards to 90 percent of children raised in Christian homes, and in the church, leave the church and their faith once they reach adulthood. We consider our mission and ministry an attempt to stem the tide. Only the Lord knows what the future holds for our culture and how long we will be allowed the freedom to express our faith in tangible ways, and to explain the hope that lies within us and give a defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. But while the Lord tarries, we continue to have a window of opportunity to do all these things as people invite us to, often in the company of sweet families. And you are holding up our hands in the process. We would not be able to have the privilege of doing the work we do for the Lord, the work we believe He has called us to, without you! How could you not top our gratefulness list?? Thank you so much!!

Here a family prays before handing out gospel fliers at one of our outreaches. The mother said afterwards, "I have an image in my mind of Seth, my son, running with the fliers up to people so eager to share Jesus. Our children continue to pray for people that received the fliers that day. We are so thankful for your family and the encouragement you are to families like ours!"

My wonderful husband!

The last seven years have brought many changes. The launching of my oldest son in marriage, a move to a new area and a new home, a job change from what might be the largest ministry in the world to what might be the smallest, the loss of both my parents, becoming a grandmother times five, entering the fifth decade of my life and the third decade with my dear husband, and now the blessed marriage of my second son.

In these years full of change, and maybe especially since my parents died five years ago and as I have entered this season of life in my fifties almost three years ago, I have needed to make some adjustments to the new me. The fifties have brought changes that are part of the aging process and that has meant less energy mentally and physically and less motivation in general. I have felt that the 'old me' was lost somewhere! The me that would get so excited about things, loved to serve my family, loved to have parties and gatherings for family and ministry, ...would I ever see that 'me' again? Although I continued to do these things, and have continued to minster with my husband, it was many times with much overwhelmed-ness, and lacking joy.

Through it all the Lord has blessed me with a husband who has boundless grace towards me! We did battle in the spiritual realms often daily, taking every though captive to the obedience of Christ. As I would at times lament, he would often find a scripture to counter each challenge, and would make an acronym of prayer requests, which we would pray together regularly. The times we have done that consistently have been the best times in terms of improving my perspective. Nothing can compare to the power in God's Word, the Holy Spirit, and prayer with our fellow warriors, in particular prayer with my lifetime companion, my 'better' half.

I am explaining all of this not to paint a depressing picture! This season has been filled certainly with many joys, and sweet comfort that only the Holy Spirit can bring! But I am saying all of this just to amplify to you my gratefulness for my God and His gift to me of my dear earthly husband, who is definitely also at the top of my list! As I put on my watch yesterday, after not wearing it since the year my mother passed, I at last have a sense of encouragement and motivation as I look to the future.

Family!

Next to God, you, and my husband, I am grateful for the rest of my dear family! Rather than go on and on about them, and give you too much to read, I have the privilege of using these family portraits this year. I do believe God is in the business of painting 'portraits' with our lives, if we let Him. So I wanted to let these visual portraits by our family friend and wonderful photographer, Rebekah Murray (www.rebekahjmurray.com), speak for themselves this year. So here are some of my favorite 'Portraits of Gratefulness' 2012. Hope you enjoy!!

I think one of the things the Lord has given me during this time is the balm of beautiful music. Exploring the world of classical music and my new understanding and enjoyment of the music of the violin, in particular played by our favorite violinist, has certainly been a deep ministry to my soul during this time. And of course my granddaughters are such a gift from God and have brought such joy to me during this time as well!!! So here is a picture of them playing the violin (they are quite a joy to listen to and work with!)

And both my daughters-in-law! I just couldn't ask for or have wished for better or more godly young women to be wives for my amazing oldest two sons. These young women inspire me and I admire them so much; they have also certainly been a bright spot for me. Kerin is doing such an amazing job raising 5 girls, I don't know how she does it! And Christina has been a more recent addition, but even in the short time I have known her, I have found her to twinkle and glow with such enthusiasm and joy; she is totally fun to be around. And of course my own daughter has been a continual blessing. It has been so fun to see her move from daughter to truly a friend. She challenges me as well as inspires me as she mentally reverse engineers just about everything in her search for truth. She operates so differently than me!! She is totally the most amazing person to have a conversation with, though after a while I get mentally tired of the gymnastics at times required to keep up with the speed and depth of her questioning mind. :) And need I mention she makes me laugh??

And I can't neglect Dan, steady Dan, kind Dan, careful Dan, disciplined Dan, talented Dan. He certainly inspires me as well.

Sarah with me (Linda) and each of her four older nieces: Abbi (6), Rachel (4), Bethany (3) and Hannah (2).

May everyone reading this letter be blessed and encouraged as you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends! And may you realize and remember all you have to be grateful to God for in this past year!

Much, much love from the Beall family to you!!

~ Linda for the Bealls

 



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