December, 2013

Dreams and Visions

Throughout the different seasons of my life, I have embraced different 'dreams and visions.' And I prayed for the Lord to answer my dreams and visions, and bring them to pass if He willed.

I had a dream as a child of helping people and in some way making the world a better place. The Lord gave me work as a nurse, and work in a Christian ministry, and then He blessed me with my family, which for me became my greatest place of service.

I had a dream as a teen and young adult of discovering truth and finding a life filled with purpose. The Lord led me to Himself.

I had a dream of finding an amazing husband. The Lord gave me someone beyond my imaginings!

I always pictured myself with a bunch of children. The Lord gave me four, and continues to enlarge that heritage with many more grandchildren.

I dreamed of raising my children into productive adults who were able to use specific gifts and talents the Lord gave them to provide for themselves and serve others. I dreamed that my children would find God and understand truth and make wise choices in their lives. I have seen the Lord do all these things.

I dreamed of wonderful spouses for my children. The spouses the Lord has brought for my oldest sons have far exceeded my hopes.

You may think it sounds like God has answered many of my prayers and given me all of my dreams come true! But no, there are many dreams and visions that are still left unfulfilled, dreams that probably will never come to pass. And most that have come to pass, have not been answered in the way I dreamed about or envisioned. What I am leaving out of this picture is that many times when I dreamed a dream, I inserted what I thought was the best answer to that dream. And in nearly every, if not every circumstance, the Lord gave me death to my dream or vision. After that death, He has sometimes moved my heart and mind to see something different altogether that He was wanting to bring to pass. At other times, after what seemed a certain death to my dream, and after I had completely given up any hope for it, the Lord has then surprised me by resurrecting the very thing I thought I had lost!

Recently my daughter found a book of poetry by Francis Thompson in our church library. She read me “Hound of Heaven” while we were on the way to church the next week. Apparently what I have discovered in my life resonates down through the centuries; it is how God works, that we might know Him to be the author of all good things in our lives. But Francis Thompson says it so much better than my rambling ponderings ever could . . .

Excerpt from “Hound of Heaven” - Francis Thompson

“...All which I took from thee I did but take, not for thy harms.
But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child's mistake fancies as lost,
I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come.”
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest, I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

As I was moved and in tears after hearing “Hound of Heaven,” Sarah told me about another poem by one of her favorite authors, George MacDonald, with the same theme.

“The Giver” - by George MacDonald

To give a thing and take again
Is counted meanness among men;
To take away what once is given
Cannot then be the way of heaven!
But human hearts are crumbly stuff,
And never, never love enough,
Therefore God takes and, with a smile,
Puts our best things away a while.
Thereon some weep, some rave, some scorn,
Some wish they never had been born;
Some humble grow at last and still,
And then God gives them what they will.

© George MacDonald. All rights reserved.

Dearest friends all over the world,

As you look to the Christmas celebrations of our faith, and as you look to a New Year in 2014, I hope these poems encourage you! Your dreams might be different than mine, but whatever they may be, I hope you give all your dreams and visions over to God. And may you receive back from Him a hundredfold, anything he has seen fit to take from you or allow to be taken from you in this life. God is good and His ways are perfection.

“Indeed, He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, freely give us all things?” Rom. 8:32

Amen! and God bless you immeasurably!

We wanted to include a family update for 2013. We hope you enjoy this peek into the Beall families through my “Grandmomma” eyes.

Josh and Kerin are busy with family, friends, work, farm and homeschooling, and are awesome parents! With five beautiful girls and their first boy on the way, due in February, their lives are quite full! Kerin's sister, Auntie Katy, is now living with them, and although she works and is gone a lot, when she is around, the extra hands are a nice bonus with so many busy little people around! Katy is a lot of fun, and they are very blessed to have her there. To keep my update on the girls brief, I will give you a few words and descriptive phrases for each… Abbi (7), lots of energy, leadership, helpfulness, amazing artist and I love hearing her sensitive playing and improvising on piano and violin. Rachel (5), brilliant, athletic, very talkative and curious, fun! I love playing the suzuki violin rhythms with her. She has a strong sense of pulse when she plays the piano. Bethy (4), love her beautiful smile, sweet, emotional, visually oriented, notices things I miss, compliments me on my clothes, loves shoes. Hannah (3), often bubbling over with the cutest slightly bashful smile, mothering, strong, smart, becoming quite talkative and opinionated. Evie (1), always watching and trying to imitate the big girls, already saying a lot of words, understands everything you say, has the most adorable and enthusiastic nod when she wants to say 'yes.'

We usually get to have the girls here Mondays from about 9:30 to 3. The first part of their time here, Sarah works with the oldest four on violin and the oldest three on piano. Then we have lunch and time to play. (Kerin usually uses the time when the girls are here to do some planning or run errands.) The older three did a great job performing piano and violin at our family Thanksgiving Eve recital!

Aaron and Christina are also keeping quite busy with life in bustling northern Virginia. Christina can be found at various church activities, visiting friends and family, shopping thrift stores and baby sales to conserve the budget, and helps different people in various capacities, with Ezra in tow. Another Proverbs 31 Woman! She is such a helpful, supportive, encouraging and fun person. She and Aaron make sure to have a weekly date night, and guard it carefully. (We get to watch Ezra sometimes!) A special treat this year was a baby dedication held in their home with both sides of the family offering blessings to baby Ezra. It was such a blessing to hear my son's strong words of blessing and admonition to his first born son, which had Ezra's rapt attention.

From what Christina tells me, Aaron is a very involved and wonderful daddy, already scheming about the adventures he and Ezra will have when Ezra gets a little bigger. She says that when Aaron gets home from work, he sweetly takes over and plays with Ezra and reads to him and gives Christina a break so she can work on dinner or whatever needs doing, maybe just a rest! What a wonderful husband and father he is!

And Ezra is super baby! He seems pretty advanced to me in many skills. (Maybe I am biased??) He is strong, and, unless he is sleeping, in seeming perpetual motion. Very curious, very smart. Love his smile and his baby laugh!

Sarah - In addition to her piano teaching schedule in Frederick during after-school hours, Sarah is growing a private studio with mostly homeschooled students who can take lessons during day-time hours. I think she is up to close to 50 students total right now. Also, she is continuing to prepare for some opportunities this coming summer and next year. Please pray for confidence, motivation, and perseverance in the preparation, application, and audition process. This fall, we have begun attending a new church closer to our ministry base in Washington, D.C. Sarah is enjoying an in-depth Sunday School class, a Bible study, and making new acquaintances there.

How I love that girl, she stretches me so much it is crazy. I love the stimulating conversations we have, and her searching sincerity that goes beyond most people I have ever talked to in my 53 years of life on this earth. She is a natural philosopher, and as she has summarized bits of Plato's dialogues to me recently, I realized that how she interacts with me is quite like Plato. And at times it makes me about as crazy! I imagine there is a good chance she has a similar personality to his. I keep telling her she should start a blog … others need to hear her ideas! And maybe she could find some minds she could actually spar with! I think people with minds like hers are pretty rare … she is not like any of her friends, and I tend to get brain freeze after a while and I have to say, “Oh, I don't know! I think I have to stop now, my brain is tired.” If you have ever read the Dialogues of Plato, many of the people Plato's Socrates dialogued with in his search for virtue ended up with that same feeling.

Daniel continues to be quietly industrious in our home. His interests still include complicated origami, insects and other aspects of God's creation, piano, scripture memory, reading, and Rubik's Cubes. For Christmas he asked for Rubik's platonic solids, and I didn't even know what he was talking about! He has begun to help me out with some longer term cleaning projects, in addition to his regular chores around our home. He is so reliable to follow through on things, it is quite incredible and quite a blessing. If I don't want to forget something, I just tell him, and ask him to remind me.

He has been Bernie's buddy on many ministry activities, always ready to share scripture to enhance Bernie's speaking engagements. It is always nice to peek into his room, always so organized and neat! The rest of us can get there, but things usually don't stay neat very long...piles tend to accumulate. But not for Dan! Even though he has so many interests, he has a place for everything and always puts things back.

Hope you enjoyed this little update, and we look forward to hearing from many of you this Christmas season, also! May God give you all a bright new year in 2014!

~ Linda for the Bealls

P.S. Beautiful Christmas Photos by Susan Schmidt Photography

P.P.S. I really enjoyed designing and sewing our granddaughter's red holiday dresses this year! It is the first garments I have made since making Sarah's recital gown in 2008, and it was extremely delightful for me to have the motivation to do some sewing again.

P.P.P.S. I chose this year's Virgin and Child Christmas card because of how much it reminded me of Christina holding baby Ezra. We are so grateful for the birth of our first grandson as we celebrate the birth of God's Son.