January 2014 - A New Year, A New Season

Dear Friends in Christ,

As I sit here on a bright crisp, sunny January day, for some reason I am remembering my parents, my Mother in particular. She died in our home on Bernie's birthday, April 20, 2007, and so this year April 20th will mark the 7th anniversary of her passing. My thoughts are a bit swarmy ... hope they are tolerable for you.

Today I am remembering some details after her passing.

Mom was often one to say, 'It's a sign!' when something happened that seemed to confirm for her a decision sought. (I am inclined to be more skeptical of such things.)

But, after arriving home from her funeral and burial, we found on the window right next to our door a living Luna moth. Dan is a fan of Luna moths and has a collection of them. So we have seen them before but never a live one so close and so tame. Dan picked the moth up, and to his surprise she didn't fly away. So he brought it into our home. The moth tamely crawled around on different family members. We kind of didn't know what to do with it, as it didn't seem right for such a sweet, tame specimen to be frozen and mounted with the others in Dan's collection. So we let her go later that day.

Mom always was a fan of butterflies and, to her, they symbolized the resurrection of the body, the risen Christ, life after death. I don't tend to look for or even believe in supernatural, Guideposts style 'signs.' I tend to need things to be more concrete. So I have never really talked about the visit from the Luna, or attached much credit to it, just a coincidence probably. But as I sat reflecting on her passing on this sunny Saturday, I was moved to consider it a sweet coincidence none the less, certainly something my Mom would want to do if she could, send us a sign, that is, that she was fine, and in her new body, with Christ. At the very least, I do believe this Luna may have been something God sent to remind us of Mom, to show us her love for us, gratefulness for our care and for her time in our home, before leaving us to go to her eternal home with her precious Lord.

Following her initial diagnosis, in the years, months, and final weeks before her passing, I sought to serve my mom above and beyond what was comfortable for me. Time on the phone, frequent weekend visits and running of errands, even though she was three hours away, I did my best to show her my love in tangible forms of support. I did not want her to leave this earth without her knowing the depth of my love and willingness to sacrifice to support her. It took its toll on me and on the whole family to some degree. But it was terribly important to me. I wanted to have nothing unsaid, no regrets.

Then after she passed, as with my Dad, I was still plagued with thoughts of 'Did I do enough?' 'Did she know how much I loved her?' Then also came the questions of wondering if she loved and appreciated what I did for her.

Something very precious the Lord gave me in those days following her burial, was finding in her home, a book she had bought me, but never given to me for some reason. It was about a Mother's love for a daughter. She had written additional thoughts on many of the pages, and as I opened it, I read one of the poems. The tears flowed; it was so incredibly beautiful. It was like hearing her say, 'I love you, Linda,' one last time. It was so perfectly what I needed after all my labor on her behalf.

Two precious gifts, the Luna moth, and the book of poetry, my thank-you's from God for my feeble gifts to my Mother in her last years and months here.

Why do I still shed tears? Why does this separation still hurt? Well, I am thinking that when you love much, you will inevitably also hurt much when something you love is 'lost,' even if only for a season. Love and hurt just go hand and hand. And it's ok.

Christ loved much. And he went through much suffering and pain and separation because of that deep, deep love. For us!!!! So my love and my pain is just a small sample of what He 'feels' for us as His beloved bride.

So to any of you who are facing losses, hurts, or painful memories of loved ones no longer with you in these bleak post holiday months, take heart and be encouraged that your Savior has hurt much and lost much, because of the depth of His love for you!

Seven years since Mom died. A new season! Will this year be a jubilee? A jubilee from a season of mourning? There are no short cuts with grief. There are several other things I have grieved as they have not been realized within these last seven years, and probably never will be. But that's ok. God holds us in His loving hands and there are new adventures ahead as we continue to walk with Him into the future!

Will you pray for us as we move into a new season for GCF? New ministry opportunities, new relationships in a new church home, and we need your prayers even more than before!

Always in Christ's love,

~ Linda for the Bealls

"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
~ I Cor. 15:54