Sunday, January 7, 2007
Happy New Year full of first things!
Our 2006 Christmas Newsletter... Bob & I wish we could be in your presence and see your face to say Merry Christmas to your family and share our hearts with you. 2006 was one of the most difficult years we have spent yet. But, we believe God orchestrated the events of this year to get us to a much better place with Him. Psalm 62:1 says we are finding a rest in God. The gracious God of the universe is always inviting us to come to His party and dine at His table. We don’t ever want to miss anything God has for us. We don’t want to miss God!
Bob resigned as Executive Pastor from Hope Church in March---the church we have loved dearly, the place where Bob has served on staff faithfully for 27 years. Hope gave Bob a huge severance package for which we were extremely grateful. Bob is working as a construction supervisor while we wait on God’s direction to return back into full-time ministry, the Lord willing, by next summer.
Barrett is diligently finishing up his MBA at Nebraska , while still pursuing his professional triathlete goals. Blair is a senior at OU pushing to procure that political science degree. She joyfully served this summer in Africa with Pioneer Missions. Brooke graduated from Texas A&M and then signed on for two years with the International Mission Board in Chiang-Mai , Thailand , teaching Special Ed at Grace International. Please pray for Brooke who has faced significant health issues this year with courage. A precious friend provided a ticket for me to fly to Chiang-Mai this Christmas to see my sweet Brooke’s face. Britt entered the wonderful world of high school playing varsity basketball, still swimming. He is standing two steps below the rest of us in the attached photo. All four are: Living full. Loving life. Looking for their Lord.
One thing God is doing in our lives is found in Deuteronomy 8:2… A sovereign God is leading us in this wilderness journey to humble us, to test us, and to cause us to hunger for Him. I can’t get enough of worship of our “King of endless worth.” I have struggled with depression this year but life is not about how strong I am but how strong He is in me. The psalmist said that God’s pleasure is not in the power of our legs but in those who put their trust in His Love. I am learning to live in the moment and ask what is happening way down in the core of my heart as I face my world. “Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live free.” Matt. 11:28. C.S. Lewis said it this way: “You can’t get second things by putting them first; you can get second things only by putting first things first.” I do know this… I am alive in ways I have never been alive before. Someone said: “Our emptiness is our greatest opportunity to bring pleasure to our Father.”
Bob & I welcome a new year full of things that only God knows all about. II Chronicles 20:15 speaks to me: “Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. The battle is not yours, but God’s.” It feels like Bob & I are just scratching the surface trying to comprehend such Mystery, an awesome God who paints the landscapes of our skies and souls with beauty and hope. Last year we asked to hear God’s whispers. I Kings 19:11-13. Oh my! Majestic whispers! He has been so very good to us! He is the God of the broken and “a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish.” Isaiah 42:3. May we all find Him in 2007 as people passing through this world for “we were made for another world.” May our contentment be found not in recognition or riches, achievement or accomplishments, not even in the blessings of God, but may our contentment only be in knowing God until we are alive in Him and His purposes. Psa. 17:15. It’s going to be a good Christmas this year! Can’t wait to celebrate and cherish our Sovereign Savior.
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year full of first things!
Bev, for The Brandons
copyright photo used with permission
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 6:09 PM