It was a year of “letting go” of people and decades. Bob had the immense honor of marrying our oldest son, Barrett, to the lovely Lauren Bailey of San Mateo, California on a cold sun-kissed Sunday in Austin. We recovered slightly and then Bob married our youngest daughter, Blair, to the honorable Patrick Walsh of Atlanta, Georgia on a rainy but stunning Dallas day. A few weeks later, we sent our youngest, Britt, off to college at the University of Texas with much gratitude for a full ride. Brooke is at the other University of Texas in Arlington serving on their BSU staff. We have had children at home tugging on our skirts and hearts for the past three decades in a row. No more. Bob and I miss them so!
The real battle of this decade was not fighting for good health or landing in financial peace or finding the fulfilling ministry or job with benefits. No, the real battle is what is going on inside of me as I face life, face my loss. I jogged this morning along the Sea of Galilee thinking about the disciples frantic in the middle of a raging storm while Jesus slept through it. 2010 was a liminal place for me where God was speaking to my fears, even this very day, just as He awoke in the boat to speak to the disciples’ fears 2,000 years ago. I am on the 66 Love Letters Tour in Israel---an unbelievable gift from a dear friend. The message Larry spoke here was: “Groan inwardly. Wait eagerly. Romans 8:23. Demand nothing. And He will sustain you with joy based on hope. The degree to which I can love means my hope has nothing to do with how others treat me.”
Phil 3:12 says: We are all not yet what we long to be. We are waiting and watching with you, dear friends, in Hope for a very Good God to show up this Christmas and New Year – Lamentations 3:21-23.” God has been good to us to this very day and will keep on doing us good for all our days of 2011 - Jeremiah 32:40. I’m longing with you to love well this coming year. I long to finish well! I long for many to find the peace that only our God can give! My prayer for each of you in 2011 is found in Philippians 1:9-11 – We pray that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but love well. May we see our lives from His perspective. “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Socrates
We are very grateful to have had the privilege of knowing you. We decided not to send out Christmas cards this year---for the first time in three decades. We did want you to know that God has used you in our lives to stir our faith. Because of the Baby born in Bethlehem, we are standing with you in the Wide Open Spaces of God’s Grace - Romans 5:2. May His Unfolding Grace be multiplied in you in 2011. There is so much more here than meets the eye. “The hopes and fears of all the years, oh come to us This Night!”
We’d love to see you in 2011. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. Written by Bev for The Brandons
Bob, Bev, Barrett, Lauren, Brooke, Blair, Patrick, and Britt - firstname.lastname@example.org
P.O. Box 90814, Austin TX 78709 * Bob’s Cell 512.541.5772 * Bev’s Cell 817.915.6769