We lost a wonderful woman of God this week. I lost a friend, prayer partner and encourager. Ms. Beth went to be with the Lord in her sleep. She was loved by my family and she loved us. I’m so thankful that in her last week here with us I had a chance to visit with her on Sunday after church and then again on Wednesday night at our Patriotic Celebration. As always, she was having a wonderful time. It was a great sight to see her sitting out on the lawn Wednesday night, with all the other people, enjoying the fireworks after our service.
I will miss her weekly notes/letters, cartoons and questions. I had a huge file filled with these notes and letters. She never failed to write me an encouraging note and almost always had a cartoon enclosed or some other item of interest. If she had a question about a sermon, or a Biblical passage she’d been reading, she would ask it. She had a keen mind which was almost always engaged in some positive way.
She has touched the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of children in our area. She was a wonderful Sunday School teacher who absolutely loved kids. She was also very creative; I told her on more than one occassion that she should share her “creative tips” with the younger teachers working with our preschool children at Grace.
When she felt she was too old to continue working with children, she knew she wasn’t too old to continue serving God. In one of the notes she wrote to me she said….. “As I studied the lessons, I realized that nowhere does it say ‘when you get older you can stop serving others. The scritpures are full of accounts of people continuing to serve even when old. So, if I start thinking, I’ve put in my time – now let the younger ones do it. I’ll remember that God can still use me.” And God did continue to use her. She took her ministry to Trinity where she met with a group of ladies for Bible Study. She told me she would often take my sermons and then just share the highlights with them; afterwhich, they’d always have a good discussion. She also continued the ministry of encouraging our church family with Birthday cards. Every week, she’d take the list of people with birthdays and hand address a birthday card to them. She also blessed me by being a blessing to my mother. Ms. Beth would always ask about my mom, and she wrote my mom letters quite often. Mother said she always enjoyed getting the letters from Ms. Beth because they were so interesting.
I’ll not only miss seeing her, I’ll miss her weekly notes of encouragement. Here are a few quotes from some of the letters/notes I pulled out of the file I kept of her notes to me. “Your sermons are so relevant to our times. Keep up the good work.” “I don’t have trouble staying awake when you’re preaching.” “Last night’s service was great! The symbolism of leaving our sins at the cross is a good lesson for us. You and the other Pastors do an excellent job. I understand why you are in meetings so much.” “We are all still rejoicing for Sunday’s services and those who were saved. I believe Marc said there were 18. May the Lord continue to bless you and lead you; we support you in any way we can. If I can help you with anything, please let me.” There are so many other notes – these are just a few of the first ones I read back through. Ms. Beth encouraged me everyweek by praying, by writing her wonderful notes, and by being here, She almost never missed church unless she was away with family or happened to be sick. She loved her church home and her pastors; she was a blessing to us all. I remember how happy she was to be able to make her “sacrificial” gift to help us build our new buildings. She was faithful in attendance, serving, praying and giving.
She not only loved her church family, but she also loved her family. She was always bragging on her kids and grandkids. In many of the notes she wrote to me, she’d mention something going on in their lives. She told me “as a mom” she had been blessed with a wonderful family that loved and took care of her.
I praise God for Mary Beth Toombs and the privilege of knowing her for the past few years. Our lives were enriched and blessed because of her.
We’ll miss you – Ms. Beth.