Monday, April 28, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 26

Greetings, Friends,

Rebecca has now been home more than 2 weeks, and how thankful we are! We want to express our deep appreciation for the concentrated time of prayer for her between Palm Sunday and Easter. Many thanks to Joseph for his initiative and leadership! In the last week Rebecca has more than doubled the time she can be up in her wheelchair. This is a significant step forward.

The new team is working well, with the nurse coming morning and evening 7 days a week, the physiotherapist coming once a day 5 days a week, and the speech therapist coming twice a week. Stephen takes the night shift (though we will need to find another solution for this). Annie, Robert & Tracy, and Mary have been a wonderful help, and Judy returns next Friday.

From Rebecca: "I think it was most significant that the special prayer week was during my first week home. You can imagine that, as thrilled as I am to be here, the week was one of adjustments. I felt the natural insecurity of being without my doctors and nurses. For 18 months I only had to press a button for any medical care that I might need. One of my hardest mornings was when I woke up feeling an overwhelming sense of my limitation, as well as the pain of feeling that my need for constant care must be a burden to my family and friends. When Paul came back down after our quiet-times to have breakfast with me, I began to cry, saying: "I can't imagine spending the rest of my life like this. How can I do this?' He listened to me, and then quietly said: "One day at a time!" Such a load lifted from me, because that's what Father has promised grace for - one moment at a time. Sine then there has been a joy in awakening in His presence, wondering what He has planned for that day.

We had a couple and their toddler for lunch this week, and it was a special delight for both Paul and me to be welcoming people into our home together again.

Each morning Hope, our little gray dog, runs and jumps on my bed, delighted that I'm not going anywhere, that I'm right there. And this week the Lord gave me, from Psalm 4, 'The Lord has set aside the godly (in Jesus I qualify) for Himself.' I think He feels about me being quiet here like Hope does. I'm just available to Him, maybe in a way I've never been before - and it is rich."

Paul again: We're progressing on the details of Rebecca's new bedroom, and the various pieces of equipment we'll need. As you know, the Planning Commission has approved the extension. But the local Commune has requested that we delay the beginning of construction until the school summer break, since our home is next to the entrance to a pre-school that is situated behind us. The construction will block this path. We want to be good neighbors with the Commune, and all the parents who use the path, and we want to start the construction as soon as possible. So we're in dialogue with some local officials to see what options we may have.

Much grace to you all,

Paul and Rebecca

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 25

Dear Friends,

This is Wednesday, April 16. Rebecca's nurse just left. We have an hour before the physical therapist arrives, and wanted to use this time to get a note off to you all. Rebecca's transition home has been full of grace and joy. Words just aren't adequate to express the delight in having her home again permanently.

I'll let Rebecca tell you herself about the transition: "I think each morning when I wake up, it is still hard for me to realize that I'm now living at home, and not at the hospital. There were teary good-byes to my nurses, who had prepared some lovely surprises for me. I trust we'll be able to have a few of them here for lunch in the not-too-distant future. As I was leaving the hospital, I was struck by the difference in my capacities now, compared to 12 months ago when I first arrived in Pellenberg. I am able to eat quite well by myself, drink from a regular glass, brush my own teeth, write legibly, hold and dial a phone, manage a remote control, turn the pages of a book, and even take my medications by myself. About three weeks ago I began again to sketch and do watercolor. It certainly isn't what it used to be, but I wasn't discouraged with the results, and look forward to continuing this. (This is an insert from Paul: I thought her work, especially the second painting of two little birds, was great.) These may seem like simple things, but since you know where I've come from, they are major accomplishments. I'm so thankful for each step toward independence, however small.

Yesterday I was reading in Luke 5 where the friends of the paralytic lowered him on a mat down through the roof to Jesus. It says that when Jesus saw their faith, He said: "Friend", and healed him.

As many of you know, this week is another intensive prayer initiative for us, leading up to Easter. I saw myself as the paralytic, and you as my friends, carrying me to Jesus. The picture deeply touched me, and I'm resting on the mat of your faith and love.

I think this is especially significant in this week of transition from being in the hospital to being at home. It was a bit wrenching to leave Pellenberg, having been there for so long, with the security of nurses and doctors around the clock. This week has been the beginning of working with our new "team": a nurse who comes twice a day, and a physiotherapist who comes once a day. The physio is excellent, and working me hard. But of course it is such a joy to be awakened every morning by my beloved Paul, and surrounded by my family and friends. Annie is here with us for a
month, and that is always a delight.

I said to Paul yesterday: 'It is a whole new life. Who, at 58, has the opportunity to start over?' God is so good, and I am blessed, in them and in you."

Paul again: Continuing Rebecca's last thought, on the first evening of her homecoming, kneeling by her bed, I said to her that this is the first day of the rest of our lives. We're together starting a new phase of life, under the careful oversight of the Lover of our souls. We stand with expectation to see what He will do.

Our love to you all,

Paul & Rebecca

Monday, April 07, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 24

Dear Friends,

Today is Monday, 7 April. It was a wonderful weekend with Rebecca at home. We celebrated her birthday with a family dinner on Friday, the actual day of her birthday, and then with a ladies' luncheon on Saturday, graciously hosted by Deborah Bradfield. By Sunday Rebecca needed rest, so we didn't get her update out yesterday.

Over the weekend we met with a speech therapist, actually a former neighbor with whom Rebecca had exchanged English and French. She said she'd be glad to work with Rebecca. That means that all the professional personnel are in place.

Rebecca will come home for good on Friday, 11 April, actually arriving here before I get back from a trip for which I'm departing tomorrow. Mary Peake will be here to receive her, and will spend the weekend to help. Annie will arrive Sunday for 5 weeks.

Monday the 14th we'll meet here with the doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, and social services representative. That will be a big day - the first full day of the new season upon which we are about to embark.

There are lots of unknowns as we move forward. We'll discover many things as we proceed. But that's always the way when following Jesus.

Please keep me in prayer, too. I'm again at a point of deep weariness. I know His strength is made perfect in our weakness - and I need His strength, as well as insight to know how to manage my own resources during this next season.

Our good friend, Joseph Holbrook, who has been initiating and managing various times of concentrated prayer for Rebecca, is initiating another week of prayer from the 13th to the 20th of April. We are still seeing the positive results of the last week of concentrated prayer.

Many thanks, Joseph!

And many thanks to all of you who have stood with us during these last 18 months. As this phase of Rebecca's journey comes to a close, and the next phase opens before us, some of you may know that your assignment to pray for her and us has concluded too.

Grace to you all, in Jesus,