Sunday, August 10, 2003

Rebecca's Journey - 33

Dear Friends,

Greetings from sunny Europe, where the heat has been record-breaking for several weeks. Oh for air-conditioning!

Susannah and my cousin, Diane, from Toronto, arrived several days ago. They've been a real help to Annie and me, and a joy to have in our home. Of course Stephen, Robert, and Tracey are in Congo for a month.

From Rebecca: "Release has been an important part of every area of my life. In no place have I felt it more keenly than in relation to our children. It's funny that we have to release them into the Hand of God as if they were ours, and not His, in the first place.

I remember when our Matthew was a teenager, and I was needing to release him. I was struggling, and the Lord said to me, 'I'm praying for him.' What a relief!

Then when we left Susannah at university for the first time, on the way home we cried, and reminisced, and cried, and reminisced some more. After we got home, I was fine. People said to me that they were surprised that I was not having more of an adjustment to my only daughter being away from home. I realized that leaving her and releasing her to university was not so difficult because I'd been releasing her her whole life.

Several weeks ago, our Phillip was home for a short time. He sat on my bed and we laughed and prayed together. It was one of the sweetest times we'd ever had. Then he had to leave to return to North America to begin his university. I got to leave him in the hands of the One who loves him more than his Daddy and I do.

All of this is so fresh in my mind because our "baby", Stephen, is in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now. He left, with Robert and Tracey, a week ago today, flying through London, Nairobi, Kigali, (Rwanda), then busing across the Congolese boarder to the eastern town of Goma, and flying in a Russian cargo plane across trackless jungle to Lodja. He called, via satellite phone, two days ago, to let us know they had arrived safely. In Stephen's inimitable fashion, when I asked how he was doing, he said: "Everything is grrreat!"

Two weeks ago Paul was in the States and I was struggling: 'We're going to send our baby, 17 years old, into a war zone. We've got to be crazy.' I struggled with it all night. Have you noticed that situations are always much worse in the middle of the night? In the morning I wakened, and said to the Lord: 'OK, if You don't change my mind by the time Paul gets home tomorrow, I'm going to say that this child cannot go to Africa. I have no peace about it.'

I went into my quiet time. These days I always begin in the Psalms. I was in Ps. 107, and the Lord said: 'No, not there.' I kept turning the pages until I got to Ps. 112. He said: 'There!' In verse 7-8 it says: 'He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end, he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever.' I realized that the thing I feared was bad news. And when I read about scattering our gifts to the poor, Stephen is a most gift, and Congo is the poorest of the poor. I knew that the Lord was in it, and that I could trust Him to bring about His purpose.

In the back page of my Bible, I have each of the children named with the Scriptures the Lord had given me in their growing up years. Each one represents a letting go. Maybe it is an acknowledgement of to Whom they really belong."

Love from us both, and many thanks for your prayers.

Paul and Rebecca