Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rebecca's Journey - 47

Dear Friends,

This is Paul. Stephen took dictation yesterday, and has added a few comments of his own at the bottom.

From Rebecca: "We have a little white dog with a bushy white tail, long ears, and large, brown, almost liquid eyes. She follows us wherever we go. When one of us walks (or wheels, as the case may be) into the room, that little tail wags furiously and her eyes look at us with sheer adoration. She is a delight to us, even though she really does nothing but love us - and chase birds. Her name is Molly.

My heart's cry has, for many years, been: 'Father, let me be pleasing to You.' And when I read the Scripture, it is with the primary goal of understanding the Father's heart. The more I understand, the more I see that what He desires is that we love Him simply and purely, with adoration and joy… a little like Molly.

Lately I've been reading through Romans. When I came to the end of chapter 14 and on to chapter 15, I was struck with clarity about His desire, about what pleases Him. 'For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of rightiousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because any one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God.' If we serve Him with righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, the Father is pleased. It has much to do with the atmosphere of our souls.

In this season, I'm also constantly looking for words about endurance and encouragement. How can we go on to please Him without both of these - especially in times of demand and trail? Verse 5 says, 'May the God who gives endurance and encouragement…'. Now isn't it just like Him to be, Himself, the Source of our endurance and encouragement? The two of these are so closely related. If we are encouraged, we are surely able to endure, and hope will be the result.

I went on to Chapter 15, verse 4, which says that the Scripture is written to teach us endurance and encouragement so that we might have hope. There is that wonderful word "hope" again.

Finally, in verse 13, 'May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.'

Again, isn't it just like our God to call us to serve Him in peace and joy, and then promise to fill us with it Himself by the power of His Spirit. He is the God of hope, of joy, of peace, of encouragement, of endurance.

As surely as our little white dog is pleasing and brings joy to us daily by being who she is and by delighting in us, so Father finds joy in us because we are His. 'Oh Lord, let me know You better so that I'll trust in You more deeply, that I might be filled with Your peace and joy, and be pleasing to You. May I overflow with hope.'"

From Stephen: "As many of you may know, I have recently graduated from High School - a significant step in my life. These next two months I will have more free time than ever. For this reason I was taking dictation from Mom today, and subsequently felt that it would be appropriate to say a few words.

Over the last three years I have often thought that the faithfulness of the Lord is one thing that I can never fully understand, but on which I can rest my life, and the lives of those I love. This idea could seem foolish to one who is only observing. But as one who is committed to Him, I am daily wagering all on the God I am just beginning to know.

For those of us who have seen His love and faithfulness at work in places where neither might have been expected, it is true wisdom, rather than foolishness, to follow in His footsteps, and to make the pursuit of this same Person the focus of our lives.

As I look ahead in my own life, and contemplate the next step, my first feeling is one of uncertainty and apprehension as I truly have no idea of what the future holds. Up to this point, due to the nature of the last three years and my Mother's accident, I have really only had to, and been able to, trust in the Lord's faithfulness for the here and now. And, as all of you know, He has shown Himself truly and deeply faithful.

Mom's accident has taught us all (that's not to say I won't need to be taught again), that in situations of uncertainty we must rely on our God for certainty. He must be our Rock. And even if we can't always see this Rock, we can always cling.

Now I'm learning to cling to Him, not only for the present, but also for the future. We do not have to see the Rock to hold it, and our love for God must not depend on our ability to clearly hear Him. I simply pray that in this next phase of the family's life, we may all learn to make Him a greater reality than even our own experience, and to make our love for Him a greater force than any other."

Paul again! We want to send our ongoing appreciation for your ongoing prayers.

Love from us all,


Monday, June 07, 2004

Rebecca's Journey - 46 B

Dear Friends,

Today is a lovely, rainy day in Belgium. The flowers are soaking up the rain, ready to burst into the next phase of early summer - a profusion of color, fragrance, shape and size.

Annie was here for several days. Stephen returned from his senior trip late on Thursday and the graduation ceremonies were on Saturday. Matt and Stephanie were here, and, with Rebecca and Judy, attended the graduation. She missed all of Phillip's graduation, so she was delighted to be able to participate in this year's festivities.

From Rebecca: "Several weeks ago I was in a discussion with Donatienne. She mentioned that quadriplegic and tetripilegic are the same thing, just in two different languages. She had always said that I was a tetrapaligique, which I thought was a term meaning I was only paralyzed in three limbs, since I could use my left arm. 'Oh, no,' she said'. 'You only have partial use of your left hand and arm and are considered a quadriplegic.' This was very hard for me.

I had not seen myself as a quadriplegic. It was difficult for me even to say it. About a week later I was talking to Susannah on the telephone, and I shared it with her. I began to cry. She said, 'Mother, there is something wrong with the way you're thinking.' She went on to tell me that that very week she had been reading in I Corinthians where Paul says that the Lord chooses the weak things. She realized that she didn't choose the weak things. She chose strong things. And she cried out to the Lord that He would enable her to choose the same things that He chooses. I said that it reminded me of when I said to the Lord, "Change my mind, and teach me what is good.' 'Yes, Mother! Ask the Lord to let you see it as He sees it.'

The next morning I turned to I Corinthians myself. At the top of the page in the second chapter I had written, 'Change my mind, and teach me what is good.' It was while reading this very passage that the Lord had begun to speak these truths to me. I also turned to Romans 12 where Paul expressed the same ideas. 'Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.' So I've been making this my prayer these last weeks and I'm much further along in accepting, at yet another level, what has happened to us. It is a wonderful thing that the Lord wants to get hold of our minds, and change them, so that even our thoughts are in conformity with His thoughts, enabling us to choose the things that He chooses.

As we allow Him to change our minds and give us His thoughts and perspective, we prove how good His will is."

Our love to you all,

Paul & Rebecca