Saturday, January 28, 2006

Rebecca's Journey - 72

Greeting, Friends!

It is a sunny, cold day in Belgium. Rebecca is speaking on the phone with our dear daughter-in-law, Josie, as I'm starting this note. Our son Phillip is in Congo at the moment. And I leave for North America tomorrow morning.

Rebecca will be well cared for by Susannah, Judy, and Annie while I'm gone.

Rebecca is well. We went together to a stage play last week - the first one Rebecca has attended since her accident.

From Rebecca: "Nineteen years ago, at the age of 41, we discovered I was pregnant. I'm sorry to say that I was not happy. My pregnancy with Phillip 3 years earlier had been extremely complicated; I spent 7 months in bed. When Phillip was born, a beautiful healthy baby boy, we were thrilled, and knew that every moment of bed-rest had been worth the price. But, I didn't want to do it again.

"Now I found myself back in bed, once again waiting for a new baby. I had so many emotions. In the midst of the swirl the Lord spoke to me and said:

'I have chased you down to bless you.'

How could we ever say what a blessing and joy Stephen is to us today?

"I was reminded of this last week when I read the definition of 'bless' in my Bible. 'From God's side, He is the blesser, the One who gives the capacity for living a full, rich life.'

"We have seen so often that just before a season or expression of blessing there is a 'moment' of pain or stretching. Does it prepare us to be able to receive God's blessing?

"We have seen a pattern that often before an event, I have a period of weakness. This past week we had been planning with excitement the whole family (Paul, Judy, Susannah, Annie, and me) going to see 'Oliver'. The night before I didn't sleep well because my body does not regulate temperature normally. I can become extremely hot or extremely cold. These patterns interrupt my sleep, and sometimes even involve calling one of my care-givers to turn up the heat or take off blankets.

"Friday night was such a night. As Saturday dawned I felt so weary and unsure that I would be able to go to the play. I've learned to recognize this pattern, and press through as much as I am able. So I proceeded on Saturday. The closer we got to the theater, the stronger I felt. By the time we arrived I thought: 'I can do this.'

"I must say it was a delightful afternoon. I was in my wheelchair for more than 5 hours, and enjoyed it to the fullest. The whole family shared it together and came home to sit around the dinner table, talking about the delights of the afternoon.

"There can be many kinds of stretching experiences. Sometimes the Lord asks us to go a little further, lay down something precious, forgive, or 'let go'. Each of these can be the pathway of opening ourselves to Him for Him to give us the capacity to receive His blessing.

"The rich young ruler came to Jesus, a young man who seemed to have all that the world could give. And yet he came seeking. The Scripture says that Jesus loved him. I've always been amazed to think of what a relationship with Jesus he could have had. Jesus put His finger on the very center of that in his life which kept him from receiving the fullness of what God had for him. He turned away 'sad'. He walked away from the Master, and from being enlarged enough to have the capacity to receive the blessing of God. Imagine what Jesus could have given him! That's what He has for us today. I want to be able to open myself to let the Father give me the capacity to be blessed, as is in His heart."

Rebecca and I send our love,


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rebecca's Journey - 71

January 11, 2006

Greetings, Friends,

Rebecca and I trust you had a delightful and blessed Christmas. And we wish you a Happy and grace-filled New Year.

As you know, Susannah and Stephen were here for Christmas. It was also Annie's first Christmas with us - and sadly, Wade & Karen's last Christmas as residents of Belgium. Wade & Karen head back to the DC area in a few days. We will miss them terribly, though their being in DC will give me opportunities to see them - and they'll be back here for visits.

Wade has felt for some months that the townhouse across the street in which they live, and in which Robert and Tracey Vaughan lived before them, should be kept for those coming to help with Rebecca's care or those coming to work here for the Lord. So Rebecca and I will sign the rental agreement this week, and Wade has arranged for someone to cover the costs of the home during the months that others are not using it. The first two who will rent the house (Chris Christensen's sister and niece) come from March through May, with another family considering it for the summer months. We don't yet see all that the Lord has in store for this house, but we feel this is the right next step.

Stephen returns to the States on Thursday, the same day Judy arrives, so there'll be a changing of the guard this week.

From Rebecca: "Greetings and blessings to your home from ours. It is a beautiful winter morning. We stand together with the Holidays behind us, and the New Year before us. I love January because of the sense of a new beginning. You may remember in other years that I have always asked the Lord for His word for me during the coming year.

As I turned my heart this year, asking Him what He is saying, I was reading in ll Cor. I came to chapter 6, vs. 1 & 2: 'We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.'

I've read that Scripture many times before. But as I read it this past week, I thought of you all: 'We then as workers together with Him…'. It was as if we stood together facing the new year, ready to work together for Jesus. I felt such joy, realizing that all that we need is available because NOW is His time of salvation. We are standing in a season where His wonderful grace is available. What is our need today? Where are we weak? Where are we lonely? Where do we need guidance? His grace is available!

It is the season that He would call us to run to Him for all that we need. The Psalmist said: 'My expectation is from Him.' I feel such a lovely expectation for good coming from His hand. HE is listening and available to us today.

Through this Holiday Season I have enjoyed new strength to be able to be in my chair for dinner beside the tree with the family. Some of these extended periods of going and doing have resulted in times of being weary, sometimes discouraged, then days of recuperation. But we surely see a pattern that the 'down days' come less often and pass much more quickly than before. Little by little, day by day, we are taking new ground. How we thank you for your prayers and for standing with us."

With our love,

Paul & Rebecca

p.s. -- If you go to, you'll see a link for Videos. When you click there, you'll see a link to a video that Rebecca recently made. If the video file is too large for your computer to handle, you can just listen to the audio instead.