Friday, August 25, 2006

Rebecca's Journey - 78

Dear Friends,

As Paul mentioned in the last Rebecca's Journey, this month we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We thought we would send out a few reflections and today is my turn

When we first married, it was very difficult. We loved each other deeply but how do we live together as God would have us?! I am a strong woman and Paul is stronger yet. Now that is a formula for fireworks, as you can well imagine.

In about our 6th year, we began to hear and understand what the Scripture had to say about the marriage relationship and we realized it was a partnership with an authority structure forged in love, respect and faith. As Paul was set over our home to lead us in love, I was to follow him in faith. Together we would form a solid bulwark to protect our children and fulfill the purpose and destiny that God had for us together.

Now for the working out of this! Could it be that it has taken forty years and we're still in the process? But what a lovely process!

I remember once when Mathew and Susannah were little and I was so tired. Paul had just returned from a trip. He lovingly suggested that he would take the children to church and I could rest at home. They all left and the house was deliciously quiet - but a mess. I began to pick up toys and straighten. I did the dishes and finally went up stairs to rest. Coming into our room, there was Paul's suitcase - still not un-packed. I hung up the shirts and, in frustration, I threw his shoes in to the back of closet. The Lord spoke to me, "It's a privilege to serve a man of God."

It was one of those times when the Lord "turned the prism." Suddenly, I saw my husband in a new light, seeing him as God sees him. From my human perspective, much of the time I saw him as my husband whom I loved but who often was the source of pain and struggle (At that point, I had not yet learned to look at my own sin first, so I laid the blame for most things on him.) However, through the Lord's eyes, he was a man of God, called and anointed to lead me and our home.

Ephesians 5 says that we, as women, are to respect our husbands. In retrospect, this was a critical point in our walk together. There are often many things that cloud our vision of one another. My own selfishness and pride kept me from seeing Paul from God's perspective. By turning my prism, to see Paul more clearly, I found a deeper level of respect for him.

I think today of those of you who might be in a very difficult marriage situation. Even in the midst of that, let the Lord "turn the prism" for you, so that you might see your husband through His eyes. I love what Elizabeth Elliot wrote to a young girl who was in a painful marriage relationship, "Leave with God what only God can change; only God can change the hearts of men."

Through the years, we've seen that in the most difficult situations, He is able to lead us through to ever deeper oneness in Him.

My love to you all,


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rebecca's Journey - 77

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Rebecca and me!

These "Journeys" have been Rebecca's thoughts for the last 3 1/2 years. (And precious thoughts to me and many of you!)

Rebecca and I are about to celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Susannah, representing our children, asked if Rebecca and I could write some of the significant elements and experiences in our 40 years of marriage. Our kids feel that we have a great relationship - Rebecca and I do too! It is the result of Jesus' leadership though the years.

So Rebecca and I will each be writing a few "Journeys" over the next months about our life together.

I met Rebecca (Becky Kunkle then) in 1964. We were in our first year of university. At the time I wasn't looking for a wife, but when I first saw her, I knew that I would marry her. That moment is imprinted in my mind: she was seated, wearing a cream blouse with a flowing bow at the neck, black skirt and pointed black high-healed shoes. Her hands were folded over her crossed knees, her head raised, with a bouffant 60's hairstyle. I was stunned! She looked like an angel.

With my typical reserve I walked directly over to her and introduced myself, then walked her back to her dorm. Let me say here that she hadn't had the epiphany which I experienced on first seeing her. It took me a while to convince her to marry me. But one of the things that got both our attention early was that we shared a deep commitment to Jesus, and a sense of destiny. We each knew that He had a purpose for our lives.

We began our journey together during those days, focused on following Him, seeking to know His plan, His ideas, His preferences. (We fought a lot too!)

As we approached our Wedding Day, 27 August, 1966, we understood little about a "Biblical marriage". There weren't teachings or conferences on marriage in those days (at least none that we knew of.) We really new only one thing clearly as we said "I Do!"

Our commitment on that day was first to Him of course. But secondly, Rebecca and I committed ourselves "to the others' highest good at our own expense". Those were the words we used, and they represented our deepest understanding of relationship at the time.

As our life together continued, our conflicts became deep and painful, but that initial decision, to be committed to the other person's highest good at our own personal expense, was the guiding principle. Of course, we had a Guiding Person, too, who was faithful to help us implement our commitment.

More to come from Rebecca and me,