In February of 1972, Rebekah, that special person who was able to love me just as I was, came into my life. I wasn’t looking for her and she was not looking for me. Had I known that she would eventually become my wife, we probably would have avoided each other. The encounter came on one of my frequent walks that had been prescribed by my doctor. While walking one day, I noticed a church on a hill. The architecture of the church intrigued me. I walked up to it and tried the door. It was locked. I looked around for signs of life. I found the secretary, Rebekah, in the church office, introduced myself, and stated my petition. She was glad to unlock the church. While she was doing that, I candidly asked, “Does your pastor talk about the Holy Spirit in his sermons?” A glow of recognition came over her face that told me she was a Spirit-filled believer.
I looked at the unique architecture and the use of adobe brick. Then I thanked Rebekah and turned to go. She invited me to stay a few minutes and have a cup of coffee in the church office. I can’t remember any details of our conversation, but I do know that Jesus was at the center. We both recall that there was great peace, joy, and freedom during the few minutes we spent together; and we both sensed the presence of the Holy Spirit. How people experience the presence of the Holy Spirit varies, but those who know Him know His unique presence. It may be a special physical warmth, waves of rest and relaxation, a supernatural sense of well-being and peace, or even a physical manifestation like a tingling sensation.
Several weeks later I found myself going back to the church for another cup of coffee. As time went by, the intervals between my visits became shorter and shorter. Each time we visited, there was that unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit and the sharing of Jesus. We had many cups of coffee together in that little church office and I wondered how Rebekah got all her work done. Outside the church office we did not see each other. Neither of us was attracted to the other in an emotional or a physical way. I choose to believe that Jesus worked in a sovereign way to unite our lives and to make my life whole once more through marriage.
It is certainly easy to deceive ourselves and to choose to believe that God is in the midst of a decision, an event, or a relationship when this may be the furthest thing from the truth. Let me offer an example. While working at the Los Angeles County Hospital, I was persuaded to part with my last copy of The Prophet. As you may remember, it held a pre-eminent place in my library, and to part with my only copy was a real sacrifice. Possibly a year after I had relinquished my last copy, I told a friend about this void in my life. My friend lit up, walked over to a bookshelf, procured a copy of The Prophet and handed it to me. “This is amazing,” he said. “Yesterday while at the dump, I spotted an object and was drawn to pick it up. It turned out to be this book. It’s yours.” I truly felt that this was God at work to reward me for my sacrifice. I repeated the story over and over with much joy and thanksgiving.
Today I question if the book was placed once more into my hands through God’s intervention or was Satan eager to sidetrack me? I have learned that there are many prophets and many voices that proclaim the truth in part and in poetry. The essence of all truth and of all ages, however, is distilled only in One. His name is Jesus. (John 14:6)
Along similar lines, there is another story that I have frequently repeated. The wife of a dear friend was highly distraught at one point in her life. She did not know which way to turn or where to get counsel or direction. As she sat in a clover patch one day, she said, “If I find a four-leaf clover in this patch, I will commit my life to Jehovah’s Witnesses.” She found a four-leaf clover and joined the group. Little by little, every member of her family joined her. She did not encourage her husband to continue our friendship, and over the years, we have drifted apart.
I am concerned about the way we often interpret fleeces or events in our lives. There is certainly comfort in being able to believe that God is in the midst of events, but this may not always be so. The Bible calls Satan “the deceiver” (Matthew 27:63) and “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44) It is easy to be deceived. Those who rely more on feelings are more prone to become the dupes of deceiving spirits. Be careful, dear Phyllis, to examine what and whom you believe.
But now I will go back to the unusual events that brought Rebekah into my life as my wife and shepherd girl. At one of the weekly fellowship meetings, two young men shared with us the story of The Ten Commandments, a motion picture produced by Cecille B. DeMille. They had recently seen it and were highly motivated by the story. I also had seen it some years earlier but could not recall that it had significantly influenced me. But as the story was being told that evening, I felt urgency and a desire to see the movie again. A few days later I was able to fulfill my wish.
The movie deeply affected me this time. Although I did not feel that I was Moses, I identified with much that had happened to him. I was totally lost in the story. I took note of the monologue that accompanied Moses when exiled by Pharaoh and copied the words at the earliest opportunity. I show them here italicized and in bold letter for emphasis. The words gave me hope and challenged me to persevere.
“Into the blistering wilderness of Shur, the man who walked with kings now walks alone: torn from the pinnacle of royal power, stripped of all rank and earthly wealth, a forsaken man without a country, without a hope, his soul in turmoil. Like the hot winds and raging sands that lash him with the fury of a taskmaster’s whip, he is driven forward, always forward, by a God unknown or a land unseen; into the molten wilderness of Zin, where granite sentinels stand as towers of living death to bar his way.
“Each night brings the black embrace of loneliness. In the mocking whisper of the wind he hears the echoing voices of the dark, his tortured mind wondering if they recall the memory of past triumphs or wail foreboding of disaster yet to come. Or whether the desert’s hot breath has melted his reason into madness. He cannot cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips, nor shade the scorching fury of the sun. All about is desolation. He can neither bless nor curse the power that moves him, for he does not know from where it comes. Learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die, he is driven onward through the burning crucible of desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for God’s great purpose. Until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the Maker’s Hand.”
Those who have seen the film will probably remember that the priest of Midian had seven daughters and Moses was asked to choose one of them as his wife. Zipporah, one of the daughters, asked Moses, “And which one of my sisters did you choose?”
Moses’ answer was, “None of them.” Zipporah replied with these words:
“Our hands are not so soft, but they can serve.
Our bodies not so white, but they are strong.
Our lips are not perfumed, but they speak the truth.
Love is not an art to us, it is life to us.
We are not dressed in gold and fine linen;
strength and honor are our clothing.
Our tents are not the columned halls in Egypt;
but our children play happily before them.
We can offer you little;
but we offer you all we have.”
I realized, at that moment, that I did not need the Queen of Egypt as a wife, but a shepherd girl like Zipporah. In place of Zipporah, Rebekah was speaking to me. It was a strange phenomenon, quite supernatural. Without much further deliberation, I asked Rebekah the next day to be my shepherd girl. To do so was not particularly easy because there was no romantic involvement. Rebekah was not the kind of woman I was physically attracted to. And Rebekah, too, was astonished at her reply when she said, “Yes” because I was not her “type” either. We believe the Lord directed our footsteps and that our marriage was His choice. Our only desire was to be in His Perfect Will.
At this point, I am asking Rebekah to tell you her views of our meeting:
The Lord worked rapidly to establish a rapport between Peter and me, and He did it by quickening my spirit when Peter asked about the pastor’s sermons. It happened as I was unlocking the church door; I knew we were on the same frequency. Peter enjoyed the tour of the church, and when he turned to leave, I was very much prompted to ask him into the office for a cup of coffee. It was from a coffeepot that was given to me by my spiritual mother, Lois Crowley, and that was kept going constantly. He accepted. Our conversation was focused on Jesus. When he returned in a few weeks for another cup of coffee, I again enjoyed talking with him. I could see that he knew Jesus in much the same way that I did, and so we could enjoy Jesus and each other at the same time. He sometimes would get lost in thought in the middle of a sentence, or not remember the direction of his conversation, but this did not disturb me. I understood very well, for I always had a problem in concentrating on what I was saying and in expressing myself. I could feel the delicate balance of his soul. When he returned more and more frequently, I started to get a little nervous, for I could not do my work and talk to him, too.
One day as I was trying to mimeograph the church bulletin in a little workroom, Peter followed me in and insisted on talking to me. He asked me if I would be his shepherd girl, and the words, “Yes, I will,” slipped out before I realized what I was saying. I thought, “Now, what does that mean?” I put the words out of my mind because of the task at hand. The next day he returned. We went into the church to pray. I shared some of my problems, and he reinforced his desire for me to be his shepherd girl. Again I said yes.
Later, doubt started creeping in. I would sit at my desk and try to work, all the while arguing with the Lord about this situation. “No, Lord, that’s all right. I don’t need any more men. I can handle things better without having to worry about another man. You and I, we can do it alone. Besides, Lord, you know that my ideals are very high, and I don’t know a man alive who could come anywhere near fulfilling them. It just isn’t possible.” On and on I went, day after day, telling the Lord that I could not possibly afford to be connected with Peter. “He’s a nice man and all that, but definitely not my type,” I said. Sitting at my desk one day, again telling the Lord that emotionally I was too bruised to possibly consider any relationship, the Lord spoke to my spirit in such a strong, clear voice that I was shocked. “This is the man I have prepared for you, now you take him!!!” He said, in a tone so strong and commanding that I immediately stopped my tirade, said “Yes, Sir,” and turned my thoughts so completely to obedience that I never had another doubt in my mind that Peter was to be my husband.
Meanwhile, Peter was having his own doubts. I had two small children to raise, and the responsibility seemed to overwhelm him. He blithely told me that I could set a wedding date, but when the day drew near, he backed out and said that he couldn’t handle it. He would tell me that he might call me in the evening, but then again he might not. Every evening at nine o’clock the phone would ring, and we would talk for hours. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so incredibly strong during these conversations, and He would teach us and show us so many things, that I decided to keep a journal. It wasn’t very long that I kept it up, for there was so much to write that I literally developed writer’s cramp! Even though Peter was hesitant, I proceeded to make a quilt with symbols of the church embroidered on it and to clean and clear out dresser space for him. There was only joy and expectation in my heart for the big day!
The day before the wedding I dropped by Peter’s place to give him a message and found him furiously scrubbing the floor on his hands and knees. He hardly looked at me as he told me of receiving a letter from a relative stating that this marriage was all wrong and that God would withdraw His blessings from Peter’s life were he to go ahead with it. This information did not bother me in the least, for I had heard from God and I knew! I did not feel a need to try to convince him that our wedding was right or that the writer of the letter was in error, but just left him scrubbing away! The next day was beautiful, hot and summery. Peter had a radiance about him that was very powerful. Pastor Lusk of the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation, where we met, officiated. We had a small gathering of close friends and family to witness our coming together. Peter told me later that he had determined to stand against his relative’s attack; and the moment the pastor pronounced us man and wife, the spell was broken. The Lord had brought us safely through another testing time.
Now I hand the pen back to Peter:
It was about a year after we met before we married. Certain delays and postponements were my fault. I was reluctant to assume any new responsibilities. Rebekah had two children, ages eight and nine, whom I would have to raise. This prospect was not very attractive, for the younger one had some real problems. I also had to wrestle with some very critical advice concerning my marriage to Rebekah. I finally discredited the advice and walked up to the altar of the church where I had first met her. Only when the wedding vows were said, did I feel waves of release sweep over me. It seemed as if large chains dropped from me and I was set free. I can reason that only when we step into the perfect will of God are we set free. At this time we have been married for ten years. Our daughter is married, and our son has graduated from high school this year. He has grown up into a capable young man, and his problems are a thing of the past.
The willingness to assume the responsibilities associated with marriage and children, home and yard, brought further healing into my life. It was a difficult but important step. As I look about me today, I see that there are many lives that have been scarred by divorce and disasters of many kinds. There are many who do not have the courage or strength to take that first step of assuming responsibility again. My heart goes out to them.
Shortly after we married, we purchased a home with a big yard in the country. I was reluctant to make this purchase and needed much prayer and encouragement from my wife before we finally consummated the deal. For me, the thought of putting up a rural mailbox was like building a whole house. The fear of failure was tormenting me every step of the way. In many ways I was like a child who had to learn to walk all over again. Some people have strokes and are paralyzed physically. My paralysis was emotional—just as real, but not visible.
Much healing flowed between Rebekah and me. We had both been severely scarred emotionally. We were not able to see ourselves as whole, but we were able to see one another as perfectly whole. This was God’s gift
to both of us. Thus, we were very secure and comfortable in each other’s presence. I have learned a great lesson from our experience. I surround myself with people who see me as whole and whom I can see whole. And frequently when I pray for someone who has a difficult time with a child or a friend, I ask Jesus to give the person a picture of the child or friend as radiantly perfected.
Rebekah wants to put in a few words here:
One evening during a telephone conversation with Peter, the Lord gave me a picture of Peter in my spirit. I saw him standing on the side of a mountain, dressed in a white robe. Part of the robe was draped over one arm, and he was looking out over a great distance. His expression was all-knowing and all-wise; the wisdom of the ages was written on his countenance. I knew that I was seeing him complete and perfected, as God must see him through the righteousness of Christ. This has been a wonderful blessing in our lives, for I did not see him as ill or incapable in any way, but wonderfully raised up in Jesus Christ. This then set him free to go on in the Lord, to grow in Him, and to heal in God’s perfect timing and way.
Daniel, our son, provided me with my first opportunity and challenge to be a counselor. It was a desire I had had since I was twenty years old, but achievement was thwarted by the discouraging advice of well-meaning people. Daniel could not read or write and had no desire to learn. He had been diagnosed as being hyperkinetic with learning disabilities and brain dysfunction. He also had dyslexia, an astigmatism that causes a person to see and write letters in reverse format. For example, a “b” would look like a “d.” He could not sit still in school, and many of his behavior patterns were very antisocial. In other words, he was a handful.
At last I had a challenge that I considered worthwhile. Although there were no financial remunerations connected with helping Daniel overcome his handicaps, to me it was a challenge that was equal to designing a complicated computer system, as I had done in my earlier years. I needed Daniel as much as he needed me. I had an incredible amount of patience to spend hour after hour with him. We tested and tried all kinds of ideas. Daniel was like a weasel, quickly finding a way to escape into his own world. Finding a way to hold his attention for even a few minutes was almost like a game. I tried all kinds of tricks, and so did he. We also gave him Ritalin to counteract his hyperactivity, but the effects made him like a zombie. We felt that it was destroying his personality rather than controlling it. With cooperation from teachers, and many prayers, he slid from one class into the next.
As a result of these years of trial and error and prayer, we can offer some compassionate advice to those who are struggling with hyperactive children. We have learned that diet plays a part in controlling the temperament. Soothing colors for clothing and room decorations help. Music needs to be calm and at a low volume. Television may have to be completely eliminated for some. We sacrificed our television viewing in order to avoid continuous strife about programs we knew to be injurious. We have not had a television set plugged in at our home for eight years. We also observed that certain friends brought out very antisocial behavior, so we tried to steer him away from them. No kind of discipline seemed to be effective. Daniel finally managed to wear out his dad, but then there were others who took a genuine interest in him and helped him to grow up and discover his own potential.
Early in our marriage, we decided to read to the children every night and pray together before going to bed. The discipline was pleasant after we all became accustomed to it. We maintained it for about six years. After the children entered high school, too many evenings were taken up by other activities. We read the entire Bible together and at least twenty other books, such as, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom, In His Steps by C.M. Sheldon, and others that not only build character but are also enjoyable and entertaining.
I totally disliked yard work, and still do, but I do my share of it. Once while I was pulling weeds in our front yard, a car pulled up alongside where I was working. Unbeknown to me at the time, the driver’s attention was caught by the massive cross dangling on my bare chest. I had made a commitment to wear this cross regardless of place or circumstance. The driver wanted to know if there might be a place for rent or sale on our block. He felt comfortable to approach a Christian brother, he related later. We invited the man and his family into the house for some iced tea and use of our telephone. His name was John Allen.
Rebekah has just asked if she may tell you about the cross, so I will rest my hand for a while.
purchased it for him. We ceremoniously draped it around his neck, and he was very proud indeed. On our trip back home, we stopped by to visit the psychologist he used to see. Before we entered the office, Peter surreptitiously slipped the cross inside his shirt. Yes, we talked about the Lord with the doctor, but the big bronze cross was a little too much.
A book entitled Rees Howells Intercessor had come into Peter’s possession. He avidly read the story of the Welsh coal miner, whose faith was so strongly built up and who was then so mightily used of God. The book tells about the Lord’s instructing Rees not to wear a hat. In the 1800’s in England, a man always wore a hat; otherwise, he was considered undressed. Rees’s obedience to the Lord’s direction brought great distress to his family. It strengthened his resolve to follow the Lord and be obedient, no matter the consequences. After reading this story, Peter felt the Lord wanted him to wear a cross, so we started looking for one. Our son Dan found a magnificent cross of bronze, which Peter liked very much, in the San Miguel Mission in California. So, I
Over the next few months Peter noticed that in one place he would wear the Cross boldly, while in another, he would hide it under his shirt. This was around the time that it started being popular for men to wear crosses. None of the crosses were as large as Peter’s. His mother even offered to buy him a little gold cross to wear in
we did not want to hide it or be ashamed either. Gradually, as Jesus built us up in His love and increased our faith, we became more comfortable in our statement of who we were. After all, we reasoned, we were not being actively persecuted as the early Christians were, so why were we so timid? Some did object to the crucifix on one side of the cross, reminding us that Jesus has risen. Yes, we know He has risen, Glory to God! But we felt an intense need to be reminded of the price that Jesus paid for us and who we are.
place of it, for she thought it ostentatious. About the same time we noticed that we had a difficult time carrying our Bibles into a restaurant after church; and an even more difficult time praying before we ate. We were embarrassed. Ever so gently Jesus led us to examine our feelings and our motives. Were we ashamed of Him, of talking to Him or about Him in a public place? Were we so weak in our faith that a disapproving glance, or the fear of one, could quench our spirit? We decided that we would not want to be overbearing or obnoxious in the proclamation of our faith, but
Peter felt himself being built up in his inner man, his spirit being strengthened by this quiet declaration of who he was and Whom he followed. He had denied Him once before and was determined never to do it again. As he continued to wear the cross, he discovered he could just be himself wherever he was and whomever he was with, and that he was not being swayed by his surroundings nor the company he kept. He found himself being steadied, his nerves being calmed. Decisions were easier to make, and he found himself doing things with his hands that he had thought impossible.
God honored his decision to wear the cross boldly and without compromise. I Samuel 15:22 states: “And Samuel said, ‘Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to harken than the fat of rams.’”
Peter will continue now.
The seemingly insignificant contact with John Allen became pivotal in terms of finding my place in the Body of Christ. At that time, the idea of pursuing a career as a Christian counselor had become uppermost in my mind. I had the tentative support of two charismatic churches and some financial backing from the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. I had briefly mentioned my goals to John. A few days later, a gift was waiting for me at our front door. It was a professionally made sign that read: PETER D. LAUE – COUNSELOR . A little later it was John who introduced us to the craft
of making sandblasted signs. The very first sign sandblasted sign he made for us is pictured below. It opened a brand new world to both Rebekah and me.
John happened to be a commercial artist and sign maker, and he used his talents to really bless and encourage me.