I hope and pray that psychiatrists and priests, pastors and psychologists will read these words. If they do, many souls may be liberated from guilt and the torment associated with guilt. Also, many who have been diagnosed as schizophrenics or emotional basket cases, may be treated with greater kindness, understanding and dignity. Please read my report and confession carefully. My report and confession is my way of saying “thank you” to a God who went out of His way to tell me that I am loved and forgiven. It is also my way of thanking those who did not treat me like a second-class citizen.
I had previously opened my heart to friend Barbara in a letter written in March of 2015. A copy was posted in “Latest News from Stretcher Bearers. The heading is “Peter – You are Clean”. If you care to read the letter, it will give you a more complete picture of who I am and why I identify with the apostle Peter.
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In 1970 around Easter, I awoke early one morning and proceeded to go to a place in our backyard some distance from our house. I was in my robe and pajamas. The rest of the house was still sleeping. Suddenly, in a vision, I found myself at the crucifixion of Jesus and saw myself as the reincarnation of the apostle Peter. I had just denied being one of his apostles. I was devastated and loaded with guilt and shame. I wept bitterly. For a while I did not tell anyone what I experienced and that I saw myself as the reincarnation of the apostle Peter. My parents had caused me to believe in reincarnation – the rebirth into new bodies until we were perfected.
Up till now this had been an interesting concept; but I had never applied it to myself or anyone else. But suddenly it became both an exalting and devastating reality that occupied my waking hours and robbed me of sleep at night. A few days later I decided to tell Josephine, my beautiful wife of thirteen years. She was concerned and said, “Isn’t it strange that many people in mental institutions think they are the reincarnation of famous people?” I pondered those sobering words and decided that I might not be the apostle Peter after all, but could possibly have a similar personality. As time went on I did see myself as another Peter and even spoke of myself at times as “the other Peter.” Up till that moment in my life, I had lived my life minus Jesus and God. I felt I had managed my life quite well without God and gotten enough accolades from family and friends to believe I was on the right track and ready to go to heaven on my own merits.
After my mystical encounter I was less and less able to function in my secular job. On Sunday February 1, just a month or so earlier, I experienced something which I equated to what happened to the apostle Paul On the Road to Damascus.
My creativity and enthusiasm for my job as an industrial engineer had evaporated almost overnight. I felt like an alien on planet earth, but especially in my own family and at my workplace. It was determined that I had schizophrenia and was put on disability. That was devastating to my ego. But I was able to reason along these lines, “If the world says I am crazy, I’ll take their crazy money.”
To the consternation of psychiatrists and well meaning friends, I refused to take medication after I learned that they made me feel like a caged animal. I developed my own strategy for dealing with stress and tormenting thoughts and emotions. I have not allowed a single pill other than an aspirin and antibiotics to cross my lips in 45 years. I have described and explained my unconventional strategies elsewhere on this web site and also on You Tube. Just Google my name: Peter Laue.
My marriage to Josephine fell apart in 1971. I married Rebekah in 1973 and helped raise her two children. It has been a rich and fruitful marriage of 43 years. Rebekah never saw me or treated me as a schizophrenic and neither did the friends we cultivated together. Together we birthed a ministry we called “Crafts for Christ.” It was a far cry from what I did as an industrial engineer. We made sandblasted signs, authored several handbooks and taught the craft to others. Several of our students birthed sign companies. One of them employs a hundred people today.
The sandblasted sign displayed at the top of this story reads, “And Peter went out and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62). It is an example of what our work looks like. Making this sign gave me a measure of relief but it did not deliver me from guilt and shame. The sign was made in 1979 and is one of the many signs that decorate the walls of our home.
For a number of years we traveled from coast to coast sharing our testimony and teaching young and old how to
painful memories I was unable to shake. For 45 years I lived with hidden guilt and shame. I was unable to forgive myself. It mattered little to have someone tell me that I was doing good, loved and forgiven. Those were kind words but they did not set me free. I lived in a prison of guilt and shame that had invisible bars.
make sandblasted signs. We also sold our signs along the way and always came back with our house payment. Our youngest student was only six. You can go to this web page to learn more about the craft: Crafts for Christ Handbook.
Often weeks went by that I did not think about or talk about the visions that I had in 1970. Being so fully preoccupied with the Crafts for Christ ministry crowded out tormenting thoughts and kept my feet on the ground. Satan got a busy signal whenever he tried to bug me with guilt and shame. Our life was rich, challenging and fulfilling. Both Rebekah and I felt we had apprehended God’s will for our life.
I often said to Rebekah, “Jesus loves me. In fact He is nuts about me.” But the slightest reference to the apostle Peter opened those unhealed,
One day, almost forty-five years later, on February 1, 2015, the miracle happened. Jesus laid it upon the heart of a woman who did not know us well to bring me a gift. It was a sculpture made of olive wood eight inches high and ten inches across. It was made in Israel and depicted Jesus washing the feet of the apostle Peter. This lady had been at our home only one time four weeks earlier. Friends had brought her hoping I would be able to speak some encouraging words into her life. That did not happen. She was a frenetic talker. I could hardly add a word to the one-sided conversation.
This lady, probably in her mid-forties, was holding the wood carving in her hands when she walked unannounced into our home on Sunday evening February 1st. There was snow on the ground when she arrived. A good Samaritan had seen her car parked on the side of the road on North Pagosa Boulevard some two or three miles from our house. He was wondering if she might have had car problems or was lost. When he stopped to offer aid and inquired why she was parked there, she said, “No, I don’t have car problems and I am not lost. I am looking for a man by the name of Peter.” He queried, “Do you have a last name or an address?” She said, “No.” He asked, “Can you tell me anything descriptive about Peter?” She said, “All I know is that his name is Peter and that he does crafts.” He said “I think I know whom you are talking about; follow me and I’ll take you to his house.” I barely knew this man and he hardly knew me. We had briefly met four weeks earlier.
At the time this young lady was living in Cortez, Colorado, a town 100 miles west of Pagosa Springs. She had shown the wood carving to a friend who knew us. When this friend saw the wood carving she blurted out, “I think this belongs to my friend Peter.” And that is how it happened to find its way into our life.
Jesus truly went out of his way in a most unusual way to let me know that I was loved and forgiven. I was able to receive the forgiveness. I am forgiven. I am healed. I am clean; and I am loved. The cloud of guilt vanished and has been gone for nearly two years. I can now easily talk about what happened without feeling a sense of shame or guilt. The Cloud of Guilt is gone.
Those who have been forgiven much, love much. I have been forgiven much. Mary Magdalene has been forgiven much. There are many “Peters” and many “Mary Magdalenes” in the world. May this story find its way into their mailboxes and hearts at that perfect, God-ordained moment.
It is the fear of man that caused the apostle Peter and this Peter to deny Jesus. Many of us have wrestled with that fear. Because of fear we try to fit in and be what is called “politically correct.” It takes courage to be “politically incorrect.” Heaven is populated with “politically and religiously incorrect citizens.”
We have printed a stack of 3” by 3” cards of the wood sculpture. I hold these little cards in my hands in the morning and ask Jesus to show me someone who needs one of them. Then I start writing my personal letters and note cards. What a joy it has been to do that.
Peter & Rebekah Laue
965 Cloud Cap Avenue
Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147, USA