I just spent the last hour looking through a scrapbook filled with pictures and stories that we have collected over the past twenty-four years. What a healing experience it was to read once more the letters, poems, prayers and lyrics that have been written by those who sat in The Rocking Chair of God’s Heart! That’s the name affectionately given to The Upper Room by one of its special guests.
This particular adventure started in 1970. One evening, about 11:00 PM I woke up in a mental hospital. My life has never been the same since then. I was a patient, but felt more like an observer. I saw a part of our humanity that so touched my heart, I vowed to God that I would invest the rest of my life helping these very special people. I loved them from the moment I became one of them. To me they were beautiful. They needed me and I needed them. Their plight gave focus to my own shattered life.
I have chronicled my own road to wholeness together with my handmaiden Rebekah in a book titled, “To Hell and Back” originally called “The Wood Blossom” – A Search for Sanity in an Insensitive World. I have learned to speak the language of those Isaiah speaks of, “A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.” The laws of our land will never be adequate to provide a place of healing, dignity and safety for these very special people. Our hearts must first be open to their needs – then, maybe, we can understand and help them. And in turn they can help us. We, who consider ourselves well and normal, desperately need them as our teachers.
The Holy Spirit speaks to me through dreams. He has healed me in a dream from depression. He has shown me the power, mercy and majesty of God. He has caused me to do spiritual warfare in dreams. He has alerted me when imposters had invaded our lives. (An imposter is a person who attempts to gain our unqualified confidence for the sole purpose of exploiting, enslaving or destroying us.) Sometimes dreams are so real that I am amazed to be still in my physical body when I wake up. Whenever I have a dream of special significance, I wake up at the conclusion of that dream. This permits me to clearly remember the details so that I can later reflect on them and share them with my wife. Rebekah has a special gift for interpreting my dreams.
In our August 1986 newsletter we shared the following dream. It became the cornerstone for enlarging our spiritual hospital on Lake Pagosa in Colorado
During the night of September 19, 1985, I, Peter D. Laue, dreamt this unusual dream. I was in a hall filled with people. Near the bottom of some steps leading upward was laying a dead baby. It was somewhat deformed and I knew it had been dead for several years. Somehow I knew that it was my baby. I picked it up and held it very close to me. Then I found myself crying and agonizing over the baby. I continued to weep and weep. I prayed with every fiber of my being as I held the baby closer to my heart. After much agonizing prayer, the deformities disappeared, the skin became smooth and then I noticed the slightest heartbeat. People around me were curious and wanted to see and touch me or the baby. I was so very fragile and so was the baby. I did not want anyone to touch me.
Then I noticed that my arms were hanging at my side. “Oh no,” I cried, “I have dropped my baby.” I looked all around but I could not find it. I remembered that there was a hospital nearby and went there. I inquired on the maternity ward if anyone had seen my baby. Yes, they had! I asked to see it to be reassured. The baby was brought to me on a stretcher and apparently was peacefully asleep and safe. I was satisfied and did not want the baby to be disturbed. I asked that the attendants take it back to its crib, and they did. Then I woke up, shaken but very relieved.
In the morning I told Rebekah my dream and with profound insight she said, “The baby represents your ministry. It has been as dead for a number of years, but because you loved it so much and were willing to pray and intercede with much weeping, it has come alive.” As I reflected upon the dream further, I can see how exhausted I have become in giving birth to the dream. But as I remembered the attendants in the hospital, I was reassured that others are now helping to care for and raise my baby.
What is my dream? It is written in Isaiah, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people", saith your God. These are also the opening words of Handel’s Messiah, and the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem has adopted these same words as their motto. Who are these people who need to be comforted and encouraged? Isaiah speaks of them when he says in Chapter 42, verse 3, “A bruised reed shall He not break and smoking flax shall He not quench”. These are the people who have poured out their souls and lives and have given and given until there was nothing left in them to give. They are exhausted, totally spent, or burned out. They are now crowded by unreasonable fears, distorted anger, confusion, and much indecision. Even their faith in a loving God and a caring Christian family may be undermined. They are like little children who need the loving protection and reassurance of parents and friends.
When Jesus spoke to the apostle Peter and said, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren", He also spoke to me and probably to many others. We have interpreted these instructions to mean that we must learn to recognize those soldiers who have been wounded in battle and then provide a place and setting in which they can be safe and heal. I would like to think of our homes as hiding places where such healing can take place. The Psalmist said, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). We believe that we are to translate the word “precious” as “costly” and act accordingly.
I wish to acknowledge the work of Francis and Edith Schaeffer. They have played a part in giving birth to the dream of “The Hiding Place”. Edith Schaeffer describes in her book L’ABRI, which means “shelter” in French, how and for what purposes L’ABRI was born. As I read the book and subsequently her newer book: THE TAPESTRY, the Holy Spirit touched my soul. The idea for a spiritual hospice was born.
We have mounted a new sign as a part of our gateway. It reads THE HIDING PLACE (Psalm 32:7) as you enter, and TAKE THE LAND (Deuteronomy 1:8) as you leave. Come and see what the Lord is doing in this place. Whether you need to hide or want to help, you are welcome. We invite you to join the ranks of Stretcher Bearers for Christ. LET NOT ANOTHER WOUNDED SOLDIER DIE.
(The Upper Room was completed in September 1987. Please connect to this link to view the guest apartment: The Upper Room )
Our home has served as a spiritual hospital from the first day Rebekah and I were married in 1973. It was just a very natural thing for us to let those with special needs become a part of our family for a while. Those who came had a way of taxing us physically, emotionally and spiritually. But they also and always enhanced our lives. Most importantly, the presence of the Holy Spirit was always multiplied in our home and lives whenever anyone in pain or need stayed with us.
Motivated by the memory of my profound dream, I was willing to once again go out on a limb. Going out on a limb means to me that we are willing to go on a dangerous or difficult mission without visible means of support or protection.
The expansion program which was called “The Upper Room” was to be a separate apartment but would adjoin our main house. It would double the size of the home we had in California. It took two years to complete. It is far more than just a room. It comprises a thousand square feet of love and luxury built by the many who shared our vision for a spiritual hospital.
The project was launched as a result of an unusual set of circumstances. Our friend Dennis and I were visiting at our dining room table one day in late September of 1985. Dennis had observed on numerous occasions a persistent problem that caused our roof to leak in a strategic location. This problem became a special nuisance and even a hazard as soon as it started to snow. One Winter Rebekah broke her left leg because of it. Nothing we tried worked. The recommendation we received was to modify the roofline of both the house and garage so that snow could not accumulate on the flat part of the roof. That was a very expensive recommendation. It was nine years before we were able to adopt it. It worked! The problem has been solved!
Quite spontaneously Dennis remarked, “I hate to see you go through another winter with a leaky roof. If you can come up with five-hundred dollars, I will organize a work crew and fix your roof.” Five-hundred dollars seemed like an impossible sum at that moment. I thanked Dennis but declined his generous offer. However, maybe fifteen minutes later, Rebekah came home from town with the mail. In the mail was a letter from our friend Joyce with a five-hundred dollar check. We were all amazed and immediately accepted Dennis’s offer.
A few weeks later, early in the morning, we heard some strange noise. We went to investigate and saw Dennis with his two twin boys rip the cedar shingles from a section of the house and garage roof. We were delighted. A week later he came back with a truckload of lumber. He removed some additional shingles and then began building the skeleton framework for two new walls. We were encouraged by the progress.
Then followed eight months of agony. Hunting and who knows what else took precedence over our remodeling job. We were afraid that the project might not be finished before it snowed. First it rained, and when it did, we had a flood instead of a leak. We bought two tarps and covered the exposed areas as well as possible. It helped a little. Inevitably it began to snow, usually a welcome sight. But this time it produced anger and frustration. I knew that progress could not be made until the following spring.
Spring finally came and hope. But Dennis did not come back. He was very busy doing the plumbing on a new high school in town. Hope evaporated and frustration returned. I tried every conceivable type of prayer. None of them appeared to work. In retrospect I am ashamed to say that I wrestled with many ungodly thoughts and emotions during this time.
One day, and maybe this was an answer to my prayer, we received a registered letter from the environmental control department of our subdivision. “Sir,” it read in essence, “You are allowed six months to complete your building project. You have exceeded your allotted time and have created an unsightly mess. You are allowed two weeks to respond to this letter before we take court action.”
More ungodly emotions surfaced. I prayed a lot and asked God to calm my spirit and show me what to do. I finally decided to go and see my friend Dennis. I resolved not to bring up the past but only to focus on what needed to be done now. I took the letter along and pleaded my case. He quickly agreed that the project needed to be completed and asked me to recruit some additional volunteers.
Dennis is wearing the red shirt
Ovie Peterson with Jim Smith (left)
Ovie Peterson & Howard Gross
Ovie – he knew how to build a house or a chair
Two weeks later, a Saturday, three volunteers plus Denis showed up. One was quickly eliminated through an accident that required stitches. The work progressed quickly and smoothly after that one incident. By the time the day was over we had also run out of material. Five-hundred dollars was too conservative of an estimate for this project. By the time it was finished, some sixteen months later, it cost thousands of dollars.
Where are we going to get more dollars? The next workday was scheduled for two weeks later; and we needed more lumber, nails, tarpaper, etc. One of the volunteers, our friend Paul, had an account at the local lumber yard. He let us charge to his account for a while. But when the accumulated charges totaled eight-hundred dollars, Paul said, “No More.” Our first appeal to our fellowship netted twenty dollars. It was easy to get discouraged all over again.
By this time we could see that the modification to the roof provided some excellent additional space that might house another kitchen and bathroom for a separate apartment above the garage. Before long we were dreaming and praying “big.” Our enthusiasm was contagious and our need for a separate apartment was very real. More people heard about the project and offered their talents.
One excellent carpenter and craftsman offered several months of his time. Ovie, who lived across the lake from us, would come whenever there was enough material or money at hand for him to work. He would call every morning after we had checked the mail and ask how much money we had for him to spend. He would then go to the lumber yard and purchase what he needed. There were no plans drawn for this project. Rebekah and I had certain ideas, but it was Ovie who put it all together and made things work and fit. No expensive mistakes were made even though workers and volunteers ranged from English professors to real estate salesmen.
My heart was jubilant. I sensed the Father’s great pleasure in this project. I could sense Him already cradling His bruised children in the unfinished arms of “The Upper Room.” I could feel His love and joy as He looked down and saw so many eager hearts and hands unselfishly serving Him. Never before had I experienced so much joy in doing a project. This was a time of many miracles.
One day a tourist stopped by to inquire about the activities at our house. We shared “My Dream” and he responded by donating all the plumbing fixtures that we needed. Someone else sold his hunting riffles which allowed us to buy a stove and refrigerator for the new kitchen. A little boy found a hundred dollar bill while playing in the mud. His mother handed it to us to buy more lumber. The timing of every gift was such that there was no doubt in anyone’s heart that Jesus was orchestrating the events. Sometimes a worker would show up with just the right skills but without even being called. It was marvelous. Faith grew in the hearts of volunteers as they sat down for many a beautiful noon meal and listened to a string of miracles. It’s as if everyone broke their alabaster jar of rare perfume and poured it into the construction and furnishings of “The Upper Room”, just like Mary did for Jesus.
Gifts and volunteers came from all over. They came from Florida, from California, from Texas, from New Mexico, from Oklahoma, from Arizona and from Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A story could be written about each person who came and each gift that was given; but it is one in particular that I want to chronicle in more detail. It is the story of Frank and Suzy, a couple in their early fifties.
It began this way. One evening in early July of 1987 we received a call from Cincinnati, Ohio. The caller introduced himself by saying, “I am a friend of Gordon Beasley who was a guest in your home. He has told me so much about you that I feel you may be the answer to my prayers.” Then the caller went on to explain that his mother was in a hospital in Texas. She was refusing to eat or drink and that she was being kept alive by being fed through a tube into her stomach. Would I be willing to go to Texas and bring her back to Pagosa Springs?
I hesitated about making a quick decision. “Who am I to intervene in such a life-threatening situation,” I thought. I groped for a reply and said, “You really don’t know us. Before I would agree to become involved, please read our autobiography, “The Wood Blossom.” If you still believe that God wants to use us after you finish the book, give us another call.”
The next day his father, Frank, called from Dallas in response to his son’s suggestion. He asked me if I would be willing to come to Dallas to be part of a consultation with relatives and the psychiatrist attending to his wife’s case. He mentioned that shock treatments were being considered and hoped that another alternative could be found. The consultation was to take place in two days.
At that particular time a friend was staying with us who had a pilot’s license. Flying was his number one hobby. I therefore suggested to Frank that we rent a plane and fly to Dallas. That way we could bring his wife back with us. Frank thought this was an excellent idea and agreed to cover all expenses involved. Many arrangements had to be made quickly and two days later, early in the morning, our friend Joe and I took off from Steven’s field in Pagosa Springs in a single engine airplane. Eight hours later we landed at a small airport in Terrell, Texas. I was totally exhausted. Frank was waiting for us.
As we landed I said, “Lord, if anything good is to happen from this trip, You will have to do it. I have nothing left to give.” Often with that type of an attitude, it is easiest for the Holy Spirit to use us.
Frank and I had two hours during which to get acquainted before the meeting with the psychiatrist was to take place. Over a hamburger and malt he shared the events that led up to Suzy’s hospitalization. The supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit gave me much insight and refreshed both of us. We left the restaurant with new hope and faith. But we never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during our meeting with the psychiatrist and concerned relatives. It was stiff and formal, sometimes even hostile. There was no room for a miracle working God to be mentioned. The psychiatrist insisted that shock treatment was the only remaining logical form of treatment. Frank asked to be allowed two days to ponder and pray about the doctor’s recommendations. I was a silent observer during the consultation. I did not have the liberty to speak; but I prayed.
Frank and I were planning to visit Suzy the next morning. We believed that many questions would be answered when we visited her. When we arrived at the hospital, Suzy refused to see anyone, not even her husband. It was her prerogative to refuse to see visitors. I remembered my own hospitalization. There were some visitors who imposed themselves upon me whose presence was very uncomfortable at the time.
We walked around the park-like grounds of the hospital for an hour and prayed, but Suzy did not change her mind. Frank and I finally left. Even though nothing tangible seemed to have been accomplished, a new hope and confidence was birthed in Frank’s heart. Joe and I flew back to Pagosa Springs the next day. It was an expensive adventure, one not easily forgotten.
About five weeks later, Frank called, “Peter, my wife has been out of the hospital for several weeks. She has just come back from Cincinnati where she visited our grandchildren. We would like to come and visit you and Rebekah. Is there anything we might be able to do for you while we are in Pagosa Springs?”
I knew Frank had woodworking skills and asked him if he would be able to do some trim work for “The Upper Room”. He was delighted about the opportunity to be of help and even offered to bring all necessary tools.
Frank is a good craftsman; and he is also fast. Within a week he had installed trim the length of three football fields. He routed and sanded all the trim that he used. My job was to run back and forth to the lumber yard and keep him supplied with whatever he needed.
It took a lot of ingenuity and skill to finish what still needed to be done. It was marvelous to watch Frank’s efficient hands. For those who do not understand what it means to trim a house, it can be compared to putting a beautiful picture frame around a canvas. Frank got everything ready for the next and last step – calling the carpet layer. He even insisted on paying for the materials he used. I look about “The Upper Room” as I write this story and marvel. The hand and heart of God through Frank and others is everywhere. And Suzy has fully recovered.
One other incident deserves at least one paragraph in this account. Three months before “The Upper Room” was ready to receive its first guest, two women vacationing here from Texas knocked on our door. They saw examples of our craft displayed in our front yard and wanted to know more about the craft and the craftsman. We shared “The Upper Room” with these two ladies and immediately they asked if they could be involved. The next day they returned in their work clothes and installed insulation and cleaned. Before they left to go back to Texas one of them stopped by to hand us a key. “I have leased a three-bedroom furnished condominium for you for the next three months. Everything including utilities is paid for. Your burden for burnt out saints is also our burden. We want you to be able to start ministering to these saints right away,” they said. And we did. This was a real sacrificial gift from an elementary school teacher from Hereford, Texas. We found out later that this teacher had intended to use the money for a better car. Instead, she planted the money into this ministry – Stretcher Bearers for Christ.
“The Upper Room” was ready to receive its first guest in the middle of October of 1987, two years after Dennis and his boys started the project. It was and is a “Dream Come True”. The temptation to borrow money in order to speed up the project was always there. But we resisted the temptation and thereby, I believe, followed God’s more perfect timetable.
The first guest to “The Upper Room” was our friend Jim Croft from Florida. He prayed a special prayer over our house when we placed The Hiding Place sign above our front door. We believe that we will always live under the protection and anointing of these God-inspired words.
Prayer of Dedication for “The Hiding Place” Sign
by Jim Croft
March 31, 1986
Father, we now come to You in the name of Jesus as we dedicate and hang this sign over this your ministry. Lord, we thank you for all You have done in this Your place through Your servants Peter and Rebekah in times past, now and in the future. We bless You for all those you have touched, healed and encouraged through them.
Father, you have told me that I could declare a thing and You would establish it. I trust You and therefore now proclaim: Lord with the hanging of this sign we believe You for a new epoch in the lives and ministry of these Your humble servants. We proclaim that hundreds, even thousands of Your people will come and find this Your Hiding Place. Your people shall go forth from here renewed and refreshed with a new zeal to take the particular land that You have allotted to their sphere. They shall have confidence that they have authority to see that the scepter of the wicked one does not rest on the lot of the righteous.
Lord, grant that this will indeed be a Hiding Place. Put it on the Highway of Holiness, revealing it only to those that You want to come. Keep it hidden, Lord, from all who do not belong and from all that would hinder. It shall be hidden from evil, the snake, the adder, the lion cub and the lioness shall not be able to find it.
Lord, I declare a new day for Peter and Rebekah. You now bring them into a broad place where there is no lack of any good thing. Grant them faith for not only sufficiency for the good work, but also for Your gracious abundance in every area of life.
In Jesus’ Name
Although not pleasant nor flattering, I must not neglect what happened next. A deep depression came over me that lasted for four months. When The Upper Room was completed, every bit of energy and life was drained out of me. The word exhaustion took on a new meaning. I was to experience the needs of those we were to serve in my own body and emotions. My thoughts became irrational. All I could think of and talk about was to sell the house. I had no specific destination in mind. My wife and others tried to persuade me not to act hastily. Their advice had a restraining, but not a healing influence. As I now look back over similar episodes of depression in my life, I see a pattern. Whenever I had completed a long and difficult assignment that required a year or longer of my time, inevitably a depression or other emotional or mental problems would follow.
Healing from the depression came unexpectedly one night in February of 1988. I had one of my unusual and special dreams. In the dream I was in a tavern filled with people. Many of the people were standing and milling about. I was wearing a trench coat with deep pockets filled with copies of our biography. I was circulating amongst the people and was giving those who were interested copies of our book “To Hell and Back”. When I had given the last copy away, I was totally spent. I was so weary, so tired, that it was hard to take another step without collapsing.
I stumbled out of the tavern and slowly walked down a dusty country road. Then I lay down next to a barbwire fence. Suddenly the earth began to move and open up. A fleeting thought crossed my mind, “I can wake myself or just allow the earth to swallow me up and let happen whatever will.” I chose to allow the earth to draw me into itself and an unknown destination.
At that point I entered into an unusually deep and renewing sleep. When I awoke I was totally healed. The depression had vanished. Total surrender, total acceptance is frequently the beginning of not only emotional healing, but also physical healing. I believe that during this unusual dream I was able to totally let go and let God. Those who read these words may suddenly remember similar moments in their own life and experience the hand of God touching them with tears of release streaming from their eyes.
Peter D. Laue
Letters from Guests
We have received many letters from guests after they returned home. It is tempting to include all of them and in time we will try to do that. For now we have selected those that were at the front of our scrap book. I am confident that they are the right selection of letters to start with. (The Editor).
December 15, 1989
Dearest Brothers and sisters of The Upper Room, especially Peter and Rebekah,
On December 13th of 1989, I entered these premises with little hope and much unsureness. Feelings of not being worthy and not deserving were in every corner of me. I felt I had let God down over the last six plus years and that I had deserted Jesus because of fear. That fear and being ashamed of the Power (Jesus) in my life kept me from telling my new-found wife about Jesus and the power of healing and I talking in tongues and my belief in them, and that by His grace I had been healed.
That fear developed from pride and ego and the fear of losing her as if she knew and didn’t understand caused a split in our relationship because we had no true God or Lord Jesus in our lives; and I lost her anyway. She thought she had hers and I thought I had mine and in truth, we did on the outside but never on the inside or between us.
That one bondage of fear was created by numerous other strongholds and bondages and cut me off from the Sunlight of the Spirit and blocked the outflowing channel, causing my soul and heart to become a dead sea.
That afternoon of December 13 as Peter took my hand by the foot of the stairs, it was as if an evil spirit had been lifted from my soul and a kind and gentle spirit settled over it. A freedom flowed through me and a comfort that I had always longed for came over me. Today I realize that the channel has been opened and the Holy Spirit is flowing freely through me; and I have been cleansed and made whole so that I could minister to others and be a total servant to our beloved Lord Jesus.
So much has been revealed to me in such a short time, and I am at awe about it all. One was that as a male I worshipped my wife above our Lord Jesus and our Father-God and relied on my wife for my well being and happiness; and it destroyed us to the point of separation and divorce. Suffering is a sharp sword that cuts deep and creates longing for the truth and that can only be found in Jesus through His grace.
My debt is great and my servantship is small; so I’ll be serving His and your needs forever.
One of the King’s Kids and loving servant,
October 20, 1987
Dear Peter and Rebekah,
For identification purpose, I’ll explain how I met you. The week of October 11-16 my husband and I were in Pagosa Springs to visit my parents. Mother and I met you at the grocery store. Then Thursday evening Mother and I and Esther Miller drove out to see you. Peter, you were splitting logs when we drove up.
When I got out of the car you hugged me. I was surprised as you had only met me once before, but I was aware of an intense aura of peace, both in you and on your property. I felt that you were seeing into my soul, and it bothered me. I didn’t think that I needed any external help. We looked around your home, and sat and visited after Rebekah left to go to town. You read us the prayer by Michael Wota:
HOLD ME FOR JUST A LITTLE WHILE
Let me come to “The Upper Room” to be held for just a little while
Let me be held when I think my only purpose is to hold
Let me fall down for a while when the burden is too great
Let me cry when I think I must be strong
Let me be weak when I feel faint
Let me tremble when exhaustion says “no more”
See my pain when I greet you with a calm smile
See through me in my loneliness as a counselor
Give me Your strength when others judge me – for I am also aware of my faults
Let me forgive myself for past errors and mistakes of judgment
and for my thinking I am stronger than you.
Love me without condition when I feel I don’t deserve it
Let me be free of pride, so I can ask you for this.
I accept Your invitation to “The Upper Room”
In God’s name, let me be replenished
So I can be strong again to help those wounded in Your service.
Then you took us upstairs. You asked if anyone had read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?” When I said “Yes,” you explained that we were going through the Wardrobe into The Upper Room. No other reference could have touched me as that one did. I had read the Chronicles of Narnia at least once a year for the past fifteen years. I have tried to collect a copy of everything that C.S. Lewis wrote, and even have his tapes on “The Four Loves.” Your reference should have told me that God was speaking to me, but it didn’t.
We had the tour of The Upper Room, and I must say, “It is marvelous”. I had a nervous breakdown in 1973, and I have seen pastors experience worse than I did, with no place to go for healing. I share your vision.
Your Sheltie, sweet dog, followed me, wanting my attention. He sat up in front of me, putting out his paws to me. I love animals. I have three cats and a dog, but no animal has ever responded to me as this one did. Mother even commented on it. It was as if the dog were trying to get me to follow him, only I didn’t know where. He led me to the rocking chair, then he walked around it. At that point I decide that he was just playing. The significance of his actions did not hit me until Saturday afternoon when my husband and I were driving from Baird, Texas to Garland, our home.
You had something that you wanted to read to us, and you asked us to sit down. You insisted that I sit in the rocking chair. I was again surprised, but I did. Then you read the letter from Chyenne Mattix:
Dearest Peter & Rebekah,
Just wanted to say thank-you for such loving kindness and the time spent with you. It was healing for the bones! I was taking deep breaths for days, breathing in that Life you prayed. During the drive home, I was thinking about “The Upper Room”. As I walked through the room, I felt as though I had been in that room before. Then, words from the Lord came, and He said, “Come, sit in the arms of "The Upper Room" for it is the rocking chair of My heart.”
And I remembered the times I had crawled up onto the lap of My heavenly Father, and as He brushed the tears from my eyes, rocked me to sleep. The chair creaking with years of experience as He rocked. I wondered how many had been rocked in His arms as little children coming to Him for comfort, and how many were still to come. It is a place I have come to love. I remembered how good He smelled, and how gentle His silence was.
I remembered the unlimited invitation to stay, and the open invitation of “anytime.” I remembered how His robe filled the room with His presence. I remembered an overwhelming sense of peace flowing over and into me as we rocked. I remembered the protection of nestling in the folds of His robe and being hidden in the downy softness of His love. But what I remembered most of all, was hearing the beating of His Father’s heart – a Father’s heart of love, protection, and comfort for all of His children. And I remembered, after some time of rocking, my tears had turned into a whispered smile of peace. And in the security of the arms of my Father, He rocked me to sleep.
That is what I sensed when I was in ”The Upper Room”. A place where many, many children will climb up into the lap of their loving Father. A place where they will receive their needs –- love, comfort, peace, strength, renewal, healing. A place where they can be held in their Father’s arms and rocked to sleep. A place where they can be still and listen to His heartbeat. He is already there; sitting in His rocking chair, with His arms open, waiting for those who will “sit in the arms of "The Upper Room", the rocking chair of His heart.”
Thank you again dearest ones for your support and your prayers. Rebekah, I still want to help with “The Upper Room.” Let me know when you are ready.
Much Love, Chyenne
The original wooden rocking chair provided by Paul Noble.
Paul’s dog thought that the front right runner was a bone.
It was speaking to me; I had felt the peace and security of the room, but had not stopped to analyze my feelings. By the time you finished reading, I knew that I had been brought to that place by God to sit in the rocking chair of His heart. It took all of my control, and His, to keep me from crying. It was a great relief and release to help you split and move those big logs.
On our way home I had extreme difficulty carrying on a simple conversation. I needed the release of tears in my husband’s arms. He is my best friend, and the keeper of my heart. I had realized why I needed healing.
We were married in 1965, but it was not until 1975 that he became a Christian. Much later we figured out that he had received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” at the same time. In fact, it was after I received it in 1983 that we knew about Him (the Holy Spirit). From the time he was saved, we knew that our home was to be a refuge for those who hurt. We gave it to God. When we moved to Garland, it became obvious that there was an even greater need for us to continue. I believe that we could not have done otherwise.
I am a writer, beginning writer. Through a Writer’s Workshop I have met several people who are hurting. Three of them have become close friends. One is an older woman who has no self-esteem except as her husband needs her. She was hurt desperately by someone in her church and has turned her back on “church.” She writes poems, and her yearning for God comes out there. The second lady has also been hurt by “well-meaning Christians.” I don’t know how, but she has. This past spring her daughter, who was a junior in high school, confided that she was pregnant. She called me to pour out her hurt. The girl had an abortion; but the hurt is still there. The third lady is in the recovery stages from a major mental illness. She was sexually abused by her brother as a child; and her parents knew. The man she married was or became an alcoholic. When she became ill, she tried to kill herself four times.
These friendships are sometimes a heavy burden to me; but as soon as I give them to God, I have no burden. I believe in the Scripture that says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” I was told once the word “bear” means an actual physical sharing of the weight. That is what I believe, and what I do.
The Thursday night before we left for Colorado on Friday, this last lady I mentioned came to see us. She had written a poem about suicide, and how it drew her. She said that she had to see both my husband and myself once more before we left. She needed hugs from us. She is a Christian and has tremendous faith in God. Of this I am sure. She is frightened by her depressions and doesn’t know where they come from. She told us that Thursday night, that she had made a commitment to work for the entire week that we would be gone. She is a nurse who works with patients who are terminally ill. She said that she had promised God that she would and could live until we returned home.
What came through to both of us was that we were all that stood between her and death, and that we were her connection with God. As I sat in the rocking chair, I realized that I had reached the place where I could no longer help her. I was hurting too much myself. I thought I had given it to God, but had not. I was healed and replenished so that I could return to this other house of refuge and share that replenishment.
There was another healing that was incidental. In 1985 I had surgery on my left thumb to remove a ganglion cyst that had grown around the tendon. Since that time I have had severe tendonitis and quite a bit of pain. The tendonitis would involve my wrist; and I would frequently have to wear a brace. I am a pianist, and I have played since I was three years old. In college I trained for the concert stage. I have not been able to do much since the surgery. Fifteen minutes of practice is about all I have been able to handle at one time. I used to put in one to three hours at a time.
When we were helping you with the logs, my wrist started hurting. The pain was as bad as any I can recall. I ignored it, thinking that I would just put the brace on it when I got back to the house. It felt as if I had dropped a log on it, and I knew I had not. In a short while, I forgot about it. That in itself was strange. When we were in the car going back to town, I realized that it didn’t hurt either. When I told my husband, I said it was as if God had zapped me. Since then the only thing I have experienced with the thumb is that it itches a lot. In my experience, itching indicates a healing process.
I know this has been a long letter. I have done much thinking about how to tell you, what to say. I finally decided to write what was in my heart. All I have to do now to experience The Upper Room is to mentally go and sit in that rocking chair. I am back there, looking out the window, feeling the love and peace and healing all over again. Thank you for doing what you were led to do. God’s hand is truly on you.
One last thing, I am interested in some information in your Crafts for Christ, the types of craft, the criteria. I make ceramic hand-painted villages. If they meet your requirements I would love to be a part of Crafts for Christ. If they don’t, I know there is a place for them, even if it is just in my home. Painting them is as much therapy for me as it is an expression of creativity.
Our prayers are with you.
Sincerely, Jo Lynn
P.S. Today is October 24. The healing continues. I tried to cut off (accidentally!) the end of my little finger last Monday. BAD CUT! It is almost healed today – incredible for me to heal that fast.
Author’s (Peter’s) P.S. Jo Lynn has moved to Germany where her husband works for a U.S. firm. She called me May 4th, 1992 and gave me the permission to include her letter in this account of “The Upper Room.”
Quite spontaneously she remarked, “All I have to do to access the healing power of the Holy Spirit that was in “The Upper Room is to sit down and close my eyes and I am immediately in the Rocking Chair and I am at peace. “The Upper Room” has been my handle on sanity during hard times.
Identifying names in the above letter have been omitted.
June 25, 1994
Dear Peter and Rebekah,
A song by Ray Boltz titled “Thank You” expresses much of what I’d like to say to you. It goes like this:
Thank You for giving to the Lord.|
I am a life that was changed.
I am so glad you gave.
Thank you for giving to the Lord, Peter and Rebekah – your home, your time, your resources, your never ending care and love, your life!
And the song goes on –
One by one they came |
Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched by Your generosity.
Little things that you had done
Unnoticed on the earth
In Heaven now proclaimed
And I know up in Heaven
You’re not supposed to cry,
But I am almost sure
There were tears in your eyes
As Jesus took your hand
And you stood before the Lord
He said, “My child, look around you,
Great is your reward.”
And to this I say “Amen, Lord.”
My prayers of intercession will be with you both and “The Upper Room Ministry.” Please call me any time for any special prayer needs.
Forever grateful and with much love,
Your prayer partner,
Valentine Day, 1995
Oh Lord, how long would you hide your face from me? My pillow was moldy and shredded from bitter tears and angry pounding. How distant you seem from me.
For years Lord, I pleaded to You, but my fearful heart encountered only silence. The enemies of chronic pain, anxiety, guilt and depression pursued me with grief and torment. Eventually fear, anger and bitterness joined the troops in the enemy camp.
Years past, Lord, and my enemies followed my every step. I cried to You for help and a few times You seemed to push the enemies back. When I looked around they had all massed to cut me off yet again.
Friends met me and offered me rest, comfort and encouragement, reminding me You walk before me at all times, but I was blinded by the enemy hosts behind me. Finally I could no longer see You. The enemy I could clearly see.
O Lord, I longed for your comfort. Return to me the joy of your salvation, return to my remembrance the happy times we walked hand in hand. Hide me from my enemies. Eliminate them from my life.
I will shelter myself in a strong fortress where I am safe from my enemies.
My sword and helmet were laid aside. My shield remained close at hand, sometimes polished and carried but mostly tarnished. I became weak.
My enemies surrounded my stronghold and I had little hope of rescue.
One day – I know not when – a warrior dressed as one of your soldiers, Lord, got through to my fortress. Relief flooded my soul as I poured out my agony, grief, and fear to this attentive soldier. I neither knew nor cared how he came through enemy lines.
He promised safety and deliverance. He convinced me to store my sword and helmet. As there would be release soon, I could loosen my hold on my shield and prop it against the wall. He would take care that the enemy would not harm me. It felt good to talk to someone who understood.
My joy at rescue increased. “Why hadn’t the Lord come Himself?” I asked the warrior. “Why all these negotiations before my release? The Lord is all powerful. He could just come and wipe the whole army out.” The warrior replied with a sympathetic smile that the Lord was busy, but He hadn’t forgotten me, that’s why He had sent him to encourage me and deliver hope of rescue.
Each time he came my confidence grew that he was sent from you Lord. At one point he made arrangements for my friends to bring me supplies unmolested. That was great Lord.
Another time he came and encouraged me to enlarge the slit in my fortress and make a nice window. It made sense. I was getting weak and pale holed up in my dark fortress. “Let there be light” he said with a joking grin. I asked him to arrange for the enemy to just go away. He reasoned that that was beyond his control at the moment but hadn’t he arranged for my protection, feeding and care?
As he left that day he laughed at my impatience and said he would return soon. He paused on the way out the door and suggested I store my shield. How caring Lord, what a wonderful person You sent into my life. So concerned for my welfare!
I slept well that night, secure in my friend’s protection.
The next morning I busily smashed the bricks of the slit in my fortress and made a window. The sun flooded in warming my very soul. Though the enemy was still encircling me they were pulled back with their weapons on the ground. Why had I thought they were such a threat?
A couple months later I put in another window.
I had several more visits from my warrior and we had a great time. He continued to tease me about the fact that I still kept my shield propped against the wall. “Why don’t you get rid of that tarnished old thing?” he would laugh.
“Well, I happen to like it and besides I’m feeling so good I might just polish it again.”
For some reason he acted disgusted about that and didn’t think I should waste my time on such a worthless piece of junk. When he left that day he was not his usual cheerful self. Why should it matter to him if I polish my shield or not? Meanwhile I continued to wonder why my release was taking so long and why the Lord didn’t come. My anger increased that the Lord hid himself from me.
After the shield discussion my warrior never came again. Neither did any of my friends. My reserve supplies dwindled. It rained for days eroding the fortress walls.
Where is Your salvation? My fortress had become my prison and likely my tomb.
Damp and cold consumed me. I took to my bed. I gathered my belongings about me and day by day hurled them at my tarnished shield. Why God, Why? When will You deliver me, God, When?
Pottery shattering to the floor as I threw another useless item against the shield. I shook and stumbled on weak limbs.
OK, Lord, if You have turned your back on me, if You have abandoned me, there is no cause to remain alive. Do You not care that I perish? You used to do miracles, but obviously not anymore. Long ago You used to walk with me, even carry me, but not anymore. You have removed my friends from me, and abandoned me to my enemies.
As dawn broke, I staggered to my open window. The whole enemy army was within 50 yards of my neglected fortress. I was not surprised. What astonished me was the general leading the army, my old friend the warrior. Betrayed! Betrayed I was.
“Lord” I yelled in anger. “How could you have allowed this to happen?” I flung my last plate at the shield, grabbed my blankets and huddled under the bed, bumping against my rotting helmet and dull sword. I cannot fight Lord, just let me die here before my enemies torture and mutilate me. There is no hope of rescue. I trusted your Word, I waited for You, and now I’m going to die because You didn’t come. I’ll never join with the enemy camp and their traitor chief, but at least grant my last request to die before they break down the door.
As I lay barely able to raise my fingers, there was a great shout from the army and instead of breaking down the door there were screams, anger and moans of pain from the enemy A great battle was in progress it seemed. Why don’t they break in and finish me off? Maybe with the distraction I could still die before they got me.
The battle seemed to grow more fierce and raged day and night. Arrows flew thru my big windows. Can you see me God? You aren’t here. You did not even grant me my last wish to die before the enemy could get to me.
Some of the enemy began to crawl through the windows, yet, the last minute were cast down dead next to me in the room, an arrow in their backs. Finally my door started on fire. Smoke filled my little fortress and choked me. The flaming door burst open and I saw bloody feet wrapped in rags stomp into the room. Now I will surely die. As unconsciousness engulfed me I mumbled, The enemy has fine boots for fighting. Who is here?
I came to “The Upper Room” born on a stretcher supported by several soldiers. Have my enemies also pursued me here Lord? Will I never find relief from their torment? Here I am alive and surrounded by soldiers. Are they truly Your soldiers? I’m not sure at all. You must have known that the warrior was the Enemy. Why did you allow all this to happen?
A man and woman appeared, smiled and embraced me. Well, this can’t be all soldiers here. “Don’t embrace me,” I warned. “Don’t get close. I just got done trusting in a false warrior and in God. My soul in pain as well as my body. I’m not sure there is any strength left to get well.”
“Lord, did you actually rescue me?” Now I suppose You want me to gain my strength, heal, and go back out to face the enemy again?” Restless sleep overtook me as I was in the midst of moaning and complaining.
My soul did not rejoice with the dawn, but I found my body was enveloped in quilts and fluffy pillows. I did not want to bring any of my situations to remembrance. My stomach growled, but I seemed too tired to eat.
I got out of bed and my soul reeled. I reached to open the curtains and God was there on my right hand and left – in pictures, poems, scenery and song. I went to the dresser and again God was there, next to the mirror and on the dresser top. I drew back and moved to the great room with the fireplace. Behold, God was there. The walls proclaimed “This is God’s Rock Chair”, - “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” Wait a minute, I don’t have confidence! What is this? “Jesus wept.” Well, that’s good. He only wept once though as far as I know. What about my soggy pillow God? “Lo, I am with you always” Oh sure Lord. What about when I was fighting off the enemy. Where were You?
My heart was so burdened. I moved on to the kitchen. “Come away my beloved” hit me in the face. “O how He loves you and me.” This is too much. Let me out of here. Surely the bathroom is a safe place. “Come away my beloved” hit me in the face. . “O how He loves you and me”. Surely the bathroom is a safe place. “Come unto me all ye who are heavy-laden….and I will give you rest.” Doves were etched into the mirrors. Who are these people and what is this place?
A soft voice answered. “These are my special servants. Their names are Peter and Rebekah and you were carried here to heal and find rest for your soul. The Lord directed them to make the signs. I built this house of refuge. I created the beautiful wood of which this Upper Room is made. I directed the placement of the windows and chairs, the poems and signs, the flower arrangements, the books and –yes – even the down comforter and stuffed animals.
“Peter and Rebekah are my chose vigorous warriors. They are the stretcher bearers in my army. You will heal here and rest. I will speak to you through them. Are you willing to listen?”
||“You will be a tough nut to crack, but I love tough nuts.”
||“Somehow Satan had gotten into your life. Why are you mad at God? Why aren’t you mad at Satan?”
“Yes, Peter, you are correct. I did let him fool me. I opened the door to my fortress. I stored my sword and helmet and let my shield tarnish. But why did God allow it to happen?"
“I don’t know the mind of God, but I do know He loves us. I know He promised us that we are more precious to Him than anything else. Satan is a cunning deceiver and he can’t be allowed to win. He tried everything he could to keep you from trying to be close to God. He has lost. You are here and God is surrounding you with His love in His rocking chair in the Upper Room.”
Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. I’m out of the stretcher and into a wheel chair. I‘ve receive God’s forgiveness for my anger and He has touched my soul.
I will praise you Lord in my weakness. I will seek You and commune with You. I will seek your help to dispel my confusion and control the depression that so easily overtakes me. Thank you for folding me in your arms in this place. Keep me from jumping out so often. Remind me that You are holding me when I’m afraid of failing.
O how He loves you and me!
I love you Peter for your wise counsel and tender, discerning attitude. I also like your “Blasted Signs”. I love you Rebekah for hugging me anyway, and for decorating this place and your listening ear. I also think your command from Rebekah 1:1 is a riot: “Thou shalt remove thy muddy boots.” Thanks to both of you for this Resting Place, your concern and your humor.
With Profound Thanks,
To be continued by folks who visit “The Upper Room”
First posting of letters: November 13, 2011
November 17, 2011