recovery update (one month after surgery)

I hope, Lord.
My whole being hopes,
    and I wait for God’s promise.
My whole being waits for my Lord—
    more than the night watch waits for morning;
    yes, more than the night watch waits for morning! (Psalm 130)

img_6691A lot of people have been asking, so today I’ll sketch out an anecdotal recovery update on Rebekah, so we’re all on the same page. For those who missed it, she had major neck surgery a month ago (see, Perspective: Surgery will do that), and her recovery has been much more difficult than we had anticipated.

Short story, we have made huge progress as regards pain, some steps forward when it comes to strength, and measurable – but far too little – headway in the use of her voice. Consequently Rebekah is working – yes – but mostly from home and without being able to return to public life, and the pulpit in particular.


What we have been able to do is to venture out for short stints to the office, and the occasional home-based gathering. Thursday, for example, we attended the first part of the deacons’ Christmas party. “I just love my deeks so much,” Rebekah said. Plus there were a few gifts she wanted to present, as well as some words to share with the group.

So I played the part of “Mr. Microphone” (if the person who was taking pictures sees this, please send one my way!). Rebekah would say a few words, then I’d repeat them for the group – much the same way a translator, or a sign-language interpreter, does when preachers travel to foreign lands.

img_6690Then, Friday evening, we attended the first Koinonia dinner of our new group’s winter rotation. With just eight people around the table, Rebekah was able to speak and be clearly heard (Whoo-hoo!!). Of course, everyone was courteous, and listened quietly.

It really is interesting to note how very attentive people can be when someone is unable to generate any volume. It reminded me of my days in the classroom, when – instead of shouting like some teachers – I tended to lower my voice when I needed more specific listening. I still remember hearing one 7th grade boy say, “Look out, Mr. Maul’s getting quieter, I think we’re in trouble….”


The dinner was beyond delicious. Our friends Sandi and Paul hosted, preparing probably the most exquisite prime rib I’ve ever tasted, accompanied by horseradish sauce, an amazing gravy, carrots – prepared sous-vide – and exceptional mashed potatoes. In consequence I upped my game with the appetizer, digging into my “Cooking New American” cookbook to find a stuffed mushroom recipe that involved three varieties of fresh mushrooms, prosciutto, parmesan, sage, and lemon.

img_6689Rebekah and I were unable to stay through dessert, but the evening was one more small step forward and – most importantly – another rich experience of spiritual fellowship with the beautiful community of believers at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church.

So that’s pretty much where we are as of today – moving toward Christmas not only with anticipation for the coming of the King, but also in anticipation of continued healing – even if it is excruciatingly slow sometimes. “I hope, Lord; my whole being hopes…”

In hope, and promise – DEREK

stuffed mushrooms


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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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