Diving In

DCP_2080The story behind Broken Hearts Healed. For over a decade I scanned the Christian bookstores seeking to find a book that would do three things:

(1) tell the story of a fallen daughter

(2) have the component of a missionary calling

(3) show a godly, pure romance

I couldn’t relate to the pristine, godly true romance stories and I figured based on statistics, a lot of girls would also cringe inside and think, “That’s nice for you but that can never be my story.” I wanted a book that would encourage teenage girls and young women that God can still do amazing things in your life, even if you have lost your sexual innocence.

I finally realized the prompting from the Lord that I needed to write my story. It would be no less miraculous than the pure romance stories because it would still bring Him glory. I knew that writing my story meant risk and vulnerability. Yet, I imagined the hope it could bring and the healing that God could do in women’s hearts and lives if I shared my life with them.

Honestly, I didn’t want to run on the platform of “sexual abuse victim.” That was something I wished to forget and yet it became apparent that without sharing that part of my story, I wasn’t being true to my readers or myself. It was out of that place of deepest pain that God has brought forth tremendous victory.

It is my greatest desire that you will buy this book for yourself or even your friend and that God will use it to touch your life with His love. I am passionate about this story because I Know what God’s love did for me and I long to see you embrace that for yourself.

So, if I have captured your interest, Click on the Buy Now button and order Broken Hearts Healed!

 

 

 

 

Dropped Bottom???

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I hated social settings. They filled me with fear and nervousness. I was in 6th grade and had just started wearing pantyhose. Since we were always on a tight budget, my mother would generally buy the cheapest items, regardless of quality. I was at a wedding reception in a dress, pantyhose and heels.

The Ramada Inn was lavish in its décor of reds and gold with tantalizing foods spread in abundance. Two glorious silver fountains beckoned thirsty guests to come and be refreshed. My mother discreetly informed me that one fountain offered champagne and the other was merely punch. She cautioned me because one time in their early years of ministry, my father ignorantly proceeded to drink champagne, much to my mother’s chagrin. Since she often reminded me that I had hardly any common sense, she was making sure that I wouldn’t repeat my father’s faux pau.

Obediently, I steered clear of the champagne fountain. I was sipping my drink while holding a plate with cake, nuts and mints on it, wondering where I could sit and eat without having both hands occupied. My eyes were scanning the walls for an empty chair when a waitress came to me.

She was short in her black dress, fishnet stockings, crisp white apron and cap. “Honey, you dropped your bottom.” She promptly skirted away to continue her tasks for the evening. I was thoroughly mystified and mortified. My mind reeled.Are my pantyhose hanging bunched around my ankles, again?!!! Or has the entire waistband dropped and the pantyhose are lying on the floor around my shoes???? Is my slip hanging? What in the world did she mean, “I dropped my bottom !?!?

I found my mother and through gritted teeth told her what the strange lady said. “Mo-ther, what did she mean? I dropped my bottom?” My mother looked at me with twinkling merriment as recognition dawned on her.

“Oh, honey, she means the bottom of your cup.” She walked to the non-forbidden fountain to demonstrate that these cups came in two parts to be assembled. By the time she finished explaining verbally and visually, all I longed for was that the reception would finish and I could go home, far away from social gatherings, baggy pantyhose and dropped bottoms!

Baring My Soul

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This story is painful. I didn’t realize just what this will take for me to share it all, Jesus. Please hold me and help me.

(“Ruth, these precious women need to hear that they are not alone. I know how painful your life was…..I wept with you and over you….but that is the very reason I am sending you to speak. Don’t be afraid, My precious Daughter, I will not leave you….My Holy Spirit is helping you, even now, as you type these words.”)

God, this is excruciating.

“Yes, but you didn’t stay there. I redeemed you. I have healed you. I set you free.” The enemy wants you silenced but it is TIME for you to speak. It is MY time for you to speak.”

Salt, Please?

bowl of salt.jpgImagine going to a very nice restaurant. Linen tablecloths, fine silver, tapered candles and decoratively folded napkins. A long table is adorned with chafing dishes and a variety of delicious looking foods. Tempting the palette are a host of mouth-watering entrees, desserts and breads. You are anticipating the satisfaction of savoring each morsel and enjoying a spectacular feast.

The maitre’de comes over and sets down a white china bowl. It is filled with salt. Puzzled, you wonder what this means. He explains to you that all the foods have been prepared without any salt. You are to eat the salt for your first course and the remainder of your meal will come later.

All of a sudden those delicious foods do not look quite as appetizing. You realize that they are not all that they appear to be. Eating salt by itself certainly doesn’t appeal to you. The fabulous restaurant fades in your estimation.

So often we look at people and on the surface they appear quite attractive. We assume that they are salty, filled with the Spirit of God and walking as His disciples. They say the right words and seemingly do the right things. Indeed, we think they look like the real thing. However, when we take time to pursue them for more than trivial conversation, we discover that they have no salt in them.

Often, when we think of “witnessing,” many of us shy away because we think that we have to offer the whole bowl of salt to get people interested in the Lord. We forget that salt is to be used sparingly and not dumped all at once. We must allow people into our lives so that they can taste the salt. Once they see that we are different, then they will become thirsty for Who we have, the Living Water, Jesus Christ.

So, have you sprinkled someone today?

Clarity

mexico outreach 2005 043Why do I want to post? I want Connection. I want to write what others might feel in hopes that we can encourage one another, not feel so alone, not succumb to the lies that bombard us daily….and that some of us need to have those lies exposed so that we can see clearly to the truth. Perhaps there are people out there who wish that “someone would say what I feel” someone brave, foolish or daring enough to risk being judged, misunderstood and rejected and at the same time risk being accepted, loved, received and appreciated for that very same boldness, honesty, vulnerability and gut-level openness….

Who knows? There are Vast and numerous blogs out there….writers pouring out their thoughts/opinions, etc. Why do writers write? It is not merely for ourselves. We “get” what we write. No, there must be something greater that propels us to “bleed” our emotions onto the page and the screen for the benefit of others?

I thought that writing was a Solo act but obviously I was wrong. I may write alone but Writing is a communal act. There is no quality in writing if there is no audience to read. The audience may be largely unknown, anonymous, but without an audience, the writing in itself is a superficial task that lends catharsis or joy to the writer but leaves the world untouched.

Thus, the risk of the writer to dare to share her thoughts and ideas with an audience she may never see.

Press Release

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

                                                     Contact: Ruth McElwee

Email: ruthmcelwee@gmail.com

New Xulon Book Tells A Powerful True Story Of Redemption And Romance

Ruth McElwee’s book brings hope that the darkest places and deepest wounds can become the richest areas of healing and transformation

MAITLAND, FL— Ruth McElwee’s new book, Broken Hearts Healed – A Story of Transformation, ($16.49, paperback, 9781498453639; $26.49, hardcover, 9781498453646; $8.99, e-book, 9781498453653) is the inspiring true story of Ruth and her journey to redemption and romance. It encourages readers that through Jesus Christ, transformation conquers all, even the pain of childhood sexual abuse. At five years old, Ruth was an outgoing girl and her favorite place was church – until her world was rocked by sexual abuse. She lived in a private hell of silence, rejection, rage and shame. As a teenager, she spiraled further into depression, embracing a lifestyle of promiscuity, sensuality and self-hatred. Ruth longed for love but did not believe that she would ever find it. She questioned, “Who would ever want to marry a fallen preacher’s daughter?” Her powerful testimonial will grip the hearts of many readers as they identify with shame, pain, anger, guilt, regret and self-acceptance. The author stresses that true romance and sexual purity are not impossible to experience no matter how far you have fallen. God’s amazing love can redeem and restore.

“I want readers to know that no matter what pain or heartache you have experienced in life, God still loves you and if only you will allow, He can redeem and restore your broken heart,” states the author. “No one will ever take your place in the heart of God.”

Ruth McElwee holds a B.A. in English and two minors: Psychology, Counseling and Rehabilitation, from Marshall University in West Virginia along with an A.A. in Biblical Studies and a Teaching Certificate from University of the Nations, Youth With A Mission. She served for seven years in YWAM. Ruth and her husband Ross, helped pioneer YWAM Barbados and served at Tyler, Texas, YWAM. Ruth served for seven years in White Mountain, Alaska, helping Ross pastor the remote village of 200. Ruth is an Alaska representative for Advocacy for Victims of Abuse (AVA) and currently serves at Alaska Christian College in Soldotna, AK.

Xulon Press, a division of Salem Media Group, is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher, with more than 15,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order Broken Hearts Healed – A Story of Transformation through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors. The book is available online through xulonpress.com/bookstore, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.

A Mentor’s Memorial

A few hours ago I watched via the Internet the memorial service of one of my amazing mentors, Mr. Jim Kilkenny. He taught me Biblical Foundational Principles and how they applied to Education; specifically to every subject. How deeply enriched my life has been because of seeing these truths. Having been trained in public school and a secular university, God had to really expand and renew my thinking. I recall seeing a cohesiveness and unity when examining God’s view of Math, Science, History, etc. It made learning take on a whole new meaning for me.

But being mentored by Mr. Kilkenny was a personal experience for me, as well. He cared about me as his student teacher but treated me as a friend and a peer. I looked at him as a Father-figure and there were numerous conversations that we shared over the course of the few years that I worked with him. How much he encouraged me and believed in me!

After twenty-five years of marriage, it was going to be my great delight to share with him the achievement of a lifetime dream—my first published book, Broken Hearts Healed. He had a massive stroke just a few days ago and Jesus took Mr. Kilkenny home.

Mentors are people who invest in our lives and who have such an amazing influence in shaping our destinies. Sometimes, though, I don’t think they have any idea just how profoundly God has used them because they simply live faithfully and make the time to pour into our hearts and minds the words and actions that God directs them to.

These are two pieces of writing that were inspired during my training under Mr. Jim Kilkenny.

My God!

How vainly we flit from philosophy to philosophy

seeking desperately for that which we

cannot seem to grasp or find—

We are like a butterfly

that has been touched

and keeps flapping its wings

going nowhere

’til it dies.

 My God!

thousands of Americans, Europeans,

Bajans, Africans,

peoples of

the world

have no concrete idea why they are

even here

and books that tell the stories

sit on the shelves—

unresearched, unopened,

unquestioned & unanswered.

Truly life—in all its meaning

has become meaningless

in this day and age

of Humanism—

where You no longer exist.

My GOD!

This butterfly will never fly again

because the touch of man

unknowingly, in his inquiry to grasp its beauty

in ignorance of its design

Has damned its destiny.


O Lord when I consider the magnitude of the task, the challenge of delving into unchartered waters, every natural inclination within me rises up and screams (vying for attention) “Turn back! turn back! turn back!” But some small spark of indignant fire courses through my being urging me on to seek that “new world” of education and to discover once again that Lost Colony of Learning that will fill my soul with the vast wisdom and knowledge of God causing me to bow so humbly in my heart of hearts with tears so nobly streaming down my cheeks, and posture so reverently kneeling to acknowledge with joy, wonder, admiration and awe Thy great and powerful Hand in History and Thy mighty acts towards the children of men.

 

 

           

 

Reframe the Story

 

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So many of us carry memories of brokenness and pain, times when our world felt “upside-down” and we had no hope. We look back on those times and still feel the ache of the scars. But what if out of those places of despair we could see the strength, wisdom and confidence that we gained from those difficult years? What if we could re-frame the story to discover what God did in our hearts and characters in spite of what the enemy meant for evil and destruction?

Would that change our outlook and could we find Joy in the midst of sorrow, pain and conflict? What if the Holy Spirit enlightened us and showed us how much stronger our faith became, deeper our commitments to follow Christ and richer our compassion, understanding and sympathy for others? Could we see that we became less prideful, judgmental and arrogant?

As we heal this is the hope we offer to others from our own experiences in life. It is from this realization and recognition of our common struggles that God can restore us, reframe our stories and enable us to bring comfort to others.

Relinquishing

 

A prayer/poem composed within our first few months in cross-cultural ministry…

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Lord, empty me further

    though its painful to say-

In order to be effective,

    I can’t stay this way-

Wrapped in my culture,

    steeped in my pride-

You must break me and mould me-

    rip away my tough hide

Until I’m soft and I’m supple

    and easily led

Down a path that brings life

    as I choose “in Christ”

To be dead-

To my own ways,

    holding onto the familiar-

The comfort zone of my heart

    where no one else sees-

Oh Jesus, make me willing

    to die for You

By living a life

    that presently is so foreign,

So remote, so forlorn

    but if I long for Your kingdom to come,

Then again,

    I must be re-born

Transformed anew

    secure in Your love.

Perfect Pastor’s Wife —Not Even

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I awoke with you on my mind. It was a deep, philosophical morning of thinking about years in ministry as a missionary and a pastor’s wife. We served in small places not large cities and those communities leant themselves to scrutiny and exposure. “Living in a Fish Bowl” is what I used to term it. Always wanting to draw others to Jesus Christ because He is worthy of their lives and they are so incredibly valuable to Him.

So I thought of you, my precious sister, fellow missionary who is out there today feeling forgotten, struggling and wondering “Has it been worth it all?” and to still be there again….simply living your life among the people in hopes that they will see in you the beauty of Christ, of forgiveness, joy and peace and the fulfillment that only God can bring to their hearts.

Let’s be honest. They won’t find a Perfect Pastor’s Wife, though some of them will make you feel that you should be beyond sin, mistakes, offenses, and to put it bluntly, beyond being human.

How I long to encourage you today, as one who was once in those very trenches, that the eternal rewards that await you far surpass the trials you are facing. Your present day faithfulness is all that God asks of you. Don’t pick up more burdens and responsibilities than He has asked you to carry….even though it is difficult to say, “No,” to people, you must learn to do it. I find it fascinating that Jesus set the example for us, in that He didn’t heal everybody or meet all the needs. He specifically only did what the Father told Him to do.

Please don’t burn out on the mission field. We need you in the Body of Christ and if you need to take some time today, even if it’s just a cup of tea, coffee or hot cocoa, make some time for yourself. Be good to yourself and to your family. The demands of ministry will always be there. May you have wisdom and grace to know the difference between the need and the call.

Savor the peace that you have in knowing that in Jesus you are loved, forgiven, accepted, wanted and cared for. He walks with you and the Holy Spirit is there to comfort you, even as He guides you when you speak words of comfort over others.

Don’t give up. Though the spiritual battle rages, be reminded that Jesus Christ has already conquered everything that comes against you. Find some good, safe believers and let them in on your life so that you can be mutually encouraged, prayed for and loved. We all need to be strengthened and edified—that’s why God called us to be a Body.