A Country Dessert

With living in a small community, occasionally we were given desserts from ladies in the congregation. One time after church, the entire family was ushered into the church kitchen and this sweet, simple country woman set a lovely, homemade lemon meringue pie in front us.

“Pastor, I made this for you.”

Then she said, “This is your’n. This is your’n.”

Mom watched the wheels in our heads spinning as we conjured all the puns we could think of…”this is urine.” Mom’s eyes pierced us and we could read the daggers….”Don’t any of you kids Dare laugh….or crack a smile.”

Mom received the pie with genuine gratitude and we were all dutiful to say, “Thank you.” But once we were at home sitting at the dining room table savoring the “Urine pie”….we broke into gales of laughter.

 

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A Final Final

In school, I often got test anxiety. In college, I had my legs crossed throughout the two hours I was taking my final. I was wearing a skirt and a slightly too warm sweater. I didn’t realize how nervous I was in this last Spanish class.

However, in the few short steps it took to walk to the professor’s desk, my legs gave out and I fell on my knees with my hands landing on the floor with a violent Smack. The class was shocked as was I. The professor immediately gasped, “Senorita, are you all right?”

It must have been the grace of God because somehow in a split second, I stood up, regained my composure, tossed the final on his desk, smiled and replied, “Yes. It was just a killer of a test!”

For those few minutes I was the star of the class. We all laughed together and I exited gracefully.

 A Mother’s Love

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These cuties are all grown up now…..

 

A mother’s love is deep and self-sacrificing. How I remember as young children, my siblings and I each took  $ 1.00 and went to the store to buy Mom a bottle of perfume for Mother’s Day. We wanted her to know how much we loved her. Each bottle had a different color lid on it—purple, red, yellow and blue. Daddy always purchased perfume for Mom—Chanel No. 5 and White Shoulders, so we just knew that she would love our choice of perfume for her.

She was so incredibly gracious and elaborate with her praise and gestures. We watched her lavish the individual fragrances on her arms and neck and exude, “Oh, it’s so lovely that you gave it to me. Oh, yes, Honey, I am wearing it.” And she did. We wanted her to wear our choice on Sundays, when we wanted her to smell really nice.  (What atrocious odors she wore for our sakes.) Years later as we reminisced, we all laughed until tears came out of her eyes.

How expansively she loved us. How many times did she lovingly drape a handcrafted macaroni necklace strung with simple yarn and proudly wear it to church because one of her children made it for her. She was a woman whose primary love language was “gift giving” and though our gifts were not expensive, in her eyes, they were indeed priceless, because they showed her that as our mother, she was loved dearly.

Fast forward to my life where my own sweet kids pondered what to make me for my birthday….several years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes. They proudly served me a simple chicken breast with a candle and I can still remember the hopeful question, “Mama, do you really like it?” And, like my own mother, I sang their praise and delighted in their desires to bless me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Funky Music?

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Friends at a Costume Party…I’m in the blue dress with a white bow in my hair

 

You know you must be getting old… when the styles and music start repeating from your teenage years.  I recall back in my early years of marriage, when I was teaching that a particular song was popular. All the girls were talking about it and one student mentioned the title, “Play That Music, Funky White Boy.”

Puzzled, I commented, “You mean, ‘Play That Funky Music, White Boy?” Immediately, she got all excited, “That’s it! You mean you’ve heard it, too, Mrs. McElwee?”

I broke out into laughter. “Girls, that song was a Re-make when I was your age!”

 

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.