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.

 

 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

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.

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.

 

Are You Struggling?

I had another profound weekend of stimulating, thought-provoking, challenging conversation that stirred in me the desire to gather the wounded, weary, broken, angry, confused, abandoned, neglected and disillusioned young people into the circle of mentorship, friendship and camaraderie to speak hope into their lives. To Listen to ache of their hearts, to be the “spiritual mother,” if you will, the “older woman” because someone desperately needs to take the Time to care for the ones who silently suffer.

I am seeking those who struggle with “Who is God to me?” The ones who say, “I grew up in church, I know the Bible verses, maybe even I’ve gone on mission trips and been actively involved and on the outside I look really good but on the inside I am hurting…but I can’t tell anyone because then it will look like I’m a fake. Like maybe, I’m not really a believer….I mean….gosh, if I don’t really have it all together, what hope is there for the ones I’m trying and hoping to win to Christ?”

If that is what you feel and where you are today, I want to be here for you. I want to take your hand, give you a hug, and not fill your head with a bunch of worn out “clichés” but to really Listen, to bear your burden, to offer you a heart of compassion, kindness and acceptance and to tell you that together we can walk through these dark places of pain and loneliness and isolation where church for you has felt empty and lifeless and all you want to know and be assured of is that You really do matter and that Jesus Christ really is Who He says He is.

So, if I can help you to draw closer to Him today and to His amazing love and forgiveness for you, dear Friend…that is my desire.

Fresh Manna

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The children of Israel were to gather manna on a daily basis, except for the Sabbath. They had to put forth some effort to acquire the manna. Daily, they needed to arise in the morning and discover the Lord’s provision for their families. The manna was a testimony of the faithfulness of God to His people and He supplied this food for 40 years in the wilderness.

We need to make some effort to discover the Lord’s provision in our lives on a daily basis. We need to hear His voice, read and listen to His Word, and commune with Him. The manna is there but we must make the time to gather it. A living relationship is necessary to growth in our spiritual lives. We serve a Living God and He longs to be vital to our survival.

Have you been feasting on worms and moldy bread? It’s time to change and taste and see that the Lord will meet you everyday, all the time, no matter what your circumstance or situation. Be reminded that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The very God that parted the Red Sea has time for you and longs for your company. Meditate on that truth and allow the Holy Spirit to give you an eternal perspective.

 

 

 

Preparing for a New Year

Picture 226As you prepare for another year, take some time to reflect on the specific blessings that have enriched your life. Spend time in the presence of God and let Him grant vision unto you for the coming days ahead. Know that whatever you may face on this earth, and in this life, that you are being “groomed” (actually “brided”) for the life to come. You are being prepared so that you will be pure and spotless, holy and righteous and able by His grace to stand robed in shining garments.

Prioritize and remember this season of Re-dedication. Examine your ways and consider your plans. What road are you traveling? Where will your journey end? What reward awaits you? Oh my friend, do not sell yourself short of the plans and purposes of your King!

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He delights to bless you as you walk in obedience to His Word. May I encourage you to wait on the Lord that He may show you what He desires you to be and to do as this year begins anew.

Apple of My Eye

IMG_3425What does the term “apple of the eye” mean? It is the reflection in the center of the pupil, the dark circle inside the iris. To view the “apple of one’s eye,” you must look closely into someone’s eyes. In the “apple”, you will see a minute reflection of your face. Go ahead, try it. You must get “up close and personal” to see it.

The Lord declares that we who follow Jesus are the “apple of His eye.” God desires intimacy. When He looks deep into the eyes of  His believers, He expects to see a reflection of Himself. He longs for His Bride to look into the eyes of her Bridegroom and see herself reflected there. As we embrace the privilege and joy of being Christians, we are now the Lord’s special people. May our love for our Beloved Messiah deepen as we draw closer to Him. May we long for Him to see in us a mirror image of His love and character.

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