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?

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.

 

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.