a risk, some sludge, and a question

today i will risk being true and authentic with you, not that i am not those things on other days, but it’s important to me that you understand that my life is NOT “just another pretty blog”. if you want a happy go-lucky read today, you may want to move along to the next blog. but if you’d like to, go grab a cup of coffee, make yourself comfortable and see if you can relate.

recently my perspective became a bit skewed. i am sure there are numerous things we could blame it on.  but i was feeling a bit purposeless for longer than is comfortable.  reflecting a little too much on the seemingly unfairness of life. this “being still” thing i committed to at the beginning of the year, was beginning to feel stale. wondering if what i do really matters. after all i am not feeding the poor or helping pregnant teens who have no one. i don’t even support a needy child in africa or serve soup to the homeless down the road. i don’t go out of my way to share the gospel with others except by the living of my life. it’s not that i don’t have the desire… i just don’t do it. at times my world seems small, safe, boring. sometimes i can’t even answer the question “what do you do?” without feeling guilt or insignificance.  is my life making a difference? is it worth it all? so there i was finding myself in the sludge at bottom of the glass… {remember i am a glass half empty kind of person}. i know… i can hear you loud and clear, saying the same things i was saying to me, myself and i. i have no case for whining. i know i am blessed beyond measure. but sometimes my mind and my heart do not understand each other.  just as i was starting to beat myself up for my “mood” and lack of spiritual maturity, i remembered the psalms and how david lost his perspective and found himself in the sludge at the bottom of the glass enough times that God inspired an entire book of the bible telling us about it .  i think the key is that david asked the questions. so i braved to speak just a few of mine and it went somthing like this as they fell beside my tears into the sink and my husband wisely… listened.

me ~ where’s the reward? where’s the reward for dad?… where’s his reward as he sits or lays silent in a place that is not home? where is dad’s reward for what he has and is enduring? and mom? where’s her reward for sacrificing so much in her life… leaving family and friends behind to serve God beside her husband in a remote jungle village… having to let go of me, her only child, and send me off to boarding school… where’s her reward now as she watches the love of her life slowly disappear… where is the reward? the right answer of course is heaven, isn’t it?  our reward is in heaven. but that seems… do i dare say it?… too simple and of course today it seems unfair. we are all imperfect people living in a cruel world in need of the hope that “fighting the good fight” is worth it. so where is the reward and what does it look like?”

my oh-so-wise husband ~ “ask her” (argh! talk about simple)

so i did just that.

7 thoughts on “a risk, some sludge, and a question

  1. Oh, Ruthie, I’ve been there so many times especially after my husband died
    but then God gave me my first grandchild whom I took care of for 3 mos….
    enough time to get my brain reoriented into the real world. Then, I went
    back to work at my church 3 days a week but also baby sat whenever I could.
    Then, God had my only child and her husband ask me to move in with them.
    He and I drew up plans for an apartment on the ground level and oversaw
    the construction. But, having to sell most of my possessions (a lifetime of
    accumulation) was the hardest. However, the move gave me another “new”
    life. Hal’s been gone 7 yrs. and I moved 5 yrs. ago. Now, I have another
    grandchild and they both visit daily and I know God has me with them for
    the purpose of helping them to see Jesus through my life. Like your dad
    always said, “keep on keeping on”. He and your mom have made a great
    impact on my life; so, you see that even with “sludge” you are having an
    impact on others. I will be praying for you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Ruthie. It comforts me to know that someone like you, whom I esteem, struggles with “wondering if what i do really matters. after all i am not feeding the poor or helping pregnant teens who have no one. i don’t even support a needy child in africa or serve soup to the homeless down the road. i don’t go out of my way to share the gospel with others except by the living of my life. it’s not that i don’t have the desire… i just don’t do it. at times my world seems small, safe, boring. sometimes i can’t even answer the question “what do you do?” without feeling guilt or insignificance. is my life making a difference? is it worth it all?”

    I have been asking myself these questions for about two years now and I believe it’s a natural part of our life in Christ and as women with grown children. I can see how you make a difference and I’m sure everyone in your life can see it. The fact that you can’t see it is really a good sign according to Oswald Chambers. You are so unaware of your own influence that it means that it is Christ in you who is doing the work.

    Sharing like you do on your blog, ministering to your family and others and simply being who you are is how you are sharing Christ. It happens in ways you won’t know until you see Him. Like a thread in a tapestry. I’m sure you know that illustration.

    I understand the struggle. I can’t answer the question, “What do you do?” And I sometimes feel like I don’t contribute enough. I stay very busy but don’t think I have much to show for it. I get very tired and can’t explain why. I must seem like a real wimp to many people. 🙂

    When I read your blog I wonder when I will hear that you are publishing your book. I can see a photo journal with your thoughts of struggle, encouragement, and joy. Have you considered doing that?

    You don’t need to produce anything to prove anything to anyone, including yourself. But I can see you doing this if God calls you to it. Your photography that I have seen is amazing and your writing touches the heart. Quite an awesome combination. Just sayin……

    Thank you for sharing. It really has encouraged me that I am not alone in my struggles or journey and that there is hope. I think you are a treasure and that you will have many jewels in your crown to lay at His feet.

    Christi

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  3. Hey Ruthi,

    I just finished reading your blog and rarely do I respond to them but I always read them just so you know, but this one touched me especially because we are watching Jim’s parents decline in health and all that goes along with it. I just finished a very good book called heaven and the afterlife and one of the chapters was on the crowns that we can earn while here on earth. Talk about crowns your father and mother have already earned a special crown for being a messenger of the Lord to spread his message. Art and Evy have the light (which is Jesus) in their life and light dispels darkness! That means that every in the places he has them at in their lives they are spreading his light. Be encouraged my friend Satan is also our adversary who continues to destroy in whatever way possible and he is just up to his usual antics trying to discourage you and render you ineffective. Keep on shining your light as brightly as you always have been and remember you are making a difference in the eternal kingdom to come.

    Psalm 31:24 Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord. Love ya Kim

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  4. As I checked the reply box, God sent one of my little rescued cats to sit on my lap to “kiss” away some of the same “do I, does it matter” thoughts that cross my mind often at this stage of my life and health. We’re sending Heavenly hugs your way today, with one reply that, yes, you do, it does matter, that you, your mom and your dad are here, and the full package of what you have done, still do, and will do, in God’s plan, is part of the full circle of all your lives….which you know you know…. “Be still” and know that HE is God….sometimes just doesn’t always fill the quiet moments of uncertainty and/or anxiety, the void of the past, the uncertainty of the future. Sometimes, in the silent screams of my mind, I find that I have the same questions….then remind myself, as I continue to mature in my years, and sometimes fears, that because God matters and Jesus lives, that we still have a purpose, often unseen in “the moment”, and that “be still and know that He is God”….IS sufficient. I remind myself to wait upon the Lord, and sometimes that is the best that I can do. Little silver linings and the rainbows in the sky, always remind me that God shines through the blackness of some of our moments, days, weeks, or even months and years. We are praying that the silver lining of your day will break through the darkness of the moment and burst into a rainbow of hope and joy for you today. Remember, you are loved with an everlasting love, and that means more than of God. You matter to us and all those around you – and you all have made a difference in our lives. Thank you for that gift!

    Blessings and love, Mike and Darlene Bodnar

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  5. ruthie , couldn’t help but see my own feelings in your reflections. after losing tricia so many years ago we searched for some reason, explaination anything to ease the pain. nothing but God’s gift of numbness for two years helped us survive. after allowing ourselves the time to grieve, without seeing it, God was preparing us for a completely different life. we found that after a time of crying and holding onto each other the only thing that gave us any feeling of worth was doing things for others. as you know this gift from God came as three children that challenged us at every turn. bottom line ruthie is tricia death was a prelude to our new path God has ask us to walk . we will always carry trish with us . the pain we share with others in hope anothers path will be less painfull. i hope our path helps you see your life now is a lesson for things to come . in time your feeling MUST be passed on to your children and grandchildren. our leggecy is to prepare them for things to come . please voice your questions with our cell group. we all love you and marc and are there to help walk this path chosen for you. God bless you and may his grace be with you always. remerber “heb 11:1 now faith is the substance of things hoped for , the evidence of things not seen. love u jeff

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  6. That I’m sitting here in tears as I read your blog proves your influence;
    That others have responded by opening their hearts proves your relevance;
    That you are struggling with your place during this sojourn proves the authenticity of your heart. I am convinced that it is exactly this struggle which proves we are growing, usually in most unexpected ways.
    No, the reward isn’t here, as you said; after all, “this ain’t heaven.” But as you listen to the resonance of the chord you’ve struck in the responses you receive to your openness, you’ll hear the answer to your question.
    “This ain’t heaven” is a more beautiful and meaningful place because of you. Thanks for making me stop and “reflect.”

    Like

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