I became a Lutheran when I was baptized as an infant. My parents and grandparents were Lutherans and I grew up in the Lutheran church.
Growing up I was at church every Sunday. My parents helped start 3 mission churches including one where my uncle was pastor. I have vivid memories of Vacation Bible School in the church/parsonage, marching around the sanctuary singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I also remember getting reprimanded from the pulpit during the sermon one Sunday because my cousin and I were chattering too much!
My parents and grandparents helped shape my faith life. My Granny was a model of the joy of caring for those older than me. My Grandma was a model for the discipline of daily devotion. My father showed me how hard it is sometimes to do the business of the church, and how hard sometimes to navigate culture and science with faith. My mom was a church secretary and was often a sounding board and compassionate listener for people calling the church office. Both my parents were lifelong students of the Bible.
My family was always involved in church work, but didn’t talk much about a personal faith. It wasn’t until I came to know people like Chuck’s aunts who prayed aloud at the drop of a hat, Pastor McCarthy who preached and prayed and taught as the Spirit moved him, the faithful people I’ve come to know and work with and pray with at Via de Cristo retreats and in this congregation, that I’ve truly seen the Holy Spirit at work and been able to speak about my faith and pray with others.
I pray through the day as people and situations come to mind. I pray as I walk my dog in the park. My favorite times to pray nowadays are when Hattie falls asleep in my lap and I have nothing to do but rock and pray for an hour or more! Sometimes I even sing my prayers in her ear as I’m trying to get her to sleep! I also count it a great privilege to pray with other people when they are sick or distressed or joyful.
My favorite part of Scripture—that’s hard to choose! The psalms, parts of Isaiah, Paul’s letters. One of my favorite passages is Romans 8 where Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ—nothing! It was one of my dad’s favorites, too. The passage I most often repeat to myself is “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I wish I had more Scripture memorized so I could share it, but my brain doesn’t memorize well. I do remember lots of songs with Scripture in them.
I like to spend my time outdoors. I love to sit on the side porch and swing and read, hang out on the deck and have my lunch and watch birds, or stroll Hattie in the park or around the neighborhood. I love going birding with Chuck. I like to do counted cross stitch and love singing in the choir. I love visiting my big extended family in Texas.
I have experienced God’s grace in many ways. Often in the most difficult times of my life. I remember the unexpected sense of peace and assurance that came over me after I’d prayed and come to a difficult decision about my mother’s care. The times friends have held my hands and prayed for me and the times I’ve been able to do that for them. And I experience God’s grace when I’m aware of the blessings in my life. The times I get to witness something in nature that amazes me with God’s creative power. The tiny miracles I see, like my friend Barb eating a Frostee, or the big miracles, like our grandbaby Hattie Ruth.
I struggle with finding time and energy for group Bible study. I struggle with worry when I know I should trust God. I struggle with the divisions I see in the country now. I struggle with knowing how to help address those divisions and issues of justice. I struggle with staying connected with friends and family who are far away.
I show people I care by writing to them or sending them cards or postcards. When a friend or family member faces a long recuperation from a surgery or illness, I try to cheer them up and let them know I’m thinking about them and praying for them by sending a postcard every few days. I like to collect old postcards with interesting pictures and places so I have a stack ready to send.
I love being a member of Faith Lutheran because of its caring members and its clear message of the unconditional grace and love of God.
Ruth has been a member of Faith Lutheran Church for 32 years and is active in choir, care ministries, worship & music, leadership, Via de Cristo, and the Servanthood Sunday planning team. She is a retired teacher and now enjoys days caring for her grandbaby, Hattie.