Drained

Several years ago Gary Harris asked me to learn a new song for church. Where Joy and Sorrow Meet is a beautiful song that talks about how the heart can be torn between joy and sorrow. I haven’t sung this song since a church member lost their son suddenly but today I am reminded of that song as I feel that torn heart. I am joyful in my husband’s calling to a new church, his obedience to follow God, and the exciting new journey at Trinity. However I can’t help but feel sorrow over the goodbye we must say to ATCO. ATCO has loved me during the hardest time in my life. Although not everyone knew of our walk through infertility, many people at ATCO prayed for us, picked us up and carried us to the throne room of God daily in prayer. They praised God when we learned of Hannah and showered us with blessings as she arrived! Will another church ever love us like ATCO? This was the question I posed to my husband this afternoon. His response was perfect. No one can love us like ATCO. Each church is different. Each church loves differently. God placed us here for a time in our lives that was full of love, prayer, growth, and dependence on Him. I cannot say it better than Kyle, so I’ll leave his words with you for now. 

Dear Atco Baptist Family,

    It is with a saddened but grateful heart that I write this letter to you all in order to submit my resignation as pastor of youth ministry at Atco Baptist church. During my 4 years serving as the youth pastor here at ATCO Baptist I have come to know and love each and every child, teenager and adult at the church. The wonderful people of ATCO Baptist have become my family and the church is home to me; therefore I am extremely sad to be moving on to the next chapter of my life. 

“The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord.” When I read this passage from Psalm 37:23, I’m reminded that my life is not my own. I belong to God. Danielle belongs to God. We’ve committed both our individual lives, our marriage, and our family to His calling and purpose. We’ve resolved to travel together down the path that He has set before us. We’ve entrusted our steps to Him.

    Through many months of prayer and Godly counsel we are convinced that God is calling us down a new path, a path that will lead us away from our ATCO family. This decision is one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to make up to this point in our ministry and in our family. The difficulty comes not in saying yes to the Lord, but in saying goodbye to all of you.

    Today, January 29 2017, I am officially resigning as your youth pastor. Our last Sunday will be February 19. Danielle and I will be moving to Calhoun, where I will be the Youth Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church. We are stepping out on faith believing God to do a great work like we have felt He has used us to do here. It is my desire to continue to see youth come to Christ and be discipled to walk with Him for a lifetime. God has given me a new challenge in doing that and we have the honor to say yes to His call.

    Please hear these words from the bottom of our hearts. Though my relationship as your youth pastor will change, our love for all of you will not. That’s why this is so difficult. We’ve become family over the past few years and we’re moving away. As hard as it is to say goodbye the fact is we’re still family. As a matter of fact, maybe goodbye is the wrong word. The phrase “see you later” seems more appropriate.

    God directs our steps and promises not to leave us nor forsake us. I’m confident that if God is leading us on to something new and wonderful then the same is true for all of you. God will not take from one at the expense of another. If God is preparing to bless Danielle and I with a new work, then He’s preparing to bless all of you with a new youth pastor. We really believe that your best days are yet ahead, and though I will not always be your youth pastor, we will always be family.

Respectfully submitted with love for all of you,

Kyle Ruff

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I Can Still Wear Cute Shoes

You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes by Lisa McKay was AMAZING!!! This pastor’s wife has 15 years of experience supporting her husband in ministry, an awesome testimony of how God can use the most unlikely people to impact His kingdom, and great advice for all things church and life. I would highly recommend this book to all women, not just pastors’ wives. Hear me out! She talks about raising your kids in church…and yes some of it is specifically to PKs BUT I think it is important that laypeople understand what ministry families go through. She talks about how being a Christian doesn’t mean you need to dress like your grandma. Modest is hottest, but don’t go buying a embroidered cat sweater. Consider adding this book to your must read list. She is funny and shares many stories including her testimony!

Realization

This past Wednesday night our church had a Fall Family Fun Night. There were games, a cake walk, and wagon rides. We had walking tacos (Fritos with chili in a bag topped with cheese–so good!) and Kona Ice came too! Tons of people from the church and surrounding community came out. Hannah wore her Halloween costume and rolled around in her stroller for the event, and about half way through I realized something. I was surrounded by teenagers. There were people my age at the event. We said hello and all but the people I spent the evening with were the youth. To be honest I have deeper relationships with most of the teenagers than the people my own age. This may seem odd, but it’s true! And to be honest (again), I like it that way! 

Kyle’s job at the church may seem to be HIS job, but I consider it OUR ministry. His call to be a pastor doesn’t just effect him. It effects our entire family. We minister as a couple, and now that Hannah is here, we will minister as a family. So it seems fitting that I spent Wednesday night with teenage girls. It’s a realization that I love!

A Mom to Teenagers

No, I have never given birth. No, we did not adopt. No, we do not foster. However, when one of the teenagers in our youth group needs us, we jump into action and become “parents” whenever. 

Thursday night we hosted our small group bible study. After everyone had left and I was cleaning up, Kyle tells me one of the girls in the youth group is having family problems and may need a place to stay. Well, let’s go get her. It turned out her stepdad had taken her back to her mom from a friends house that night, but last night she stayed with us.

I love the students in my class, but the teenagers in the youth group have me wrapped around their fingers, especially this young lady. 

Don’t worry. Her parents know she is with us! We had an ice cream outing last night, followed by her picking a movie (Star Wars) to watch at home. Today she will either tag along with us to a couples shower and Mother’s Day/birthday dinner or go hangout with some other girls from our youth group. 

I love that she feels safe with us, wants to stay with us, and knows she is loved by us! Being a youth pastor’s wife means so much more than going to camp, Six Flags, and church every time the door is open. It means loving teenagers and helping them the way Christ would in some of the most difficult times in their lives. 

If you can, stop for a minute and pray for this young lady and her family! She could use some comfort and peace in the storm her family is in. 

Becoming a Youth Pastor’s Wife

As some of you may have read in a previous post (here), Kyle and I met as teenagers…so obviously he wasn’t a youth pastor when we began dating. Even when we were engaged and first married, Kyle wasn’t in the ministry. However, I knew he would be in the ministry one day. 

Let me explain.

Kyle first felt called into ministry as a 16 year old but soon realized that he did not want to be a pastor. He told me this pretty early on in our dating. I knew that God’s calling on someone’s life didn’t go away when that person didn’t want to do it. I knew that eventually God would bring Kyle into a ministry job and he would follow the calling. 

I was not one of those girls who wanted to marry a pastor or sought out guys with that calling on their lives. I am not saying it is wrong if you did, but that just wasn’t me. I was raised by an architect and an accountant. My parents are godly people, but I never would have pictured myself as a pastor’s wife. However, my Great Aunt Sonya is a school teacher and is married to a pastor. I have always loved and adored her. I enjoy hearing ministry and missions stories when they visit and look up to her. So Kyle having a calling on his life didn’t scare me away. 

When we first married, Kyle was an accounts receivable clerk for an auto auction. He made decent money and was able to support us until I found a job. After almost 6 months of marriage he was laid off. We believe this was God’s way of getting Kyle on a mission trip he felt he was supposed to be on but his boss wouldn’t give him time off. Kyle went on the mission trip and God made it very clear that Kyle was supposed to be a youth pastor. 

He came home and wanted to enroll in school for ministry. He started volunteering heavily in our church’s youth ministry. He was focused on following God’s call and becoming a full time youth pastor…eventually. 


I knew at this point that we were in this…together. I had known this was coming for years and have always had a deep conviction that Kyle’s ministry would be mine also. I want to be involved in his work, ministry, and calling. I go on the youth trips. I attend the conferences and events. I listen to and encourage our students. 

Sometimes people ask me what my reaction to Kyle taking a ministry job was. And to be honest, I tell them that I knew it was coming. No he hasn’t always been a youth pastor, but I knew that God’s calling was still there. 

So here I am, a youth pastor’s wife. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!

The Pastor’s Wife

Yes, I am a pastor’s wife. Correction—a youth pastor’s wife. With this title/description/label comes many amazing and challenging things. But today I want to talk about a book I finished reading this weekend, The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman. I’m not sure what I expected when I started this book, but in my opinion, every Christian woman would benefit from reading this book. 

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There are three parts to this book:

  1. Loving the Chief Shepherd
  2. Loving an Under-Shepherd
  3. Loving the Bride of Christ

 I think every woman needs to know how to love God, love their spouse (even if he isn’t a pastor/under-shepherd), and love the church. These are essentially the three things that Gloria writes about. She slathers this book in scripture (which I adore!) and adds in humor from her own experiences of being a pastor’s wife (which you may or may not find humorous if you are not a pastor’s wife).

I hope that you will consider reading this book, pastor’s wife or not. 

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