It is the end of National Infertility Awareness week and I have been thinking about if I would even address it this year. This time last year I was able to celebrate my miracle baby and how her story has affected me and so many others around me, but this year it feels different. Not that she isn’t my miracle any more, because I assure you she is exactly what I prayed for. But this year my heart is crying this song, Oh My Soul.
Do you find yourself waiting a lot? Waiting for a table at a restaurant. Waiting in a doctor’s office. Waiting for test results. Waiting for a pay check. Waiting on love or marriage. Waiting on a baby. That’s mine. I find myself waiting to be pregnant.
People insisted that we needed to be careful after our first arrived, because we may get a surprise sooner than we wanted. My thoughts? That would be AWESOME! I would have praised God for that gift. Time has passed and surprises were not given and now I find myself waiting. Waiting again for a baby to come from heaven, created by the only one who can create life, as a gift to our family.
Waiting is hard. Waiting is emotional (at least for me). Waiting teaches us so much. Because in the waiting we have to lean on God. In the waiting we have to rely on God. In the waiting we have to hope in God.
The Bible says in Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord; I wait and hope in his word.” I know this scripture isn’t actually referring to waiting for a baby, but at the same time it is. The writer of this psalm is waiting for a redeemer, someone to correct his relationship with God. The writer is waiting on a baby who would come, a baby named Jesus.
I am so blessed to have a redeemer in Christ Jesus today. I am not waiting on someone to save me because I have a savior. But I love how this verse assures me that I can wait for the Lord and have hope in his word. I can lean on the promises of God and know they are true. I will cling to the cross, my redeemer and wait.
Waiting still isn’t easy, especially when people ask if there are plans for a second, or if we are pregnant, or trying,
but with hope in God’s word we will wait.
Food is a love of most people. People love to eat. We crave food. When we haven’t eaten often enough, we typically become hungry (or in my case, hangry). People plan their entire day around meals. Holidays are celebrate with food. Food is important to our lives, survival, and many times, happiness.
Today when I was reading my devotional I became stuck on this verse from Job chapter 23, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12 ESV). Job is talking about the words of God and how he treasures it more than food. Think about that.
I love food! I am not a girl who didn’t eat her fill on a date in order to impress a guy. I don’t skip meals or turn down a perfectly good cookie. But Job treasures the word of God more than food. Do I crave the Bible (God’s word) more than food? Do I turn to the Bible and listen for a whisper from God to fill me?
Today my prayer is that I may come to treasure God’s word, look forward to it, plan my day around it, celebrate my holidays with it more than I do food. My prayer is that I treasure the word of God and depend on it for my survival.
Do you have dreams for your life? Or maybe for your children’s lives? I have several for our family, for Hannah, for me! I’ve been listening to Casting Crowns a lot lately and Dream for You is one of their songs. It is about David and how his shepherd sized dreams were changed into king sized dreams. And Mary’s dreams of marrying Joseph and then starting a family were not exactly what God’s plan for her life was. The chorus says, “So come on, let Me dream, let Me dream for you; I am strong when you’re weak and I’ll carry you; So let go of your plan, be caught by My hand; I’ll show you what I can do; When I dream for you; I have a dream for you.”
This song has caused me to think about David’s story a great deal lately. It is a whirlwind story that no one could have imagined happening, especially him. King Saul had lost the favor of God and Samuel went looking for who God would anoint as King. “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:11-13 ESV) David is the youngest son of Jesse. He is a shepherd and wasn’t even on the radar of becoming anything great amongst his family. David probably dreamed about becoming a big time shepherd, owning a lot of animals, and maybe one day hiring young guys like himself to shepherd his flocks. But God had different plans for his life. God’s plan for our lives means that we may have to let go of our dreams and plans. I’m sure David never dreamt about becoming King and without God he never would have been king. God’s plan for David was so much bigger than being a shepherd.
David spent years as a servant of Saul’s, a soldier, and then running from Saul. David and his family knew he had been anointed by Samuel but it’s not like it was posted on Instagram for all to see. God’s plan for our lives means that we have to trust God with our dreams, and trust that He will make His plans come true in His time. “So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David brought up his men who were with him, everyone with his household, and they lived in the towns of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.” (2 Samuel 2:2-3ESV) “Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” (2 Samuel 5:1-4 ESV) David went from a young shepherd boy to a servant of the king. From a servant to a soldier and from a soldier to a man running from the king. The entire time he knew God had Samuel anoint him as king, but he wasn’t king yet. Now he is the king of Judah and Israel. God’s plan requires us to be obedient. David found out he would be King long before it happened. And I am sure along the way he was unsure how he would ever get what God had told him would happen, but David trusted God and His plan. David was obedient and did as God directed him. God took years to place David as king of Israel and many times David was faced with enemies who wanted to kill him. But David knew God would fulfill His promises and trusted God.
I am having to let go of my plans for my life, Hannah’s life, and our family so that I can trust God and His plan. I know His dreams for us are King sized dreams instead of my shepherd sized dreams. I am letting God carry me and going to be obedient to His word and let His dreams for me take root in my heart and trust that His plans are better than my own!
A few weeks ago Kyle said he was going to live in Calhoun as if he were a missionary. Ummmm…okay. Those were my thoughts at first. We aren’t that far from where he has grown up. It’s 30 minutes away. We are living life very similarly to how we lived in Cartersville. We both work. We have a normal home. We are active in church, but missionaries? I wasn’t so sure.
But the more I thought about his statement the more it makes sense to me. Jesus gave believers a task before he ascended. “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.””(Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
We are missionaries. We are living with a purpose to infiltrate our community with the gospel. We are here to take every opportunity to share Jesus with the people of Calhoun. We moved 30 minutes away to be missionaries. But truly, we are all called to be missionaries. We do not have to move to spread the gospel. We can share right where we are. We can shine Jesus even if we are living in the same neighborhood we grew up in. So yes, we are missionaries in Calhoun. Where are you a missionary at?
We, in the Ruff household, had some special visitors over the last week. One of our teenagers from Atco stopped by last weekend to share some candy with us. It was so great to see his sweet face and get a hello from him (and his mom). Then this Thursday we had two girls come over for dinner and to love on Hannah for a little bit. It was awesome to share some time with people we love. Part of me has “momma-like” love for them but most of my love for them is brotherly (or should I say sisterly?) love. It reminded me of my study on love and I wanted to share a little more from my studies.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:9 it says, “Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you,for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.” Paul is encouraging the people of Thessalonica that they do a good job of loving one another, because they have learned how to love from God. I like how Paul recognizes something they do well and encourages them to keep going in that way. To our three visitors from this week…you have loved on us in a cool way! You have shown great love and we appreciate it. To everyone else, who can you encourage this week? Share some brotherly love and lift each other up with words of affirmation.
We are love abusers. We use the word love for everything. I love your outfit! I love grilled cheese sandwiches. I love my husband. Don’t you just love my daughter? Love is one word in the English language, but it has so many meanings.
About a month ago when I was studying “love” in the Bible I came across a verse that only said the word love once, but it was assigned two different Greek words to represent that love. “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,” Titus 2:4 NIV
1. Philandros and philoteknos were both used in this verse. Philandros means fond or man, affectionate (as to a wife), while philoteknos means fond of one’s children. Where we used one word, there were actually two words! Before children I don’t know that I would have thought this was important or even interesting, but now…I get it! Completely! I love Kyle and Hannah in completely different ways. And I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. I love my husband and cannot image life without him. I love him more today than I did yesterday and I hope our love continues to grow as we get older. My love for Hannah was deep from the moment I held her. It didn’t take time to grow. It was a fierce love from minute one. My love has grown, but it was always there for her. It’s just different, and completely fitting that two different words represent this in the Greek.
“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:1-8 NIV
2. This passage is directing the believers in Christ on how to live their lives. The older women should be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, or slaves to wine (vs. 3) so that they can teach the younger women how to love their husbands and children (vs. 4). This is to be done in action as well as in spoken teaching. I think about the older women who have given me advice and smile. Many of these women have spoken advice and lived it out. My mom and mother in law of course have done this for me, but so have Sarah (one of my friends who has walked me through becoming a pastor’s wife) and Carla (a sweet friend from church who sets an amazing example for my marriage). These ladies and so many more have told me how to love, but more than that they have showed me.
3. One thing I always try to be aware of is how the teenagers watch my marriage. Because Kyle and I do ministry together the students see our marriage weekly. They observe how we respond to stress, disagreements, love, humor, and so much more. I want to be a “older woman” (you may never see me type that out again) who sets a good example for the next generation. I want to be someone that a young girl looks to for advice, but I also want to be someone who they watch working with my daughter and husband and say when I’m in that position I want to do it that way too.
Looking into the love in this verse has taught me so much more than just the Greek word behind our English word. It has taught me about who to seek advice from and to be aware that others may be seeking advice/watching for an example from me.
Brotherly love, or I guess in my case, sisterly love is a HUGE part of my life. Sisterly love for my little brother (who isn’t so little anymore), students at church (which feels more like mom lovin’ sometimes), students at school, co-workers, friends… the list could go on and on. In 1 Peter, Peter is writing to Christians who are being persecuted. He is encouraging them to be strong and love one another.
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8 NIV
Love one another. Love here is philadelphos in Greek. It means fond of brethren. AKA brotherly love. We are called as Christians to be united, love, and be humble.
Peter goes on in verse 10 to say, “For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.” 1 Peter 3:10 NIV
This love is agapao which means to love. This verse is almost a quote from Psalm 34:12. “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12 NIV
The love in Psalm 34 that is used is ahab which means to have an affection for. Peter used the Greek word while the one in the Psalm is Hebrew. Both words mean practically the same thing.
As Christians we should be united in Christ, love other Christians, and not retaliate with evil words, but with love and affection. I actually wrote 1 Peter 3:8 on the chalk board in my kitchen to remind me daily to love my brothers and sisters in Christ!
I want to de exactly what this verse says. Be like minded with other Christians, have sympathy, sisterly love, a tender heart, and humble mind. I pray that God will teach me to be what Peter has written. I want to love life and see many days, so I need to learn to control my tongue and not speak evil. I want to love!
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”1 Timothy 6:10 NIV
Can I get an AMEN? Loving money can be so dangerous! Money doesn’t lead to happiness, although many people think so. Money doesn’t make life easier. Look at Ted Turner…tons of money…very unhappy and still has problems.
“Love” in this verse means love of money, which is philaguris in Greek. The translation essentially put the definition of the Greek word into scripture. Doesn’t seem like anything cool to study until I read a little further in the chapter.
“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
1 Timothy 6:11-12 NIV
The “love” here is agape, which is to love, have affection for, benevolence. So here is the cool part… Paul is writing to Timothy and warning him of the evil that comes from loving money and telling him to flee the love of money and a whole list of other things (look at verses 1-10). Instead Timothy should pursue loving with affection, and righteousness, godliness, faith,…He encourages Timothy to fight the good fight of faith! God doesn’t promise us happiness or earthly wealth when we accept salvation. But He does give us so many other promises (always be with us- Hebrews 13:5, direction- Proverbs 3:5-6, etc.). Today pursue loving with affection and flee the love of money!
I have a friend who talked me off of a cliff this week. Not an actual cliff, but a figurative one for sure. I’ve been worried about the cost of formula…not that Hannah eats any now…but whenever we do stop breastfeeding formula is expensive. Breastfeeding is free. I hate breastfeeding! I can hear all the moms out there. They are either raising their hands saying Amen! or they are gasping saying It’s the best time of day with my baby. No matter which mom you are,or if you are somewhere in between, I still have an amazing friend who gave me great godly advice.
When I called to seek her mommy-advice she not only encouraged me, she poured truth into my heart. I don’t know if she had her bible out or just had it memorized but she reminded me that God took care of the birds and surely He would take care of my daughter who He made in His image.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:26 NIV
She spoke truth at a time when I needed to be reminded not to worry about money, food, clothing…but to trust that God would provide for us. I am so thankful to have friends like her who can listen when I need to talk, advise when I need help, share when I am in need, and speak truth when I need to hear from God. Thank you for being an amazing prayer warrior, friend, councilor, teacher, and sister in Christ!