Ruthie’s story…(to be continued, by God’s grace)
“A year ago today, I got on a plane and headed for a small village in the middle of the Swedish woods called Holsbybrunn. Thus began the transformation…” Take a few minutes and read Ruthie’s encouraging, moving and challenging story of hope, grace and transformation. Her honest words will encourage your soul. The text is included below, but go to Ruthie’s personal blog for the full story and lots of pictures: Confusing Cultural Changes
On September 13th 2016, I remember sitting with my mother, on the balcony of my childhood apartment, watching and soaking in a beautiful thunder storm. I remember singing because that’s one thing my mom always misses when I’m gone. After a few songs, I remember sitting quietly, listening to the sound of rain hitting the leaves on the trees and the ground below. I remember thinking, “What am I doing?! Why am I doing it?! I don’t belong there.” And so many more things were zooming through my head. I looked over at my mom with tears in my eyes and said, “I’m not ready.” She softly answered, “I know. But you’ll be okay.” I then told her that I was really excited and didn’t quite know what to make of these mixed emotions. What wasn’t I ready for? Why did I want to go so badly despite my worry? No matter how worried or scared I was, the excitement got the best of me. I was a ball of nerves. More so than any of my other moves.
The next day, I was packing my things. Looking around my old room and the place I did a lot of my growing up, I knew I didn’t want to stay, but I also didn’t necessarily want to leave the familiar for the unknown. I was headed to Bible School. Me. I thought I had it all together, but at the same time was too screwed up to find God. On the outside I was a good Christian girl. I did the right things (most of the time), knew what to say and how to say it, I loved worship music, but was too scared to let myself actually worship because, you see, I was scared to not be good enough, worthy enough, put together enough and whatever else I thought. So, I kept people and especially God at arm’s length (further if I could), and there I was, going to a place where I would live with people in community, where things were designed and meant to make you get to know others. Moreover, a place built for you to get to know God, to deepen what you already know, to let Him in, to grow, to mature, to love and be loved and so much more.
At this point in my life I had spent the past 3 years keeping people out of my life. I knew how to make people think and feel like they knew me when, in reality, they knew very little about me. I was hopeful, yet absolutely terrified that all of this would change. I was sick of hiding, I didn’t even really know myself, and I surely wasn’t a big fan of who I had seen myself become. I felt dead inside, but I always knew that there was a little something trying to claw its way out of the wreckage that I called life. I felt like a spectator to my own life, yelling at myself “Wake up!! Do something! You can’t go on like this!!” And it always fell on deaf ears.
A year ago today, I got on a plane and headed for a small village in the middle of the Swedish woods called Holsbybrunn. Thus began the transformation. From the very first day, I felt like I had arrived at home. (And for those of you who know me, you know that home isn’t the most familiar concept to me.)
I unpacked, and immediately went on a walk through the woods. I walk a path that I vaguely remembered walking as a pre-teen with my sister many years before, just to reminisce. I also walk to get away from the other students. Because as much as it felt like home, that scared me. I wanted to make a good impression. Put my best foot forward (even though I didn’t think either of them would make for a very good impression). I wanted to be liked. Even if I didn’t necessarily like myself.
Looking back, I thought I was gonna be the only messed up one there, I thought that the other students were there to continue their walks and deepen their knowledge. I thought that they were gonna be all put together and ready to start, and that there I was, screwed up and not even knowing where to start.
Man oh man was I wrong. Some were more advanced in their knowledge and walks with God and some didn’t even really know God yet. We were all messed up in one way or another.
On this day, one year ago, I met my family. I didn’t know it yet, but from even before we all got there we were destined to be a family. We had our disagreements, our misunderstandings, our bad moments, our ugly moments and our frightening moments but we also had our loving moments, our caring moments, our silly moments, our musical moments or competitive moments and sooooo much more.
We were, we are and we will always be, a family. Unified and brought together, broken and dying, from many different walks of life, to be made and grown into a family. To forge a bond in Christ and with Christ. We are fishers of men. We are a net, woven together in love. We are brothers and we are sisters in Christ. And dare I say it again, we are family.
I praise The Lord that I didn’t let fear of the unknown stop me from embarking on this lifelong journey with Him, and that Holsby was just the first step.
I thank The Lord that I am a Torchbearer for Him and that He uses places like Holsby and all of Torchbearers international and other organizations and churches and conferences, etc. to light the flames inside hearts all around the world, to go and bear witness of the gospel.
I am living proof of the saving grace of Jesus Christ and His healing power and love.
Here’s to a lifetime and then eternity with You, and our big family.