A year ago, I was invited to attend the Tuesday morning women’s bible study at our church. Initially I was somewhat apprehensive about joining this already established group of women. My apprehension was not only unfounded but silly. I was welcomed and warmly received.
The women come from all walks of life and age groups. They encourage, love and accept each other. What is shared is not spoken of elsewhere; it does not become gossip or rumors. I view these women as dear friends. We gather each week while kind, willing volunteers watch our children.
This year I have been vulnerable before them, expressing deep fears, struggles, and joys. In turn, they have shared, encouraged and we have lifted each other up. This group has been an incredible support to me as I spent my first year at home with my kids. They have shared their wisdom and advice about being a wife, woman, and parent freely and without judgement.
Last Tuesday morning, as we gathered for our last meeting before summer, we learned that our leader, Ruth (fondly called Ruthie), had passed away early that morning. At 80 years old, Ruth lived WELL. She struggled with her health and was called home to spend her Tuesday bible study with Jesus. Ruth led bible studies for 25 years.
Over the past week, I pondered what I knew about Ruth. I did not know her well, but I find myself grateful for her. She lived her life on purpose and that purpose was to serve others and serve the Lord. She served us. Each week she imparted words (or songs) of wisdom from her life experiences to us; she did this joyfully and always with laughter. The woman was witty! Despite health struggles, she did not feel sorry for herself.
Today, as I sat in Ruth’s funeral, I heard her loved ones stand up and give accounts of how she touched their life. She demonstrated love for others and for the Lord; she taught by example. If you knew Ruth, you knew she loved Jesus. She leaves behind a legacy of faith. She trusted God and found joy in Him and in her family, regardless of her circumstance. Her funeral, although charged with the feeling of great loss, was truly a celebration of her life and a time to express how she was loved.
To close the service, the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” was sung by the congregation. This hymn is a special favorite to me. I often find myself humming this hymn in times of both struggle and joy. It is posted by the front door of our home. It reminds me that no matter my circumstance, my soul belongs to Jesus. The victory for my eternity is already won. I am reminded of what God has already done and will do in my life. It was a fitting end to a celebration of the life of Ruth, a good and faithful servant.
Today I am grateful for Ruth. It was a blessing to get to know her and to remember her today. She is a real-life example of what I aspire to be. A loving mother, friend, mentor, and a woman known for her Godly character. Even in the short time I knew her, she has impacted my life and challenged and encouraged me to be better than I am now. I long to leave such a rich legacy of faith. Thank you Ruth.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
2 Replies to “It is Well…”
Elaine, you have enlarged my view of Ruth and the impact of her life on the women of her study. I have been a part of the study in past years and I love how she would sing over us with love. We have truly been blessed to know her. Thanks for your insight and the blessing of your words! Rita
Rita, Thank you for your note. Ruth was a special lady!