Finding Center

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SCAN0007Have you ever been kayaking before?

I love it, but it’s been years since I’ve done it. I even took white water kayaking lessons and tipped upside down into a swarming mass of baby water snakes once. But that’s a story for another day.

My very 1st time in a kayak I felt like it was the most awkward and unstable thing to ride in -ever. Literally every tiny little ripple in the water threw me into a frantic tightrope balancing act with flailing arms and paddle. I remember thinking I would DIE in white water.

Our instructor started us in a gentle pool of tiny ripples and had us paddle in wide circles until we got the feel of it. He kept saying, “Let your whole body move with the ripples and waves- except your center. Move your hips, arms, and legs to adjust to the movement of the kayak, but find your center- the very core of your body- and keep that firm and upright. As we wobbled our way around that calm inlet of the raging river, he kept saying, “Find your center!!  Find your center and then relax everything else and move with the waves.”

Eventually we paddled with confidence and after a little training in what to do when you tip over, headed out onto the mighty New River of West Virginia. It was a glorious day- one I will never forget.


SCAN0005I’ve often thought of that trip as I travel the storms of life. Seems like ripples and waves around us make things feel so precarious- like we might tip over at any moment, and we flail around, struggling to remain upright and cringe at how ungraceful we seem in our attempts to deal with the troubles life brings.

“Find your center!” I hear in the back of my memory. Find…my…center.

As believers in, and followers of Jesus, we know that he is our center. Our rock. Our refuge. Our very present help in times of trouble. I’m learning to move with the waves but keep that trust firm.

About a month ago I was driving home from Josiah Venture orientation and I called home to talk to dad. He told me that mom had been to the doctor that day and that he was concerned that she might have cancer.


The word you never want to hear about ANYONE. It was a tentative diagnosis though- based just on symptoms and one that needed further testing.

I hung up the phone and spent most of the rest of my drive in silence with God. Finding center. Finding a firm place in the waves to hang on. Feeling the world shift around me but knowing that God never changes. He is center.

It’s been a long month of waiting and praying and trusting and it has finally been determined that mom will have to have surgery in the next couple of weeks to remove a “mass” on an ovary. Maybe cancer… maybe not. Praying for the latter- of course. Please pray with us as we wait and trust that God’s timing and plans are perfect! I will keep you posted.

Mom and I talked on the phone today and she mentioned how touched she is by the people who have been surrounding her with prayer and encouragement. I feel like I say this a lot, but this is the power of community. Just today I sat at lunch with my friend Mary and just unloaded my heart to her in the Parkview cafeteria. She listened (there are no easy answers) and gave me a hug and encouraged me to just find center.

I never mastered the eskimo roll in whitewater Kayaking-  you know, that really smooth “oh I tipped over but I can roll this kayak upright again” move?

Yeah. When I tipped upside down I just stayed upside down.

You have two options at that point- pull out and face the arduous task of getting your boat to the shore to tip all the water out, or do an “eskimo rescue”.

You are literally upside down in the river and hanging from your boat and you reach up, hug the boat and bang on the sides so someone can hear you. They paddle up and put the nose of their boat by your hand and you can grab the nose and use it as leverage to turn yourself upright again.


Sometimes in the big waves of life we actually tip and find ourselves with everything upside down and not sure what we are going to do. What a blessing it is to have people around us to get us turned right side up again, reorient us, remind us that God is still in control and faithful, and encourage us. We really need each other, and I’m so thankful for all of YOU. Your prayers and encouragement mean the world to me, and I thank God all the time for you!

Specifically, keep our family in your prayers this week please!

Also, keep Delbert and his family in your prayers as he has surgery this Friday at 10am for the mysterious (not cancer!) thing that doesn’t belong in his belly that has to be taken out.

Many of you are asking how support is going. I’m at about 28% of my monthly support and praying specifically that I will be at 50% by Thanksgiving, and 100% by January 1st.  I’ve had so much fun connecting with people over the past few weeks. It has been so good for my heart to spend time with old friends and just laugh over memories from days past. I’m trying to take each step of this journey and enjoy it.

Tomorrow I will be visiting Bethel College with a team from JV and learning how Recruitment Tour presentations are done. I’m really excited to see how God uses this time on college campuses to draw students into His work. Please continue to pray for God to move in the hearts of students across the nation during this outreach time. I’m not processing applications yet, but I’m copied on each one that is started and my JV inbox is full of them! So exciting!!

Thanks for your prayers and support dear friends. What a joy it is to walk this path with Jesus and with each of you.


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For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:17



3 thoughts on “Finding Center

    Tom said:
    November 12, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Beautiful blog, beautiful lady, God Bless Ruthanne in your mission work!!!

      Ruthanne responded:
      November 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much Tom!!!

    Rosy Stein said:
    November 13, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Ruthanne this was beautiful, I will be praying for your mom. Two people close to me have surgery next week on Nov 20–Mike and Cecelia. Prayers have been going out for weeks for each of them. May each experience peace as they go through trials.

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