Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

April 5, 2010

Bill and Ruth

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Bill and Ruth.  Common names.  Probably thousands across America.  And even hundreds who have those names and are married to one another.  But this Bill and Ruth–no ordinary couple.  Let me tell you about them.

I first met Ruth in college.  Although several years ahead of her, we became friends immediately.  She was extremely short, vivacious, and with a spirit that she could conquer the universe.  That’s not an unusual description of freshmen girls, but she was different!

I saw Ruth from a distance.  She was running down a ramp.  I wanted to race toward her because I was sure she was going to fall.  Keeping pace with her friends, laughter and joy beset her.  Within a few minutes I was talking with her.  I tried not to stare, but I could not keep my eyes from observing her.  She was different physically.

Ruth was born with all four limbs severely impaired.  She was born with one leg and a total of four fingers.  The doctors surgically created a third finger on her right hand and straightened her left leg so that she could be fitted with a brace.  Following this she was fitted with a prosthesis on her right leg.

The marvel of her spirit and ability to function does not begin to reveal who she really is.  Ruth learned to play the piano with exceptional skill.  Her vocal ability provided unique opportunities.  She would graduate from college with honors and later earn her doctorate and teach piano and voice in college.  But there is more!

In college Ruth met a friend of mine, Bill.  Bill was studying for the ministry with the confidence that God had called him to be a college professor.  It was almost love at first sight for these two.  Ruth was hesitant when Bill asked her to marry him.  She feared she would be a hindrance to him and handicap him in many ways.  But these two came to a resolution that this was God’s plan for them.  Bill, with strength and determination, took Ruth as his wife, never fearing that their life would be different than any other marriage.

Judy and I had the privilege to walk with them during a time in their life.  They were a blessing to us, and to those in our church.  Bill became a college professor close to a church we were serving.  Both became members of our staff.  Bill served in education and Ruth in music.  During these days, Ruth and Bill were expecting a child.  There was always the fear that some of Ruth’s impairments might be present in the baby.  We were able to rejoice with them in God blessing with a healthy son.

You will agree that this is a very special couple.  God has used them through the years.  Their ministry has not been established on Ruth’s physical differences, but on using their gifts faithfully as God has called.  Bill and Ruth, through determination, a healthy attitude, and reliance on God, present many lessons to us.

All of us have some limitations or impairments.  Few would be as extreme as Ruth’s, or Bill’s accepting  Ruth as she was with a spirit of love to provide for all her needs.  But, we all do have some limitations!  Agreed?  Then here is the word for us.  We must not focus on our limitations, but rather focus on the assets we possess.  No other person is exactly like another.  We are all unique, and have many positive things in our life.  We must realize that our lives can be either useless or very meaningful.  It is not the limitations we have, but a positive attitude toward the abilities we do have.

Attitude and a positive spirit help make the difference in the lives of Bill and Ruth.  But more than some innate determination, it is the power and presence of Jesus Christ in their lives.  Whatever your need, our Lord will provide for you to be effective in your life.  Trust Him!  Bill and Ruth did!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5)




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