I am not stronger, I am broken.
I miss my friend.
Ruth was a servant. She wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty or be inconvenienced. Her example has inspired me to reach out to others more in the past year. I sent care packages when I didn't have the time, took meals when I didn't have the energy and made connections with people during their time of need.
Ruth did a lot of planting in her 31 years. She always had a vegetable garden in the back yard. It was hard work but she enjoyed it. In an effort to minimize the impact of her loss, Ruth's mother Sarah planted and tended Ruth's garden this past summer. To see the children running through the rows brought such joy.
Just weeks before Ruth went to heaven she purchased some chicks that now provide eggs for the family. The kids really enjoy them - but those poor chickens! On several occasions my Jason and Esther locked themselves in the hen house to play Doctor with the chickens - that's what they said. Like I said, those poor chickens!
But the planting didn't stop there...
Ruth planted a lot of fruit in her garden -a different garden with eternal value. She planted the Fruits of the Spirit - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. This garden has blossomed with surreal beauty since last October. Because Ruth gave so much of herself while here on this earth an army of people have given of their time, resources and prayers for the Leatherman family.
Within minutes (yes minutes) of the sad news that Ruth was gone, a neighbor offered some breast milk for Ruby that was in his freezer. I was still in a state of shock so I don't remember the man's name or why he had breast milk in his freezer but that was just the beginning...b
reast milk was provided for baby Ruby from three different sources for the next several months.
Within a few hours the food started pouring in. It started with trays of sandwiches and bottles of water. Before long the refrigerator was overflowing and stayed that way for months. God's people really stepped up and took care of the physical needs of the Leatherman family.
Without hesitation Ruth's sister in-law volunteered to homeschool the children for the remainder of the school year. No easy task, believe me I know.
Ruth's young neighbor felt led by God to put school on hold for a while and offered to fill in as a Nanny for the children. She displayed such maturity in the most difficult of circumstances.
The grandmothers went above and beyond this past year. Nanna and Mom-Mom wiped many tears while drying their own. The strength of Sarah and Carol could only have come from God. They selflessly served Mark in his distress. They reached out to me numerous times and have become close friends. It is no wonder why Ruth regularly displayed servanthood in her life -she had some great examples.
Before Ruth was taken from her home I asked to see her one last time. I knelt down on the floor beside her, gently kissed her forehead and said "We'll take care of your babies." As a mother it was all I could think about and I mourn Ruth's loss of not seeing her children grow. It was a tremendous effort to fill the huge void that this wife and mother left behind. If Ruth could see all that has taken place in the past year she would be so grateful to the countless people who held her family together when they felt so broken.
I read an old devotional book called Streams in the Desert
that belonged to my Grandmother. God knows what we
when we need it. This is what I meditated on just a
few days ago.
May it bring comfort to all who are broken.