Today, Ruth speaks to us about her themes of “bloom” and “cultivate” this year, a powerful example in scripture of believing God without seeing proof, and how her father’s faith strengthened her walk.
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: John 15 (1-8) Especially the second verse: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
I read a sermon recently by Pastor Michael Todd, and he said, “Some of us think that the things we are walking through are a punishment, but it’s a pruning.” He focused on how we as bear fruit and he said, “We bear fruit so people can eat the fruit. When people get around you they should feel nourished.” And this entire passage has really inspired me this week to want to strive to produce more.
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: This is the second year that I have come up with a “word” for the year, and I usually try to make it fall align with my spiritual growth focus and for me, my focus is on two things. My spiritual growth focus is to BLOOM and CULTIVATE. These two words can often have the same meaning but bloom means to “come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish”. I want my spiritual life, my relationship with Christ to be in full health and to be continuously flourishing. I want all of the aspects of my life to flourish, and it’s something that I have been focused on spiritually for this year. I’ve been asking myself, how can I continue to grow in Christ? To continue growing within my work and my relationships with others? How can I continue to bloom even when some days and seasons feel dead, how can I continue to grow through the trials?
Profession: I am currently working in higher education. I supervise college students who work and live with incoming freshman students. There’s never a dull day at my job! Additionally, I am a freelance graphic designer.
A one sentence bio of yourself: I am a Haitian-American woman, born and raised in Florida, I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt to two wonderful nephews and a lover of art, travel and Christ.
When did you first encounter God? I grew up in a very religious family, but I would say that I really first encountered God when I was in high school. My desire for God grew more, I made the decision to get baptized after feeling his presence in my life. It was a tough time with my father’s health issues, and I think that really guided me into God’s presence. I really felt that I personally encountered him around the age of 16-17. Through my own father’s very strong faith and belief in Christ, I was able to encounter God during that time in my life.
“Through my own father’s very strong faith and belief in Christ, I was able to encounter God during that time in my life.”
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? Worship music! Listening to worship music by Steffany Gretzinger, Bethel Music and Hillsong Worship has really helped guide me and grown me spiritually. Additionally, being active in my church and surrounding myself with other believers has really helped me grow spiritually and walk with others in this faith.
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I am currently reading Cultivate by Lara Casey. It’s a book about growing a grace-filled intentional life. It’s teaching me about growing within the garden of my season and it’s actually inspired me to garden more! Through this book I am working on cultivating what actually matters and planting seeds within my life.
Top three essentials: My nephews, the Bethel Starlight album and my macbook! *laughs*
How did God speak to you recently? Recently, I would say that God spoke to me at church during a Bible study group. He spoke to me through one of my good friends, Hannah. I was sharing how I wanted to be more vulnerable with others in this walk. I was telling the group of women how one of my fears is not letting people truly see who I am inside and sharing with them, I struggle with being vulnerable and letting people into my heart. God definitely spoke through Hannah that day because when she responded to my fear she brought me to tears. The words that she shared reminded me that God has placed something inside of me that I need/should share with others. She said to me, “If you would open up and share your heart with others, I know it would be worth it from what I know about you personally.” And I really felt God speaking to me through her in that moment.
“God has placed something inside of me that I need/should share with others.”
Hobby: I have a lot of hobbies! I LOVE traveling, reading, writing and creating graphic design.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: My top three tips would be to surround yourself with other spiritually like-minded people, find what works for you in terms of devotion because it looks different for everyone that’s in a different season or area with Christ and lastly, at least for me personally, lose yourself in worship, by that I mean, let go and let God into your heart, into your mind and feel what he’s speaking into you, feel it in your heart and soul.
Favorite person in scripture? The woman with the issue of blood. She is my favorite person because of her faith. I love this story and person because of Jesus’s PACE at the TIME of her healing. Jesus felt the power go out of Him and He asked, “Who touched me?” She fell to his feet and was instantly healed. She. has. FAITH. That’s a faith that is inspiring. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” I am always so moved when reading this scripture because here is this woman who has been bleeding for twelve years. No one could help her and she comes across Jesus and just believes. She just believes before even seeing what He had done and was capable of doing. She didn’t need to SEE proof of God’s works. She BELIEVED that if she could just touch God, she would be healed. Can any of us say that we have a faith like that? Her faith is inspiring and every time I hear a sermon based off of this scripture, I feel my faith grow and wonder how we can have such little faith often times?
“She didn’t need to SEE proof of God’s works. She BELIEVED that if she could just touch God, she would be healed.”
I watched a sermon by Pastor Michael Todd called “Jesus Walks” that spoke about this woman. He related her story to our current PACE in life. He said that had Jesus been RUNNING that woman would have never been able to be healed. He said that some of us have spent our lives running while we have Jesus working inside of us and if we would just slow down and let people get close enough to us, we could heal people within our lives/walk too. He said, “Jesus is asking, ‘Would you please live at a pace where someone could touch your lives and that you could touch someone’s life and let them find healing?’”
We have all been the woman with the issue of blood, but we refuse to wait. But God was still walking at pace where a broken woman could touch him. He was right where he needed to be, striding in a way that helped others find healing. Pastor Michael Todd said, “You miss moments where miracles can happen.” [Find the sermon here]
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want them to learn that God has moved mountains in my life. I want them to learn that while I did go through difficult or hard times God helped me get back up again and find strength to push forward. I want them to see that because it’s important to be reminded that even in our struggles and our storms, He is still present. We don’t often agree with the things that hurt us and bring us pain but there is a reason for all of it and through my trying times, I have always wanted people to look at me and learn that there is still faith to have. There is still a reason to believe, even If I may not know all the answers, He knows.
Favorite season? Spring and fall. For spring, I love when everything is in bloom again, But fall is beautiful and so colorful. It’s amazing to see what trees can become in different seasons. Trees can look completely different the next day during these seasons and it’s a breathtaking site.
Favorite holiday? Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love spending time with my family and eating baked mac and cheese.
A dream you have? My dream is to travel to the world. I want to see other countries, cities and states. Crossing these locations off my bucket list brings me a joy! There are so many people to meet and so many beautiful places to see and be in awe of.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: This is kind of a sad tradition, but to me, it’s special. For the past three years my sister and I have kept the tradition of trying to call or be with my mother on the anniversary of my father’s passing and his birthday. It’s an odd tradition to say, but I think it’s thoughtful, and it’s not something you want to HAVE to do, but every year when the day comes along we try to find a way to send her some comfort. It not only helps my mother but it helps all of us to know that we still have each other and it reminds us that our father’s presence is still around us.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? This is easy. When I get to Heaven, the question that I will ask is if I can see my dad again, because I know for certain that when he left this earth, he went to be with God.
Thing you want to raise awareness about: I want to raise awareness about women health, specifically Uterine Fibroids and then Heart Disease. These are two things that I am very passionate about.
What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Make breakfast! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I try to make breakfast every morning and watch a sermon as I get ready for work. This usually helps set the stone for the rest of my day and attitude.
What is on your nightstand? My essential oil diffuser, water, and a stack of books.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is love and community in one.
Until next time, keep witnessing!