It is summertime around here and the whirl of our summer started long before the hot weather came! We have been so very busy with finishing school, trying to keep the household duties up, ministering in our church and traveling as the Lord has opened the doors for us to sing and share the testimony of what the Lord has allowed in our lives. I have enjoyed the days at home when there has been nothing on the schedule! The kids have been outside playing their little hearts out and the phrase that I have been hearing continually is “Mommy, I am thirsty!”
This week, I was with a dear friend who was hosting her Summer Spectacular ladies meeting. I took some of my ladies with me and we participated in that meeting. We were having a wonderful time and my friend did a dramatic telling of the story of Ruth and Naomi. She had memorized the first two chapters of Ruth, dressed up like Naomi and quoted the Scripture of that story like a professional actress. It was one of the most moving things I had seen in a long time.
At one point of the story, I was moved to tears. She had just quoted the portion of Scripture where Ruth was gleaning in Boaz’s field and he came and talked to her for the first time. The scene is set, and those of us who know and understand the story of Ruth, know that Boaz is a picture of Jesus Christ. He is our redeemer and all that is His, is ours through our relationship with Him. As my friend was telling this story, my heart was rejoicing in what this all meant to me and how thankful I was that the Lord loved me. And then, the story introduces Boaz and here is what he said to Ruth, “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn.”
When I heard those words, “go not to glean in another field, but abide here…and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn” I felt so many emotions. My mind went to so many unhappy people – those who are bitter, sad, jealous, angry, judgmental or vindictive. My eye went the faces of many that look like they are having to endure life. My ears went to the sound of complaining and negative people whose words just zap your spirit right down. This part of the story has stayed on my heart and as I look around, I can see where I am also so guilty of not gleaning in my field and when I am thirsty, not drinking from the vessels that have been prepared for me.
I think so many times, we look to others for our gratification in life. We look to them and compare ourselves or we look to them to fill the thirsty spots in our lives. I know that as a wife, mother, Pastor’s wife, daughter, sister, and friend, I have often been guilty of looking at those roles, and the people who belong in those roles with me, to meet my needs. I need their praise, their admiration, their attention and their time or I am unfulfilled and normally end up unhappy at them as well as within myself. Like Ruth, I am alone, a stranger, hungry and thirsty. Christ owns the “field” of my life and longs for me to not go and try to glean in another field but to stay in His and when I am thirsty, He has prepared the vessel for me and I just have to go and drink. Unlike Ruth, I allow my happiness, my purpose, my identity, and my thoughts to be defined by a whole different set of fields and when I am thirsty I look to all of these different things to fill me.
I remember when I first became paralyzed, the thought that bothered me the most at the beginning was not if I would spend my life in a wheelchair or not. Those thoughts came later. I knew how hard everything was, I saw how hard my husband worked to help me, I knew we already had 5 children and I was expecting our 6th and I could not get my mind around the fact that I could not be the homemaker that I had been before. It was physically impossible to do some of the chores. My kitchen is not accessible and is very hard to cook in. Just use your imagination and see what all a 4ft. person could do in your kitchen! In the early days, I just couldn’t cook anything. I was very disturbed with the fact that I had become half of a woman. I couldn’t even get my child a drink of water when they asked for one.
I remember, after crying to my husband one frustrating evening, his sweet words of encouragement to me. He said, “Honey, I don’t need a housekeeper and I don’t need a cook. The children don’t need a mommy who can do everything. We just need you.” Those words healed me. What he was saying to me, was that they were not fulfilled by what I could do for them. They were fulfilled with just paralyzed-in-a-wheelchair me! We can be fulfilled in our lives by Jesus Christ alone not by what others can or should do for us. Jesus stands by us, telling us that He has all we need, to please stay in His field and glean, to come to Him when we are thirsty and that will be enough to nourish us physically, spiritually and emotionally.
I still have trouble getting my children a drink of water, but I am so glad that I can teach them who can quench the thirsts of their hearts. I will never hear the words “Mommy, I’m thirsty” without being reminded, like Ruth, to “stay and glean in the fields” and to “drink from the vessels” that have been provided to me through Jesus Christ.