By Still Waters -
The Hague Years
Chapter7 - of A Passion for Souls
For 23 and a half years I was a live-in caregiver for my parents. Mom lived another 14 years after I returned, and Dad almost another ten years after that. Mostly I remember those years as very long, lonely and weepy years, but now in retrospect I've learned to appreciate them because I drew so much closer to the Lord. So many times I had to lean on Him, or despair of life.
I learned to count even my smallest blessings every night. Here are a few of the major blessings;
1. Almost zero income taught me to be resourceful with what I had at hand, and to be grateful for every little gift, even cast-offs. I learned to believe that whatever I really needed, God would provide. (Psalm 34:10)
2. In fact, I see now that God knit together in me the traits of creativity and tenderheartedness from Dad, and the tough discipline and attention to detail from Mom to make me a stronger, more mature person than I was before those long years.
3. The Lord never scolded or wearied of me spending hours unloading my feelings and thoughts and ideas and longings on Him. I sent out some freelance articles and stories and a few were published, but most of my need to be heard was met by pouring myself into my prayer journals. But then, that developed writing skills too.
4. I had some precious years in children's ministry at Neuanlage Grace
Mennonite Church, including Sunday School, AWANA and directing VBS for several
5. Spending so much time with seniors, Mom, Dad, Gr'ma Kroeker, and others in Hague, chauffeuring them to appointments, getting into genealogy, translating old diaries, writing A Godly Inheritance, (a 4 lb tome to honour my Gr'ma) and so on, - it all helped me to learn to understand and relate to adults as well as children.
6. It was an honour and great learning experience to care for Gr'ma at our house for nine months, until there was an opening for her at the Rosthern Nursing Home. Yes, stressful, but an honour, nevertheless.
7. In learning to read and translate the old Gothic German script in translating Gr'ma's diaries, I gained a rare and valuable skill. (Mind you, that skill fades with lack of use).
8. I had pledged in London, to write my PenPals every month. That effort, and their correspondence with me helped me to feel I was still in touch with the outside world. My list grew as I met and signed up for prayer letters from more missionaries.
9. After Mom died I cleaned the house thoroughly, and then buckled down to re-write my long buried novel. It had begun to burn in me so that I had a craving to re-do it with a new approach. Reading about the internet, I decided I was ready to go online and learn to self-publish in earnest. Those last ten years with just Dad were an amazing education about doing business online, which have given me skills for the work I do now.
10. I was able to be there for Mom until her death at home in November 10, 1997 of congestive heart and kidney failure. It was her wish to die at home. And I was there for Dad until he died in the hospital four days after turning 91, on February 24, 2007. I have the satisfaction of knowing I did what I promised to do, and I generally did my best - so I have a clear conscience about that.
11. Although I didn't accomplish much in published writings or books during those years, the tilling of my spirit and soul are bearing much fruit now. I build websites, which in many ways, is like writing and publishing books in many ways, and I correspond with people and mentor them out of the spiritual depths the Lord put into me during those decades at home in Hague. The words flow out of me all day long, and I have great joy in many forms of writing!
12. In fact, I WAS able to publish my novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, as a Print-on-Demand (POD) book, in 2001, still available from Booklocker.com, and my own site Ruthes-SecretRoses.com. However, I had long years before promised God that I would dedicate all the profits to Him if it should ever get published. For many years that was going to be my main life's thrust for being a soul winner. (At present, having to meet my own living expenses, I've put promoting that book on the back burner; perhaps I'll have a time yet in the future when I can work on it in earnest).
13. Cleaning up my parents' home and estate and moving into a place of my own in Saskatoon was a very exhausting climax that took five months. But I went out full, being able to take, at a bargain, all the furniture I needed, and experiencing God's provisions in miraculous ways.
[Note: each of the above could form another in-depth chapter or two!]
My heart can sing heartily this verse,
"Many, O LORD, my God,
are the wonders You have done.
The things You planned for us
no one can recount to You;
were I to speak and tell of them
they would be too many to declare." (Psalm 40: 5)
Not for a minute would I wish troubles and hard times on anyone else, but I do see now that these are the blessed means by which God matures and ripens our lives so that we can bear all the sweeter fruit of the Spirit.
If, in our devotional time we are begging the Lord for a closer walk with Him, and that we might be able to bear more fruit, such as winning souls to Christ, we can know that He is starting to answer our prayers when troubles come. So this is not the time to despair and beg to be immediately lifted out of our troubles. This is where we must cling to Him and walk on forward. Even if it feels like stumbling.
After we pass through the deserts and the valley of the shadow of death, we will come out to a green and spacious place. Our joys will be greater than all we have suffered!
My past was all preparation and training for what I do now.
Back to Hope index
Chapter 1 - First, I Need Jesus Myself
Chapter 2 - Camp and Assurance of Salvation
Chapter 3 - A Passion for Souls
Chapter 4 - Hunting for Souls in Saskatoon
Chapter 5 - Ministries-for-My-Imagination-in-London
Chapter 6 - A Life Changing Spiritual Battle and Move
Chapter 7 - By Still Waters - The Hague Years
Chapter 8 - Multi-tasking Missionary and Business Woman