Please welcome Ruth to the table as she shares a bit of her story. Be sure to hop over to her blog, Planted By Living Water, to read more of her writing. She has been such an encouragement to me and I know she will be to you as well. It is such an honor to have you here, Ruth!
Identity: Lost and Found, by Ruth Campos
One of the biggest problems with becoming the ex-wife of an ex-missionary, and myself believing myself to be an ex-missionary, is a loss of identity (identity theft of a different sort).
· I lost my husband – I was his ex-favorite,
· I lost my job and financial support,
· I lost my residence,
· I lost my country of residence,
· I lost my family-in-law. Suddenly, they were my ex-family.
· I lost a lot of my possessions because I could not bring them all with me.
The only things I did not lose were my faith, my children, and for the next several years, my health. I had regained my parents and childhood home, but everything was different, and I suffered a prolonged negative re-entry culture shock.
Suddenly I found myself as a single mom, going back to school to be a teacher. So, here I was, a single mom of three bereaved children, and feeling like I had been plunked into a time warp, a split adult/childhood role. I had to find the new me.
As an aside, the story would not be complete without mentioning the legalistic guy who went to a different church that made me feel like I was wearing the big D, even though I never saw that D when I looked in the mirror every morning.
Folks, if you happen to be one of the fortunate ones who have been happily married for years, just a word of advice: People who have not had that same good fortune need your words of encouragement, not words of criticism. It was a hard enough road to travel without some Christian mistakenly sitting in the seat that belongs to God alone. (See 1 Corinthians 4:4,5 and Romans 2:1)
Anyway, coming back to my childhood church, I found myself welcomed and loved, but no one wanted to talk about what had happened except for the elderly Mrs. Jurman and the man who had sent me money for plane tickets so the children and I could come home, Mr. Knysak. He was a Polish immigrant who had been in a German concentration camp and who had the gift of evangelism. He did massage therapy and spinal adjustments and witnessed to his patients while they were on the table. These were two dear saints who have since gone on to be with the Lord.
So, I kept going to my church but also started attending the 8:00 a.m. service of another church where I found a group of women who were not afraid to talk about where I had been and to pray for me to have all I needed from the Lord to carry on day after day. They were my sweet little heroes. 🙂
But God was, and still is, my Big Hero. He carried me through all the muck and mire. He provided for our needs and spoke words of encouragement through His precious word. He understood what it was like to be “despised and rejected, a man of sorrows acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
He understood what it was like to be misunderstood, mistreated, and maligned. He understood what it was like to be ignored, not listened to, and not cared about by some. He understood what it was like to leave one country for another and to suffer the culture shock of living among those He loved but whose vision was mostly physical and not so much spiritual. He understood that one can be lonely but find all the love one needs to carry on in God.
If you are anywhere near where I was, be encouraged because He still understands today!
I still haven’t totally found the real me, and it’s going on 25 years since the ordeal began. My identity is hidden in Christ and He reveals it little bit by little bit, day by day, as I draw close to Him and follow Him. It’s been a journey, one that will not be complete till I get to Glory.
I have come to understand Psalm 73:25-26 which are two of my favorite verses:
“Whom have I in heaven but You? There is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~Psalm 73:25-26
Thank You, God, for being my Portion. I don’t need any other piece of the pie as long as I have You. When I have You, I have everything I need. You are everything to me.
Ruth enjoys writing, Bible study, piano playing, singing, and gardening. She loves the mountains and the beach, waterfalls, and wooded hiking trails and spending time with beloved family and friends. She hopes that by sharing thoughts she’s had in relation to the various experiences of her life, she can somehow bring encouragement and hope to you in your own life journey. Read more about Ruth here.