I’m Ruth Ann.
I go by Ruth, Rudy, Ruby…and a million other nicknames.
I’m 27, going on 28.
I’m married to the love of my life, Andrew (details on this sometime later).
We are the pastors of a really wonderful, growing, thriving, Jesus-loving Church called Deliverance Bible Church Fort Worth.
I own & run Light & Dark shop, which is likely how you’ve found out about this blog!
My passion is Jesus. My hunger is Jesus. My everything is Jesus.
I was 20 years old when I met him. No, not my husband. But, Jesus. I had spent my whole life in church, almost every Sunday since I can even remember (and nights in between) I was in church. I was in the choirs. I was in the Sunday schools. Christianity was as normal as anything to me. I knew plenty enough about Christianity as a religion. I knew hardly anything of Jesus as a person. I’ve probably heard the gospel a billion times in my life. I didn’t know much of anything about Jesus. I was blessed to be born into a home where my parents had just barely been born again a year or two before I was born. They loved Jesus, and they to this day love Him still. I am glad now that I was raised in a home where my parents cared very much about how I was brought up. I think things were very “normal” in my life up until I was 12-13. Those are hard years for kids who don’t know Jesus. Those are hard years in general. There is so much detail I could go into, but honestly most of it isn’t worth it…so I’ll give you the fast facts. When I was 13 we made a big, culture-shocking move to Japan. Now, I’ve grown up all over the world so really moving is not a big deal for me. But Japan was a big deal. 13 and Japan was a big deal. I don’t know that I was angry or upset, I wasn’t really. But something in me just went wild, and you pair that with a country where there are very little laws governing cigarettes and alcohol and you push it together with, for the first time in my life, meeting kids who had lived lives that were full of sex & drugs & music & everything that a rebellious 13-year-old could love? That is a recipe for disaster. I just wanted to be like everyone else I knew. And I was. I was good at hiding it too. I began to pride myself on how much I could lie. Everything about me was a mess. A pretty, controlled, nice on the outside, mess…but a mess none-the-less.
Fast forward to 2005. I graduated high school, and in one swift movement I left Japan (a place I, to this day, am still in love with), moved to Colorado for a couple of days to go to college, hated it there, and ended up in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This is where my story gets interesting…I promise. I had a job, a crappy apartment (for a week), and I was lonely. I just wanted to get my life going. My mom flew in to come buy furniture for me, and as we started to get ready to leave that morning…she walked into my bedroom and told me that the Lord had told her I needed to leave Cheyenne. I cried for a few minutes and thought it was nuts. But then all the sudden I just said “Ok”, stopped crying, packed my stuff, and we left. I quit my job and by the next day I was flying to Dallas.
The next two years were rocky times for me, honestly I don’t care to think about them that much. They involved some really INSANE relationships and me living however I wanted to because I was free to do so, essentially. I struggled constantly with this debilitating, horrible, fear of death. It would depress me. I couldn’t vocalize it, and even if I could no one I knew would have understood. I went to church sporadically, mostly towards the middle/end of 2006, because I was crumbling inside. Church was the one place I felt safe and I felt like I could find some sort of comfort in. I would just sob during worship songs. I would listen as best I could. Something told me that if I could just make it, maybe things would be ok. Life was such a struggle for me between what was right (what I was raised in that was right) and what was wrong. I constantly did what I knew was not ok to do, but I would just fight and fight with my conscience over it. I have always said I had a very LOUD conscience. It was always HARD to do the wrong thing for me, to the point where I would have to tell my conscience to shut up. I know now that was Holy Spirit, but at the time it was just annoying. In the end of 2006 my relationship with my sister had reached a huge breaking point (I was living with her and in business with her). I was 19, was making pretty good money, and got an apartment. I had a boyfriend and 1 friend. That’s it. I had nothing in my apartment because I had pretty much squandered all my money. It was a really tough time then.
I started another semester of college in January of 2007. The same week I started my classes, my dad called me and asked me to go to this Saturday night college group at a well-known mega church in my area. I had gone to that church from time to time, but I had NO interest in going to some youth group thing. I couldn’t stand meeting people like that, and what would I have in common with a bunch of college church kids? But something in me *reluctantly* said YES. OK FINE. And I got in the car and started to drive. My dad told me the group started at 6pm or something. I was running SO late already. I arrived late, put a name tag on, sat down in the back, and the pastor was talking. It couldn’t have been more than a minute or two and the pastor said “Now we will close in prayer”. Turned out the group had started about an hour earlier than my Dad had said…So I literally walked in at the end. I was mortified! But everyone was nice and kind and welcoming. I went to dinner with everyone that night and made some really awesome friends who would be extremely beneficial to me over the next few years. Anyway, the good news was that they had a home group that met on the Wednesday after the Saturday they had the college group. I went, me and my at the time boyfriend, to this bible study.
I will never forget that bible study. Nothing “amazing” happened there, but what was said that night was the catalyst to everything that would change in my life in the next month. The Pastor of the bible study recounted how on Saturday (when I was 1.5 hours late to the meeting…haha) he had talked about this Pastor he had seen on Miami Ink. The Pastor was getting a blue-faced Jesus tattoo. He said that he knew the church was in Hurst, TX. It was called Deliverance Bible Church. He had lunch with the Pastor with the blue-faced Jesus tattoo. He went to the church. He said it was unlike anything He ever had seen before. Some punk-rock, music-scene-ish, skateboard, underground church where they played the heaviest hymns and songs ever. I don’t know why (well I didn’t know why then) but I just decided in that moment I was going to go to that church. I was going to go THAT Sunday.
So, I took a friend & my boyfriend at the time. We showed up a little early. We sat there and the Pastor with the blue-faced Jesus (Pastor Cleetus) came and said hi. I told him how I heard about Deliverance Bible Church (DBC). The room filled up, and this heavy, loud, worship started. I watched kids my age dance and sing and scream and cry and praise like I had NEVER seen in my life. It was as if some sort of missing piece of me was found that day in that room. I sat and I listened to the Pastor, heard every single word He said. It was as if I had never listened to any preacher my entire life, but that day I heard him. God sparked something in me that day. I wasn’t changed yet, I didn’t know anything yet, but He grabbed me that day and showed me that there was something much more. I called my mom, who I’m sure was just happy I had gone to church, and I told her about it. I cried talking to her when I told her about worship there. “They are just so…FREE. I’ve never seen anything like that”. The best part was when the service was over, I realized I knew the guitarist in the worship band. He was in a math class I just started in a week before (spoiler alert: I end up marrying the guitarist because he is the best guy ever).
I went to church that day, and I didn’t stop going. The boyfriend I had at the time started to get crazier. I wasn’t close with the (only) friend I had at the time who came to church with me that first day. I had nothing really. One night I went alone to a Tuesday bible study at DBC. I don’t remember what was preached, but I was sitting there toward the back and I started to pray in the most real way I had ever prayed. And then I heard God. I heard Him! With the sweetest voice He just asked me a question….”Do you want me, or do you want to follow your boyfriend?” I know that question wasn’t really about my boyfriend, but he just represented everything I had at that moment. The only relationship I had. The source of a lot of pain & sin. And I don’t even think I paused. I just cried and said “God, I want to follow you. I want to follow you.” And in that moment EVERY.SINGLE.THING shifted. I got up, started to leave, and I ran into Andrew (the guitarist) who, at the time, had become a friend of mine because we were in college together. He asked where my boyfriend was…and I said “God told me to break up with him!” and I happily left. I was worried a bit because I had “broken up” with this guy many times, and many times he would freak out and it would be a very emotional thing and we’d get back together. I didn’t want that anymore, but I didn’t want to be swayed. And It was just as if Jesus closed all the doors. That night he called me, and usually we would make some sort of plan. But we didn’t. He called me and just simply, calmly, asked if I was breaking up with him. And I calmly said “yes”. And that was that. That was it. No more calls that night. No fighting. No banging on my door or stalking me. It was over. I got some mean texts the next morning but Jesus had already begun to change me. I told him he needed Jesus!
I wasn’t perfect in that moment, but I pressed in. I began to learn about Jesus in ways I had never known before. I began to learn about Him. Read the bible. There is so much more that has happened, but that is my beginning.
I met Jesus that night. He asked me to follow Him, just like I was Peter in a boat catching fish. He said “Follow Me” and I said “Ok”. I started that moment to let go of my sin. I realized that I was a sinner, completely deserving of Hell & death, and all I had to do was let go of my sin (repent) and turn to Jesus and let Him change me & wash me. And boy, He really did a good work. I know full well that I would be addicted or dead or something by now if Jesus didn’t find me.
I’ll love Him forever.
If you read all that, thank you. This is just the beginning, and I hope you’ll stick around for the rest.