28th Oct 2012, by Adeline Lum CM-
Ruth Lee is a beauty. She loves. She laughs. She cries. She feels. She is vulnerable to hurt yet brave to love. In her early fifties, Ruth rooted her self-worth and self-identity in God. But was she always secure of herself?
Typical of growing up in a traditional Chinese family, Ruth was seldom encouraged, let alone complimented, by her parents. While she witnessed her mother’s hard work, she seldom sees her dad who was either gambling or carousing with his friends. She decided to be independent, and boy she did when she grew up!
In year 1988, Ruth was hired as a Beauty Trainer at her current company, Laponie Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. Around that time, she also started a promising romantic relationship. However, the relationship ended more than one year later, which left Ruth devastated. She went to Church of Singapore (Balestier Branch) with her colleague. It was the same church her boss had been bringing her to. After six months attending church, Ruth accepted Christ in year 1990! Hallelujah!
“I felt God’s love embracing me,” said Ruth as she recalled her experience of accepting Christ.
Shortly after that, Ruth returned to Kuala Lumpur to work for the same company. Hungry for God, she attended a charismatic church in Kuala Lumpur, where she would actively join church activities even as a young believer.
In Love with God
In year 1993, Ruth grew tired of working and flew to Australia for one year.
“I am not the type of person who can stay still with routine,” said Ruth who loves to travel.
In Australia, she joined a totally different church called Asfield Chinese Baptist Church- a Cantonese or Mandarin-speaking Baptist church. There, she grounded herself more in the Word and actively served in church. After a year in Australia, she came back to open her business in Penang.
“The days in Penang were my favorite times. I see God’s hand at work,” said Ruth.
At the beginning of her stay in Penang, Ruth also assisted in coordinating the Baptist church of Cantonese congregation, called Reservoir Garden Baptist Church. There, she volunteered for community work for the elderly people and became the translator, driver and worship leader at different times. She also worshipped in Penang First Assembly of God and served the children ministry called Sunshine Kids.
“God is looking for someone who is available to serve,” said Ruth.
Despite her commitment to the church, Ruth’s business grew with the blessings of God. At work, she would talk about God while giving aromatherapy or facial massages to her captive audience. Backslidden Christians would go back to church, and even bring other Christian friends to her saloon to pray and worship God. She also served the pastors and church leaders through her business.
“The pastors wanted to pay me but I didn’t want to accept it because they had been working so hard for God’s kingdom,” said Ruth.
Reconciled to her father’s love
In year 1995, Ruth’s father was ill due to brain tumor, and a series of knee operations lasting for a few years. Later, he had stroke and was bed ridden till the end of year 2000.
“That opened a door for people to minister to my dad. I am surprised and happy to say that he is the first person in my family to accept Christ,” said Ruth.
Although Ruth knew his father loved her, she still resented him for not being a father when she was young. She was the decision-maker for his treatment and assisted in caring for her dad when he was bed-ridden due to stroke. During those times, Ruth was able to forgive and reconcile with her father. She also thanked God for allowing her to bid farewell to her father, who collapsed a few moments after she returned home from a long trip.
“I had to leave Penang for one month for a Bible retreat in the Station of Life program in Sabah. And I prayed to God to not let my father leave me before I get home,” said Ruth.
Love across Denominations
Since 1998, Ruth’s business slowed down due to the economy recession and she took time off from her business at that time to spend more time in the ministry. But God was good in giving her another job. Turned out, in year 2000, Ruth’s boss wanted her back in Laponie Marketing as the Training Manager.
Ruth returned to Kuala Lumpur, and this time, she asked God where He would like her to serve. She joined a small church, called Cornerstone Christian Church Centre that had merged with another church now. Ruth also became involved in almost all activities of the church.
Ruth is now worshiping in Grace Assembly of God at Petaling Jaya and serves in the Dance Worship, called as the Grace Harmony Ministry.
When asked how she had a hunger for the Word, Ruth said that a lot of hurt came from her own decisions and desires. Hence, she prayed to be close to God to avoid unnecessary hurt.
Now, Ruth is studying at the Alpha Omega International College for her Bible and Theology classes. A lover of knowledge and God’s Word, she had advanced from basic counseling, to advanced counseling, family counseling and finally Bachelor in Pastoral Counseling in the future. Ruth thanked God for giving her time to take Bible classes and coursework, travel for her work and also work full-time at her office simultaneously.
Looking back at her life, Ruth believes in Romans 8:28– And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. She owed her commitment to Christ, due to one prayer she made of not having her depart from Him.
Although Ruth had been hurt in the past by people she loves and respects, Ruth always look to Jesus who was betrayed by Judas into His death.
She is encouraged with Hebrews 13:5-6– Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
A lover of people across denominations, Ruth is indeed a beautiful woman who ground her self-worth and security in God, in the power of His Word.