A Life Lived Beautifully: Ruth Simons
There are several women I have found on Instagram who have been a great encouragement to my walk with Christ! Ruth Simons is one of them. She is an incredible artist and shop owner, momma to six boys, and a grace speaker. Every post on Instagram and her blog breathes of a sweet love for Jesus Christ! Her heart is beautifully evident and Christ is glorified through her work. It is a privilege to share her story, passions, and wisdom today in our series, "A Life Lived Beautifully!"
Grab a cup of coffee and get ready to be encouraged.
Introduce yourself like we are having a cup of coffee together. What kind of coffee/tea would you drink?
A sweetened iced coffee with a splash of milk is my coffee drink of choice...unless I'm on vacation. Then, I order up and get a caramel macchiato...who has my heart forever.
I'm Ruth...I'm an around-the-corner-from-40 wife and mom of 6 boys who has been surprised by the story God has chose to write with my life. Online, you'll find me sharing my story as an artist, writer, speaker and shoppe owner. In my offline life, you will find me homeschooling my kids, cooking for large crowds, and constantly folding laundry. My husband, Troy, was a church planter and teaching pastor for 7 years before he began serving full-time as the Headmaster of the classical, university-model school we began in New Mexico. Never could I have imagined that God would allow two very ordinary people like ourselves to tell such an extraordinary story of his transforming work in family and life purpose. I'm humbled to be used for his glory, both before hundreds on a speaker's platform, and before six at the kitchen table.
What is your definition of a "life lived beautifully"?
Life is more full of pain and suffering than I had anticipated in my younger years.... So, life lived beautifully -- to me -- is about being captivated by all that is beautiful about Christ, and reflecting that in big and small ways...in victory or in brokenness.
It's about finding nothing on earth comparable to the beauty of Christ...and living in response to and pursuit of Him alone. Life lived beautifully is a life of reflection...so whether in our creative pursuits or in our faithful diligence in the home, we can live beautifully if we seek to reflect the beauty of Christ.
When did you start following Jesus?
I knew I was a sinner in need of redeeming grace when I was in 8th grade. It wasn't until college that I grew to fully understand "by faith alone" and the depths of God's love for me on account of his Son.
What are some verses you constantly cling to and bring life to your soul?
- Ephesians 3:20...because He continues to surprise me day by day with his mercy...and his sovereign work in my life.
- Hebrews 10:19-25...because I need to be reminded daily that we can enter in...that we are welcome as his children, and no longer enemies. It's a reminder to me that I can approach the throne in freedom because of grace.
How do you integrate sharing the Gospel with creativity?
I used to counsel and mentor quite a bit before becoming a mom. In the last 13 years of motherhood, the mission field has really been right at my kitchen table with my own children. However, I've been humbled by the opportunity the Lord has given me to share the Gospel with the world through art and writing.
I love bringing the two together...connecting scripture with artistic expression, and between the blog and my love for the small nugget platform of Instagram, I've found a medium for which the Gospel can be preached through the creative lens of capturing grace in the everyday. I want to create more than pretty things...I long for others to taste and see that the Lord is good as they meditate on His word through the words I pen and the strokes I paint.
How did God direct you to start your shop, GraceLaced?
I was writing a 31 day series with The Nester in October 2013, to try and discipline myself to write and create more. I pursued the topic "Drawing Close" with a play on words as I literally drew and painted each day, and connected that discipline with what the Lord was teaching me day by day. I had been blogging for several years, but suddenly, with a newfound love for Instagram, I discovered a simple way to share what I was creating and learning both in behind-the-scene moments and thoughtfully written blog posts. Readers and followers took notice and began asking to purchase my work. Though I'd been an artist for years, I had set the professional pursuit of it aside during those first 11 years of motherhood. The Lord was now clearly opening a new chapter in my life, and I tentatively went for it and opened my shoppe with $300 worth of inventory, late November 2013. Now, a little over a year later, I've come to see God's goodness and purposes in preparing me for this career to blossom now. To date, we've shipped out over 2100 orders worldwide. That's thousands of hand lettered, hand painted scripture verse prints given and received as blessing, encouragement, reproof, and reminder of God's faithfulness. I couldn't be more grateful for how he's chosen to use the giftings he's given me. From him and to him and through him are all things...
What life lessons have you learned in being a wife, momma, and owning a small business? What tips would you have for other mom’s doing the same thing?
I often tell other young women: "Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should." No one else can be your child's mother. No one else can be your husband's wife. You'll never get today's minutes back again. And so, the every pressing question:
What is God's best, even if it means saying no to good?
In this day of opportunity, social media finesse, and the worldwide marketplace, there is no limit to what women can do professionally, while serving as wives and mothers. And yet, I often think about how much I would have missed...how much I was not quite mature enough to navigate...had I been at this level of entrepreneurship in my early years as a wife and mother. There is no formula that applies to all women, I simply feel burdened sometimes that we might be a generation of women that work from home, experiencing the most information-filled "connectedness" that any generation has known, and yet may find the least true connection with our families on account of cell phones, internet, and the ever-pressing race to success. I fear we will be Christian women who forget what it is to live small, be faithful in the unseen, and to hide ourselves in Christ. These are simply my most honest, and genuine feelings as I observe the landscape of mommy-entrepreneurs. There has been no better time in history to dive in...but sometimes God's best for us doesn't look exactly like the good we want to pursue.
If you could do anything for the glory of God, what would it be?
When I was young, I would've answered this with something about serving somewhere remote overseas or writing a book or becoming a public speaker. But, I'm convinced now, that it's not just what we do that glorifies God, but who we become. It's the surrender of all that I want to produce, in exchange for all that he's producing in me, that honors him most. And so, with that definition, I'd say I'm doing it right now....raising the six boys he's given me, to love and fear God, to know his word, and to teach them to count their lives worth nothing:
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace" Acts 20:24
If you could tell every woman reading this blog one thing God has laid on your heart, what would it be?
If you love Christ and he's paid your ransom, your identity is in Him alone. Stop striving to find your worth in worthless things. No clothes you wear, friend you make, applause you receive, goal you attain...will every complete you the way your soul needs to be filled. And the reality is, we simply can't know who he is and his great love for us without reading it from his word. So dig in and preach truth to yourself.
Nothing defines you, sister, more than this simple truth: You belong to Jesus.