Difficulties and obstacles are God's challenges to faith. When hindrances confront us in the path of duty, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith to fill with the fullness and all-sufficiency of Jesus.
Colleen was born a farmer's daughter in a small Minnesota town on a summer day. Her father had returned home from the Navy to run the family farm, marry a girl, and raise a family. His beautiful bride, her mother, was also born on a Minnesota farm. As a young woman, she left her family farm and pursued a career in the city, where she worked as a secretary for an investment firm at the top of the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis.
Her mother loved the city life — the designer shoes and handbags and spending time in the city with co-workers and some of her sisters “after hours.” Saying yes to her father’s proposal meant trading in her beautiful clothes for the garments of a farmer’s wife. Gorgeous dresses were replaced by practical aprons. The workload was immense. Feeding a growing family and the company of hired hands who assisted with all the farm work often overwhelmed her. Life was hard. It was filled with difficulties and obstacles, as farming often is.
In addition to those natural difficulties of life, both of Colleen’s parents suffered some severe childhood traumas of their own. It created a perfect storm in her girlhood residence in many ways. Colleen's growing-up years were anything but idyllic. As a child, she didn’t understand these things. As a grown-up girl, she learned that if she would let Him, God would bring healing and wholeness to those broken places ... the battle scars of life that many people encounter somewhere along the way.
One of her favorite places to visit when she was a little girl was her cousin Amy’s house. Amy lived with her parents, two beautiful sisters and a brother. Colleen's first choice for a playmate at every extended family gathering was always Amy, closest to her own age. There was never a gathering that didn’t include beautiful food and baked goods you could smell the minute you climbed out of the family station wagon ... lovely cakes and pies lifted high on pedestals that glistened and made you want to eat some immediately.
Amy’s father, a brother to Colleen’s father, was the vice president and national sales manager for a famous baking company, one of the world's largest producers of grain and other foodstuffs (until it was bought by an even bigger company). Amy grew up under the tutelage of a rich legacy of bakers on both sides of her family. She ended up becoming wildly successful at baking herself in New York City.
There was a little piece of Colleen that always wished that she could live at Amy’s house, because she loved baking too. When she was in kindergarten, all she wanted for Christmas was an Easy-Bake Oven. The wish wasn’t granted, and she didn’t understand why. The same winter that Santa Claus broke her heart, she nearly froze to death when she laid down in a snowbank in a vacant lot without her mittens, trying to make her way home from the bus stop during a snowstorm. She fell fast asleep without anyone knowing. It was a mercy she was found before freezing to death.
Colleen packed her bags and ran away from “home” when she was in college, making her way west on a Greyhound bus to Missoula, Montana. There she met a charming and handsome man, had an unplanned pregnancy, and agreed to a marriage proposal of her own. A miscarriage rocked her world.
She got married anyway, with her eyes half shut, and ended up giving birth to a beautiful baby boy a year and a few weeks later. On her son’s first birthday, the man who said “I do” left them. A couple of years later, in the midst of the struggle of being a single mom and trying to hold down a full-time career to support her boy, she found herself at an altar surrendering her broken life to Christ.
Somewhere along the journey, as she continued to surrender, she sensed God saying that instead of all the things she’d thought she’d longed for, HE HAD GIVEN HER A STORY INSTEAD!
Ruby Buckle was birthed out of the story of her life – by the mercy of God. There are way too many people for her to thank here, but she will share more in the days ahead. You can look back at old posts to learn more of the details behind the snippets of her life story written here.
Colleen's favorite Bible verse is Psalm 46:10. Her favorite shoes have always been ruby red ones and she absolutely loves WOODSMOKE! And coffee parties ... three-hour ones.