We sat down with the author of Truthfilled, Ruth Chou Simons, and asked her all about her family, her ministry, and her new Bible study. Ruth is incredibly genuine and passionate about her work, her calling, and God’s Word! We just think the world of her over here at Lifeway Girls, and know you will too!
Ruth, tell us a little about yourself! What’s your family like? What are your favorite things to do?
I am a wife to my husband, Troy, and a mom to SIX boys, so my life is wild and fun! It’s such a treat to invest in young women, since I’m usually discipling young men. I’m also an author and artist, and I have had that real honor to bring together my love of water color art and intersect it with God’s Word and the gospel. I use the expression of art as my interpretation of what God has created to reveal the beauty of God’s Word.
Some of my favorite things to do other than art and spending time with family would be cooking a very big meal, styling a friend, or working on a house project!
Share about GraceLaced!
About thirteen years ago in a different season of life, I started a blog called GraceLaced where I was trying to find how grace intersected or “laced” through my everyday life. Because like many people, I found myself in a circumstance or season of life that I didn’t expect or sign up for. We often think, “These aren’t the ideal ways I want to use my gifts or serve the Lord.” I thought I’d be a missionary somewhere across the world using my gifts exactly how I wanted to, but God called me in that season to be a young mom. And I was spending my time ministering to youth and college girls (which is why I have a heart for teen girls today)!
Years later it became a full-blown lifestyle brand and a store, where I took my writing and art and turned them into products for women around the world to enjoy. These products were meant to help women shift their gaze and see God’s Word in a different light. Today, I primarily work with four strong, sisters in Christ who love God’s Word and are creatives to help me run that side of GraceLaced.
My heart is for women to see that they don’t have to choose between truth and beauty, but they can have both together.
How did all of that lead you to your Truthfilled Bible study?
While the GraceLaced blog was for the public, I was writing truths that I was learning to apply to my life and to preach to myself. Because in that season, I didn’t like my circumstances very much. I just wanted a different season. But that’s when my dear husband, Troy, spoke to me and said something like, “Hey babe, you know how the psalmist kind of told his soul what to do? That’s called preaching truth to yourself. Let’s practice that since you know the truth. You just need to apply it.”
Because often in hard seasons, we start listing off all the things that we don’t feel good about our lives and that we don’t like or that we wish we could change. Then we eat our woes in a bag of gummy bears or go shopping or call a friend. But we can’t numb our feelings, so we have to choose to preach truth to our hearts. Our emotions and circumstances are not the bosses of us. If I am in Christ, the gospel informs how I will act, what I will feel, and how I will interpret the seasons and circumstances of my life.
When I had the opportunity to write this Bible study, I wanted to dig deep into how we can approach the God’s Word, discover truth for ourselves, and use it in our daily lives. That way when we are by ourselves or find ourselves in crisis, we can preach to our hearts about the truth found in God’s Word and push out the thoughts that are untrue.
What are you most excited about how teen girls will use Truthfilled?
I wish I could sit down with each girl over a latte and tell her “You don’t have to live the way you’re living. You don’t have to feel the way you’re feeling. You don’t need to be bossed by social media, or by a scale that tells you how much you weigh, or by your friends’ acceptance, or by the general narrative of what you think you’re supposed to do. You first need to align with Christ.”
My biggest desire is that teen girls would see that they can be made as new creations through the Word of God. I just want to tell them that they have the tool in their hands to change their life—the Bible. Because even if they don’t understand everything or find it boring at times, it is a love letter written to them by God. And if they learn how to preach the truth of His Word to themselves, they don’t have to be slaves to their feelings anymore.
How have you “Preached Truth to Yourself” recently?
I got to last Saturday and it did NOT go well. Before I knew it, I was yelling at my children for having an attitude. I was arguing with my husband about our “slight differences” in the way we wanted to pursue a situation. And I stood my ground and I was stubborn! But thanks to the Holy Spirit, I realized that I was out of line.
Then the guilt set in. The first thing that popped up in my head was “Ruth, you will never change. You’re the worst mom. You’re going to ruin those kids.” The enemy wants to keep us in the spiral of hopelessness and attempt to make us believe our identity is wrapped up in that “one thing” or that “one failure.” But when I preach truth to myself, I go “There is no condemnation for those in Christ.” “Because of Christ, I can seek forgiveness.” “I can have the slate wiped clean.” “My failure on Saturday doesn’t mark me on Monday.”
So as Monday came, I gathered my guys, apologized, and asked for forgiveness!
How might you encourage a leader or parent who is about to walk their teen girl(s) through this Bible study?
The best way to encourage teen girls is to not make it a formula! As we walk through the seven sessions, you will discover it’s a change of mindset. It’s the “renewal of the pattern of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). So creating a pattern isn’t a once and done.
That’s not how discipleship works, and it’s not how sanctification works! Preaching truth to ourselves is one tool that helps us to be sanctified day by day. It can’t be something we check off and move on, because it’s a pattern that has to be re-established every single day and it’s a work done only by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.