I lived with a couple named Bud and Ruby Beasley when I was nineteen–years–old. Their home was a healing balm from the first moment that I walked through the doorway and smelled freshly baked bread. The atmosphere was calm and loving, and I found acceptance there.
Within the first few days, I confessed my faults to Ruby that my previous overseers, Bob and Betty had found so troublesome. I mournfully told her that if I could eliminate those faults, I would probably be an okay person. She laughed and said, "Oh, we all have problems with those." She dismissed them as being of no weighty importance, and it felt like a huge load rolled off of my shoulders.
After a couple of weeks, I couldn't even remember what those faults were that Bob and Betty used to rant about so much, except that Bob used to go on about how I was undisciplined and irresponsible. No doubt, from his perspective as a policeman, I was immature. However, I didn't sign up to join the police force. I just wanted to grow in the grace of God, at whatever pace I was capable of. Love and acceptance help us grow up.
Right from the very first time I met her, Ruby Beasley has been a mother in Israel to me. I remember that occasion. I was seventeen–years–old, and had phoned my friend Bonnie Mawhinney, bawling my head off for the umpteenth time about my boyfriend, the guy who had led me to the Lord. He was always doing something to upset me, usually consisting of remarks about how attractive some other girl was, or maybe just a low growl in his throat when a pretty girl walked by, but this time it was more distressing than usual. He had become totally backslidden, openly pursuing sin. Where did this leave me? I looked up to him for spiritual leadership.
Bonnie told me that I needed to go to a prayer meeting, so she took me to someone's house where a Bible study was being held. Ruby was there that night. Near the end of the meeting, she laid her hands on my head and prayed. I felt the love of the Father come pouring down from Heaven, and as it passed through Ruby, it became a mother's love. She prophesied over me, and that was the first time anyone had done that. She addressed me as "little lamb," which made me feel very loved, and said that the Lord would make me a strong tower.
The prophecy was astonishing. Me? A strong tower? That would take a miracle! But, God is in the miracle working business. I think that indeed God has been making me into a strong tower, and He used Bud and Ruby Beasley to lay quite a number of the stones in this tower, cementing them with love and prayers.
My heart was light in the Beasley home and I was able to more fully enjoy its refuge once Ruby assured me that I was just a regular person, rather than the huge trial that Bob and Betty thought I was.
The Bible says in Isaiah 58:9 & 10 "…If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in obscurity, and your darkness be as the noonday:"
The yoke is unreasonable expectations, the putting forth of the finger is accusation, and speaking vanity could be condemnation. This is what I experienced in Bob and Betty's home, but not in Bud and Ruby's home. My hungry soul finally started to get fed, and after being so bruised by rejection, my need for acceptance found some satisfaction through Bud and Ruby.
I got some insight into how Ruby was a helper rather than a controller. Some time later, she shared with me a vision or dream she had where she was trying to build a box, but the sides kept falling down and it was a hopeless, futile task. Then Yehoshua came along and told her, "You're not supposed to be doing that. It is my job to build the Church. You're just supposed to be holding the sides for me while I put it together." She found it a lot easier to leave His job alone and let Him take care of it.
Ruby and I were kindred spirits, though quite opposite in temperament. We often found ourselves saying the same thing at the same time, and then laughing together about it. It was so good to have someone to talk to who understood me.
After a couple of weeks, one of the girls in our church, a formidably efficient and sensible young woman who was a friend of Bob and Betty, went up to Ruby and asked her with a smirk how she was getting along with me. Ruby laconically replied, "Fine." Her inquisitor's mouth dropped open with incredulity as she said, "Really?" Ruby replied, "Lanny is fine as long as you treat her like an adult."
Ruby's approach was totally opposite to Bob's philosophy. She seemed to actually like me, talked to me like an equal with every expectation that she could have an intelligent conversation with me, and she recognized the kind of mothering that I truly needed. It wasn't to be ordered about. I had already had too much of that from my parents.
Ruby said that I needed to be spoiled a bit and she lived by that conviction. Ruby had the very same choleric temperament as my mother and in her earlier years, had made her kids hop, too, but a long and intimate association with God had mellowed her.
I paid the same amount of board and room as before, but Ruby only expected me to help wash up the supper dishes and that was no big deal. I felt that this was more how it should be when a person pays board and room. The rest of the housework, she and Bud handled, as they were retired and preferred their own methods of doing things. I sure had no problem with that.
Every morning I felt eager to get up and find out what we were having for breakfast. Sometimes it was fried eggs and sometimes pancakes. Ruby also made my lunch for work. It was so nice to have this done for me. Ruby and Bud looked well to the ways of their household.
Ruby cheerfully did my laundry, but she went a bit too far in spoiling me one day when she ironed my underwear. She had been telling me earlier about what a fanatic she used to be about her housekeeping when she was younger, and how she had even ironed her first baby's diapers. When she had another baby, however, she could see that it wasn't practical and stopped doing that.
I guess she must have had a burst of enthusiasm for those old ways when she reminisced about them; when she did the ironing later, she attempted to iron my undies. They weren't made of the tough fabric that diapers are made of and ended up with a big hole melted in the seat. I was a bit disconcerted, but I knew that she had meant well, so I didn't mention anything to her about it.
Ruby was full of interesting antidotes about her life and the miracles that God had worked in it. She was a tough, strong–willed woman who raised six kids, five of them boys. Steve, the youngest, still lived at home and went to high school. He was two years younger than me.
Steve was a lot like his mother, good–humoured and outgoing. We often teased him until Ruby felt convicted after I had told Steve that I could read him like a book, and she had cheerfully rejoined, "Yes, but most of the pages are blank!"
We all laughed, but Ruby said later that she realized that she shouldn't tease him anymore. After that, I had to do it all by myself. I think that Ruby was hinting that I shouldn't tease Steve either, but I ignored the hint because it was too much fun to stop. However, I learned to be a bit more sensitive after Steve got mad at me when I was supposed to be helping him with his homework, and I laughed too much and teased too long over a humorous error that he made.
I enjoyed how easy it was to talk to Steve. It was interesting to find out what things are like from a guy's point of view. He told me about a cute girl at school who he really liked and how embarrassed he was the first time he talked to her. Trying to be cool, he attempted to light her cigarette with his lighter, but he couldn't get it to work. We laughed at his chagrin and I marvelled that guys felt just as insecure as girls about meeting the opposite sex. Steve married his high school sweetheart and they are still married.
Bud Beasley's tiny mother was an interesting character. At only four feet, eight inches, she was a little spitfire. Her father had been a blacksmith of short stature and she was strong like him, in spite of her small size and petite bones. Ruby said that when they had wrung out the wash before they had a machine to do it, as strong as Ruby was, little Granny could still get more water out of clothes that Ruby had wrung. She hadn't been easy to have as a mother–in–law.
Granny didn't like hardly anybody, but she took a shine to me, which made me feel honoured. I don't know why, but maybe she sensed that I thought that she was feisty and interesting and cute. She sure liked to talk, but I managed to fit a word in edgewise every now and then.
One day after we'd had a chat on the phone, Ruby told me that Granny said to her later, "She's a nice girl, but she sure can talk. I could hardly get a word in edgewise." I thought in outraged astonishment, "Ha! She should talk!" I think that Granny actually liked it that I wasn't scared of her, and that I could manage to get in a few sentences.
Granny had mostly tall children, though she was so little. Bud was six feet tall and his fine physique, along with Ruby's, lent itself to producing tall children. Doug, the oldest son was six feet, five inches, and the next one in line, Ernie, was six feet, four inches. Handsome, blue–eyed Bruce was the shortest of the five boys, but he wasn't short. They also had a daughter named Maxine.
Ruby kept those boys in line. Bud worked out of town a lot, so she had to be firm with them. One time when they were teenagers, she and Bud went away for a few days. When they got home, the neighbours told her about a rowdy party that the boys had. She lit into those big boys with a belt, and they jumped around the room trying to avoid it, yelling, "No, Ma. Stop hitting!" She didn't stop until she was satisfied that they had learned their lesson. No doubt, they still partied, but not in her house.
Doug was a Chief Petty Officer in the navy. He was huge. The first time I saw him, where he was seated at the kitchen table, he seemed to fill the whole room. Ruby said that he firmly kept his men in line, but he treated her like a queen, opening doors for her, always speaking to her with utmost courtesy as he helped her out of his car. She was very proud of him.
She loved all of her kids for different reasons. Don was her poet. Just as she admired Doug's strength, she loved Don for his gentleness and sensitivity.
The boys liked to play tricks on Ruby when they were kids. She said that one day, they all trooped past her single file as she was working in the kitchen. Each one of them said, "Hi, Ma," with a grin as they walked by, and then they headed upstairs. A few minutes later, they marched in again from the backyard through the kitchen door, going through the same routine.
This happened a few more times before she began to wonder about how they kept coming into the house, though she didn't see them leave. She discovered that the rascals were repeatedly climbing out their bedroom window and down a tree like army ants, just to see what her reaction would be to their little joke.
Don and his older brother Bruce had allergies and asthma when they were young. Ruby had to take them to get allergy shots. One day as she was praying, she noticed that it was about 3 p.m. and it was raining like a monsoon. That morning, she had told Don to wear a coat when he headed out the door for school. He had protested that he wouldn't need one because he didn't think that it would rain, and had hurried off.
Don couldn't afford to get wet because he caught colds easily, and it was a big problem with his asthma condition. The kids would be starting home soon; she prayed that God would keep Don from getting wet. Ruby assumed that someone would give him a ride.
Don came into the house shortly after that. He said, "Hey, Mom, do you see how hard it's raining outside?" Ruby acknowledged that the rain was coming down in sheets. He said, "Well, look at me. I'm not even wet." Don had walked home, but he was bone dry! Not even the soles of his shoes were wet.
Eventually, Don and Bruce were delivered from allergies. Ruby called the clinic and told the nurse that the boys would not need shots anymore because they were healed. The nurse sounded dubious, but the boys really were healed.
It was wonderful to hear of miracles of provision, too, like when they ran out of gas and their car kept rolling until it came to a stop next to some gas pumps. Another time, Bud had only enough gas in his car to get him to work Monday morning. However, they decided to honour the Lord and go to church anyway. While he was taking up the offering, someone stuck a $100.00 bill in his suit pocket. Other times, food was left for them in boxes on their doorstep when they desperately needed it.
One of my favourite of Ruby's stories was of when she entertained an angel unaware. The kids were fussy and the whole house seemed to be in upheaval when a hobo knocked on their door. He asked for food. Ruby told him to sit down on the steps, and then she brought him a bowl of stew. A few minutes later, peace descended like a blanket on their home.
Ruby went to the door to fetch back the bowl, and found that the hobo was gone. Her house sat surrounded by fields for a long distance, but she could not see the hobo anywhere. He had vanished into thin air.
Several years later when my husband and I were travelling through Oregon, we stopped at a rest area. I saw a hobo standing with his back to the beautiful view, leaning against the railing. He was an old man with a white beard and his clothes were dusty, but he didn't look unkempt or uncouth. I thought of Ruby's story and wondered if he was an angel in disguise.
I asked him if he would like some food and he said he would. With great joy in my heart at the thought that I might be entertaining an angel, I prepared a Kaiser bun with cold cuts, some chips, and a chocolate bar, and presented this to him with can of pop. He looked at me with the sweetest smile and said, "It looks fit for a king!" I felt so happy. His words were perfect, for indeed I had prepared it for the King of Heaven.
He ate the food like an ordinary person and I didn't notice him disappear in any unusual way, but I didn't care. Whether he was a human angel or a celestial angel, he was God's angel. I think that a lot of times we miss out on blessings because God sends us human angels who have messages from Him, but because we look down on those people, we don't recognize that what they said was a message from the Lord.
I had a similar experience many years later. As I prepared to take my kids on a hike, I packed extra food just in case we met someone who needed it. It was an odd thought; I had never done that before. A few hours later on a trail at Mount Seymour, I saw a man coming towards us on the trail. I wondered if this person would present a threat to my babies in some way, so I looked around to see if there was a handy board that I could use as a defensive weapon.
As he got closer, I saw that he was a guy from my church! My church was in New Westminster and this was North Vancouver. I had never walked on this particular trail before. Mike is a man who really can hear from God, though a lot of people discount him because of his learning disabilities. I asked him if he wanted to eat lunch with us. He said, "Yes. I told the Lord that I didn't want to carry anything in my pockets today and He said it was all right because He would provide lunch for me." Wow!
Mike just wanted to be alone with the Lord that day. We sat on a big rock and ate our lunch in silence while my kids happily whooped and raced around in the bush. Heather said that she had seen a bear. Andrew said he didn't believe her, but told her to make a lot of noise anyway. They did. Mike finished his lunch and quietly strolled off. The message from my angel was that I can hear God, too. It delighted my heart.
Besides being kind and generous, Ruby was brave. After she delivered Bruce, her third son, the doctor told her that she had blood clots in her legs. He had to operate immediately to save her life, and could not use anaesthetic because he needed to know how close he was cutting to her nerves.
Ruby screamed continuously while attendants held her down for the operation, and was left shaking uncontrollably afterwards. The doctor told her that she would never walk again; she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
Ruby told him that she could not afford to be an invalid. She now had three little boys to look after. The doctor said that if she was going to ever walk again, she would have to attempt it right away.
With extreme difficulty, she managed to get up and walk a few steps before she collapsed. Every day she walked a little further as the doctor stood by sucking on his pipe and watching. She had just recently turned back to God after a period of backsliding and her language was still a bit rough. She'd swear while she toiled down the hall, and then at the end raise her arms and praise God. The doctor watching all this nodded after a week and said, "Yep, I think she's going to make it." She did.
Ruby's health was never good after that, but she worked like a horse in spite of her pain. She had three more children after Bruce. Don was the next in the line–up, then Maxine, and Steve was the youngest.
Another of Ruby's interesting stories was of how she sewed herself a dress. It was the only time in her life that she ever sewed anything; she didn't know how to sew. She needed a new dress because she had nothing suitable to wear for her role as a narrator in the Christmas play at church one year.
The Beasleys had no money for this, but someone gave Ruby a bolt of cloth. God showed her how to make a dress. Having no tape measure or scissors, she used a piece of string to measure, and cut the fabric with a razor blade. A neighbour came over and found her working at it this way. She laughed and said, "I've got to see this dress when it's finished!"
It turned out very well. Ruby said that a seamstress would have found a lot of flaws, if she had looked at the underside of the dress, but she got many compliments on it.
I enjoyed Ruby's stories about her lively youth. Photographs showed that she looked like a vivacious gypsy with jet black eyes and hair, and deep dimples. I could well believe that she had dated during the war as much as she said she did, going out every day with a different man from every branch of the military service, but she behaved herself with them.
She had one boyfriend who was special to her before she married Bud. She mostly wore slacks in those days, but one day she got dolled up in a dress when they planned to meet at the steam clock in Gastown.
As she came along the sidewalk, she saw her boyfriend leaning against the post reading a newspaper. Then he caught sight of her legs and fastened his eyes on them. When she got closer, he was surprised to see that they belonged to Ruby and delightedly grabbed her in his arms. She laughed and hit him a few times, asking him what he meant by looking at some woman's legs when he didn't know they were hers.
Ruby was a plucky girl, escaping from kidnapping attempts by white slavers a couple of times. One day she walked into a restaurant and sat at the only empty place at the counter. She noticed that the man and the woman sitting on either side of that stool had been talking to each other before she came along, and then pretended to not know each other after she sat down.
As she was talking to the man, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the woman slip a powder in her coffee. Ruby jumped up and ran out of the restaurant, hopping into a cab. A short time later, she had to jump out of the cab because the driver tried to get fresh with her.
Then another time when she sat in a movie theatre that was nearly empty, a woman sat down next to her. She thought it was odd, since there were so many empty seats.
As she sat watching the movie, she felt something prick her arm. She jumped up and ran out of the theatre before the drug that had been in the needle could take effect. She staggered home, holding onto walls to keep herself upright, and successfully got away safe.
It was eye opening to learn how evil the world has always been; not just in my own day and age, though it is undoubtedly getting worse. Those things happened back in the 1940's.
Ruby was a very forthright person, even when she was a young girl. She told me of her school days as a teen, during the early part of World War II. She wanted to learn French, but her teacher refused to teach it to her. The teacher was pro–Nazi and told her that she should learn German because Hitler was going to win the war.
That made Ruby's blood boil; she had two brothers who were fighting overseas. She took the textbooks and taught herself. The teacher tested her knowledge of French at the end of the semester and gave her a good mark, admitting that she had learned it well.
This teacher also believed in evolution and pushed it on the class in a way that went over and above what was required by the school board. Ruby, only fifteen–years–old at the time, stood up and sternly said to her in front of the class, "That you were descended from an ape, I have no doubt, but I have been made in the image of God." The teacher had large ears that stuck out like a monkey's. At Ruby's comment, they turned fiery red and the whole class laughed at her.
Some might be critical and say that she should not have been so cheeky, etc., but she was only fifteen, and the incident helped make it stand out in those other students' minds that the theory of evolution is a load of baloney.
Ruby spoke of the hard years of the Depression, which she passed through as a young child. I mentioned to her that some people had fond memories of those days, namely some foster parents whom I had lived with for a time. She replied severely, "I have no good memories of those days. I just remember crying at night in bed because I was so hungry."
Right enough, the people who told me about the "good old days" had parents who had a business and were better off than most. Ruby's father was a farmer, and I suppose he had to sell every bit of produce that he could spare to get money to pay his mortgage and taxes.
Ruby revered her mother's memory; Grandma Woods was a saintly woman in spite of some minor lapses in her temper. Ruby laughed as she recalled her mother pounding away on the piano one day, lustily singing hymns. Ruby and one of her brothers were fighting with each other while that was going on.
Suddenly their mother threw a book at them across the room, screeching about how they had ruined her time with the Lord. Ruby was amused that spending that time with the Lord hadn't kept her mother from flipping out. (But maybe it kept her from committing murder.)
I loved it when Ruby played the piano and I sang along with her to the old hymns, learning their tunes. I loved the rollicking, triumphant tunes that she favoured, such as to the words "Like a mighty sea, like a mighty sea, comes the love of Jesus, washing over me. Waves of glory roll, the Saviour to extol, comes the love of Jesus washing o'er my soul!"
Ruby's opinions stuck with me, because they made so much sense. One day she commented on a phrase that our pastor, Ern Baxter used in his preaching where, with lofty eloquence, he referred to satan as "his satanic majesty". At home, Ruby sneered and commented to me that she did not consider the devil majestic. Right on, Ruby!
Her attitude was much more in keeping with the Scripture that prophesies in Isaiah that some day the people whom satan has duped are going to look at him in amazement and say, "Is this the man who destroyed cities and refused to release his prisoners?" This indicates that satan, contrary to the big, puffed–up illusions that he casts, is actually puny and shrivelled.
I liked Ruby's independent views. She said she liked to read the funny papers when she was a child, particularly enjoying the Katzenjammer Kids. In those days, however, it was taboo for Christians to read the comics on Sunday.
The pastor of their church caught wind of this transgression and preached a sermon against it, looking at her all the while. Ruby said that there was a family in the church who were terrible hypocrites, indulging in all sorts of raunchy stuff during the week, but setting aside their fornications long enough to attend church on Sunday. She imitated the haughty, self–righteous sneer that they sent her way, as they sat there looking down their noses at her for reading the funny papers on Sunday.
Ruby reached out to others. She had a foster daughter named Anne many years before. Anne was severely retarded. She didn't even know how to eat until she came to live with Ruby, never mind how to use the toilet. She'd just gulp chunks of food. Ruby would place a piece of food in Ann's mouth, and keep her finger in the corner of it to force Anne to chew before she swallowed.
Anne learned to eat and to use the bathroom properly, but she couldn't talk. She was strictly Ruby's project. The boys, Doug in particular, didn't like Anne being in their home. Anne did not like Doug in return.
Ruby said that Anne was sitting on a stool watching the commotion going on in the kitchen one Sunday morning as Ruby tried to get the family ready for church. Ruby had to stay home to look after Anne, so she didn't go to church when she fostered her.
Don was trying to quote his Sunday School verse for his Mom to make sure that he had it right. Ruby ironed clothes while listening, but every time Don began his verse about the foolish, rich man whose soul was going to be required of him the very night that he was planning his retirement, someone would interrupt to ask Ruby for something.
After several interruptions and getting no farther than the first two words, "Thou fool" each time, Don threw his Bible down in frustration. Ruby made everyone sit quietly so that Don could quote his verse.
Anne had taken in more than what they realized. Later that day at the dinner table, Anne got a secretive smile on her face, and then stood up and pointed at Doug as she said, "Thou fool!" Doug jumped up in fury and said, "I'm going to kill her!" Ruby laughed and told him to sit down.
After that, every time anyone came to the door, Anne ran to answer it, and stood there with her eyes rolling back in her head as she said to the visitors, "Thou fool!"
Ruby was heartbroken when Social Services took Anne away. The social worker was an evil–minded man who thought it was impossible that Anne could live in a family that had five boys, and not be molested. Ruby said that Anne was so ugly that she disgusted all of her boys and they kept their distance from her.
Anne had no way of knowing what was going on when she was moved and was angry at Ruby, thinking that Ruby didn't want her any more. Ruby heard that Anne always ran to answer the door at the new place, and continued to address visitors as "Thou fool". They were the only words that she ever learned to say.
Ruby also charitably let a couple live with her in her home for a time, though the wife had mental problems. This lady used to go around holding her elbow because she had a delusion that her kidneys would fall out of it, if she didn't hold it that way. She also favoured a ritual that ended up with going for a very fast ride in a car to "dry out her tissues". It was all quite strange.
One day when the woman was helping Ruby with the dishes, and Bud and the lady's husband were off on a hunting trip, the woman threatened Ruby with a butcher knife that she had been drying. Ruby looked hard at her in the eyes and sternly told her to put the knife down. She said that she knew that if she showed a flicker of fear that she'd be a goner. The woman put the knife down.
Furious at being threatened, Ruby grabbed the woman's suitcase, threw her belongings into it, hauled the woman to her car, and then put the pedal to the metal all the way to Burnaby where the woman's brother lived. The brother was in his yard when they arrived and cringed when he saw who Ruby had with her. She dumped the woman off there and burned rubber all the way home because she was still pretty mad about the incident.
It took only half an hour for Ruby to go Burnaby and back. Normally, it would taken half an hour each way. There was not nearly as much traffic in those days and Ruby lived near the freeway. She did not have to drive through Langley to get to it. If it was 20 miles from her place to the brother's place, that means that under normal circumstances, she would have driven at an average of 40 miles an hour. On the freeway, she could have driven the allowable maximum of 70 miles an hour, and in the city areas, she would have slowed from 30 to 50 miles an hour, depending on what speed was posted for various areas. People were allowed to drive faster in those days. The distance could have been a little farther than 20 miles, if it normally took half an hour to go into Burnaby, but she may have rounded up the figure. To cut the time to half, if Ruby drove a distance of 20 miles, she would have had to drive at an average speed of 80 miles per hour. Ruby must have been speeding at 90 miles an hour, possibly even 100 on the freeway, considering that she would have to slow down to at least 50 miles an hour in the town. Doug noticed how it had taken such a short time for her to get home and he drawled, "Did you dry her tissues out, Ma?"
Ruby told of an old man in Nakusp, where the Beasleys had lived at one time. He was Japanese and had been a university professor before the war. When Japanese Canadians were rounded up and interned in camps and their property confiscated, this man was so shattered that he lost his mind.
He still lived in Nakusp many years after the camp's prisoners were released, never having recovered from the shock, nor able to return to his former life. My heart felt saddened to think of his suffering as I pondered the injustice of what our country did to our citizens of Japanese extraction during the war.
Bud and Ruby attended Revival Tabernacle in Whalley when Violet Kitely was the pastor. There was a woman in the church who hated Ruby and slandered her. One day she came to the front of the church, telling the pastor that she wanted to apologize to Ruby and ask forgiveness.
Violet Kitely called Ruby to the front of the church and, in front of everybody, that other woman spit in Ruby's face. Ruby laughed as she recalled how Violet forced the woman to her knees with her hand pressing down on her head, urging, "Repent, you wicked woman!"
Wide–eyed at this tale of atrocious behaviour, I asked Ruby what she did when the woman spat in her face. She said that God gave her great grace and she had merely told the woman that she forgave her, and she blessed her. I asked her if it didn't make her angry at all. She admitted, "Well, the next day when I thought about it, it sort of browned me off." I gathered that she didn't let herself think about it much.
Ruby's opinion about women in ministry was that from her observation, Violet Kitely was very gifted as a pastor, and she didn't see why God would give women gifts to teach and pastor if He didn't expect them to use their gifts. Many years later, I read an excellent book called Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham and his associates in defense of women in ministry. Ruby's answer made sense to me, but it was great to have a better understanding of the Scriptural basis for women to serve as teachers and pastors.
People forget that it wasn't only men who travelled with Yehoshua. No doubt the ladies cooked for the disciples, and did their laundry, but that period of their lives was like Bible College for them. They listened to Yehoshua's teaching and got to see His miracles, just like the disciples. This is why even noble ladies left their life of ease and luxury to join His entourage.
Mary, the sister of Lazarus, was particularly conspicuous as a female auditor when Yehoshua was in her home. What did she do with what she learned from Him, this woman who was more in tune with the Lord than even His chosen twelve? Men who were hungry to know God better probably listened to her share what she knew of Yehoshua's character and teaching and behaviour after He returned to Heaven. That would make her a teacher, wouldn't it?
Deborah, who was a judge in Israel, basically fulfilled the duties of a pastor and a teacher – to the whole nation. Even Israel's foremost general looked to her for advice, in the absence of a high priest who could adequately deal with the political and spiritual challenges of those times.
Ruby was really good at cutting through nonsense. One time in Christian Centre, the church that we attended, some people attempted to cast demons out of a girl whom I knew. Their efforts went on for a long time while the girl writhed and screamed on the floor. Ruby finally got fed up with it and shooed them all away, and then tenderly sponged the girl's face with a cold, damp cloth to help her calm down.
Knowing something about why that poor girl was so messed up, I think that what she needed was for some people to take a kindly interest in her, to invite her for dinner at their house, and try to draw her out, or at least help her feel that she was loved and accepted, even if she didn't want to talk much. Maybe a few presents of some prettier, more stylish clothes would have helped raise her self–esteem.
As it was, and I was guilty of it too, nobody paid much attention to her. Presuming to cast demons out of her was just a quick fix that didn't cost any money or take up much time. It has its place, but it was the wrong prescription in this case.
God, in His wisdom, knows how men are inclined in their pride to denigrate women, and He has helped us. Many years later, I asked Ruby if she knew the scripture about men doing dishes. She laughed and said that she did. I was amazed. Though I had read the Bible many times, I never noticed this verse in 2 Kings 21:13 until I copied the Bible out by hand.
Ruby said that she was doing dishes with her brother Ernest one day when she noticed that every time he dried a dish, he turned it upside down on the counter. She asked him what he was doing. He replied, "It's Scriptural," and then he referred her to that verse. I said that I was very glad that God said "as a man wipes a dish" because otherwise, men would have used that verse to say that only women should do the dishes. I copied it out and kept it taped above my sink for a while, to remind me of God's love and kindness towards women.
My heart grew warmer towards Ruby every day and Bud won my respect, as well. He was a kind, wise man, Ruby's "Lapidoth". Ruby was a lively extrovert and had the verbal gifts of prophecy and exhortation, whereas Bud preferred to stay in the background.
I lived with them and can testify that they were a couple of lovebirds who lived out their Christianity. I heard hard words from Ruby towards Bud only once, and never any from Bud towards Ruby. Ruby got mad one morning because Bud was cooking the pancakes instead of letting her do it. Her only comment about it, though, was a sour grumble of, "You always did think that you could make better pancakes than me." Bud made no reply. Twenty minutes later, as he sat in his easy chair in the living room, Ruby bent and kissed him as she said, "Well, you're right. You do make better pancakes than me."
I asked Bud what he thought of women wearing make–up. He quietly replied that some of the former kings of Israel were righteous men who cast down the idols in the land, but they didn't always tear down the high places. Nonetheless, they were still accounted as righteous men. Bud felt that wearing make–up might be like leaving a high place in one's life, though the idols have been cast down. Thus he made his views clear without pushing them or laying any condemnation on me.
I also asked Dorothy Essler's husband what he thought about make–up. Mr. Essler, who sometimes was rather grumpy, was in a patient mood. He said, "My sister–in–law is one of the most godly people I know, and she wears make–up and looks very attractive. Without it, she looks like death warmed over."
I fit into that category, too. Not wearing make–up led people to suppose that I was ill, and it was tiresome to have to explain that I simply didn't have any make–up on.
When talking about marriage to Bud one day, I told him that I didn't go for guys who were very much older than me. I supposed that one who was only a couple years older would do; I didn't want to get one who was going to be worn out long before me. Speaking of a man like a set of tires, I said, "I want one that has plenty of tread on him." Bud's eyes twinkled as he chuckled.
On the way home from church one Sunday evening, I leaned forward from the backseat of the car, chattering away to Bud and Ruby. Ruby said that she thought that I shouldn't talk so much and she began to quote Scriptures, such as, "Be still and know that I am God." I fired back at her, "Open your mouth wide and I will fill it." She quoted another verse, likely the one about how in a multitude of words there wanteth not sin, and I cheerfully quoted back, "The mouth of the righteous is as a flowing brook."
Ruby and Bud smiled a secret smile at each other, and no more quotations from her were forthcoming. I continued my prattle without further rebuke, though I knew that they thought I was behaving like a brat.
Ruby tried to teach me to drive a car when I lived with her and Bud. The roads near her home were perfect for it because she lived way out in the country and there was not much traffic. This was actually the second time someone attempted to teach me to drive. When I was fifteen, a guy named Albert took me on a date and offered to teach me to drive. This was so he could sit close and make some moves on me. I know because I saw him slip a breath mint in his mouth. I also resented it because I knew that he had a crush on my older sister and he was just "making do" with me, as she was not interested in him, but I was all for learning how to drive.
The lesson did not last long. When he told me in a panic to hit the brake, I stomped on it. Unfortunately (for Albert) the car was an automatic and he went flying forward, hitting his head on the rear view mirror. Up until then, I did not know that automatics did not need as much force on the brake as standards. I laughed my head off about Albert hitting his head, which did not go down very well with him. I spitefully thought, "It serves you right for trying to use me when you like my sister better!" Back in those days, I wasn't interested in having a pure heart. Albert did not ask me out again after that, but I didn't care. There were other guys around who interested me more.
My driving lesson with Ruby lasted longer and I was starting to get the hang of keeping the car in between the proper lines on the pavement, but when we came to a curve, I was a bit slow about turning the wheel. Ruby spoke to me urgently to turn to the right. The tension in her voice put me in a bit of a panic and I turned left instead of right, heading for the bushes. She yelled, "No, no! Right! Right!" and helped me turn the wheel back the other way. Then she told me to stop the car so that she could take over driving. As she shakily exited the car, she said, "Lanny, I think you should get professional driving lessons. You seem to be a bit high strung." As I sat there, I thought, "I'm high strung? You're the one who's shaking." I thought she gave up on me too soon, but I was okay with that. It was her idea in the first place to teach me to drive.
A year and half later, when I was engaged to my husband, he taught me to drive and he was a very good teacher; calm, patient, encouraging. It's amazing what being in love can do for a man's disposition. On my sixth lesson, I was able to drive into Vancouver, which impressed him much. The only tension occurred when I was driving on a freeway and I was distracted off to my left by a beautiful rainbow in the sky. I drove over something lying on the shoulder; it was a big piece of metal that had dropped off of a truck. It made an awful crunching noise. I was told to pull over right away.
My fiancé got out and looked at the side of his lovely Monte Carlo. He looked very serious when he said, "Lanny, come see what you did to my car." I was appalled when I stood beside him and saw how messed up the chrome was on the passenger side of the car. I urgently promised that I would pay for the damage, but he shook his head and said it was all right. There was no recrimination. I was glad to let him take the wheel when he said that he would drive the rest of the way to where we were going. My brother Johnny thought it was hilarious when we told him what had happened. He liked to tease me after that by saying, "Oh, look at the pretty rainbow! Look at the pretty rainbow!"
I contracted German measles while living with the Beasleys. I had to take time off of work and stay in a darkened room for about ten days so that I didn't weaken my eyes. Much of it was spent lying on the couch in the living room, and Steve thought that I was a total fake because I really wasn't suffering much. It was a mild case. My fellow choir members sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers when they learned that I was ill.
I spent a wonderful six months with the Beasleys and then Bud wanted to just have their house to themselves for a while. He was an introvert, and introverts find it draining to be around other people. They need solitude to recharge their batteries. It was about time that the Beasleys gave themselves a break. They had been giving refuge to people for years.
Twelve years later, they provided refuge in a storm for me again, after my husband left me and I was an outcast because my husband's mother joined him in vilifying me. She was a very influential person because of her reputation as a devout woman of God. People expected her to always be honest and fair, so they supposed that she was correct in how she assessed my character, but she was blind to her son's faults. The serious ones, that is.
She could handle minor stuff, but one time when I tried to tell her something about him, figuring that she might be able to get through to him because he wouldn't pay attention to what I had to say on a certain issue, she went into a trance, and it wasn't the kind from the Lord where a person sees visions. I knew her mind had disconnected; she was blind to what I was showing her and deaf to what I was saying; it was weird. I didn't know who else to talk to, if she couldn't help. I didn't think that her son would listen to anyone else, and I felt it was too sensitive an issue to talk about to anyone else. I was so startled by her reaction that I didn't know what to do; I had always considered my husband's mother to be a fountain of wisdom, for the most part. Sometimes she slowed down to a trickle, but on that occasion, she totally dried up. It was such a let down.
Because Ruby was more visible and vocal that Bud, a lot of people assumed that Ruby was the leader in their home. They figured it was her decision to let me live with them after my marriage broke up, and people fussily warned her that having me there would be too much of a strain on Bud. They thought his weak heart wouldn't be able to put up with my personality problems, as they totally believed everything that my mother–in–law said about me, failing to consider that she had a very biased point of view of the problems in my marriage to her son.
I am not saying that I didn't have personality problems. I was a very moody person in my youth, but I always got along really good with Bud and Ruby because they knew how to handle me. Sometimes well–meaning older people in the church would grab me in a hug and crush me. I loved being hugged, but I hated being mauled, and my face showed it. Some went away feeling rebuffed, not realizing that I had nerve endings in my body. Other times, older folks knew just what to say and how to say it to get my back up. Like one time when a lady, with a smug smile on her face, condescendingly told me that I wasn't ready to get married. She was right, but she said it the wrong way. Perhaps it would have been wiser to not say it at all, instead taking a more subtle approach.
In those days, a lot of young girls felt that if they weren't married before they passed their twenty–second birthday, that it was a disgrace; most got married when they were twenty–one, and a good portion before then. In my circles, single women who were older than that were stigmatized as being "on the shelf." I had a nice figure, was pretty when I wore make–up, and knew that I had the potential to be a lot of fun with the right person, so I expected that I would be able to escape that label.
Then this lady came along and what she said amounted to saying that I was deficient as a woman and merely a child. I made no reply to this slap across the face, but I thought, "How dare you?! I am legally an adult and don't have to take orders from you about how to run my life!"
After that woman's comments, I became more intent than ever to get married, and managed it several months before my twenty–second birthday. Yes, I messed myself up by responding in that way, but when a person knows that they are talking to someone who is immature, they should anticipate what the inner reaction will be to their words. I wasn't capable at that time of responding in any other way.
Bud Beasley had more wisdom and passion and strength of character than what some people gave him credit for. If anything was taxing to Bud's heart, it was to see injustice. His face would go beet red with fury when he made remarks about what he thought my husband's duty was and in regards to how people were talking about me, judging me when they really didn't know the whole story.
I heard from Ruby that this side of Bud came out at church one time, when my husband (whom I was separated from at the time) tried to start something with him. That day, people saw a side of Bud that they had no idea existed when Bud's face went red and he snapped at my husband, "Shut up your stupid mouth for once and listen for a change!" Ruby laughed when she described how the two men circled each other like a couple of fighting roosters, and my husband didn't come out too well in that encounter. It is one of the most refreshing things in the world when you have been beat up by public opinion, and someone goes against the crowd to stick up for you.
Ruby did that, too. She knew more than most about what went on in my life because she was the one I usually turned to when I had a heavy duty problem and needed prayer. It was a real privilege to live those two times with Bud and Ruby. I heard of other Christians who were dishonest in their businesses, and tales from people who were raised in church about how their Christian parents committed adultery, sometimes with other people who went to church, and it was no wonder that their kids weren't interested in going to church. Bud and Ruby, though, practiced what they preached.
When I went to live with them again, the Beasleys were still the same as they had been eleven years before; going on strong for the Lord. Living with them was like living continually at church; the Presence of the Lord was always there, sweet, comforting, enriching.
Their bodily ills had increased, but they were never cranky. They didn't take their pains out on other people. This was a huge lesson to me that there really is no excuse for acting like a jerk, no matter what we are going through.
The Beasleys had moved from Langley. They now found themselves living next door to a drug dealer and the guy had a couple of noisy Rotweilers. Ruby was so funny in her attitude towards those rotten dogs. She talked about how they often tried to jump over their fence. I said they were training for the Olympics. We were all glad that the fence was high.
One time Bud turned the hose on them when he was watering the garden and they were barking their heads off. Another time, I was out in the yard and found it amusing to watch Ruby as she leaned over the fence. She talked to them so sweetly, saying, "Do you know that you are God's creatures, that He has made you, …" I can't remember what the rest of it was, but it was a lovely sermon. The effect on the dogs? They kept leaping and barking and looking like they wanted to tear out her throat.
It wasn't long after this that Ruby took a different tack. When the dogs saw her out in her yard and started barking up a storm, she rebuked them to cast out their demons, etc. The effect? Same as before.
Bikers used to live next door. Ruby said that she knew one of them from when he was a little kid and she had taught him in Sunday School. He looked like a big, mean guy, but she knew something about the hurting heart inside. She had always been kind to him when he was a child.
One night there was a big party going on next door. She marched over there around 2 a.m. and scolded her former Sunday School student, telling him, "What are you thinking of, making all this noise so far into the night? You know that Bud has a bad heart and needs to get his rest!" After chiding him, she returned home. I asked if they quieted down. She said no. Some time later, though, her former Sunday School student told her that he had never admired her more than the night she stood in her housecoat in the midst of all those big bikers and told him off.
After another six months of living with Bud and Ruby, I moved in with the lady who later became my stepmother. Bud and Ruby moved out to the boonies, so I didn't get to see them very much. One beautiful, sunny day, though, I drove out there to visit them. Ruby was on the phone and waved me in as I peered at her through the screen door. I went inside and rested on the couch, waiting for her to finish her conversation.
When she hung up the phone, she looked at me steadily and said in a matter–of fact–voice, "Bud died, but I don't feel that he is gone. I feel that he is still hovering around me." I nodded. It explained why I didn't feel like there was anything different in the atmosphere of the home.
He had nearly died of a heart attack thirteen years previously. While on an operating table, his convulsions suddenly ceased and, in that time, he saw a vision of Yehoshua. He said he saw colours that don't exist on Earth. Yehoshua gave him a choice about going Home right then and there, or living a while longer on the Earth. He replied, "I think that Ruby needs me." So God let him live longer and now his race was done. He was at Home and at rest.
Ruby said that she felt God took him out of the way because he would have held her back. He was always concerned about her poor health and he would never have consented to her going to the Arctic and to Africa. Ruby made her journeys to the Arctic during winter and to Africa in summer. They sure weren't planned for comfort, but she spoke with joy about her missionary travels.
One time when Ruby was in the Arctic, she became dangerously ill and was flown to a hospital in Edmonton. While there, she had a dream that Bud climbed into bed with her. He looked like he was in his thirties. He hugged her and said, "My poor Ruby, you're not feeling well, but you will be all right."
She then became conscious and heard a doctor telling a nurse to call her family together because she wasn't going to make it. She waved her arm to get their attention and said, "No, you don't have to call them. I'm going to be all right." They ignored her and brought Doug all the way from Japan, but she right. She recovered.
Ruby is a beautiful, beautiful lady. She has a great heart of love. Bud and Ruby contributed much towards building a Bible school in Ghana and were involved in other works in Ghana and Nigeria, including ministering to orphans. She has been a ruby indeed, in churches where she has ministered, to orphans and many other lives that she has touched.
Bud's Christian name is Stephen, which means "crown" and as a wife, she is a ruby in his crown. I feel that I was greatly privileged to live in their home and learn from these saints. Their love was a healing balm, in the midst of storms, a peaceful calm, and fulfilled what it says in Psalm 68:6 that, "God sets the solitary in families."
It makes me wonder about people in the church who are possibly being taken for granted like the Beasleys were, being judged without people really knowing them very well, treasures right under our noses, having no idea of the blessing those people could be to us, if we were to get to know them better.
The Beasleys were just a middle–aged couple, not glamourous, the husband quiet, the wife a prophetess and outspoken, to some people's annoyance. Young people tend to pay attention mostly to their own age group and overlook the blessing that older people could be to them. As for the Beasley's contemporaries, perhaps because their kids were not interested in going to church at that time, assumptions were made that they didn't have all that much to offer the Body of Christ, and yet both of them were faithful to the Lord and had seen Him do some amazing things in their lives. I am thankful that God connected me to them so that I got to know them better. I would not be as strong in the Lord as what I am today, if they had not been so kind and helpful to me.
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on October 6, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.