Written by: Melissa Kruger
I always like to know a little something about an author before I sit down and open up his or her book. Today I’m over-the-top excited to share about a new book that comes out this Friday, GraceLaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart by Ruth Chou Simons. I can’t say enough how much I love what she’s done with this book. Her artistry is beautiful and at the same time her words and wisdom invite you to know God in a deeper way. She faithfully combines truth with beauty and it’s evident on every page that her creations reflect her love for our Creator. I’ve already ordered multiple copies for Christmas and birthday gifts and I can’t wait to give them to friends and family!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a mom to six boys (ages ranging from 4 to 15) and am married to my wise and wonderful husband, Troy. In the past two decades I've served as a pastor's wife, a church planter, and a school founder. My blog, GraceLaced, began 10 years ago, and then four years ago, I started the online Shoppe that features reproductions of my artwork. I write almost daily through social media, hoping to encourage with beauty and truth through Instagram and Facebook. I need to preach truth to myself daily, and figure other women could use the encouragement as well.
My first book GraceLaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart releases September 1. It's a collection of foundational truths grounded in the Word-- truths we need remember as we walk through different seasons of our sanctification.
You have an amazing ability to share truth in a beautiful way. When did you first start writing and sharing your art with others?
While I've always enjoyed writing and art, I didn't grow up thinking those gifts would be used in Kingdom ways. I somewhat dismissed those interests and maybe for the better, as at the time, they would've reflected my own pride more than my current desire to simply reflect the beauty of Christ. I had been blogging for sometime when I joined Instagram. The platform is so visually based that it quickly allowed me to combine my love for beauty and art with short thoughts I process and work through in my day to day.
What encourages your creative process? How do you work best?
My greatest inspiration comes when I don't study other people's work and creations. Don't get me wrong—it's always worthwhile to study the Masters and current artists—but I think that in a social media saturated day and age, it's a detriment to be constantly watching what’s being created around you. Instead, I find my greatest inspiration by going out into nature, by experiencing God's grandeur in ways I can't produce. The humbling that occurs when you're blown away by His majesty in big and minute details gives great motivation to reflect His creativity.
What led you to write GraceLaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart?
There often seems to be a lack of resources that combine beauty and artistry with meaty content and theological depth. The two worlds don't seem to intersect very often. My hope was to create a book in a genre that perhaps did not currently exist—one that allows someone to appreciate the experience of handcrafted, original artwork AND sound teaching from the Word. I longed to write a primer of sorts—a collection of devotional readings that would go beyond a pep talk but would rather direct our affections toward God's Word and the gospel of Christ.
What's the central message you hope readers will take away from your book?
The central message is that we must preach the unchanging truths of God's Word to ourselves because seasons change, both in our lives as well as our walks with the Lord. Because we often wrestle perennially with seasons of doubt, identity, obedience, and trust, the book is organized by "seasons of the heart," in which we must REST in God's character (Winter), REHEARSE the truth of our identity in Christ (Spring), RESPOND in faith (Summer), and REMEMBER God's provisions when we grow weary (Fall). My desire is that this book would be a slow and thoughtful meditation . . . a lingering on each of these 32 truths in and through each season we encounter.
How has writing this book affected your own life?
Because I wrote this book through an unexpectedly difficult season in our family's story, I couldn't just write these words; I had to apply them in moment by moment ways. I began writing the Winter season first, as it is where I both began personally—in needing to rest in the character of God, but also because we can only act in fruitful obedience in response to who He is.
Here’s a sneak peek from the book:
"If we fix our minds on all that might go wrong, we will anxiously work to never miss a step. We will trust in ourselves, calculate every move, and worry about what we can't know. But when we fix our minds on Jesus and trust Him, we find He gives lasting peace that He not only secures but sustains." (pg. 197)
"We miss the lesson when we pick at the thorn . . . nurse it . . . bemoan it . . . curse it. The enemy would have us so blinded by the pain of the thorn that we can't see the beauty of the rose garden. I've been there so many times . . . so consumed by the discomfort that won't go away that I can't experience what fragrance of grace lies just ahead. Look past the thorn to how Christ is enough in the midst of it. His grace is sufficient for the thorn He chooses not to remove." (pg. 28)
Here’s what others are saying:
“There is art that is beautiful and which causes you to pause and consider Him—and then there is that art that so swells with His beauty that you can't help but take off your shoes. Ruth's art, by brushstroke and pen, is the most exquisite kind of creative expression in that it made me want to put down her work and peer more closely at God. I have a growing list of friends for whom I want to gift this book. It's too good not to share again and again.” —Sara Hagerty, author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet
“Ruth Simons, mama to 6 boys, and one breathtaking artist (our walls sing with her gorgeous, edifying prints), is a mentor to me in many soul, life-giving ways. Have you seen Ruth's paintings? Four of these exquisite wonders hang on walls in our home . . . and one of those paintings, God used to lead us through the hardest season . . . and her Instagram feed? her blog? her book? can be like a gift of manna.” —Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts and The Broken Way
“How amazing is it, mamas, to have the beautiful, powerful, never-failing word of God all over our homes? I love that Ruth is using her incredible talent to help us follow God’s commands so beautifully through her book, GraceLaced: Disovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart.” —Korie Robertson, of A&E’s Duck Dynasty and author of Strong and Kind: Raising Kids of Character
If you had an afternoon to do whatever you'd like, where would we find you?
It's surprising even to me, but I've grown into quite the outdoor adventuring boy-mom. These days, there’s no place I’d rather be than to be four-wheeling over a 13,000ft mountain with my six boys and my husband, discovering roads less traveled and taking in the wonder of His creation. It's so easy to think on the greatness of God when you witness the care and creativity in the work of His hands.
Ruth Chou Simons is an artist, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker who shares her journey of how God’s grace intersects daily life through word and brush at GraceLaced.com—the popular blog, online shoppe, and Instagram community that welcomes thousands daily.
Ruth is an unlikely mom to six young boys and wife to Troy, with whom she leads GraceLaced’s small but mighty team. When not painting, writing, and casting vision for GraceLaced.com, Ruth is usually busy eating chips and salsa, sorting laundry, cooking for large crowds, not finishing her sentences, and discovering off-beaten paths in the wild with her guys. She is a devotee of pho, a recovering perfectionist, a converted four-wheeling enthusiast, and a believer in waiting upon her Redeemer through every season.