Inside Out 285: Surviving Other People’s Choices

08.21.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Your wife leaves, and now you have a house full of children and a mortgage you never thought you’d have to manage on your own.

Your financial manager took--well, he took everything--and now not only must you let go of your retirement dreams, it looks like you’ll have to sell the house to pay for the children’s education.

Someone you will never meet has stolen your identity, and you have no idea what it will take, or how long it will take, to restore your reputation.

Were you making good choices, but now live with the devastating consequences of someone else’s neglect or addiction or greed? Have someone else’s actions—whether accidental or intentional--changed your life, maybe forever?

How do you move on? How can you find--and hold on to--hope?

“God said something in His Word and He said it several times. He did not tell us to conjure courage,” says Cynthia Ruchti, our guest on Inside Out and the author of the new book Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices. “He said, ‘Take courage,’ as if He was holding out His palm with this batch of courage in it for us, and our only need  is to reach out and take what He has provided.”

Through the true stories in Ruchti’s Ragged Hope, we meet people who have weathered the unwelcomed changes in their lives and retained at least a “fingernail hold” onto hope.

We invite you to listen to our conversation about these real people who have something to teach us about surviving in brutal circumstances. Click on one of the icons above (Listen or Download) to hear the full interview.

And we want you to know that, even in the most unfair of circumstances, God is not absent. He has not overlooked you. “God has known and understood this process of other people hurting us from the beginning of time,” Ruchti says in the recorded conversation. “Jesus was the Person who bore the consequences of someone else’s bad choices. He’s the ultimate example of that. So if anybody could understand, he could.”

Learn more about Cynthia Ruchti and her book Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices,


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 08.21.13 anon commented

He is still working on me - especially in the area of

"life goes on---long after the thrill of living is gone"

My life is very blessed- I know this to be true- but old feelings during new stressful times- bring old thoughts back...... and I find myself apologizing to God..... for wishing I was done here.

Man has labled me due to my tweeks- but I earned my tweeks- by holding on to what I know of God- even when others harmed me physically and emotionally (multiple times in my life). Even when someone killed my mom and got away with it here on this planet-
Man says I should/could be on meds which will alleviate PTSD - but I tried meds, and two times the meds almost killed me.
It is in always knowing that God alone is my protector and always will be.... that keeps me knowing I can and will handle new traumas and dramas. During the brief moments or days of torment---- I sometimes have a hard time submitting to ask for freedom from the symptoms- asking can seem to hard- yet too easy to really work.... but HE never lets me down---He places the right person/verse or song where I will see it- and I bring my thoughts into His light-and He subsides the confusion and pain.

on 08.21.13 Pam Testa commented

I listen to your radio all the time. I, my sister and my cousin have suffered our whole lives for my Uncle's choices. Making us work starting at 7-8-9 ages. Beat us upon beat us to no end making us do man work. Physical and mental abuse. It was farm work and were never allowed to shower before school. Our whole lives I guess each of us have been looking for the pat on the head. Well, my life has been one crisis after another. I over work and be the best I can be to be harassed. etc. I have been on my spiritual search now since 09 and keeps me thinking and hanging on. I think I might find happieness the day I die.

on 08.21.13 Deb Ackley commented

(((((((PAM))))))))) YOU are a beautiful and VERY WORTHY daughter of the King- He loves you and will comfort and grow you. Cry for the little girl that you were- then envision her into the 23rd Psalm- let her go- let her live IN the Psalm as YOU move on- into YOUR new days my friend.

on 08.24.13 Cynthia Ruchti commented

So much heartache brought about by other people's bad decisions, mistakes, or cruelty! As I read of more of these stories here, I cry out to God on behalf of those whose tears are dust dry, whose hearts are breaking. God of Hope, restore the joy!

on 08.29.13 Deb Ackley commented

Cynthia- I just read a statement on page 29 which says it all.
"Every time I see something beautiful and sigh with delight, I chalk up another defeat for one who wanted to hurt me."
Each of those moments bring us closer to not recalling the hurt, due to His healing grace and mercy for those who refuse to be victims.

on 03.21.14 ramagnes commented

Ragged Hope recounts 25 true stories of individuals and families who have survived the fallout of other people’s choices. Their struggles run counter to the glamorized infotainment that permeates our news. Matching story with scripture Cynthia Ruchti concludes each story with Reflections and If you know…

The Reflections include comments about the story and raise thought-provoking questions. For example, in the “Thousand Bad Decisions” story the author comments and asks:
But many sorrows are a reflection of a much longer history than a single choice. In your own situation, can you trace back to
“So, that’s where it all started”?

The section If you know someone like the person in the story relates follow up information and advice. For example, in the “Thousand Bad Decisions” story Cynthia reports that after 17 years in prison Max found Christ through the visitation and encouragement of a caring Christian, not a jail minister. She asks:
Is someone’s turning point waiting for you to abandon your hesitation?
She concludes the story with this verse:
Follow my example, just like I follow Christ’s. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (Common English Bible)

Ruchti’s counselor-teacher approach (a result of 33 years of leading retreats and hosting a radio program) is applied Christianity. Her book can be an understanding friend for those going through similar struggles. For old and new Christians her book can be an invaluable training tool. For high school and college young people, her book is a window on the real world, a troubled world but with “Hope that glows in the dark”.
And hope does not disappoint. Romans 5:5 (New American Standard Bible)




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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