One thing that really stood out from last week (besides watching West Side Story twice- my daughter is going through a massive Shakespear phase) was my She ReadsTruth devotional. I had just begun Women in the Bible, part 3 and it began with the story of Ruth, my favorite... and the sad story of her mother-in-law Naomi- a woman I tend to kind of skip over because she depresses me. Just being honest. Her life is in crumbles for most of the story, and it makes me sad even though it eventually has a happy ending- when she's old. You can read the entire devotional and find the corresponding bible passages here, but the part that resonated with me and encouraged me deeply is pasted below because I had to share. It follows the move from her homeland, the death of Naomi's husband, and both of her grown sons, and the fact that she's just asked people to quit calling her by her first name, and instead has given herself a new name that means "bitter". I've read it through at least five times already because there is deep truth here for any of us who have questioned the path we've been given to walk and haven't particularly enjoyed it along the way because it wasn't the kind of season (or life?) we had planned out for ourselves.
Ever been there? Yeah. About that...
"All Naomi knows is that she is right smack dab in an awful season of her life. She does not realize she is also in the middle of one of the Bible’s most beautiful and redemptive love stories. She does not seem to remember that the Lord loves her and works all things together for the good of those who love Him, even when He allows pain and hardships to pass through His hands. She has not yet learned that it is very unwise to rename yourself something that does not line up with a biblical and holy view of the Lord.
We quote that beautiful line from Ruth all over town these days. Where you go, I’ll go. Where you stay, I’ll stay. Your people, my people and your God – my God. There aren’t really more powerful words of devotion that a human can give to another human. And yet, Naomi seems to glance over it as if nothing has happened. She renames herself according to her pain instead of embracing the name God has given her by His grace.
Sister, don’t you rename yourself. You see a tiny portion of your life; you do not see the entire story. Don’t name your day or your life or your identity based on any untruth about the Lord. You don’t know what happens next in your story, but you absolutely know the Lord wants good for you all the days of your life. You absolutely can bet on the truth that you are loved with an everlasting Love and you have a Father who will take care of all that you need.
Wait for the Lord. Wait for Him to turn the page before you rename yourself."
Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
I think I just let out a big sigh... every time I look at that sign in my kitchen I will be reminded to just do today.