Ruth & Naomi

I’m so excited because today is Thursday and tomorrow is Friday!  Why am I excited?  After being in Calculus class for ‘4-days’ this week, I get to use letters to form words instead of formulas.  YAY!  But I’m also excited about my ‘4-day school week’ being finished because I get the opportunity to study the Book of Ruth with several of my good friends.  Starting tomorrow, we embark on our journey through the Book of Ruth using the Bible study, Ruth: loss, love & legacy by Kelly Minter.  We will be following along with Beth Moore’s and her Siesta Summer Bible Study.  (If you’d like to follow along with us, you can read about it on the Living Proof Ministries Blog or at the Bible Café for Women website.)  Since I am the self-imposed leader of my group of friends, this week I thought I would read through the Book of Ruth. 

A couple of interesting details about the Book of Ruth if you’re not familiar with it.  It is one of two books of the Bible that has as it’s main character – a woman, Ruth.  It’s author is unknown but Jewish tradition ascribes it to Samuel.  It’s dated between 1050 B.C. and 500 B.C.  It’s read during the Jewish Festival – Shavuot.

However, what caught my eye this week was this statement; most will find it familiar because wives often say it to their husbands.  Ruth says, “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge” (Ruth 1:16).  Wow – talk about following someone.  As I continued to read about Ruth’s journey, my heart then realized that she not only was a follower but a server.  She served Naomi (her mother-in-law) by gleaning in the fields, helping to provide for the household.  Ah, but the Book of Ruth holds much more.  Rarely does any one look at the wisdom of Naomi – the wisdom of being a guide. 

In order to follow someone, one needs someone to follow – a guide.  Whether it’s a friend, a mom, a mother-in-law, a sister, a pastor, whoever it is, they need the wisdom of being able to guide.  Sometimes that means meeting with them, helping them with an action plan, or just listening to them vent.  It means being Naomi, telling someone exactly what to do, as in the case of Ruth.  But sometimes that means giving them space, as Naomi did in the case of Orpah. 

Recently, I went through this season in my life where I was mourning the loss of something I didn’t even know what was.  God was trying to change me but I was rebelling.  People I knew frustrated me; I was miserable attending church.  Like Orpah, I needed to return to my “mother’s house.”  My solution – remove those people from my life and change churches.  Events and situations occurred that smoothed the process along.  What I didn’t realize was that I needed space:  Space to grieve, Space to listen, Space to grow, Space to learn to follow, and Space to learn to serve.  [This blog is part of the Space to follow and serve.]  I just thought I was removing the “problems” from my life.

Often times when one is given space – one does not understand.  Thinking “I” had removed those people from my life, my heart would ache for them to call or e-mail me.  I wanted so much for them to reach out to me.  Recently, I came to the understanding that this was not the case.  In reality, I was on the receiving end of someone else’s instructions from God.

About this time last year, I attended a Renovaré Conference in San Antonio {I love that city} with several members of the church I attended.  One of the sessions I attended was Wil Hernandez’s lecture on Spiritual Accompaniment.  A year later, the lessons I learned then would come back to me in a real way.  Last year the lesson was when practicing Spiritual Accompaniment (guiding), one should allow for the gift of presence and absence.  Presence – being there when someone really needs us to be; Absence – sometimes backing off is the most loving thing to do.  When we are present when we need to be absent, giving the person answers and solving their problems for them, we can be intruding into God’s process of allowing them to suffer for the sake of their own healing.  In other words, we can abort the learning that God wants them (me) to learn. 

The real way I learned them was being on the Absence end.  (I was comfortable to being on the Presence end through meetings with people.)  With me being on the Absence end, that meant that someone else was on the Absence end.  As much as I wanted them to be present with me, their instructions from God was to be absent from me – giving me the space to grieve, listen and grow.  Like Naomi practicing absence with Orpah, telling her to return to her mother’s home. One person in particular who allowed me that gift I say Thank you (you know who you are) – you’ve been a Naomi to me, both as a Ruth and as a Orpah.  For those who don’t know that you’ve been part of my journey – thank you as well. 

That’s why I’m excited to journey with my friends with Ruth:  love, loss & legacy.  There has to be more!  Ultimately Christ is the Guide but He uses the example of Ruth to show us how following and serving is done.  My prayer is that as I continue to Follow 2 Serve Him, may I learn to follow and serve as Ruth did and guide as Naomi did.  

Lorna

PS.  I’ve often wondered if Orpah ever spoke to Naomi again.  What happened to her?  What did she do with her life?  I guess those are questions I’ll have to ask when I get to heaven.


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About Follow 2 Serve {Lorna}

I am a follower of Christ and I love to serve Him. I am married with two sons. I received my Liberal Arts Associate Degree in May of 2012. My hobbies are reading, crocheting, quilting, knitting, nature photography, and being with my sons.
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6 Responses to Ruth & Naomi

  1. Nancy says:

    🙂 Write on Lorna, write on.

  2. Amy Bayliss says:

    Oh this was such a great read. I know I have been there before. We always think we know where God is taking us in a journey and yet we end up somewhere so much better than we ever could have imagined. 🙂

    I often wondered the same thing about Orpah and Naomi. You have given me much to ponder!

  3. Thanks Amy! It’s amazing where we can land when we allow God to lead us. I love it! I’d love to hear your thoughts about Orpah and Naomi.

  4. Amydeanne says:

    i love the story of ruth and noami, it always surprises me what kind of relationship they must of had (cuz i can’t imagine doing that with my MIL haha).
    Great post!

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