I am happy to have Carmen Horne, share this article as part of our Ruth Bible Study. Carmen knows what it means to be wounded and to heal.
Her father was an alcoholic and she was molested by a friend’s dad when she was a child. Healing her own damaged heart taught Carmen the hope she now offers to the brokenhearted. Plowing through unhealthy thinking in her own life shaped Carmen’s understanding of the power of perspective. Mentoring, lay counselling, and a listening ear are the original seeds of her ministry.
Carmen’s new book is Out of Words: 31 Prayers of Hope for Your Hurting Heart and its companion journal, Finding Words: Writing from Hurt to Hope. She is a contributor to 101 Secrets to a Happy Marriage — Thomas Nelson Publishers, Warrior Devotional — Declare Conference, The Message and Just Between Us magazines, and many online websites and blogs. Carmen writes…..
“May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” Ruth 2:12 NLT
Early in my leadership of our local church’s women’s ministry, my friend, Karen, stepped in to assist me. Neither of us knew what to expect. I had led other ministries but never women’s ministry. One day Karen said, “There is more to this than I thought.” We both laughed our selves silly.
There’s more to this than we thought could be the defining statement for life, couldn’t it?
Life rarely goes as expected. Our life is not turning out quite how we thought it would.
Naomi felt this way. If we create a life timeline for Naomi, we could see how nothing seemed to go as planned.
A severe famine came upon Israel, and Elimelech moved Naomi and their boysto Moab. Moab was not a desirable relocation. (Deuteronomy 23: 3-6; Isaiah 25:10-12) Elimelech died. Their two sons married Moabites, and her sons died ten years later. They are now women alone in a world that was not always kind to widows. All of this happened within the first five verses of the book of Ruth
Naomi was bitter. She saw herself as a Mara (bitter) rather than a Naomi (pleasant)I doubt Elimelech asked her opinion on the move to Moab. In their despair, Naomi decides to take the road that would lead them back to God.
What can we learn from Naomi and Ruth that will help us find hope when the unexpected happens?
Take the road back. If we realise we are in the wrong place, go back to where we wandered off God’s plan for our lives. God greets us with grace and mercy on our return.
Grieve hard transitions.Naomi and Ruth wept bitterly over their life circumstances. It’s okay tonot always be okay. “I’m convinced the prayers God understands most clearly are the tears streaming down our cheeks. Our tears speak volumes.”(Out of Words)
Begin again.Ruth was grieving the loss of her husband and living in a foreign country with a devastated mother-in-law. She had no assurances that the Israelites would accept her, and she sure didn’t know if she would find a husband. What she did know is that she trusted Naomi, and she had to go forward.
We may feel hopeless. Naomi sure did. We are shaken. We feel blindsided. But God is never caught off guard. He goes before us. When God allows the painful unexpected in our lives, He knows He will use it for eternal good. God is the Master Restorer, “Our heart will never be broken beyond God’s ability to repair it.” (Out of Words) We choose to allow God to begin placing the pieces of our lives back together again.
The rest of Ruth and Naomi’s story is a look at the gift of God’s favour. He provided for them and gave them pivotal roles in the genealogy of Jesus.
Ruth and Naomi’s hope is our hope, too. Our unexpected circumstances are a part of God’s expected outcome.
About the Author
Carmen Horne is an author, Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, speaker, and humorist who uses her gifts to encourage women. She is passionate about supporting women through life’s challenges as they learn to draw on God’s power and a dynamic relationship with Jesus to change their perspective on the unexpected.
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