Naomi is one of those women that you know of, but have never really known. Because of her more famous daughter-in-love Ruth, the spotlight has always just missed her. About three years ago at a Women’s Bible Study, that all changed for me. I connected with Naomi over the fact that we had both endured the unspeakable – the burial of our children. This is a club few are in and none want to belong to; when you come across other members, you tend to gravitate toward them. That semester was eye-opening for me as Naomi (with Ruth) shared her heart, hurts, and healing with our group.
I reconnected with Naomi last summer for a week and I learned even more from this wonderfully pleasant woman of God. Through her losses, Naomi remained rooted in the knowledge that God is sovereign. She is the first to confess that her losses weren’t easy to endure. (She actually renamed herself “Mara” for a time, which translates bitter.) Her grief was often ugly! Her faith in His sovereignty wasn’t rooted in her feelings, however, as mine tend to be. For Naomi, His sovereign control was a firm & unwavering fact. She knew (with the great Patriarch of her faith, Job) that God gives and God takes away. He is sovereign in the giving and He is still sovereign in the taking away.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21 (NASB)
I invite you to spend some time with Naomi this week. She is a woman who has journeyed through the valley of the shadow of death many times. Because of that, she is uniquely qualified to lead you as you learn to trust in His sovereignty through your own valleys.
I met Hannah’s son, Samuel, several times at church when I was young. Like all the other boys and girls, I was more interested in the kids like me than I was in their parents. Because of that, I never paid much attention to Moms before I became one myself.
Hannah and I got together several times last summer and I got to know her less as “Sam’s mom” and more as a kindred spirit. I was genuinely surprised to learn that we shared so much in common! God has given us both three sons and two daughters. We both raised one child fewer than we birthed, those children no longer in our household from the tender ages of 2 or 3 years. We both have attentive and devoted husbands who love us deeply and desire our lives lived with them to be happy. We’ve both experienced heart-deep sorrow that can only be (partially) purged through tears and crying out to God. We both have transparent faces. Our hearts are displayed in our countenances.
I learned so much from Hannah as we spent that time together. The two things that stick out most are the differences in our responses to heartache and acceptance of God’s timing in response to our prayers. Hannah’s heartache drove her to her knees, to the Lord in prayer, whereas my own usually takes the scenic route to God, preferring to drive by a person “with skin on” on my way to Him. I was encouraged by her example to cry out to Him first. Hannah is also the most persistently prayerful person I know. Her persistence in prayer (even in the midst of what appears to be unanswered prayer, even though His answer took years to become sight) encourages me when I don’t yet see His fingerprints in answer to my own long-prayed prayers and am tempted to give up.
I invite you to get to know Hannah this week for yourself. She’ll rub off on you, in the best way. Click here to meet Hannah.