Be a Ruth
The Honor of Honoring Women
Be a Ruth
"Look, said Naomi, 'your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.' But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."
My daughter recently gave birth to a precious little boy. Since we live in Minnesota, everyone was pretty much indoors, hibernating over the cold, snowy months. What a surprise her neighbors got when they saw her pushing a stroller in April! They had no idea she was pregnant. Where did this baby come from?
Where do any of us come from? We are all amazing miracles created by God in our mother's womb. What an honor that God chose to partner with women to bring forth new life. I love being a woman. Do you? Are you able to celebrate your femininity? I hope our culture hasn't taken that away from you. Women are a reflection of God's heart, beauty, and grace; the crown jewel of creation. How can we honor our place in the world? What does scripture teach us about living in relationship with the women in our life, especially within our families?
Each May, we celebrate Mother's Day. It's not a religious holiday, but there is good reason to pause and reflect on the gift of motherhood. Mothers are the heart of a home. When done right, they are a beautiful reflection of God as the life-giver and life sustainer. Reading Ruth, this year, gave me a lightbulb moment: Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law. I knew that but hadn't made mental note of that fact until now. She wasn't even Ruth's mother. She was a foreigner that was likely very different from Ruth. You might think your mother-in-law is not just a foreigner, but from another planet! If so, take a deep breath and keep reading.
I have a son who recently married, giving me a daughter-in-law. This turn of events made me what our society would call "the dreaded Mother-in-law!” But, are mothers-in-law to be dreaded? Or, could they be incredible allies? Maybe they are a second mother given to us because God knew we would need extra support in our adult lives. What about our daughters-in-law? Sure, you may feel a twitch in your heart while watching a new woman steal his. But, you've raised him for this! The reward of seeing your son become a loving husband is the perfect salve to soothe over any loss you feel.
We can learn much from Ruth's and Naomi's examples. We don't know what their relationship was like before their husbands died, but we get to read about how their relationship blossomed when they stuck together in hardship. I encourage you to read their story in the book of Ruth. It's only 4 short chapters, but so inspiring! Their faithfulness to each other laid the foundation for God to bring forth a powerful show of His goodness. Sticking together was the right thing to do. When all seemed lost, they joined arms in faithful devotion. God richly rewarded them. It would have been easy to part ways, but staying together brought them honor and prosperity.
I witnessed this play out in my own family. My grandma died, after being struck by a drunk driver, when I was just 5 years old and my mom was a mere 27 years old. A year later, my other grandma became a widow. This led to a special relationship between my mom and her mother-in-law. My mom would tell you that her mother-in-law became a second mother to her. My grandma lived with us for half of the year. She traveled with us. She baked her famous apple pie in my mom's oven. We chatted and chuckled at the dinner table. My life was enriched by the relationship they enjoyed.
A couple of weeks ago, I opened a Mother's Day card from my husband, to read Proverbs 31:26; "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." I'd like to be that woman. What changes would you need to make to be that woman? How would your relationships change, if you spoke from a place of wisdom, kindness, and faithfulness? A bonus is that your example shapes the way people treat you, and if you have children, it will teach them how to treat you in years to come.
Decide ahead of time to honor other women with your words and actions. Be a witness of Jesus through your counter-culture kindness. Choose to see others as they will be when they are made complete in Jesus. After all, we are all a work in progress. Our rough edges are being filed down, and sometimes, lopped off! A patient response, and a kind word, go a long way toward building better relationships. Ask God to help you be patient and kind, even when it takes discipline to do so.
Be a champion for women. Be the first to notice the good in your mother. Be quick to compliment your daughter. Be the one who sings your mother-in-law's praises. Find out what your daughter-in-law likes, and be that for her! If we live in our strengths, I believe women can be a powerful force for all that is good and right. Be a "Ruth" to other women, and God will honor you for it.
With whatever encouragement you have received, please share it with someone else today!
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.