I love the book of Ruth. This short little gem, tucked neatly among the great historical books, is so rich in what’s actually some of the most pivotal points in christian history and full of deep revelation. What treasure these pages hold for those who don’t overlook it by just skimming through, as I easily did for so long. Once I stopped long enough to really meditate on the words, it changed my life. I discovered I wasn’t so much reading this story, but rather, it was reading me.
Usually, the main focus tends to be on Ruth and Boaz. Ruth being the great heroine, (after all, the book is named after her), with Boaz in close second and then some attention on the character of Naomi. While Ruth is most definitely a heroine for obedience and devotion, this post is about the FIRST great heroine of the story – the one that makes the rest of this hiSTORY possible – Naomi.
Naomi means “My joy; my bliss; the pleasantness of Jehovah. Suggestive of all that is charming, agreeable, attractive, beautiful and delightful.”
This story begins with her, who finds herself on a journey she never would’ve chosen for herself; one full of pain and heartache. A woman of God’s chosen people, who had to taste the bitter consequences of the choices that were made when she and her family went off to do life their own way. All the while, Naomi carried the truth that she knew was her hope and salvation, within her heart. Once there was nothing left of her own making to cling to, she decides to return to her home, the place of truth. Although she returns broken and bitter, she remains devoted to God, determined to live by His word no matter what. And this imprints on her daughter-in-law’s heart, sparking a deep hunger for the Lord in her and birthing a life-altering friendship that would change the course of history forever. All because of Naomi’s authentic pursuit of the Lord and unwavering faith.
Ruth sees Naomi suffer and walk through bitterness, while pursuing God and remaining steadfast in her faith in Him, when she decides she must follow her. It wasn’t AFTER everything got better for Naomi that Ruth wanted to glean from her wisdom and submit to her leadership. It was WHILE Naomi was walking through her storm that Ruth found herself desperate to follow. Because she could see that even in her darkest season, Naomi had something she so desperately wanted and needed. And because Naomi allowed Ruth to come alongside her in her journey, it was out of this friendship that God would change everything.
I am Ruth. I have one such friendship that changed the course of my life; a “Naomi” that God so strategically placed in my path during a season of desperation to go deeper with Him but so clearly needing guidance. He blessed me with a mentor and best friend who speaks into my life and calls out truth and leadership in me, which birthed a ministry in my heart and purpose for my life. She’s allowed me to come alongside her and do real life together, and because of that I understand what it is to serve the Lord and walk in unwavering faith in the midst of real storms.
Because of her transparency I understand what a real relationship with the Lord is and what it means to be a worthy vessel. And its not being perfect in my walk, never having bad days or hard seasons. She’s taught me that its a life living in His unending grace and walking in truth, serving from a place of devotion and thanksgiving. It’s standing in faith in His word without having to understand it all but just trusting Him no matter what, and then speaking it into existence. It’s one of the greatest and most invaluable gifts anyone could receive and a legacy that I’m purposing to pass on. It’s my prayer that everyone is blessed with a mentor, a “Naomi.”
“It’s not where you go or what you do that matters, it’s who you go and do it with.” – Layne Schranz
Heather Whidden loves Jesus, is married to her best friend and is mother of 3 blessings. She is a professional photographer and has a heart for ministry. She loves spending time with her family and friends, writing, reading, and traveling. Time and people is what she values most. You can read more about her here.