0

Ruth Part 3: No Turning Back, No Turning Back

IMG_1519

When Ruth made her declaration to stay with Naomi, adopt her people’s ways, and put her faith in God, she knew that the future was uncertain, that her problems wouldn’t be solved immediately, and there would be tough times ahead. Yet she was determined.

It reminds me of the old song, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” by S. Sundar Singh.

“I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

I have decided to follow Jesus;

No turning back, no turning back.”

I imagine her singing this on that long road to Bethlehem. As doubt crept in, wondering what life would be like, she sang, determined to follow her God.

On the road to Bethlehem, Ruth knew that life was going to be hard. Probably much harder than she could imagine. She’d just left her homeland, the friends and family she’d grown up with and acceptance in exchange for a life with nothing but question marks.

  • Would the Israelites accept her? Could they see past her nationality and see her faith in God?
  • How would they survive? Where would they get food? Where would they find protection?
  • Would she ever have another husband? Children? Hope of a future?
  • What would her new life be like? She had to learn the ways, ideas, culture of the Hebrews without the guarantee of being accepted among them.

She was adopting a new home nation but there was no promise of security.

One thing is for certain: her faith in God was resolute. She trusted Him to provide, protect, and guide. She hadn’t grown up hearing about Jehovah, but she had met Him and made a decision to follow Him. God wasn’t just her husband’s family’s God. He was now hers, it was personal.

Even if you don’t grow up hearing about Christ, or going to church, the choice is still yours to make. Will you follow Christ? Do you follow Christ? Do you have a personal relationship with the Savior?

Ruth decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.  That’s some faith.

(Ruth)

Advertisements
0

Ruth Part 2: The Choice

IMG

After Elimelek and his sons died, Naomi and her daughters-in-law had to come up with a plan of survival. They were left with nothing; Naomi was in a foreign land with no family or income, and certainly no prospects. And custom said her two daughters-in-law were under her care until they remarried. So Naomi came up with a plan.

Naomi decided it was time for her to return home to her family. So she and her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, start on the road to Bethlehem. But before they’d gone too far, Naomi tells Orpah and Ruth to “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home” (Ruth 1:8.) Naomi knew that it would be hard for them to be accepted as foreigners in Bethlehem, they were Moabite women, after all, and Israelites were not supposed to be friends with them. And while it pained her to part ways, she thought that their best bet was to stay in their homeland and go back to their own families. Clearly, these women loved each other very much. They were family.

Eventually Orpah says goodbye and heads back. But Ruth…she’s not going anywhere.

And here’s where I get caught up. Why not go home? Why stay on the course to becoming a social outcast living a destitute life? Why wouldn’t she want to see her mom and dad, and start fresh with their help? Why not go back?

Was it because their custom had married her off very young and Naomi was more like a mother to her than her own? She had grown up with Naomi, and she dearly loved her. Maybe there are circumstances we don’t know that influenced her decision. But it doesn’t matter, not really because her answer to Naomi says it all. It’s a very familiar passage of Scripture…but I had to look closely to understand.

“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.” (Ruth 1:6)

Basically, “Don’t make me go. You are my home now and your people will be mine. And most importantly, your God is MY GOD.”

Do you see it? It’s not about Ruth’s family and it’s not even about Naomi. It’s about God. In the time that Ruth lived as Naomi’s daughter-in-law, she saw the way Naomi lived, the way her family worshiped God, the way God loved them. They introduced her to a loving and faithful God. She saw the faith of her husband’s family and saw that the God in whom they put their faith was the one true God. And nothing…nothing…was going to keep her from her God.

Moab was a land of idols and false gods. And she wanted no part of that lifestyle. She was a changed woman, God touched her heart and her life and she knew He would take care of her. There was no going back. And she knew that by staying with Naomi and joining God’s people, her faith would grow and be nurtured.

Ruth wasn’t choosing her husband’s family over her own. Ruth chose her husband’s God, the great I AM, the King of Kings, the Almighty God over the false gods and idols of her country, her past.

Ruth chose God.

(Ruth)

0

Ruth Part 1: A Tragic Beginning

IMG

I’m back and caffeinated and ready to dig deep into the book of Ruth, one of the two books of the Bible named for a woman.  So, grab your cup and get ready to enjoy God’s grace.

Ruth is a wonderful story of love and commitment, but honestly, something has always puzzled me…I’ve never understood how a girl could choose another family over her own.  Of course, I realize there are many things that play into her choice.  Maybe she didn’t come from a loving family.  Maybe she had been married off so young, as was often the case, that her husband’s family had become closer to her than her own.  Maybe my own experiences growing up in a wonderful family full of God’s love make it hard for me to imagine saying goodbye forever.  But, there’s something I’ve never really considered until now…her faith in God.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  In fact, let’s take a cue from The Sound of Music and start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 21:25)  There was international strife and upheaval, and not surprisingly, there was famine in the land.  Elimelek was in a tight spot, there was no food to feed his wife and sons, so they went off to Moab in search of a better life.  However, his decision to go to Moab was in direct violation with God’s instructions (don’t associate with anyone from Moab and don’t seek friendship with them. Deuteronomy 23:3-6)

While there, Elimelek died leaving behind his wife, Naomi and two sons. Those sons married Moabite women and ten years later, the young husbands died.  Remember, women depended on men to provide for them, without them, they were left with nothing, destitute.  And custom expected daughters-in-law to live with their mother-in-law until they remarried.

Naomi and her daughters-in-law are in quite the jam: what now?

(Ruth)

 

0

Tea Party Time!

Have you been to a tea party lately?

Our Bible study group ended our year with a very fancy tea party.  No paper cups for us!  No sweat pants allowed!  We got dressed up for each other, enjoyed a delicious potluck of mini sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and tea, and spent our time talking about God’s goodness.

After a year of drawing nearer to God, digging deeper in his Word, praying for one another, rejoicing together, and enjoying close fellowship with each other, don’t you think that’s reason to get all gussied up and celebrate?

To make this tea party extra special, I started my planning early and created quite the shopping list of decorations and accessories before heading to my local thrift store.  I found adorable teacups and saucers, a sweet embroidered tablecloth, some fake flowers, plus odds and ends for DIY projects including making these cute serving dishes (the before pictures)…

photo 2(1) photo 1(1)

 A yard sale hunt produced tissue paper poofs to hang, a crocheted table runner, and a plastic tablecloth to go with the thrift store find.  Slowly, I pieced together the dishes, decorations, and cuteness that would turn into a charming gathering.  Next, I turned to pinterest for some other cheap/free ideas…and found project gold. And lastly, I shopped my home for things I could repurpose for the fete and came up with some cute sophisticated finds.

Yes, this tea party was came together quite nicely.  And completely within budget proving you can get ultra fancy for pennies!

After I gathered my loot, I then had to sort, clean, and create until it looked like this:

IMG_2620

IMG_2621

One of my favorite things I made (pinterest!) was the discussion bouquet. I found the paper roses idea on pinterest but then I took it a step further by writing discussion questions on the inside of the paper about our year.  Questions like “If you could invite a Bible woman to lunch, who would you choose and why?” and “What are your spiritual/personal goals for this coming year?”

IMG_2620

I love how the bouquet looks and I love that the total cost was something like 50 cents (I already had the pot!) And even better than how it looked, I loved our discussion!  It’s amazing to hear how God is moving in our lives and to remember how much God has done for us by looking over our prayer journal and seeing so many answers to prayer.

As for what I found at the cute little shop called home, I found this candelabra and paired it with one of my necklaces for some extra glamour.   Doesn’t it look fab sitting next to my new DIY cake stand!

IMG_2622

My big splurge was a teapot shaped chalkboard from Michael’s. A whole $3!  But it was so perfect and adorable and I had a blast drawing on it.  And there, to the left is my super inexpensive new DIY 3 tiered server!

tea party

As a little party favor, I thought a new bookmark for everyone’s Bible would be sweet. So I printed a list of the women we studied on scrapbook paper I already owned and put it in this sweet little presentation, which I also saw on pinterest. Adorable!

IMG_2619

The night before the party, everything was set up and looking charming, when I decided I wasn’t finished.  I created a cute little sign for my front door with the help of pinterest, my printer, scrapbook paper, and a frame I already owned to set the mood for a fun, sweet, darling celebration and to welcome all the ladies.  Here’s what it looked like…

IMG_2627

When you put it all together (including the amazing food everyone brought,) I think even Fancy Nancy would be proud. I sure did feel like Fancy Nancy that morning!

tea party me

We had such a blast at our tea party, I wonder why we don’t do this more often?  God is an extraordinary God and we are His beautiful creations. We should celebrate His goodness more often!

0

Renewable Energy

I saw this on facebook and had to laugh.  And then I sort of wanted to cry because it seems so true. How do I find the answer to my energy crisis?  And this might sound crazy, but I think I’ve figured out a trick that helps. It might surprise you.

My light bulb moment came during worship time in church.  We sang the song, “Everlasting God,” and when I sang the phrase, “You do not faint, You won’t grow weary,” I quickly looked up that verse in the Bible and saw this:

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Of course we’re going to be tired.  BUT, if we hope in the Lord, we will be renewed.  We will be able to keep going.  I can have the strength to raise my boys for the Lord rather than drop from exhaustion because

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) including chase after my boys when my tank is on empty.  I need to head on over the Lord’s station put my hope in Him again and renew my strength so I can do all things.

After all, “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) even having enough energy for those cute little energy thieves to siphon my energy and still make it through the day.  Earthly wisdom says I should exhausted all the time because of all we have to do, people on the street even comment on how busy I must by and wonder how I do it.   Here’s how I do it, I “trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5.)  My understanding are the dark circles under my tired eyes, but I become more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37.)

Am I tired?  Am I exhausted? I am overwhelmed? YES! Quite often!  But there is hope for those of us who feel tired! There’s energy and life and grace for those of us who live in chaos with children (and whatever other chaos!) Think about the song, “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham:

“Who brings our chaos back into order…
The King of Glory, the King of Glory”

I realized that despite my tiredness…and despite knowing how tired I might be in the chaos of the coming weeks and months, I have hope in my Father, who gives me strength beyond my understanding, strength and energy to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint, to be more than a conqueror, and to be confident that the He will bring my chaos back into order.

I hope this encourages you, and reminds you to put your hope in the our AWESOME God.  Are you ready for some strength and energy?

0

Bedtime Baloney

image(25)

Last night, I let the boys stay up for 30 extra minutes because we have family visiting. I was trying to be nice, giving them extra time with family we don’t see too often.

BAD. IDEA.

The usually smooth bedtime for Diego and Isaac was a hot mess of tears, whining, attitudes, and acrobatics.

“I don’t have to go to the bathroom.  I’m not going to.”

“I don’t want that one.  I want what he has.”

The interruptions started before we finished “Dear Jesus” during our prayer time.

“I don’t want this here.”

“Mommy, I need your help.”

I have to say, I was starting to lose my cool.  My afternoon hadn’t gone as planned and I was not in the mood for nonsense.  One of the reasons my brother and his wife are visiting is because my husband and I had hoped to get away for one night this weekend.  It would be the first time we’d both be away from the boys for a night. It was a big deal, and I was really looking forward to a time with just my hubby…and I was really looking forward to sleeping in past 7am and lazily rolling out of bed.

This afternoon, I got a call that changed my plans.  Something came up at work and my husband told me to pack his bag, he was coming home to change, pick it up and leave.  When he got home, he said things changed and he’d actually be leaving the next day.  Our night away turned into dinner and a movie, assuming all goes well and he comes back on time.

While disappointed, I was pretty ok about the whole thing.  I feel incredibly blessed with all the great experiences we’ve had recently.  Plus he did the dishes and clean up so I could sit down and put my feet up.  Have I mentioned I love this guy?

So I sat down to write a “Get Real” post.  I hit “save” and lost everything I’d written.  Are you kidding me?!   To say I was annoyed is putting it mildly.  But I couldn’t do anything about it, not to mention, it was time for the boys to go to bed.  So now you know my mindset heading into this bedtime nightmare.

After making it through the crying and the meltdowns about this and that, I finally finished up their bedtime routine, kissed each, and left.  Then I made the mistake of going to the bathroom.  That’s when the wailing started, “Maaaaaaama. Maaaaama.”

Seriously?  I’m just looking for two minutes peace!  When I get to the bedroom, I see Isaac hanging precariously and purposefully out of his bottom bunk bed.  I mean, his entire upper body is hanging off the mattress while his lower body is laying on the bed perpendicular.  If only I had the ab strength to do such a stunt.

“I fell.”

WHAT?! You don’t just suddenly halfway fall out of your bed into that position!  

Annoyed, and not hiding it well, I put him back in the bed and go to the living room and sit down.

“Mama? Mama?”  Lord, please help me, I’m about to lose it.  “Look,” he says and points to his blanket which was no longer tucked in how he likes it.

Blanket fixed, I kiss each of them and start to leave when Diego complains, “Isaac keeps scaring me and…” but before he finishes, I cut him off. I’d had enough of their bedtime shenanigans.

I sweetly warned them that if either of them makes another peep again, they’d go to go to bed before Justus tomorrow.  I left their room and reheated my tea before I heard Isaac start whining for me again.  My wonderful hubby took one look at me (the smoke coming from my ears and the horns growing out of my head) and told me he’d take care of it.

Sometimes bedtime just STINKS.

 

0

Movin’ Right Along…

image(24)

I guess it’s time to tell you why I’ve been a little stressed.  Being a military family, we’re used to moving, and it’s that time again.  We’ll be moving in the fall, but I’m already gearing up for it by working on big projects (I despise having to take unfinished projects to the next place!) and also, even bigger than that, getting our house ready to sell.  I love my house. I LOVE my house.  It’s the first house we’ve owned and I’m going to miss it.  It’s also the first house we’ve needed to sell, and as any of you who have sold a house know, it’s stressful.  Right now, I’m in the purging and cleaning and organizing phase prior to listing it, but I want my house to look its best to potential buyers.

Have I mentioned I also have 3 boys? Pray for me. Hehehe.

I apologize if my posts are more sporadic and even slightly distracted.  That’s just where my head is during this crazy time.  I’m a wee bit overwhelmed, though I do feel peace in my heart.  It’s fun to move to a whole new place, a whole new adventure, but it’s also a lot of work.  And it’s sad thinking about leaving friends and an area of the country we’ve grown to love and enjoy.  So, we just won’t think about it.  Instead, we’ll think about my art supply hutch that needs a good purging.  And the awesome squadron posters that need to be framed so they’re ready to go up on the wall in the next place.  I’ll dream about a new house we’ll call home and the fun adventures we’ll have exploring a new area.

And, I’ll lean on the everlasting arms.