Thursday, October 24, 2013

When The Unthinkable Happens (book club/Bible study notes, chapter 1)

Today the very first online group for my book Postcards From The Widows' Path begins! Sign-up began last Thursday and the response was so immediate I realized I need to start another group after Christmas! For more information about the group, please click here. And if you'd like to get on the list for the group in January, please message me on Facebook or email me at

If you'd like to follow along on your own, or even form your own local group, I'll post the book club notes here on the blog from now to Thanksgiving. Each day will offer correspond to a chapter in my book and offer three things:
  • brief author notes
  • discussion questions
  • a personal prayer 
But you don't need to purchase the book in order to benefit from these daily posts. The Bible is the best teacher of all, and if you follow the Scripture passages along with me, the Lord will use them to guide you through your own widow's path.

If you're leading a group, a weekly discussion guide is available here for you to copy and print. Or if you'd prefer, I'll mail you a printed copy if you'll email me and make sure I have the mailing address you want it sent to. There is no charge for the discussion guide.

Today's book group notes follow in blue. The rest will appear on weekdays for the next 24 days. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for bearing with this rather long post today so I could present these preliminaries. As always, if this post arrives in your email inbox and the underlined links don't work, simply click on the title line to get to the website and go to them from there. 

This first chapter of Ruth is heavy with grief. Others’ grief---Naomi’s especially—may uncover more of your own. Take this study at your own pace, and if “the sorrows like sea billows roll,” call out for some help from your Lifeboat group or local widow friends, GriefShare group, pastor, church women's ministry leaders, or counsellor.

Romans 15:4 tells us "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." This is God's promise to us! Hope! I distinctly gasped for hope as a widow. Have you felt that way too?
Some days I was overwhelmed and struggled for hope like a fish out of water. As I began to understand the widows in Ruth, I discovered that Naomi--full of despair, and Ruth--full of determination, were role models God provided for me. Through story-telling rather than finger wagging, their examples pointed out to me the dangerous valleys and blind canyons of grief and the profound beauty and breathtaking meaning of eternity.
Grief doesn't dissolve overnight, but as you take in the stories of Naomi, Ruth and Oprah over the next month, I'm certain God's Word will begin its work of encouragement and hope in your heart. This Bible study will conclude right before Thanksgiving here in America, and I truly believe you will find yourself with a more grateful outlook by then if you follow along.
(chapter 1 of Postcards, and Ruth 1:1-9) The widows in Ruth might seem pretty special since we can read about them in the Bible, but in what ways were they like ordinary women today? From the life events that you noticed happening to these women, (famine, moving to a different locale, marriage, death(s), etc)… what sort of emotions do you think they faced? What were their struggles and challenges? Which feelings or struggles do you relate to most?
Writing out your thoughts about these questions  will provide you with a useful tool for seeing God's work in your life in the days ahead. Why not open a Word doc or a small spiral notebook and begin noting your journey today? I truly believe you'll be amazed when you look back on these days. 
Dear Lord, Thank you for putting the story of ordinary women like Naomi in the Bible. Her story gives me hope because you authored it. Help me remember that you've written my story too. Amen


  1. I don't have facebook will this be continued on wcp? It is so beneficial for those of us who don't have a facebook account? thanks-

  2. Yes, from now until Thanksgiving we'll lead you through Ruth and my book five days a week, Mondays - Fridays. I hope it will benefit everyone and that we can even hear from each other and share insights and experiences right here through our comments.

  3. I think this is awesome that you're offering this!
    Thank you Ferree! ♥


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