Monday, February 8, 2016

God Knows Our Losses

This week we'll continue the reasons why Ruth is for widows. Today is a severe mercy as we realize God knew Naomi's heartbreaks and He knows our own. Yet He does not spare us; He sees something more:

The Book of Ruth shows the many layers of loss a widow may experience.

Three little words sum up what happened to Naomi: "...she was left..." (Ruth 1:3) Their clinical starkness startles me with the shock, despair and helplessness she must have felt. Three little words shouldn’t be the end result of her investment of nurture and love for her husband and sons.
Worse yet, Naomi was left in a foreign country. Today Moab would be in the country of Jordan, approximately fifty miles from Bethlehem, about an hour-long drive by car. But in Naomi’s time it was a five-day journey by foot. They could not communicate by mail, telephone or e-mail with the people back home. Naomi was virtually cut off. She had left her house, her mother, her friends, neighbors and everything familiar back in Bethlehem. She submissively followed her husband to a foreign place she had probably never even seen before— and then she was left.
She lost her husband who, according to cultural norms of the day was at the very least her personal security, financial support and structure of her time. Her life circled around him like the moon around the earth.
In a sweeping and final devastation, her sons’ deaths stripped her of all hope and her personal identity for the future. The original Hebrew denotes this by deleting her name in verse three. She’s simply referred to as the woman.* Naomi’s life was blown apart.
A year after my husband died I began to realize losing my husband wasn’t a straight and easy street through mourning and then it was over and done. The street had potholes the size of elephants and I stumbled and fell into them time after time! I shattered in many places as I realized all my losses! I had lost my dear friend, my parenting partner, my spiritual leader, and my lover. I’d lost my daily routine of prioritizing around his schedule. And the church’s schedule!—I’d lost my calling as a pastor’s wife, too. I’d lost my dreams of grand-parenting and growing old with him.
I identified with Naomi. As scripture stated she was left, so, too, was I. I was left to raise our children and make important decisions alone. I was left without the comfort, security and daily routine of marriage. I was left to face a future I did not want. I understood why the original Hebrew deleted Naomi’s name, reducing her to “the woman.” I felt like half a person and secretly pondered my value and purpose.
Admitting my multiple losses was painful. But if I not listed my losses and brokenness, I never would have known that the pain was cutting deep places for joy. But God knew.
How about you, dear reader? Have you begun to understand the many layers of loss? This is something to prayerfully consider and struggle through in God's timing. May the Lord gently guide you through this painful phase of grief.
ferree
 
Postcards from the Widows' Path will help you walk this difficult journey of loss by spotlighting these insights from Ruth and then allowing you to journal your own. Each chapter starts with a fictional "postcard" from one of the characters in the story. Next is a short chapter which takes only a few minutes to read. Following that is a place for the reader to correlate the Scripture with her own grief and experiences, closing with a meaningful Bible verse and prayer. Women who follow through with the reading and journaling will see an actual difference and improvement in their own journey by the end of the book. God gave Ruth and Naomi faith, hope and love and He offers the same to widows today. Click the Book Sale link here or at the top of the blog. but hurry --- only 8 more days for this lowest price of the year.
 

4 comments:

  1. Wow, this totally speaks to me today. 5 months into losing my husband i'm really feeling like what is my purpose. My husband was a Pastor so I'm no longer a Pastor's wife, but I still have a calling on my life to fulfill. I'm still a mother to two wonderful sons and so much more! Thank you Ferree for this post today.

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    1. Dear Danyell, I was a pastor's wife too, and grieved the loss of bit only my husband but also the loss of that calling and vocation. But, you are so right to realize that the Lord has so much more for you! Those sons might change the world! Follow the Lord step by step and he will make sure your life is fulfilling and complete. Philippians 1:6

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  2. What a gift you have for putting words to what widows feel. Grief is such a long, hard journey and yet, after 5 years, God is still providing in a ways I never expected. It's a journey of learning, of thanking God for the memories ( imagine what Ruth and Naomi talked about as they traveled) we hold in our hearts, and a time to grow stronger. Our friends and daughters will one day make this journey and we can be their 'map'. Thank you, Ferree, for doing that for us!

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    1. Dear Susan, your sweet note reminds me that i discovered a "map" for this journey several months BEFORE it began! The words, life and examples of other widows who've gone before us are priceless treasures. Thanks to you for helping those who read this today. ((hugs))

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