I am linking this story to Jennifer Moyers Coffee ans Jesus.
I am touched to the depths of my heart and I’d like to share what I learned from Ruth’s surrender and Boaz’s shelter, support and care. In hopes that this experience will live on in my heart and touch another’s as well.
The story of Ruth, a young widow, was made more significant to me a couple of days ago. The wee hours of the morning have captivated my heart and the first thing I thought of was her. A favorite story growing up, the best biblical version of “Cinderella” (and I mean that loosely) there is. Rags to riches, servant (minus cruel stepmother and sisters) to beloved wife in the lineage of a king and the most High King Jesus. Once a widow, she was a tender, beautiful-hearted woman, who lost so much, yet had so much love to give back. And she did it with grace and humility. Truly, a Biblical heroine in my estimation.
This is also a perfect story to describe our Father’s love for us. How He captivates our hearts, meets our deepest needs and pours out His grace. Especially for those of us who have become widows and feel we have lost it all.
In an act of sheer desperation and need, I found myself seeking the wisdom of those who lead and under-shepherd my church home. I wrestled with myself and fought fear and pride, to do it though. If you are a widow, you know the missing pieces and the places you come to in the ache of losing a beloved, best friend. But, if you are a widow, with children, you know the weight of responsibility is so very great. The care for their grieving needs, surpasses your needs, more often than not. Being a mother is a calling we don’t take lightly. Often to the point, as it has been for me, that we forget we need to take time to grieve ourselves, laying our burdens at Jesus feet. This will lead to forgetting who we are. The pressures of this process are real and can be frighteningly dark at times. Well… long story short, I had reached a place where I was dying, on the inside. Who I was in Christ, became harder and harder to discern from who I was becoming. Was I a widow, Chris’s wife, mother or was I all of the above, most importantly, a daughter of the Most High King. When there was true grieving my deepest losses and processing for myself, I became guilty, that the girls didn’t have all of me. Which leads to my need for wisdom from those whom God placed into my life to walk beside me as God’s under-shepherds and kinsman, in many ways, as the “family” of God.
Hence, the significance of the story of Ruth…
What I see here is humility and tremendous grace. I suppose it took great humility for Ruth to become a servant and to go before a leader and making a need known. But she was obedient. She was prompted to walk the edges of the field, gathering something essential for survival, satisfied to be on the outside. Her redeemer noticed. (Ruth 2:8,9) He provided, making a safe place for her to come and receive that which she needed. The redeemer, Boaz, also gave her significance. That she gather her needs in abundance from his reaping field. Ruth struggled to believe why she’d find any favor. (Ruth 2:10) And here it is… he knew she was a widow, what she’d done since the death of her husband. What she’d given up and was willing to do, had proceeded her. (Ruth 2:11) This is the part that brings me tears and joy, “The Lord repay you and reward you. Under His wings, you have taken refuge.” (Ruth 2:12) And then Ruth did something amazing, she surrendered in complete trust to her redeemer. She lay at his feet, recognizing the kindness towards her, realizing she was not forsaken. Even though being a widow, in a strange new place could definitely have caused those kind of thought processes. (Ruth 2:20) In a complete act of submission she allowed herself to be led, she says this, it is incredibly beautiful… “I am Ruth your servant, spread your wings over your servant for you are redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9) And the redeemer, Boaz, says, “may you be blessed my daughter.” (Ruth 3:10) It was said to Ruth later, by one close by who saw it all, Naomi, “blessed be the Lord, who has not left you without a redeemer.” (Ruth 4:14)
My thoughts seem to be bouncing all over, as I gather them in please bear with me. As I mentioned before, the story of Ruth was made very significant this week.
Like Ruth, I had to come to the leadership, God’s kinsman who serve the Redeemer of this world, if you will, in humility and surrender. It is hard to admit you are in a place where you have become empty and to admit needs. But like Ruth I had to come to a place where I could make needs known. Hard stuff. God calls us to obedience and gives grace for each moment. My great Redeemer interceded on my behalf as these men prayed over me, giving me a great blessing. Making a safe place for me to receive what I needed, support, care and the depth of powerful prayer. Reminding me Whose wings I had taken refuge under. The story of Ruth has taken on new meaning. I have learned God has provided His body, the church the family of God, so that I need not walk alone, gleaning on the outskirts of the family field, but rather in the field from the provisions God has supplied. It became very evident that God has gifted and blessed, His beloved ones, with the power of coming to Him in prayer, and that He sent many to walk beside me. Though the journey is mine, I have been blessed with the privilege of coming, in all of who I am, to be vulnerable, whether it be needs or brokenness or great joy, and I can ask for that blessing, acceptance and agreement in prayer and honesty from those God provided as kinsman for our Redeemer.
The great realization of worth and value, and need and vulnerability, have pressed in on my heart, a great pressure, refining me this week. Ruth’s faithfulness to obey, to be humble and to surrender have opened my eyes to the reality of God’s love and grace in ways I never knew possible. Hope of His blessings, peace in the battles fray, and grace that truly covers me like wings of protection. How great is our God.