The Girl’s Still Got It – Week 4 Wrap-Up plus WINNERS Announced

We are suddenly transported from the scene with Orpah returning home and Ruth vowing to stay with Naomi to arriving in Naomi’s hometown, Bethlehem. There is no mention of the journey itself, which leaves me with several questions, but since it wasn’t referenced it is obviously not something that is important, so we will not dwell on it.

Bethlehem, like any small town, buzzed with the news of Naomi’s return. In other words, news traveled quickly through the village that she had returned. The women came running out wanting to see for certain that it was really Naomi. This was their friend that they hadn’t seen in years. Time had past and with all Naomi had endured, both tragedy and the journey itself, she had undoubtedly changed.

At this point in the story, Naomi just falls apart. She no longer wants to be called Naomi, which means pleasant or delight; instead she chooses a new name, Mara – bitter. However, Naomi does not stop there, no, she continues on and puts the blame all on God. Before we start throwing stones at Naomi, let’s pause for a moment. Consider the last time you felt down, defeated and just plain miserable; did you look for someone or something to place the blame on? I know that when I have been in the downward spiral of self-defeating thoughts, I would search for a reason or someone else to blame. I am not saying all of this to condone the idea of placing blame. I just want you to understand what is going on in Naomi’s mind. Now, that we have a better idea of her mindset, let’s move on.

Whether we feel bitter or not, we must remember that God loves us. Yes, we will face trials, difficult circumstances and maybe even tragedy, but we have to keep in mind that God’s “intent is never to make us bitter – only to make us better” (60). At times, it is hard to wrap our minds around this, but these are the times when we have to trust that God has everything in control.

At this point I am going to leave Naomi and shift the discussion to Ruth. She has been silent the entire time. I am not certain I could have quietly stood by while Naomi keeps saying that she returned home empty-handed. Ruth isn’t questioning her decision, she is simply waiting on the Lord because she put her trust in Him. God has changed Ruth’s heart.

As we draw a close on the first chapter of Ruth, I love how it leaves the reader with such hope. The chapter starts with a famine in the land and ends with a harvest on the horizon. Things are about to change for Ruth and Naomi. Don’t you just love that about God?

Questions to Consider:

  1. Are you able to still love and trust God during the times of trials and tragedies?
  2. Ruth is patiently waiting. How easy is it for you to wait?
  3. What take away do you have from Ruth 1:19-22?

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WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

First of all, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful comments on the various blogs as well as facebook. I am thrilled that this message is touching so many women’s lives. I pray that each one of you will let your true identity in Christ shine through. This is who God made you to be – take off the mask, drop the insecurities and show the world your true identity in Him.

Melissa Taylor’s winner – shannon.swedenburg@live.com

Donna Bostick’s winner – BJ (sorry I don’t have a last name or email)

  • You have both won a copy of my book, Get REAL. Be sure to email me your name and address, so I can get the book in the mail to you.

I also have a winner for my Starbuck’s gift card – Lori Krause Austin

  • Lori please email or message me your address, so I can mail this out to you.

 

 

 

The Girl’s Still Got It – Week 2 Wrap-Up

Wow! I don’t know about you, but I thought Chapter Two was chalked full of so much good stuff. I am going to hit some of the highlights. I would love to hear what stuck out to you in this chapter.

The first thing we all need to remember, that in order to be filled – spiritually, we need to return from our wandering, just like Naomi. I love how Liz ties this to the story of the prodigal son. I just love when connections are made between the Old and New Testament, as well as, life today. We each must come to the realization that “we have no life apart from God” (29). I do not know where you are today or where you have been, sweet sister, but I do know that in order to be strong we have to make the choice to leave our own Moab. Just remember that you are never out of God’s reach. He longs for you to return home and be filled.

Once the decision has been made to return home, the road will not be easy – just like the journey Naomi and the girls chose to make. There will be risks involved. However, Naomi knew that it had to be done. In order for each of us to be obedient to God, sometimes there will be risks involved. I love what Liz says regarding this very point, “Though obedience is seldom an easy road, it helps to know the One leading the way” (31). We need to hold tight to Jesus and let Him lead the way. We just need to take those steps of faith in obedience.

Our journey through life, just like Naomi’s, will not be easy. God does not guarantee smooth sailing, but He does promise to never leave us. He will be beside us every step of the way. There are times in our lives that some of us may face trials and struggles that seem to have no end and like Naomi, we don’t think we will break free from the pain. Just remember, “When we are down to almost nothing, God is up to something bigger than we can ever imagine” (39). That quote from Linda Hollies brings me so much comfort. I know that there have been various situations in my life that I didn’t feel like I was good enough, strong enough, worth enough….the list could go on. However, I came to the realization that although I may not be enough, my God is more than enough to see each one of us through life’s trials and storms.

At one point or another in our lives’ we will each come to a crossroads, just like Naomi, Ruth and Orpah. At this time we have a choice to make, similar to these ladies. The roads go in opposite directions. A decision has to be made. Orpah decides to go back to the familiar, the comfortable. If you were in these ladies’ sandals, what choice would you make? More importantly, what choice are you making in your own life? Are you choosing to stick with the familiar and easy, but will lead to malnourishment or are you going to be obedient and return to God and be filled?

The Girl’s Still Got It – Week 1 Wrap-Up

Before I go into discussing this week’s reading, I would just like to commend this group for stepping out and introducing yourself to the group, as well as, sharing your thoughts and insights as you have been reading. Reading them has been such a blessing to me. If you haven’t had the chance to introduce yourself, be sure and take a few moments and do that today in the comment section. Especially in the online Bible study setting, it becomes more personal when we get to know one another. Also, be sure to share your thoughts, as you are reading, as well as, any questions you might have. I encourage you to share any prayer requests with the group or you can message me personally. I firmly believe in the power of prayer and would love to pray for you. One final note, if you have not signed up for this study and would like to, it is not too late; simply subscribe to my blog posts and you will receive the weekly assignments. We have such an incredible group of women and we welcome you to join us. With all that out of the way, it is time to dive into this week’s reading.

The title of this study is The Girl’s Still Got It. How would you define “it”? Ruth is such a tremendous character and we have so much to learn as we go on this journey together. The exciting thing is we all have a part to play in God’s plan. We don’t need to tire ourselves with coming up with various excuses. God created each one of us for His purpose to fulfill His plan. We must never forget that we “claim a special place in his Big Picture” (pg. 1). We simply need to make the choice to stop sitting on the sidelines and get into the game and start being obedient to His calling. Don’t think about how difficult the task will be, just take it one step of faith at a time. God is beside you as you travel along life’s journey just as He was for Ruth and Naomi.

A major issue in the beginning of this study is trust. How easy or difficult is it for you to completely trust God with every aspect of our lives? Along every part of Ruth’s  journey, God is whispering, “Trust me!” We will see this aspect in more detail in the coming weeks of this study. I pray that each one of us will be challenged to trust God more as the study progresses.

There are so many things that Liz mentioned in general about the characters of Ruth and Naomi, but I just wanted to hit on a couple of them. First of all, I love that these two strong women are working together instead of feeling the need to compete. Far too often, we fall victim to the comparison trap. We need to be working together and help and encourage one another instead of comparing.

The other character trait of these women that stood out for me is the fact that they made things happen instead of sitting and waiting. I agree that there are times that we need to wait for God’s direction, but then we need to get up and get going.

Chapter One starts off with getting the background on Naomi in just a few short verses. Naomi has been through a lot of change, heartaches, stress and disappointment. I am certain that to one degree or another we can identify with Naomi. We, just like Naomi, need to keep in mind, “God really is in charge, and he really does know what he’s doing” (pg. 11). He has a reason and sometimes we don’t understand, but we don’t need to, we just need to trust Him. God can take whatever we go through in life and use it for His purpose. He will be beside us and direct us even when, like Naomi and her family, we turn our back on Him. We will soon discover that God is the only one who can help us, just like Naomi. God continued to love her and will do the same thing for you, dear one.

I would love to hear from you regarding what you learned this first week. What was the most memorable truth you learned from Ruth 1:1-5?