I’m reading through the Old Testament rather slowly. I like to take the scenic route. The One Year Bible is great, but I like to savor the words and read all the study notes. I’ve made my way to the book of Ruth. These ancient women lived a very different life than we do today.
You probably know the story. There was a famine, so Naomi and her husband moved to the land of Moab with their two sons. The boys marry foreign women. Then Naomi’s husband dies followed closely by her two sons. Being a widow without sons was just about the worst thing that could happen to a woman back then. Naomi decides to return home, empty-handed and broken-hearted. She has nothing to show for her life except a daughter-in-law who wouldn’t leave her side.
And it wasn’t much of a homecoming. The women of the town exclaim, “Can this be Naomi?” The subtext glares from the page. “You lost your husband and then your sons. You have nothing left but a foreign daughter. Poor Naomi. Poor, poor Naomi.”
Naomi brands herself with shame: “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? [Which means ‘pleasant one.’] The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.“ (Ruth 1:20-21)
Not a lot of faith in this lament. Can you blame her? On top of the gut-wrenching loss was the bitter judgement and condemnation of her peers. Every measuring stick used to judge a woman’s life in the ancient world was miles above her head.
We don’t measure a life with husbands and sons these days, at least not like they did back then. But we still have résumés. And as moms, our résumés often look bleak in comparison with some women who are shattering glass ceilings. We could do a lot more if our home life wasn’t so chaotic and full.
Yeah, the irony of this story smacks you upside the head.
Naomi had a barren résumé from a barren home. We often have a barren résumé from a full home.
It isn’t about what is in your home or isn’t in your home. It’s about the God who calls us to be faithful in much and faithful in little. The God who blesses us with full quivers and blesses us with empty beds. The God who calls us to trust Him when the world applauds us and when the world doesn’t know our name. It’s about His glory, His honor, His renown whether we are breaking through that glass ceiling, or we are mopping the linoleum floor.
God gave Naomi a faithful daughter that was worth more than two sons. And that daughter was grafted into the line of Christ. She had a book of the Bible named after her. Eternity will record a pretty impressive resume for Ruth and for Naomi
Let God write your résumé. And remember that it looks different from His perspective than from yours. When it comes to your résumé, as my husband’s great Aunti Pal used to say, “Fuh-get about it.” Trust that eternity will record your accomplishments quite differently than your man-made résumé, and trust that God’s “atta girl” is the only endorsement you need.
Catherine Segars is an award-winning actress and playwright — turned stay-at-home-mother—turned author, speaker and blogger. She is dedicated to helping other women see their worth in a season when they often feel less-than.
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