Ruth: Day 3

A New Name

by

Today's Text: Ruth 1:19-22, Ruth 2:1-3, Job 27:2-6, Philippians 3:8-11

Text: Ruth 1:19-22, Ruth 2:1-3, Job 27:2-6, Philippians 3:8-11

Have you ever asked for prayer because you could not pray on your own? Have you ever uttered “pray for me” and meant “pray instead of me, because I just can’t do it”?

If prayer is a picture of believers lifting one another before the Lord, there are times I have been full-on carried. I don’t mean they’ve just walked alongside me or encouraged me to go on. No, they have picked me up from the pit and held me high before the Lord, my spiritual self limp and lifeless, desperately in need of the life-breath of my Savior. It sounds melodramatic until you’re in the thick of it, too spent to sigh another “please” or “amen.”

This kind of spiritual and physical exhaustion is what I see when I picture Naomi walking into town that day, so affected by her suffering that she is hardly recognizable. The townswomen whispered to one another, shocked at the condition of the friend they used to know. Naomi quickly set them straight. “It’s over for me,” she said. “Don’t call me Pleasant. Call me Bitter” (Ruth 1:20, my paraphrase).

Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons, and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she told them, “and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). Yet, there was no fist-shaking at heaven. No renouncing her faith. Naomi believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.

But even this believing woman had trouble seeing past her circumstances. The hand was dealt, the credits were rolling. Naomi believed with her head that her God was sovereign, but she was too soul-weary to believe with her heart. And so she called it. Game over. Name changed.

Naomi could not imagine being filled back up. She couldn’t picture her daughter-in-law remarried to an upstanding man who would welcome them both into his family. She couldn’t dream of holding a grandson in her arms. She couldn’t imagine how bitterness could become beauty, but her sovereign God could.

Naomi named herself Bitter, but God names her—and us!—Blessed.
He names us Forgiven (1 John 1:9).
He names us Beloved (Romans 5:8).
He names us Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

These names hold true even when circumstances don’t, because ours is a God who is mighty over affliction and blessing, bitterness and beauty, past and future.

The same woman who walked into her hometown deflated of joy and hope, nevertheless trusted herself and her daughter-in-law to the Lord’s keeping. “Go ahead, my daughter,” Naomi said to Ruth, sending her out into the fields to gather up God’s provision. And provide, He would. Their circumstances were anything but good, but their God was always good.

Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.

We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.

SRT-Ruth-Instagram3s

 

  • I completely relate to how Ruth believed in God with her head, but was too spiritually exhausted to believe with her heart. I pray today that God unthaws my numb heart so that I can let him back in.

  • Great lesson!

  • “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” Amen!

  • Pamela P Smith

    So precious is this story. Despite tragedy, we always must see Him…. despite feeling loss and grief; we must remember we are forgiven

  • This devo is such a blessing in my life.

  • Isabelle Gonzales

    I love this devotional!

  • I feel like I’ve been drowning in a sea of bitterness for the last 8 years. From my dad cheating on my mom, my parents splitting up, a bad relationship with my dad, my dad remarrying, struggles with my own marriage, struggles at work.. I’ve let bitterness take over, when I still have so much to be thankful for. Time to let God bring on the beauty.

    • She Reads Truth

      LB, wow. Thank you for sharing. Praying that the Lord would heal these hurts and bring you into a season of joy. So, so grateful for you.

      – Stormye

    • Fetts16

      Joyce Meyers book “Beauty for Ashes” would be helpful for you

  • “Circumstances change , but they do not change our God . ”

    I needed this . There’s been so much going on in my life lately , that I myself have become bitter … Like Naomi . I’m going to pray he transforms that bitterness into something beautiful !

  • emma griffin

    This was definitely something i needed in my life right now!!

  • Bessie Thomas

    I love this facet of God, that He can always change ashes into beauty! No matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done..no matter how much we’ve disgraced our selves or let Him down..He will always turn our ugliness, our bitterness, our unworthiness into beauty!

  • “Naomi believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy.”
    Despite the tragedies that Naomi encountered she never questioned her faith and still sought God. There are fleeting moments when I endure some sort of hardship, I find myself questioning God and the circumstance that I’m experiencing. After reading this, it has given me time to reflect upon how I view tragedies and unforeseen circumstances. Nothing is certain in this world, our relationship with Christ is the only constant thing that will always remain. Thankful for women like Naomi who suffered and yet still sought peace despite the hardships. Praying for strength and trust like hers for any trial or tribulations that I may encounter.

  • God knew I needed this.

    –She couldn’t imagine how bitterness could become beauty, but her sovereign God could.
    –Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.

    Those were powerful statements & a message to uplift me during this time of weakness, and questioning God’s control over my life. It is amazing to be reminded of how gracious, and sovereign our God is.

  • We all have scars. We choose whether or not to be defined by them. Naomi most certainly had them and at this point couldn’t imagine any other name for herself. The advantage we have is knowing that Jesus also has very real scars. But his scars don’t define him. No one calls him their scarred savior, we call him our risen Lord. God knows we are imperfect, He knows how we feel and what we think so to pretend anything different is a waste of time. He understood Naomi’s reaction and circumstances and blessed her trust, even if it was fatalistic. I believe God meets us at the point of our honesty with ourselves and with Him.

  • Cori Asuncion

    “But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord ʼs hand has turned against me!””
    “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.””

    ‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:11-13‬, 21

    I don’t have the ability to see into the future. I only am able to see what I have done and what I am doing. I am not able to see much more than the actions of others that I am present for and I have no idea of what they will actually do past the present moment, the same goes for the heart. I can guess, I can assume and I could attempt to predict, but I do not actually know. The same is for circumstances. I can only see what I am present for. The rest is I do not know.

    When I read this portion of Ruth, it appears that Naomi is angry at the Lord. Almost as if she is saying “Look what he did TO me”. In that moment Naomi can only see her past actions and circumstances and those in that moment, she does not know her future, not even 1 minute into it. What we know and are able to quickly see is that the Lord didn’t do it “to” her, he did it FOR her, FOR her daughter-in-law, FOR her people, FOR all people. But after reading it over and over Naomi remained consistent in making it clear, the Lord was sovereign in it all.

    I do not know my future. I have been in many circumstances that were so very bitter, so very frustrating, confusing and deeply saddening. What I did not know is that they were done FOR me, not TO me.

    I do believe that we aren’t forbidden to fully experience affliction, pain, sorrow, frustration etc…but the great importance is that in those most painful times, recognizing that despite it, our reliance is in knowing that these times are not “to” us, but ultimately “for” us. We do not know why and may never know, but relying on the One who does and promises “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) we can rest in his perfect design.

  • Amanda Mae Steele

    I’m going to challenge this commentary just a bit – I too understand how difficult it is to live out faith and prayer when circumstances are hard and fruit isn’t visible and so appreciate this encouragement today.

    But I think to say “Naomi believed God was sovereign…”, at least in that season and in that moment, is a stretch. From her very own words – “the Almighty has made me very bitter,” “the Lord has brought me back empty,” “the Lord has pronounced judgement on me,” and the one that breaks my heart – “THE ALMIGHTY HAS AFFLICTED ME,” it’s pretty clear that she is in despair and it sounds like some fist shaking – if not pounding – to me.

    I do believe Naomi’s relationship with God and faith in Him remains and is what drew Ruth to her, that she wouldn’t leave her. And Naomi’s faith – GOD’S faithfulness TO her faith – sustained her to keep going even in trying times.

    I just wonder if her attitude in choosing to return to Bethlehem was moreso “I guess I’ll go back to what I know. There’s nothing else to do,” vs. “God is sovereign.”

    I just write this as someone who has felt shame over struggling with believing in God’a goodness and sovereignty – and hope that others are encouraged to know that despite our weak faith, He still graciously loves and pursues us.

    • Andrea

      I felt this, too, with these passages. And it gave me peace knowing that in the times I’ve looked away or shaken my head at my own circumstances…God is still Great, and He is still There.

    • Kate

      I couldn’t agree more Amanda! That is exactly what I was seeing in yesterday’s passages as well. You see Naomi’s faith in God but you can also see her humanity and how see would return home because she views her position as being almost if not quite useless.

  • Beautiful and powerful.

  • littlecountryme

    This is amazing… I needed this so much today, as I’m standing in my kitchen fighting tears because this year has given me trial after trial after trial. There is such a difference between believing in your head and in your heart, and I need to believe in my heart that God is sovereign and in control of every situation.

  • I needed this today! So thankful!

  • Good message. Stay faithful and pray even when things seem difficult

  • These words were a friendly reminder that God is always there, ready to hear our thoughts and prayers. He doesn’t leave us or forsake us. How great!

  • This spoke to me this morning. Thank you for sharing these studies :)

  • Laura Ferguson

    These words spoke directly to many very specific thoughts I’ve had over the past few days. So amazing how the Holy Spirit’s word falls fresh and new on a person’s heart no matter what day it was first written or published. I’ve wondered many times whether the road we are headed down can lead us to one of abundance and joy, especially when it has been paved in sorrow and trial for so long. But I’m so blessed to be reminded that my God is One who always works it all out for our good. And that doesn’t just mean that we are taken care of with the basics–it means we are given abundance–in love, joy, hope and security.

    Thank you for such timely words!

  • Valerie Lee

    Love that God can see how our bitterness will become beauty even when we can not!

  • I’m currently going through a lot anxiety related to past experiences when I was young and naive. This passage and the devotional really rang true for me and reminded me that I am forgiven and I am named by God. Thank you SRT for such amazing and powerful words – these studies have helped me grow so much in my faith and are just what I need to read and process.

    • Jessica

      Jess, I too am so greatful for SRT! Having the word of God broken down into real life scenarios has truly opened my eyes and heart to the true love and power of our Lord. Love and prayers to you, friend.

  • “Circumstance change, but they do not change our God”- it was so refreshing to read these words tonight. I have been struggling with health issues for years now and at times get very frustrated in MY circumstances and current situations. I am not proud to admit that I sometimes let my problems dictate the way I see God. I have been praying and praying for many years to be fully healed and pain free, and I have yet to see that prayer go through. Reading things like this devotion tonight remind me that God is there and is listening to me. He knows my struggles and I am confident that the day where I no longer struggle will be in my future. I am learning to praise Him through the storm, and actually mean it rather than just putting on a brave face for the rest of the world while I struggle on the inside. I know this study is over, but I could not have read this devotion at a better time. God is always GOOD!

  • Abigail, thank you for sharing. I think your story is an incredible reflection of the passage we just read in Ruth. What an incredible reminder that God is NEVER late; he is always right one time. And even when it feels like everything is falling apart, God is orchestrating a pretty amazing testimony that will be used to glorify his name. When I am going through seasons of waiting and unknown(which have been so present lately), I have to stop and ask myself what promises am I truly believing with my life. Am i living in a way that reflects what I believe? For example: if I say I believe that God is always on time to fulfill his promises to me, I have to be careful when I fix my mind on all the things that are going “wrong”. Yes, they feel wrong to me, but ultimately if God is allowing them, they ARE for his glory!! Sister, I pray that you know this today. That the ultimate glory of God will be manifested in your life through EVERY SINGLE CIRCUMSTANCE!

  • I don’t know who will read this because this study is over, but this study today was exactly what I needed to hear. I am in a season of waiting because of difficulties that arose before my junior year of college. God has provided a way for me to return to school, but as I am paying for myself, I’m finding myself at a road block. My car needed two expensive repairs in a matter of two weeks right before school started and now I am paying for school with less in my account than i thought I would have. I began the summer with a job opportunity that fell through and my second opportunity is not beginning as quickly as I thought it would. So I’m waiting. Waiting for God to provide as I know he will. But as my heart is growing more and more weary by the day, I need prayer. Thank you for this study today. Thankful for community that lifts me up when I’m weary of doing so myself.

    • Rachal T.

      I have been there and the Lord was present but I was too wrapped up IN my situation to see Him. I would cry to Him when I became ill and couldn’t work when bills were coming. His provision months prior to save, led me to obedience, and ultimately blessed me in my circumstance to cover my bills.

      I think it’s an obedience God wants where we move in faith as He guides and protects us along the way.

      College is a beautiful time to form new habits and life skills while gaining an education in more ways than inside a classroom. I’ll be praying for you, Abigail, and am humbling myself to know he sweet Lord is calling me out for obedience once more as I’m in my season of waiting as well.

  • So full of hope!

  • This really touched me today. Even Naomi, who was a strong and Godly woman, still needed to mourn. One thing that God has been speaking to me through the situation that I am in right now is that, in order to heal, I have to actually feel and acknowledge the pain and the grief. And I feel like that’s what Naomi was doing. She was accepting and feeling the mourning and the grief that she was facing. Even her very heart was giving up, she was so weary and overcome with the grief that she changed her name and allowed it to define her. But we all know how it ends, and we see that God comes in and reveals the rest of the story to her. Our sovereign God turned her bitterness into the beauty that she and her story were meant to be.

    • Caitlyn

      This also totally ties into our previous study about a time for mourning and a time for dancing. We have to be present in each phase!

  • So long I asked him where I was, What I was doing? He is answering and I cannot be nothing more than attonished at his amazingness.

  • Please pray for me today

  • How this has opened my eyes to speaking faithful truth. Naomi acknowledged that things were hard, awful – but she did not lose sight of God. Growing up I was encouraged to only speak positively, even if things were not so positive – what a beautiful freedom to speak truth about our circumstances and know God hears us.

  • Human nature is to be bitter and hurt when life throws curves. God has called us to continue to seek him. Lord, hold me and stir me to seek you in my times of trouble.

  • So I just read day 1 and right way started on day 2. I left a comment there about my struggle and God answered here “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.” Amen to that!

  • This is so beautiful. I’ve wondered in the past at what Naomi said in this passage as she arrived back in town. Your devotional caused me to see Naomi in a new light in this passage. Although I’ve thankfully lost neither husband nor children, I’ve been in a place of utter physical and spiritual exhaustion. Unable to see an end to my suffering, unable to see any hope of redemption or newness or beauty. As a dear friend of mine always says, though, “But God!” Indeed, God did not place a period where I had placed one, but instead brought me into a new place that I hadn’t thought possible. I’m so thankful for those who surrounded me during that long time of exhaustion and hopelessness, holding my “limp and lifeless spiritual self” high before the Lord in prayer.

  • Elizabeth

    a few observations // >Ruth stuck with Naomi even though Naomi was bitter. And, also being a widow, she probably knew how to comfort + weep with her. (Reminds me of the last SRT study!) >They came at the beginning of harvest. New beginnings were being sown for Ruth, too. >Few men can be described as both prominent AND of noble character. Boaz was of good position & prominent, but it didn’t distract him from having noble character. He didn’t take advantage of his position for selfish gain. And he certainly probably had opportunities to marry before Ruth came on the scene, but he waited for a wife of character. >In the Job passage, Job can’t control what others think. He isn’t thinking of what others thought. His conscience, integrity, righteousness, tongue, lips – they were kept in check. >Philippians verse: how glad I am that it’s not our own righteousness, but through faith in Christ!

    • Elizabeth

      And oh my, your devotion is an encouragement! And the graphics are beautiful. Thank you.

  • This devotion spoke straight to my heart this morning. I have read Ruth before, heard the story a million times, and kind of always thought Naomi was being a bit dramatic.
    That was allllll long ago before I experienced my own devastating losses and could see where she was coming from.
    Currently I am in so far the hardest time I have had to endure in my life. I have become bitter, angry, hopeless, depressed. The feeling of not being able to go on, and quite frankly not wanting to… Have hovered over me.
    The idea of ever getting through this whole seems impossible to me.
    But I haven’t lost my belief in God. He has been my one and only faithful form of stability. He has shown me myself and my errors. He is molding me like clay. It hurts. My suffering hurts, but I have learned not to try to get out of it, but to rejoice in it because GOD has his hands on my life RIGHT NOW!
    Yes, I have been Naomi. I am still Naomi. Wanting to call myself Mara, and have others call me Mara.
    I hardly even looked at Naomi when I read this story before, I was always so focused on Ruth, and how noble she was.
    This view of Naomi and how it is so close with my current situation has me in awe.
    Choosing joy even in the midst of great devastation.
    Praise God for showing me this, and showing me so much more daily!
    He has more in store for me than I could ever comprehend. Sometimes receiving from others when you don’t even feel the ability to go on, is a blessing in disguise.

    • Mel

      Praying for you, girl! God is good and uses our pain for his purposes in ways we could never imagine. Hang in there and watch his hand at work. Love!

    • Rochelle

      i really relate. so well said.

    • cinthya

      thank for being vulnerable, for the rawness. we often feel like no one understands because they don’t know what it is like to walk in our shoes but when a complete strangers open up the way you have, it’s a reminder we are not alone in this thing called life. and one’s life experiences are somehow healing to others and it shows how much our Heavenly Father knows what we need and when we need it. thank you!

  • Praying for all you beautiful women this morning experiencing anxious situations and devastating losses and trying times. Lifting you high before our God and praying for restoration of your Spirit.

  • jamie soper

    Poor naomi. I know how she feels. when you are drained and you feel all hope is lost. It’s the end of your sanity. God is constant. God is.

  • oh, my goodness. this devotional was for me. more than any one devotional ever has, and SRT has changed my life and my bible study since i discovered it last year. i am going through a Naomi season, have been for most of this year. it’s been rough, and i’m so weary. so many wonderful girlfriends, mostly sisters in Christ but even some beautiful women God has blessed me with that don’t know Him (yet!) have carried me. prayed for me, provided for me, listened to me. i am blessed beyond measure because of the friendships in my life, but also, and especially, because of Jesus. even when feel i’ve lost so much, i have Him. He sees me. even when i feel like i’m drowning in circumstances (i often think of a lifesaver ring, tossed out to sea, and me paddling over to catch it, holding on to it, but tired) He is there, holding my hand. even when it’s dark (and it’s been so dark) He’s there. i think of the poem Footprints, how it can seem like trite or like a cliche until we are knee-deep “in it” and then it’s so real. many times i’ve felt alone, depressed and anxious, wondering ‘what i did wrong’, ‘why my family and i are suffering’, ‘when will i have the chance to give back, have others lean on me…instead of me always leaning on them?’ only to realize…He has been right there all along. He has kept me from falling through the cracks.
    today’s devotional has me in tears. it’s easy to say “believe”! when we’re fresh faced and triumphant on the mountain top and we can see it all. way harder to whisper it when it’s dark and we can’t see and we’ve fallen so, so many times.
    so grateful for the hope and realism and honesty today’s devo brings. grateful also for your comments, ladies. i think we all have expressed this, but i learn just as much from y’all as i do from the (very anointed!) messages.
    praying for peace in my heart. praying that He will “help me in my unbelief”. that my heart remembers how sufficient Christ’s grace really is.
    xo

  • Agreeing in prayer with our sisters for you Sarah. His blessing on you tomorrow. And for you too Amarillis. Praying God’s peace and comfort will fill your heart.

  • It’s been a rough/morning and I was at the point that the only thing I could do was cry because no words can be uttered from my mouth. God is so good even tho I’ve lost the man that I love. God is faithful and I will keep my integrity despite how depressed I feel because My life will not stay bad.

  • Evangeline

    Forgiven, Beloved, Redeemed….in the consistently changing circumstances of life HE does not change…hang on, hold to and trust…grateful for the truth today

  • “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” So refreshing to read a story like Naomi’s. Naomi was faced with a frustrating circumstances and she felt like giving up-she felt that there was no hope in sight. It’s beautiful to see this story from the bigger picture, and understand that God had a plan in it all. I’m taking the GRE on Friday and I feel like I am completely defined by this test. I have anxiety like no other, and feel the pressure of needing a certain score. Jesus, I am not named by this test. I am not named by the grad school I get into. I am not named by my career. I am not named by my score. I am named by You, Oh God.

    • Sarah

      P.S. Prayers are much appreciated for Friday! Like the author, I am feeling quite exhausted and hopeless!

      • Dawn Owens

        Sarah, I am lifting you up to our Father who has equipped you for every good work. He created you and knew in advance the work He has called you to do so that you could walk it out. You are His masterpiece. He has given you the mind of Christ in order for you to think His thoughts. And He is renewing your mind day by day. He has you in the plan of His hand, and shields you in the cleft of the Rock. He is your Deliverer, a Mighty Fortress, He cannot be moved. Do not worry about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition and thanksgiving, bring your requests to God. And the God of peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart in Christ Jesus. He is well pleased with you. He loves you no matter what your score is on this exam. He goes before you and fights for you. He already knows the school that is the perfect fit for you. Trust Him. Obey Him. Then leave it up to Him. He knows the plans He has for you. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. You are loved dear sister. It’s in The name of Jesus that I pray these things. Amen.

        • Hope

          Having served on admissions in my department, it is NOT the only or even the MAIN thing we look at. I pray from this you understand the same–your test is NOT the only or even the MAIN God will even look at. You are more than the test! I’m praying.

        • Olivia

          Praying for peace as you take the test!

      • Sana

        Amen! I will be praying for you dear!

    • Sarah

      Wow, thank you everyone! Your words are so uplifting. The Lord’s peace is upon me as I enter tomorrow’s test!

      • Sarah

        Thanks to everyone who prayed. I finished the test and got the scores I needed for grad school!

  • I love how the scene is set here: Naomi has a relative.. Ruth just so happens to go to his field.. No path is unplanned, and though it looks miserable during some parts of the journey, not knowing where it’ll end/lead to, God already knows the fairytale ending!

  • Jennifer Vigil

    “She couldn’t imagine how bitterness could become beauty, but her sovereign God could.” So beautiful… Like Ernest Hemingway’s “We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”

  • What a wonderful line “Circumstances change but not out God”

  • “Circumstances change but not our God” love it

  • “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.” Amen! So thankful for that tonight ladies. No matter what our circumstances or situation God is good all the time.

  • Brandie Newman

    such a different way to look at things. Thank you Jesus for this devotional.

  • Holly Stabler

    Hello fellow SRT sisters, wow does this speak to me. How many times have I heard you are not your circumstance. I’ve been desperately trying to get through some family issues that are no fault of my own, however I feel the weight bearing down. Even though I forget at times I know the Lord loves me for who I am regardless of my circumstance.

  • I am also thankful for this study. So many times we are limited by our human understanding of a challenge and we lose hope. But if we stretch our faith and look to God, we can trust that He is always able to bring good out of a situation that seems dead. May our faith rise above our circumstances. Remain blessed ladies!

  • Thankful for this study! I had always read this book and had a negative image of Naomi.

    I think I saw her as melodramatic (saying to change her name) maybe a little passive aggressive and I assumed Ruth went with her because she felt guilty or something.

    Thank you for shedding light the last few days that perhaps Naomi is actually worthy of being followed! I’ve castes my worldly experience onto her story and didn’t see it for what it was. Blessed by you all!

  • Charlotte

    I just found this site yesterday, looking for help in studying the bible. I wasn’t brought up as a Christian and I wasn’t saved until I was 61 years old. I am now 66. This study of Ruth is wonderful. Throughout my life I’ve suffered from major depression. I’m doing well at this time. God is so good. I’ve experienced such self-loathing and low self esteem throughout my life. I’ve named myself every downtrodden, shameful name there could possibly be at one time or another. But I’ve never read the Book of Ruth until I started reading it yesterday. Wow! By reading Ruth, I realize that God wants me to know that I am not named by my circumstances (or the choices I’ve made throughout my life). I am named by Him alone. How very uplifting and hopeful this is for me. I’ve read every one of your comments today. I thank God for every one of you special ladies. Thank you, ladies, for your honesty in sharing about your struggles and how God is working in your lives! I’m so grateful that I found this site. Praise God!

    • Cali

      Welcome!

    • April L.

      Ms. Charlotte,

      I just introduced this site in June to my Mom and she is 66 as well. I hope you enjoy SRT as much she does and as I do. My Mom has struggled with depression as well on and off for 35 years. I have struggled with it as well in the last 3 years. Be blessed and know you aren’t alone.

  • Tina Stephens

    I’ve been on an exhausting 9 year journey and I am emotionally emptied. But I trust my God, I know He holds my future. But I’m so tired…

    • Cindy Marshall

      Hi Tina, I’ll be praying for you to feel His strength and peace in this valley. You are the dearly loved daughter of our Heavenly Father!

  • Amen! Praise God! “We are not named by or circumstances. We are named by our good God “. Thank you for this timely reminder -it tends to get lost in the daily grind of life.

  • Thank you for reminding me of this truth this morning! Powerful, beautiful words that point us to our powerful, beautiful God.

  • Kathryn Kamin

    While circumstances certainly aren’t awful in the grand scheme of things, it’s hard not to be bitter sometimes about the cards we are dealt. Prayers for joy and strength.

  • Running full-force! I love that metaphor. It is so powerful a reminder of how we should be looking to God. School started this past week, and my students are not where they should be yet. It is frustrating because now I start all over again to train them. I just have to remember to run at God when the going gets tough. That he will help me with wisdom and the right words and the patience needed. Our God is great. Thanks for this study.

  • I am so thankful I found this site! Exactly what I have been needing and praying for. I look forward to being part of this and praying for you all

  • Mary Fanara

    “Unlovable.” “Uncared for” “Unwanted.” “Destined to Bitterness.” These are the names I hear. Mary, my actual name, means “Bitter.” And I’ve kind of always resonated with it. I thought I would be stuck here.
    This week has been horribly hard, these past few weeks, actually, maybe even years. A year and a half ago, I was thoroughly used and rejected by a man I had feelings for for almost three years. I was not innocent in this relationship, but I was totally broken when it ended.
    The day it ended, I met the man I am now engaged to. I was not interested in him at all when we met. I was focused on God and on me. I didn’t want distraction from another man, and Isaac wasn’t my type. We became friends. Slowly I began to cherish our time spent together. He knew about my past, and he encouraged me to lean on Christ in this. He had a similar past, but had gone further with past girls. We started dating six months after we met, and got engaged a year later.
    We struggled physically throughout our relationship. We never had sex, but we often found ourselves going further than I intended, than we intended, but we never really talked about it much. It was the elephant in the room. I knew he had a lot of hormones raging, but he always told me he didn’t look at pornography because I was the only woman he was attracted to. It didn’t work for him. I believed him, and was somewhat relieved. We had conversations about movies I was uncomfortable with, but he said they weren’t a problem for him, because, again, I was the only girl for him.
    Wedding planning is stressful, and the past few weeks we have fought, a lot. We try to fight well, and sometimes it ends well, sometimes it doesn’t. I think a lot of the stress comes from differing opinions and not knowing where to settle.
    Then Sunday came. Sunday night after church, he admitted to me that he had been looking at pornography for the past few weeks, and pretty consistently, almost everyday.
    I was crushed. I felt rejected and used and confused. I didn’t feel like I could trust him. I didn’t feel like I could marry a guy who lied to me. Would he cheat on me when we are married? Would he get bored or frustrated and leave? I hurt so badly. I fear losing him, losing us. I call myself these names, that have always been lurking in the background.
    I pray and ask God for something, some sort of help or answer. I sit and listen, but I’m lost. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where I’ll be next week or next month. I don’t know if I will marry Isaac in four months. I don’t know if I can keep going.
    He says he is repentant and doesn’t want to do it again, that it’s gross, it’s a sin, and it’s not worth it. I haven’t talked to him since Monday morning. I don’t know what to say. I’m so lost.

    • Sarah

      I remember the months leading to my wedding feeling panicked by my future husband’s every action asking my self “can I live with this forever?” We’ve been married 14 years and many of the things I worried over were non-issues, but some things we’ve been through I had no preparation for but God has been with us all along. While no marriage is perfect, I feel totally blessed. I’ve learned that one, marriage requires that you work through hurt feelings, moving forward with forgiveness. Two, trust builds through openness. When a parner confesses a sin, even if it isn’t a personal struggle for you, you can revive it with the understanding that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Many men struggle with pornagraphy, it is so easily accessible in our culture and many young girls, with out realizing the impact, are adding to this culture with suggestive snap chats, Instagram selfies etc. The bigger issue in marriage will be how to your react to your partner’s sin. His sin is not about some lacking in you, it’s 100% him and our human nature to seek pleasure from other sources than God. I’d ask your fiancé how he plans to overcome his struggle with pornagraphy, does he have a group of men he meets to pray with, has he asked your pastor for help? These will he his tools to deal with other sin issues in the future and offer a picture of him as a husband. My best marriage advise though is simple: let Jesus fill you up, do not seek this in your partner!!!! If you are filled, you will be less sensitive to the actions of your partner and offer more grace, which will create an amazing trusting bond. Sending you prayers.

    • Kim

      Oh Mary – I wish I could give you a hug. Although my circumstances were different, I have felt very much the same as what you’re describing and the verse that popped out at me was Psalm 37:7. “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for him to act.”

      Continue to set your heart and eyes on Him. His timing is not always ours but trust your heart to Him and the work He can do there. He’s REALLY good at picking up the broken pieces of our heart and piecing them back together in a way we could never imagine. I don’t have any advice for your relationship b/c I think God is the best authority on what you should or shouldn’t do in your circumstances. But as today’s reading says “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.”
      Open your heart to God and believing what He says about you. You are loved and cherished beyond measure. Jesus died for you so He wouldn’t have to live without you. Sometimes it’s hard when we want earthly love (I know of which I speak!) but continue to rest in God’s love. Remind yourself constantly that He will never leave you or forsake you. Be in His word constantly and seek Him and His truth. I will continue to pray for you and your fiancée. And someone to pass on my hug to you today.

    • Ruth

      Bless your heart. Lord, please fill Mary w your peace. Give her discernment . Give her eyes to see the fruit of repentance if there is some and a heart to forgive. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

    • April L.

      Mary,
      I know the struggles of dealing with pornography. My husband told me up front when we were dating this was an issue for him but he was working on it. Fast forward 11 years, almost 8 being married and I caught his porn sites. Sister, let me say that I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. I told him he had to go to counseling and he better call someone quickly. He went by himself, we went together, and I went by myself. He fought it for another year. We yelled at each other a lot, I lost all of my trust in him. One Sunday afternoon, I had caught my husband again, and went for a drive before I killed him. Family Bookstores was open and I stopped in. I prayed for a book that would help me. As soon as I looked up, a book, just for me stared back at me. The name of the book “Every Heart Restored.” I devoured that book and read parts of the book several times. Then I read “Every Woman’s Marriage.” My husband had read “Every Man’s Battle,” twice, which is about men dealing with pornography but it wasn’t helping. All of this was going on while I was doing infertility treatments.
      I suggest telling your fiancé to go to counseling and you as well. Also, postpone the wedding until you believe you can marry him. Of course you can forgive him, that’s easy. However, the trust issue, is the hardest to earn back. In fact, it’s been 9 years since this started, and my trust for my husband ebbs and flows, honestly! I have never trusted him 100% since the day I found out and I wonder if I ever will. There was also an emotional affair that he had later that year too, and I’m sure that is part of it as well. I wish I could tell you that it’s all going to be easy, but it’s not. What Sarah said is correct, BUT until one has walked in our shoes, you just truly don’t know the pain and hurt this causes.

      Praying for you.

    • Eden

      ❤️❤️❤️ everything I was thinking has been said by others. You are bold for sharing. Imagine if he didn’t tell you! Where would the honesty be? Xx

    • Jennifer W.

      I am praying for you in the difficult and painful circumstance that has come in the midst of a time that you would hope to be full of pure joy. I don’t know how God would lead you to go forward. I think if it were me, I would insist that we go talk to our pastor/marriage counselor together before saying our vows. These kinds of issues are not a good foot to get started on in marriage, but it may be that God will use this to grow you both in Him and in your marriage.

  • Jessica Gantenbein

    This was just the word I needed this morning❤️

  • “Not named by our circumstances. Named by our good God.”… I think I need to repeat this to myself all day long… And then each new day as well. Really struggling to understand what is happening with my life. Dealing with ongoing verbal abuse from my husband that is just destroying me. It’s hard to not let the lies start to creep in to my mind. I know God is faithful, I know He has a plan… Just trying to understand it right now.

    • Steph

      I’m praying for you Kristen. Praying for patience with your husband, strength to know you are a beautiful daughter of God, and courage to ask for help when you need it. I hope you’re ok.

      • Kristen

        Thank you so much!!

        • shannon

          Kristen, I would encourage you to google Leslie Vernick’s website/blog/resources. She is a Christian counselor and has some great stuff out there. Elisabethklein.com also has a blog and she has started private facebook groups for women struggling with the same things you are.
          Hold fast to Jesus and just remember, you are His!

    • Sharon

      Lifting you up in prayer, Kristen. God knows your circumstances , He loves you! When I’ve had tough circumstances I’ve been told to pray for the person who I’ve been struggling with . I know, it’s hard to do at times, tell Him exactly how you feel and be consistent in prayer . He will see you through this circumstance and in His time . He has worked in their life and in mine. Remember He never fails us. May you always seek Him, look to Him and He is the One who cover us like a cozy blanket that comforts us . We just saw the movie War Room, have you’ve seen it ? It’s another reminder , that we should never give up in our prayers to The Holy One, our Heavenly Father who continues to love us. May you find peace in His Hands, who hold us even when we don’t feel it like He is. In His Love may you find His Peace which only He can give .

    • Kristin Erickson

      Praying for you Kristen! I would encourage you to get help from an outside source, community group, prayer group, couples therapy, or if you have any marriage groups at your church. Someone who can look at your situation objectively and not emotionally. I pray for courage for asking for help as well! God is with you always!

    • Candy

      Dear Kristen,
      Keep reminding yourself that what your husband says are lies. He does not name you, he does not define you-God does. You are a child of God and you deserve so much better. I pray that you will feel God’s approval of you right now, just as you are. Stay safe!

  • So powerful. Nothing changes our God! He is good and faithful through every storm. This is so true!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Love, love, LOVE this because I can relate so much! My circumstances have included infertility and miscarriages and then some pretty serious marriage “problems.” I would have named myself Hopeless and Forgotten. But the past year and a half has been beyond amazing! God has healed my husband of a 13 yr addiction to pornography and redeemed our marriage. He has moved in both of our lives beyond what we could have ever imagined. God has still not chosen to give us children, but we know He’s got something big for us and we’re waiting for Him to show us what that is. I am not named by my circumstance…I am named by GOD!!!

    • Sana

      Amen Shelle! Your story is very encouraging! Thank you!

    • Jennifer W.

      Your post brought tears to my eyes. I prayed and prayed with and for a friend in very similar circumstances to yours, and her marriage story ended in divorce when she said she couldn’t take it any more. I have grieved over that ending, though I know God is sovereign. Hearing your victory and joy, even though all of your heart’s longings have not been fulfilled is such beautiful evidence of God’s faithfulness and it encouraged me to keep praying for my friend, even though she has decided to leave her husband. Thank you. And prayers for you as you seek the Lord for continued growth and answered prayer.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.

  • What a wonderful and needed message, I definitely needed to hear the last line “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” Life has been an emotional roller coaster and yesterday hit an all time bottom, but through it all I am trusting that what God brings me to He will bring me through.

  • Jennifer, thank you for sharing this wonderful story of God’s provision for you. My husband and I pray for our oldest daughter who is 31. Her younger brother and sister are married. She like you did, desires a Godly husband and family. But there seems to be no one “out there” She is an amazing Godly young woman. Today, I did not know how to even pray for her. I open up today’s lesson! Talk about providential! Please , pray for her as well. You know what she is feeling! Thank you!

    • Cathy

      Last year I picked up a prayer card in downtown Franklin asking for prayers for Grandma Ruby Shoes who is “the most Christ-like woman I know & shines God’s light despite earthly sufferings. In addition this young lady asked for prayer in future relationships with a focus on Him. Adding your daughter to that list. God will bless her in his time, not ours.

  • “Naomi believed with her head that her God was sovereign, but she was too soul-weary to believe with her heart.” Oh have I been here! More times than I care to count (or admit). While my heart has been crying out over another situation, one of my prayers is that God brings community to my life. I think I mentioned this the other day in my post. I don’t know what it’s like to have those around you who will “carry” you in prayer when you’re too weary to breathe one more plea. My heart longs for these sisters in Christ. And on Monday, God blessed me with several of you. My soul felt a surge of energy as God breathed fresh life into me. While it’s still my prayer, He is definitely providing one day at a time. As God continues to breathe life back into my soul during this season of life I needed the reminder that our “circumstances change, but they do not change our God”. Praise God that He is not limited by our circumstances! He is not limited by my weary soul. He is not limited!

  • Jennifer W.

    The devotional part of this made me cry. I remember clearly a time when I named myself Rejected and Unloveable. Another time, I named myself Forgettable, as my friendships with young Christian men followed a pattern of them getting as much as they could out of me emotionally and spiritually only to walk away when “something better” came along. The Lord ministered to me so sweetly in the past two years, as He gently brought my husband into my life. Through that man’s unexplainable and “out-of-nowhere” faithful love, God has showed me His names for me- Beloved, Accepted, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.
    We have a sweet little daughter now, and my fervent daily prayer for her is that she always has joy and confidence in the love of Christ for her and that we can raise her in wisdom and grace that reflects His guiding love.

    • Deborah

      Jennifer, thank you for sharing this wonderful story of God’s provision for you. My husband and I pray for our oldest daughter who is 31. Her younger brother and sister are married. She like you did, desires a Godly husband and family. But there seems to be no one “out there” She is an amazing Godly young woman. Today, I did not know how to even pray for her. I open up today’s lesson! Talk about providential! Please , pray for her as well. You know what she is feeling! Thank you!

      • Jennifer W.

        I’m so thankful you were encouraged! I was 31 when I met my husband. We got married a week before my 32nd birthday and celebrated on our honeymoon! I will pray today for your daughter. My experience was like Ruth’s- Boaz came “out of nowhere”, but he was actually there, connected to my family all along. :) God’s stories are so beautiful. (Just a side note of encouragement to your daughter- I think when you pass 30 you feel like if you ever do meet anyone, you will never get to be that “young bride”. My experience was, that because my relationship with my husband was pure through our dating and engagement, we had this amazing combination of youthful joy and newness with a bit of wisdom and relationship skills that we gained over our single years. When our baby came, it was probably physically more tolling on me, but I have soaked up every precious moment and the typical new mommy complaints just didn’t bother me as much. Waiting is hard, but it can actually make things sweeter. Kind of like dessert!)

    • She Reads Truth

      Jennifer, so thankful for your story of encouragement! Grateful for His continued provision.

      xo-Kaitlin

  • What a great teaching this morning. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of June, and what a fight it has been. There are days where I feel like I don’t even know what to pray about any more because I feel like I say the same things over and over. I’ve cried, I’ve stayed silent, I’ve fallen flat on my face and even yelled (I hate to admit that one) begging and pleading for healing in her. And there are days where I feel “spiritually limp” that I can’t ask God “to please…” one more time. When I am going through a tough time, I am so quick to give myself another name “defeated”, “angry”, “fearful”, “unlucky” and even “worthless”. Reading the passage, “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” just brought tears to my eyes because I have been allowing my eyes to look down and let the enemy name me, instead of lifting my eyes and remembering that God named me first and for a reason. Nothing will ever trump that. Thank you for opening Heaven’s gates on me this morning and putting some strength back in my spiritual muscles!

    • Sareena Denton

      Praise God for this truth! God is always with us and He cares about our hearts and He hears us! He is the best Dad. I pray against our enemy’s efforts to shred your faith and hope. You are so strong in Him, keep your eye up Sis and I am confident He will continue to walk with you always. Hugs. Thanks for sharing your heart.

    • Rhonda

      Thank you for sharing your heart, Lauren. Praying for you as you walk this path with your mother.

    • Ana.Staniscia

      You are never alone my dear sister and He hs made you fruitful in the land of our afflictiion. May you have peace of mind to be by your dear mom’s side. Im rising you up with prayers today ❤️

  • Kasey Summers

    “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” So very thankful for this truth.

  • Ana.Staniscia

    It reminds me the God grant us not what we want, but what we need. He has always a plan for us.

  • Thank you so much for this reminder. It makes my soul breathe fresh air this morning. Running today into the arms of my God!

    “We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full-force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.”

  • Keri Underwood

    The hope that Ruth brings it so encouraging. I think we all get caught up in our current circumstances, especially if those circumstances are trials. How amazing to look at the sovereign ways of our Father in the book of Ruth. Naomi’ husband and sons had to die, Ruth had to be loyal, Boaz had to have favor on Ruth and allow her to work in his fields, the “close relative” of Naomi’s had to tell Boaz no to marrying Ruth so that Boaz would marry her…all these things HAD to happen the way they did in order for God’s plan to come to fruition and for our Savior’s lineage to continue! So crazy to think about. I try to keep this in mind when I don’t understand something I’m going through. God has a plan for it, even if it’s years down the line!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Today’s reading is just what I needed to get my day started. I have been struggling with a lot lately, and I just can’t seem to see the good in any situation. I’m so thankful in knowing that God is always there through anything that we face in life. Through our sins and shortcomings, He still chooses to love and forgive us.

  • Nancy Kloc

    Pray for me.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      lifting you up this morning in prayer

    • Kyleiann

      Prayed for you Nancy!

    • Kara

      Praying for you, Nancy.

    • DeAnn

      “Full-on carrying you, Nancy”

    • Eliza

      Praying.

    • Lynda

      I wrote this in the notes section of my phone Nancy. I don’t remember where I ready it – probably here – but I know I have it read it many times over in the last week especially. “When things feel helpless and desperate, God has a plan. When we’re convinced our story is over, God is at work. When we are exhausted and confused, God is sovereign. When one more horrible thing happens, God has a purpose. When we have truly lost all hope, God is bringing about His will.
      Today’s devotional was perfect timing – and how fortunate we all are to have a group of sisters to always only need say – PRAY! I am joining with all your other sisters to pray for you.

    • Rhonda

      Praying, Nancy.

  • I love the encouragement. I love that God allowed us to see this real side of Naomi, it gives me encouragement right when I needed it.

  • Christine

    And you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall bestow…. I’ve always loved verses that talk about how God names us, the world does not. Our name – our identity – is in His hands. And it’s safe there! Oh Lord, my rock and my redeemer thank you for calling this sheep by name! Thank you for every promise kept to Naomi, to Ruth, to every one of us you call your own.

  • This reminds me of a Daily Blessing written by Susie Larson several weeks ago- a call to “rehearse God’s promises, because they are truer than our circumstances.” I need to be reminded to choose this every day. Here’s what Susie wrote- Daily Blessing
    May God lift your chin, awaken your heart, and open your eyes to all you possess in Him. May you refuse to let your disappointments define you. May you instead, stand on that barren land and envision a harvest. May you experience a revival of faith in the very place of your heartbreak! Instead of rehashing your losses, determine to rehearse His promises because they’re truer than your circumstances. Today’s a good day to embrace faith, to give thanks, and to worship the One who keeps His promises. You’ve got everything you need in Him. Have a blessed day. https://m.facebook.com/deeperlifeinchrist

  • Tollen Thurber

    Today’s reading is so encouraging. God is sovereign and He loves making beauty out of our mess.

  • This was me. Naomi’s brokenness is the reflection of myself In the mirror a few months ago. The first day of this devotional, I posted about the loss of our baby last year- followed by a terrible valley of anxiety and sorrow with my very sick mom. The storm raged relentless for over 6 months. I remember my head knowing God is Sovereign, but my heart just couldn’t see past my circumstances. If I could have changed my name, it would have been to weary. I was at a loss. I couldn’t see the future of restoration- and even as the changes of good came my way, I still felt (and sometimes struggle) with a creeping anxiety. This is not from Him. My God is teaching me about His sovereignty through this series. This was exactly what I needed- He spoke loud and clear. I am trusting- and asking my Heavenly Father to help my doubt and make my faith firm and strong. I am blessed. Forgiven. Beloved. Redeemed.

    “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”
    ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

    “Naomi believed God was sovereign, even in her tragedy. But even this believing woman had trouble seeing past her circumstances. The hand was dealt, the credits were rolling. Naomi believed with her head that her God was sovereign, but she was too soul-weary to believe with her heart. And so she called it. Game over. Name changed……………
    She couldn’t imagine how bitterness could become beauty, but her sovereign God could.

    Naomi named herself Bitter, but God names her—and us!—Blessed.
He names us Forgiven (1 John 1:9).
He names us Beloved (Romans 5:8).
He names us Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

    These names hold true even when circumstances don’t, because ours is a God who is mighty over affliction and blessing, bitterness and beauty, past and future. “

    • Kyleiann

      Dani, I am so sorry for what you’ve been walking through. I love what you wrote. God is redeeming and restoring. God bless you.

    • Rhonda

      Lifting you Up in prayer, Dani.

  • A great way to start this Wednesday- that we are forgiven, beloved, & redeemed! Just like Naomi!

  • Helen Martin

    This is truly an awesome read for me. It gives me hope and a future knowing that God will restore me and my family.

  • Churchmouse

    I have never liked my name. It’s meaning relates to an insect. And it was chosen for me because an actress of old had this name. Yep. Not crazy about it. But… My husband shortens it and wraps it in sweet tenderness . Our daughters changed it to Mom and our granddaughter changed it again to Mimi. A common, unappreciated name given vibrancy and new life because of great love. Dear sisters, how much more God! When I’m feeling less than a good wife, mom and Mimi, He still calls me forgiven, beloved, redeemed. He wraps me in His sweet tenderness because of His great love. My name is no longer common. My name is no longer unappreciated. For I am named by my good God – and that is more than enough.

  • Elise Wirth

    I just love Ruth she was such a compassionate women to give up her life to be with her mother in law is amazing. And Naomi she could have given up on God. We all have those moments in our lives like why us. And I could have been the same way losing my mother at age 13. But seeing my mom sick and still praising the Lord never asked why me. I knew the Lord was the only way.

  • MrsCBerger

    Thank you for this. You spoke truth right where and when I needed it. I’m new to SRT and love it! Many blessings to you!

  • Shuana Huggins

    Yes, my circumstances right now are not good but I look to you God because you are good. This lesson was on time for me.

  • Nikki North

    He names us Forgiven (1 John 1:9). He names us Beloved (Romans 5:8). He names us Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

    We should all write this on a post it and place somewhere we will see it everyday. Such good news!

  • So grateful for that!

  • Amen, our circumstances may change but God doesn’t…It’s comforting to know that even when we feel empty and stripped of everything that we thought mattered, that God is still present…

    • RoseBergamot

      Amen!

    • Samantha

      I agree with you. So many things I have thought mattered most do not compare to knowing God.

    • CJ

      Yes….amen. I’ve recently been stripped of a three year relationship with a man that I thought I was going to marry. I’ve been constantly reminded over and over of God’s goodness and presence in this. And many friends and family who are praying instead of me when I just can’t.

Further Reading...