Day 22

Naomi



Ruth 1:1-2:2, Ruth 4:13-17, Psalm 103:1-5

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Yellow socks aren’t supposed to make a girl sad. Yet, they do. I see them tucked in unfamiliar shoes, covering impostor feet as they walk away, oblivious to the way they make me ache.

I miss someone who used to wear yellow socks.

With the enormity of her own loss, Naomi’s life must have been open to silly triggers of grief three times over. The voids left by her husband and two sons were surely hollow yet heavy. Tragedy was a thief, stealing away her family as well as her very identity as a wife and mother.

Did she avoid social gatherings in fear of small talk about the achievements of others’ children? Did she sleep in another room because her husband’s previously unkempt belongings remained untouched? Did she feel less like herself without them by her side?

When the sympathy casseroles from own my grief were still warm, I was horrified by the way I could easily recall what it felt like to be full and nourished, yet remain far from that bygone reality. It felt as if the whole world knew the facts of my sorrow, but no one knew about yellow socks.

I can picture Naomi sitting in her emptiness, when nothing about her circumstances seemed right—not even her own name, which meant “pleasantness.” Her story may fit evenly across the pages of the book of Ruth, but I bet nothing about her despair felt neat or orderly.

Naomi is the woman I want to sit with in my own sadness. I don’t want cliches or how-to’s, another card or conversation, I just want a glimpse of God. I want to hunker down with someone who knows the course—someone who can instruct me when to cry and when to hold back tears, what to avoid and what to embrace, how to refine my grief and how to recall joy.

Such instruction unexpectedly came to me in the mail one day. The sender said, “Wear these whenever you need to” in a note attached to my very own pair of yellow socks. I was hesitant, but soon pulled them over my feet and stood in declaration of my own unique sadness, allowing my mourning to take root.

Here’s what I love about Naomi: she was way ahead of me in this practice of wearing her weeping. She exposed her bitterness in the most tangible way she could muster—by changing her name. Her identity.

“Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter” (Ruth 1:20).

As outsiders, we can read this statement and believe Naomi was rebelling against her heavenly Father. We can misunderstand her grief, dismissing her as shortsighted or lacking faith. We can see her renaming herself based on her shifting circumstances and think, Girl, where’s your heavenly perspective?

But if we gather together, put on our own yellow socks and look closely through our personal pain, we’ll see more than a woman in despair. We’ll see a sister in the pit, waiting for her life to be redeemed, Psalm-103-style. And we’ll see a God who has been renewing His daughter all along.

The story could have ended with the introduction of Mara (Ruth 1:20). She certainly thought it would. But when we read of Boaz and Ruth’s baby boy at the end of Chapter 4, we see a beautiful new beginning. I’ve always seen the child as a tangible sign of redemption, a fitting end to the story. But do you know what I noticed this time around? The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi.” To Mara? No, to Naomi! God not only renewed a family and lineage—He brought renewal to His beloved daughter Naomi.

Friends, we can wear garments of grief or our own yellow socks. But ultimately, God calls us renewed of joy. He gives “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

May He crown you with beauty and redemption today and place in your heart a promise of His renewal. Amen.

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Post Comments (145)

145 thoughts on "Naomi"

  1. Brittany Brown says:

    I have struggled a lot with being content in my singleness and just focusing on the Lord then if it is His will someone will come. The book of Ruth really hits home and I am really thankful for it! Praise the Lord for He is good and always will be good!

    1. Amanda says:

      Me too Brittany, it is comforting to know other woman of Christ are going through the same thing. God is in control!!

    2. Mary Beth says:

      Oh, honey. I know it!! Singleness can be such a TIME. And, I mean a TIME. From personal experience, the love story that God is writing for you is so beautiful. And, I pray blessings upon you as you take this journey with Him. As we see in Naomi and Ruth’s story, there is always, ALWAYS so much more than we could ever imagine. I almost wed a man that was not God’s best. I felt like Naomi: left, abandoned, bitter, angry. It took a few years, but God brought my fiancé and I together in the most beautiful, redeeming, and wonderful way. And, my name is Mary (from the Hebrew Mara) Beth (from the Hebrew Elizabeth meaning My God is a Promise). He turned my bitterness into a beautiful promise fulfilled. ❤️❤️

    3. Emily says:

      I totally understand! I know I’m still really young but somehow I have made it to twenty without even almost having that kind of companionship- I’ve never even gone on a date! Yes- it is very hard (especially now that I am in college and more alone than I have ever been). This devotional reminds me of just how much our Daddy cares for his daughters. It’s not easy to wait (and God knows this) but don’t you think you will be happy you did?

  2. KMM says:

    Why is it so easy to get down about life and so easy to forget what God has done for me and what he calls me? I feel whole and joyful while singing and worshipping God but when the service is over I feel depressed and overtaken by this world. Once life hits again I feel like I can’t stand. I pray the Lord will help me to really know what it means to surrender everything to him. I struggle between sure ending and knowing I still have to take care of things. I’m not called to just sit and let things go but I am definitely not called to make the plans either. Let me hear your words loud and clear Lord! May I be sensitive to your will in my life.

    1. Praying for you KMM, God will never stop pursuing you in every good way. Speak truth over yourself day after day, and allow God to speak over you too. Recall his sovereignty, his grace, his plans, his deep love, his living water given to us, his hope, his promises, his holiness, his passion for you.

  3. Lily says:

    I finished This is the Gospel yesterday and I am catching up on this plan now. These passages and devotional on Naomi are exactly what I needed to read today.

  4. Amie Stockstill says:

    Beautifully written!!! Thank you!

  5. Steph says:

    Praise Jesus who redeems my life from the pit , and crowns me with steadfast love and mercy. This is personal sisters. For us all today. Accept this identity. Walk in it. He forgives all of our iniquity. We are not defined by what we’ve done. The past is the past. God sees us through the eyes of Jesus.

    1. Juliefay says:

      Renewed and found in Christ! Above and beyond what we could ask or imagine!

  6. Nancy says:

    After years of reading this What struck me was that Ruth wanted to make Naomi’s God her God even with the bitterness Naomi experienced and Ruth witnessed.

  7. Rachel says:

    Absolutely stunning. This brought such peace to my heart and rest in his goodness. Thank you

    1. Rachel, I am so grateful He used this to bring you comfort. Praying for you, friend.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  8. Oh this spoke volumes to me. After losing my dear friend of 11 years, Amanda, and then shortly after I lost my great grandma, grandma, and aunt, I was wearing my grief. But God redeems!!

    1. Praying for you today, sister! Trusting in His redemption for both of us.

      xoxo-Kaitlin

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