Naomi and Ruth Return

Open Your Bible

Ruth 1:19-22, Ruth 2:1-3, Isaiah 38:9-20, 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). 

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 (1John 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. Naomi sent Ruth out into the fields to gather 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. 

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97 thoughts on "Naomi and Ruth Return"

  1. Savanna Houle says:

    Forgiven, Beloved, and Redeemed. I’ve been really weary lately, but this just confirms that God has me.

  2. Fabiana Passoni says:

    ❤️ challenges , redemption and hope

  3. Keri LeeKnapp says:

    I had a thought to look up the meaning of my name, Keri: fair, blessed poetry, dark (hello awkward 2004 emo days) and Lee: pasture, meadow. But regardless the Lord has named me forgiven and redeemed! ❤️

  4. Kayla Sodders says:

    Amen . Our circumstances change but our lovely God does not ! He turns our mess into a message ❤️ Thank you Jesus !

  5. Danya says:

    “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.”

    How great is our God! Thank you Lord that you seed the end. Thank you that in you we have our being. Thank you for always being there even when it seems so hopeless.

    “I raise a hallelujah in the middle of the mystery”

  6. Nikii Cooke says:

    “Circumstances change, but our God does not” whew this hit home. Such good way to start my day with a good perspective. Naomi left full and returned empty. Once she is able to perceive what the Lord will do for her life she will be so full!

  7. Micha Iro says:

    Ty Lord Jesus of taking care of Naomi’s life, even amidst of bitterness You are sovereign to change her life.

  8. Hallie Yount says:

    This hit home today. A month ago my youngest (5) was in the ICU very sick. I prayed until I couldn’t pray anymore, I wept until I could no longer produce tears. My church family and so many prayer warriors lifted my son and my family up in prayers and I felt calm. My son is doing much better and I whole heartedly believe God heard my cries and the voices lifting my son up in prayer to heal him.

  9. Marlyne says:

    This reading was such a great one for me encouraging me that God is always in the midst working things out for me. That even in the midst of a storm God is faithful. I can relate to going through so much stuff back to back especially this year 2022 has been a very tough year for me and there were times I didn’t have the strength to even utter a prayer I got to the point where I just wanted to give up and just throw in the towel because the trauma that I endured was so painful that I couldn’t see past my pain but God has given me strength and renewed my mind and I’m in a way better place now. I thought there was no possibility of healing but there is nothing to Great for God to do. God restored Naomi from bitter to blessed. God is a sovereign God.

  10. Whitney Christensen says:

    This one was a great read took me back to a time I was struggling, and other prayers for me and my life changed for the better, because Our God is a loving, caring God. A welcoming and forgiving Father!

  11. Jennifer says:

    Hillary, this is a beautiful point and one I so needed to read today. Thank you for posting :)

  12. Hillary says:

    I was reminded today that even though Naomi couldn’t feel or see God working in her current circumstances, He was. He made a way for Ruth to be in Boaz’s field when she could have easily picked another field. Something has simple as walking into a strangers field has God’s fingerprints all over it. God is always working. He is always faithful and always provides. Thank you Jesus!

  13. Amanda Duquette says:

    I was reminded while reading this how consistent my God is. Even when life is ever changing He is there

  14. Danya says:

    I’ll be praying for your daughter @ Lajeana.
    We are going through this,book at church and it is such a blessing

  15. Stormi Messmer says:


  16. Ericka I. says:

    This study is a blessing. God ordained for sure. I’ve been going through a year of setbacks, obstacles, turmoil in my home, and feeling like everything is falling apart. I often felt alone, that I was being punished and pushed to the end of my rope. God has been showing me through His word that He is here. He’s always been here. That my circumstances don’t define whaat my life will be. That I need to turn to Him when I’ve lost hope in everything. That His glory will be revealed in my life. That He will get the honor and praise when this season is over. Thankful for this word.

  17. LaJeana Bailey says:

    I started this study last night. Reading this now while in the surgical waiting room waiting for my teenage daughter to be out of surgery is bringing peace to my heart, mind, and soul.

  18. Brielle Hebert says:

    @ Courtney K – I love that you picked up on Ruth “happened” and your beautiful testimony. I often think too about all the happenings throughout my life that couldn’t have been orchestrated by anyone other than a sovereign God. With Him, nothing is ever coincidence.

  19. Alicia Lopez says:

    Our God is unchanging, I would’ve never thought of “ pray for me because I can’t” and there should be no shame in that !

  20. Laurie H says:

    Again, I always thought Naomi was mad at God, but the bible commentary points to the opposite. She runs TO God, and acknowledges that He has His hand in their circumstances…

    ” The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me… the LORD has brought me home again empty… the LORD has testified against me: Naomi was not afraid to see the hand of God in all her calamity.

    i. Naomi knew that the tragedy that came into her life was not because of fate, chance, or blind fortune. She felt the tragedies were an example of God’s affliction because she could not see the end of His plan. But she knew there was a sovereign God of heaven and didn’t think she had just run into a string of “bad luck.”

    ii. Yet, in the midst of all these bitter circumstances, Naomi was not bitter against the LORD. We can imagine one of the villagers asking, “Naomi, if God has dealt very bitterly with you, if the LORD has brought you home empty, if the LORD has testified against you, then why have you come back?” And she would have said, “Because I want to get right with Him again. Things have been terrible, and the answer isn’t in going further from God, but in drawing closer to Him.”

    iii. Not everyone reacts to trials the way Naomi did. “Many are humbled, but not humble; low, but not lowly. These have lost the fruit of their afflictions… and are therefore most miserable.” (Trapp)

  21. Ava Warren says:

    Two thongs stuck out to me. the grace to be honest snd lament-We can cry out when we are in need. And The strength to return to God, to the last thing he said to us, as Naomi returned back to Israel.

  22. Ava Warren says:

    – the grace to be honest snd lament. We can cry out when we are in need

  23. Sarah Coe says:

    @felicia P as a mom of a child with autism I thank you!! You are so much more than a state test! You are our child’s friend and advocate- we are more thankful to you than you can know!!!

  24. Janniah Evans says:

    Wow, on the eve of my birthday I’m reflecting on the past year. This word could not be more necessary and on time. “We are not named by our circumstances a we are named by our good God.”

  25. Sarah D. says:

    Good morning sisters! Prayers appreciated as I decided to start working from home this week! Should provide a lot more flexibility and I hope help my anxiety. My desk set up is in my bedroom though, but please pray for peace and that I can adjust to this and that I wouldn’t allow mean calls to get to me. Thank you all!!

  26. Kristina Stump says:

    This hit home for me. I’m behind on my reading and this was powerful. Tonight I’m on my knees begging god for guidance. I love everyone posting it helps so much.

  27. Genesis Vargas says:

    As a mom of a child with special needs, my God bless and encourage you. You are a blessing to families in ways you may never fully know.

  28. Genesis Vargas says:

    circumstances change but that does not change our God! Amen and Amen

  29. Felicia P says:

    Loved this Devo! “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.” And “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our God.” I must remember these sentences and truths as I walk daily doing my best to shine His light. As a teacher (work with special needs kids!) I must remember that I am not a number given after an evaluation or a State test that is not fit for my students. I must remember that, in the big scheme of things, I am blessed and beloved by the One who placed me in my role. I need prayers for strength!

  30. Felicia P says:

    Loved this Devo! “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God.” And “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our God.” I must remember these sentences and truths as I walk daily doing my best to shine His light. As a teacher (work with special needs kids!) I must remember that I am not a number given after an evaluation or a State test that is not fit for my students. I must remember that, in the big scheme of things, I am blessed and beloved by the One who placed me in my role.

  31. Suzanne Woodward says:

    Amen! I love this- “We are not named by our circumstances. We’re named by our God.”

  32. Kaira Helvey says:


  33. Katie Nordgren says:


  34. Toni Olson says:

    God is always with us even during our darkest days.♥️

  35. Melissa Mcronney says:


  36. vonda roll says:

    Circumstances change so true. God is good!

  37. Ruth Leal says:

    Wow all of this speaks truth. I love it

  38. Alayna P. says:

    “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” I really needed to read this today ❤️

  39. Hannah Cooper says:


  40. Mercy says:

    It was a beautiful contextual picture that Amanda led us to see where Naomi was. Well done Amanda, that was some effective communication right there! Bravo. Deep anguish and loss can lead most people to being so bitter against God, I have witnessed this, and even turn away from faith in God. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled”(Hebrews 12:15). I walked a season of numbness from pain and exhaustion, I related to what Amanda said, but nothing as bad as Naomi experienced. Most days I had to recite the verses of Psalm 23 to myself, to reframe my perspectives and to adapt God’s, to adapt truth. Just like King David how he encouraged himself through the distressing verses of psalm, when hunted high and low, where all was lost, king David encouraged himself in the Lord, he was too alone, bitter and hurt by so much betrayal and threats of death/assassination. However it is a choice to choose faith and hope over despair. It is a choice we make to shift our reality into the “fantasy” faith world of what God has prophesied to us before hand, my child, The plan I have for you is a good plan, a plan of hope and of a future, my child this world is full of tribulation but rejoice for I have overcome all. It is a practice. It has to be a daily meditation practice in our mind/thinking/way of living/perspective, consistently and genuinely. Let the Word soak into all of our being, all that is within us. Let it be our nature. Two women (Ruth, Naomi), under same circumstances, yielding two different results. Between life and death, choose you this day, God said, between hope and despair, between faith and fear, between bitterness and pleasantness, choose you this day. We all need to make a personal choice. It’s going against reality/circumstances, to conform our thinking, to break free from the restriction of what our eyes and feelings tell us, to set our mind above the current hurtful reality to the heavenly places. If our mind is above, as a man thinks, so is he. This is light momentary affliction. Light and Momentary, as we look not to the things that are seen. And not even to be compared with the weighty glory to come (even now on earth, the glory comes). And the Lord shows His reward to those who endure trials (even now on earth His reward comes). Rejoice. Rejoice. In your trials, in your pain, rejoice and give praise, open your Bible, sing a hymn, encourage yourself like the men and women before us have endured. Would Ruth know that her seemingly ordinary life of courage and integrity and faith one day would be studied/analyzed by millions of women after her time? No she wouldn’t. She made a choice when no one was looking. It shows true character. Same with you and I. We could never know how many lives we could impact simply by pushing through. “My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection” (Psalm 71:7 NLT). Be blessed dear sisters.

  41. Rhonda J. says:

    Great to hear from you Brooke P!!! Congratulations! Our (She’s) second baby boy this year! We are honored to call him ours and pray for him, what’s his name?

  42. Rhonda J. says:

    Good reading today!

    “Graves into Gardens” by Elevation Worship is a great song for it! God always will turn ashes into beauty if we look to Him instead of our circumstances! I can attest to many times in my life, I thought “game over” and yet God saw me through and blessed me beyond what I could have imagined!

    It’s great to see so many comments and new and returning She’s! Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

  43. Adrienne says:

    And, happy birthday, REBECCA!

  44. Adrienne says:

    Hello, BROOKE P.! Was wondering how you and Baby were! Glad to “see” you here!

    And, KATE… What wonderful news about this new job!

    Have a blessed day, sweet She’s!

  45. GramsieSue says:

    We can’t control our circumstances of life, but we can control how we respond to them. How many times have I heard that? Faith is all about daring to believe that God is working everything for our good even when we don’t feel like it or see it happening. “In everything give thanks” is the best antidote against a bitter and critical spirit. It’s one thing to know God’s name and quite something else to trust that name and allow God to work in the difficult situations of life. Sometimes, in the midst of this journey with Steve fighting for his life, I get so scared, worried…you name it. But God. Oh but God. He is so faithful to show me how he has worked in the past. And He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So He still moves mountains. And He is always here with us. And I have a new humility in my walk, a new song of praise on my lips, and a new determination to praise God all the days of my life, for now these days are so important to me. Hugs to all ❤️

  46. Anna Gonzalez says:

    Love how I can

  47. Terri Baldwin says:

    Trust in God’s plan… obedient guided by grace into the place God planned for you.

  48. Lehua K. says:

    Traci Gendron, praying the email is received with an open heart.

    Brooke P, congratulations on your little one!

    Happy birthday Rebecca!

    Courtney, thank you for sharing your “happened” moments. What a beautiful testimony!

    Kate – excited for you and your new job, congratulations!

    Angie Mills, thank you for diving deeper into the context of names and the contrast Naomi had upon leaving Bethlehem and returning. And thank you Amanda for the great study today. I have seen some similarities in attitude with Naomi from this story and my mom who is named after her. I am in awe of the faith and continual hope Ruth must have had, to stay positive in spite of Naomi’s bitterness. I pray that God will use me to inspire my own mom in that way.

    I love that God has a plan for all of us. The “just so happened” moment in Ruth shows us how He is moving and working, even when things may seem silent on our end.

    Thank you for those who have been praying. I met with my Bible study group last night and it helped tremendously. I pray that like Naomi and Ruth, I will continue to turn toward God and focus on Him in the midst of my circumstances – losing our 17 year old dog yesterday, transitioning out of a toxic job into a better one next week, and my chronic health/gut/hormone challenges that have gotten worse with all the recent stress. I know things will get better, in God’s timing. He has a plan for me, He sees me. He sees us all and holds us close. Churchmouse, your post awakened a new level of hope in me. Thank you. The dawn is coming. Amen.

    Have a blessed day, sisters.

  49. Dorothy says:

    Yvonne my heart and prayers go out to you and your family.
    Kate I’m so happy for you, it’s great that you got to get a job you are happier in.

  50. Krystle Scott says:

    Brooke P, it’s so good to hear from you! I was just praying for you the other day, hoping that all was going well with your baby boy. Glad to hear y’all are well! ❤️

    Also, happy birthday Rebecca! ❤️

  51. Laurah Cesare says:

    My God does not change !

  52. Portia Strange says:

    We, like Naomi, often give ourselves a new name based on our circumstances. Lord help us to be women who, despite our circumstances, know AND BELIEVE that YOU ALONE name us in the name of Jesus! Amen!

  53. Dorothy says:

    WOW!!! What a powerful devotion. I’ve been in the situation Amanda talks about many a time, sometimes I wonder if it’s too many times. But is seeking God, Christ and/or the Holy Spirit when you need help ever wrong or can you do it too many times? Does God ever tire of me/us asking for help, wanting to know why, or just hearing my/our pleas? I wonder!!!! God WANTS us to come to Him with everything but does He really mean EVERYTHING?

    Sisters, be blessed and pray for some one special today.

  54. Brooke P says:

    Praise God for this study! I’ve been away from the app, just reading the studies for a while now and just wanted to update y’all! Our sweet boy was born in August after a year of struggles and loss. He is so sweet and precious, thank you all for your prayers & I am so excited to be back on the app studying with you ladies, old & new!! ❤️

  55. Brooke P says:

    Praise God for this study! I’ve been away from the app, just reading the studies for a while now and just wanted to update y’all!

  56. Lexi B says:

    Sometimes the Lord empties us to shift us- Fabi love this! It’s so true.

  57. Allison Bentley says:

    EMILY “in her grief Naomi moved towards God” Pg 32 of the study book shows the route Naomi and Ruth would have had to take to get to Bethlehem (a journey lasting approximately 50-60 days through mountains and rivers). All to move towards God!! So beautiful!

  58. Allison Bentley says:

    21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. – Ruth 1:21 what a beautiful verse!! When we are broken and empty God can fill us even more than before!!!! Praying that you can leave behind the names you have given yourself (worthless, ugly, not good enough, shameful, etc etc) and put on the name God has given you [BELOVED, FORGIVEN, CHOSEN, WORTHY and the list goes on and on]!

  59. Joanna Foley says:

    So thankful for the reminder today that no matter how far gone we are, the Lord is still waiting for us to come Home. What a blessing.

  60. Traci Gendron says:

    So many good comments today! When I was younger I let my circumstance define me. I hope I no longer do that. I realized that my circumstance have the ability to teach me what I may have not learned if things were different.

    I reached out to a woman I met in an email today. Please pray she receives it with the intentions that I sent it. Her daughter has decided that she is bi-sexual. She goes to a christian school and they have treated her poorly. The mother now wonders if God is even real. Is there a heaven or hell. I wrote to her letting her know that I’m sorry believers treated them poorly. But tried to say that we are human and sin. That I once judged God by people. I told her of my own story and how God has helped me through. I hope I didn’t overstep….

  61. Mari V says:

    Thank you Amanda for a well written and heartfelt devotion this morning. I have truly lived, “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. We (I am) are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God. So grateful for this. Even in the mist of hard times I know that I know that I too have been carried during those times.

  62. Susan Steele says:

    Thank you!

  63. Susan Lincks says:


  64. Lucy says:

    Amen and amen!

  65. Rebecca says:

    Today is my birthday and I feel such peaceful joy at this moment. As I look back over the years I have had my moments (years) of pain always to be carried through in the arms of my shepherd. The older I get the more it sinks in that the only real thing important in this life is our walk with Jesus. I pray for all of you sisters, as we journey together in this life, looking to our very own kinsman redeemer.

  66. Cindy Hanna says:

    Thank you @Gwendolyn. I was wondering about that dropped passage. Also @ Courtney K. Loved your listing of all the “happened to” events that have occurred in your life. What a great testimony to God’s faithfulness.

  67. Krista Andrews says:

    I am so glad I am named and defined by God as His child and not the swirling mess of the world around me. AMEN! What a reminder as I head into my day.

  68. Heather Drummond says:

    ❤️ This hit me, too.

  69. Nancy VeronicaAguilera says:

    Beautifully said! Thank you for sharing

  70. Maria says:

    “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” – Amanda Bible Williams

    What a word! Thank you for writing!

  71. Mia Faith says:

    Angie Mills- I second that book. So good!

  72. Carrie Wilson says:

    When I name myself a failure, he has named me redeemed, forgiven, alive in Him!

  73. Claire B says:

    Churchmouse, as always you are spot on

  74. Michelle Patire says:

    Courtney K– what a beautiful testimony!!! :)

  75. Jennifer Loves Jesus says:

    Two widows carrying painful losses, one holding hope, and one holding bitterness. Ruth returns with Naomi to her hometown. The House of Bread (Beth-lehem) is flourishing in a state of plenty. The famine is in the past, and a harvest of barley is underway (Ruth 1:22). Naomi was empty handed physically, yet full of bitterness. Ruth too was empty handed plus she was in a foreign land. But she was full of God’s spirit and eagerness to find favor and food. She was full of hope and faith, ready to glean and gather. Such a menagerie of contrasts. Suffering contrasted by plenty. Famine to harvest. Bitter and sweet bringing out the rich flavor of God’s mercy and grace. Ruth’s obedience lands her in a redeemer’s field. She was guided by grace into the place God planned for her (Ruth 2:3). Open hands to glean with hope and joy is all we are asked to do. Seemingly difficult in light of suffering. Yet, this is where God moves. This is where Jesus steps in. The contrast of a King suffering on a cross for love is my most valuable treasure. This knowledge of Jesus Christ as my Lord is the better everything. The answer to my famine. The provider of my hope and joy. When His light clicks on, darkness flees. There is no greater truth. And no greater thing to be filled with. Sift and save the goodness of God. Glean from the wealth of His Kingdom. Gather only from the harvest of our own fields of grace. Trusting the provision of our Father and Redeemer. Selah. Maranatha. Amen.

  76. Michelle Patire says:

    My friend did a great podcast on Ruth about three weeks ago. It’s the same podcast where I shared my coming to faith story. “Beyond Just Christian” – if anyone is interested! Today’s devotional reminds me of it. I also highly recommend the She Reads Truth podcast to accompany the weekly readings :) it helps to get another eye or two on the text!

    @Kate — your story is so encouraging. God is so faithful. It reminds me of this Scripture : 2 Timothy 2:13- “if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
    God never lets us down.
    I pray you hold onto this testimony of His faithfulness to you throughout the coming seasons.

    @Mercy– thank you !!! I’m so thankful you went back, randomly!
    I really want to record my music for others to hear (outside of open mics) but I don’t believe it’s time, yet. I need to keep practicing and believe God will help me so that in His timing. :)
    God is faithful!

  77. Courtney-Erin says:

    I am in the thick of Ruth now…my father was diagnosed with AML in January and over the last couple of months our family life has changed. I was working full-time and going back to school at the age of 40. But since January I had to stop school (for now), and quit my job because I felt called to care for my parents. I had to be my dads stem cell donor, and give my life to care taking in the terms of how Christ wants me to care for them, with a very shaky and unknown future and trust that his plan would be better than my own. I am scared and anxious but the book of Ruth was here giving me encouragement and a guideline. It really inspired me the other day when I read 1 Timothy 5:4-6 literally spoke life into me and has given me strength during this past week.
    I believe that because Ruth followed Naomi to Bethlehem, God was pleased and changed the circumstances of both of their lives and I pray he does that for my family.
    Please continue to keep us in prayer! And thank you SRT community for doing the story of Ruth and having guests come on like Kristi McLelland on the podcast who is just filled with so much information.

  78. Courtney K says:

    I didn’t notice that Naomi renames herself, but the author of the text doesn’t call her that!

    I love this: “She happened.” Ruth “happened” to be in the field belonging to Boaz. I can’t help but look back at my life to see God’s plan unfolding.

    I happened to have a close friend who moved to Nevada from New York; I ended up moving to Nevada also. I met my husband within a few months.

    I happened to have a friend who was also an IVF mama who encouraged me to go to a fertility clinic. Now our sweet girl is 1.5 years old.

    I happened to live in an area that has a pediatric neurosurgeon and pediatric craniofacial surgeon could help my sweet girl — that same 1.5 year old — when she needed to have an extremely invasive surgery. I happened to go to a pediatrician that spotted her condition.

    I happened to sign up for an infertility Christmas card exchange and was connected to one of my closest friends (also a fellow IVF mama).

    How many times have I happened to do something or be somewhere and God was there, His fingerprints all over the place? Because I’m in His hands. Thank You, God, for all the places I’ve “happened” to be and all the people I’ve “happened” to meet. Amen.

  79. Searching says:

    When I focus on something other than God and His goodness and get discouraged, may I remember that He is still in the business of loving me and guiding me – especially in those times when I can’t even ask for prayers and can only cry, Oh God! He hears me. He heard Naomi, as faint as her cry for Him may have been.

    HEIDI – joining you and Ryan in prayer for wisdom, knowledge and guidance. Praying that any decisions made or actions taken are made wisely, walking in God’s will and not getting ahead of what He’s doing behind the scenes. He is always working – several studies ago it was noted that while He is always doing thousands (at least) of things, we can only see a handful at a time.

    YVONNE – my heart goes out to you for the loss of your son

    LEHUA – ❤️

    LAUREN GW – continuing to pray

    KATE – thank you for the praise report on the new job!

  80. Kristen says:

    As many of you know after I lost my baby daughter. I was invited to a new church. This woman caught my eye because of her joy and how she was praising God. I figured she had a great life.(She had troubles too. She had also lost a baby to a miscarriage,) This woman that I never met came up to me and said to run to God and not away! Best advice! Many of you are writing and advising that to us too! No matter what the circumstance may we run to the Almighty! Hearing His Word was a lifeline after her burial.
    May God help us to love and treasure His Word always!

  81. Fabi . says:

    Sometimes the Lord empties us to shift us. Naomi saw it as opposition from God (v20) but God, who is in the business of restoring all things to Himself, was painting a different story. He was setting up a redemption story. I love the timing of this point in the story. She hears and returns at Harvest Time. His timing is perfect. “Indeed it was for my own well-being that I had such intense bitterness; but YOUR LOVE has delivered me from the pit of destruction, for you have thrown all my sins behind your back”. -Isaiah 38:27. Goodness where would we be without the faithful, steady, radical love of God.

  82. Lanie Hefferly says:

    It’s so funny that at the midpoint of this post I felt myself saying I am resilient, I am strong. Because that’s often how I identify myself, self sustaining. And then I read, “we are not named by our circumstances, we are named by our God.” And I heard God say, daughter, beloved, blessed, joyful. The world tells us to be proud, independent, strong women, and God keeps reminding me in this season of goodness to let him carry me.

  83. Kristen says:

    @ Churchmouse Amen! Thank you for this beautiful reminder! I remember after finding out about my husband’s affair the days when I know that people had to be praying and could feel this. That’s how I was able to go on and make it through the work day. Also, God had people send a text, call, or extend an invitation to meet. Thank God for His amazing love and care!

  84. Summer Stevenson says:

    I love how honest Naomi is here… God wants all of us , the real , the raw , the broken , the bitter , the empty

  85. Angie Mills says:

    Naomi was given her name, which means “pleasant”, a few days after her birth. When she returns to Judah, a place that should be full of praise, she renames herself to Mara. She no longer identifies herself as one who is pleasant or in pleasant circumstances. She identifies herself as one who is bitter or in bitter circumstances.

    To be pleasant is to be:
    -Pleasing, agreeable, grateful to the mind or to the senses
    -Cheerful, enlivening
    -Lively, humorous, sportive
    -Giving pleasure, gratifying

    To be bitter is to be:
    -Sharp, cruel, severe
    -Reproachful, sarcastic
    -Afflicted, distressed

    Naomi left Bethlehem:
    -Empty of material blessings because they were experiencing a severe famine
    -Full of family. She had a husband and two sons.
    -Full of security because of the men in her life.
    -Full of love.
    -Full of hope in the future.

    She returned to Bethlehem:
    -Empty of material blessings.
    -Empty of family. She was a widow and lost both sons. She did have one daughter-in-law who returned with her.
    -Empty of security. She had no human to provide for her.
    -Empty of love. She lost her husband and two sons. She probably had love for her daughter-in-law, but right now it seems as if her bitterness is affecting her life.
    -Empty of hope for the future.

    Naomi allowed her bitter circumstances to change her from a pleasant person to a bitter person. She allowed her circumstances to become how she identified herself.

    How are you allowing your circumstances to change you: closer to God or further away from Him? What are you calling yourself because of your circumstances? How are you identifying yourself in your circumstances?

    If you have never read Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, I encourage you to do so. It is the story of a woman who is named Much-Afraid who determines to follow the Shepherd up to the mountain. As she travels, she faces many obstacles and much suffering. Her suffering changes her and she is given a new name.

    Revelation 2:17 tells us that God will give a new name to those who conquer. This name will be one that only the one who receives it will know. What name is God going to give you because of the temptations and trials you conquered in His name?

  86. Aimee D-R says:

    Thank You for being a good Father Lord God. Amen

  87. Sarah Lingle says:

    I can relate to Naomi so much here. I lost a baby. And then went through long months of infertility. In the middle of all of that, I really did have a hard time even imagining blessings. I had the head-knowledge of God’s goodness and sovereignty, but head-knowledge does not always equal a heart-understanding. If it had been socially acceptable, I may have considered changing my name to “bitter” or “hurt.” But God.

  88. Melanie says:

    I needed to hear that I am not forgotten. That God still does miracle for me. The waiting has been hard and I’m tired. So as I wait I pray I see the goodness of God

  89. Danielle B says:

    God prepares a way back. He always has a way back to Him. What love that is that he has for us.

    Amanda’s last sentence really stuck out to me. “We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.” So often we get nicknames from others, some loving some not, but what God calls us is what matters. Forgiven, redeemed, blessed, daughter of the king. What does God call you that encourages you most?

  90. Allison Curtis says:

    Needed this today.

  91. Kate says:

    I’m so thankful for today’s readings & your insight, Amanda. I lived this out and just yesterday, God showed me what provisions He has for His downhearted faithful. For two years I’ve struggled to find employment after COVID ended a 15 year career I loved. I was forced to work in a situation I liked, but poor for my health. Last week, I was at the end of my spiritual energy, cried more than I had in a long time, said a LOT of things I didn’t mean to the LORD, and then gave up. I was done. The next night, on “impulse,” I applied for a position in my field, while a Netflix binge-watching. I was never going to get it, but had nothing else to lose–my pride & hope were pretty much gone. The CFO called me the next morning. I interviewed Monday, & she called back yesterday to offer me the job. God showed up in my darkest hour! This job is EVERYTHING I prayed for and more! I was Naomi. Today, I look up with grace and peace I so desperately needed and know I’m heard by Our Father God.

  92. Brandi says:

    So encouraging today! HE names me Blessed! Forgiven! Beloved! Redeemed!

  93. Ruth Rouchard says:

    How often do we go our way in life, only for the Lord to draw us back empty? Thank God for all the second chances we get.

  94. Elaine Morgan says:

    I’m so blessed to have a DIL that loves me and is good to me. But even more is the blessing that I am a child of God and He redeems me and changes my bitterness into thankfulness. I am also blessed to have you sisters to encourage me and help me understand God’s truth. I love this community and all the sharing and loving that goes on here. Thank you sisters!

  95. Emily says:

    What I love so much about this part of the story is that in the midst of severe grief and sorrow, Naomi moved towards God. It’s incredible that all the way in Moab she heard that there was no more famine- that was certainly the Lord calling her back to Himself. And I think that’s all she knew to do- return to her home, the familiar, where God dwelt with His people. Even in her bitterness and grief, Naomi went the right direction and God met her there. What a beautiful reminder that in seasons of bitterness and sorrow, I only need to move towards God, towards His presence, and He will meet me there. He is so kind!

  96. Kelly (NEO) says:

    Naomi was not giving up on God or she would have not sent Ruth out. Her mustard seed sized faith blessed Ruth’s mission to gather food for them.

    YVONNE – so sorry for your loss. Praying for you and your family.

  97. Churchmouse says:

    Today’s reading reminds me that we are not defined by our past. Naomi lost much but returned and was restored. I’ve experienced those dark nights of the soul(once for an entire year) and they are joy suckers. Praise God, He never abandons His children. The dawn is coming. We may not see it today but rest assured, it’s coming. God restores what the locusts have eaten.