“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” – Ruth 1:16.
Motherhood is one of the most essential roles in human history. There are many wonderful examples of good moms all around us, but we can also look at biblical mothers to see prime examples of what it takes to raise children well. One example is Naomi.
Naomi’s story is told in the book of Ruth — and it’s a harrowing ordeal. Her husband and sons die, leaving behind Naomi and her two daughters-in-law: Ruth and Orpah. All three women were widows, with no help in sight. Eventually, Naomi decided to return home and Ruth goes with her out of devotion and love.
How heartbreaking it must have been for her to return to Bethlehem without her husband and two sons. She had left home full of anticipation with each of them by her side. Step by step they walked together toward a new and more hopeful future. A new life was waiting for them just around the corner… or, so they thought. Now years later Naomi returns home with neither her husband nor her sons by her side. A woman who had left home whole was now returning broken and ashamed and wondering why God has allowed so much pain to enter her life.
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” – Ruth 1:20-21
Naomi felt alone. She felt broken, empty, and afflicted. Yet, in His mercy, God had given her Ruth. And in the midst of her heartache, God was using her in a powerful way. Because of Naomi, Ruth learns about God, trusts God, makes Naomi’s God her own. As they settle in Judah, it is indeed Naomi’s advice and guidance that ensures the future of both women. This is territory and culture that she knows about; she uses her family connections shrewdly to help obtain a new husband for Ruth. Without question, Ruth does all that Naomi instructs her to do. While Naomi depends on Ruth’s work for their daily sustenance, Ruth trusts Naomi with her very life–and Naomi willingly takes on the responsibility.
Naomi remained devoted to her daughter-in-law, and is one of the holy women in the Bible that provides a wonderful example of parental guidance and love. Ruth eventually marries a man named Boaz, and Naomi is content once more.
- After reading the story of Naomi, do you believe that God has a plan for your life? Do you believe it is a good plan?