Hey friend! Welcome to episode 7 of the Tending your Soul podcast! I’m Mariel and I’m excited to have you joining me in the garden today as we tend our soul by the Word of God using my TEND method! Today is especially sweet as we come together to for these few moments to close chapter 1 in the book of Ruth.
As we slow down for these few moments let’s ask the Lord to tend His word into our soul. But 1st I want to remind you that the TEND method is a 4 step approach to unfolding God’s word and getting to know Him better.
The book of Ruth is a beautiful place to get to know God and I encourage you to go back if you have missed any episodes from chapter 1. As we close the first chapter in ruth, I want to invite you to keep tending your soul through the truths in Ruth.
I created a downloadable journal for you to do just that! Gather some friends or even just your sister or neighbor and tend your soul together in the book of Ruth with the journal and use these episodes to get you started in Ruth.
The journal is called Tending through Ruth and it guides you through the TEND method using my reading plan and my TEND guide. You can purchase the journal at marieldavenport.com/shop or check the show notes for the link.
Now let’s get into these final verses of Ruth 1 and see what God might want to press into the soil of our heart today.
Let’s begin by taking time to pray.
Father, I thank you for the book of ruth and the opportunity to take this moment today to pause and allow you to press your truth into my soul. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. Amen.
Now let’s lean in an examine these final verses of chapter 1. Ruth 1:19-22 says:
So the two of them went on, until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Oh the burdens with which we see Naomi enter Bethlehem!
These women have come to the House of Bread, Bethlehem, with empty hearts and heavy souls. Seeking fullness, Naomi comes to Bethlehem so wrought in grief that she now defines herself by this grief and loss. The word we have seen a dozen times in this chapter, as I previously mentioned, is the Hebrew word translated RETURNED and we see it 2 more times in these closing verses.
Remember this is a word that carries with it the meaning not just of returning but returning to God. And here is Naomi, returning to God with a chip on her shoulder.
Now, I don’t mean to minimize her great grief. She has lost a husband and both sons. That kind of grief is incomprehensible for most of us! But I do want to gently suggest that sometimes God allows calamity in order to invite us to return to the true place of fullness, God himself.
As we notice the lessons here in these verses, we might consider how in times of trial we can tend to define ourselves by our pain or hard circumstances rather than by the truth of God’s promises.
Call me bitter because of my poor health, my difficult financial circumstance, my job loss or my grief.
Call me destitute because of my pain, my broken marriage or the rejection of my church.
Call me pitied because of my sinful choices or dark past.
God doesn’t define us by the weight of our trials, loss, pain or sin.
He sees it, He knows it, He is in it with you.
But when we surrender to Him knowing we are a sinner and turn to jesus, the way, the truth and the life as our Savior, He then defines us as His. He defines you as chosen, loved, redeemed, lavishly graced, forgiven and predestined.
We see the patience of God in these verses as Naomi cries out of a hardened heart and God just waits surely seeing her in love and a parent with a hurting child. He is near and He can handle our grief and pain.
So if in times of trial we tend to define ourselves by the pain, how might you and I be defining ourself in our current season?
As I launch my sons I am seeking a new definition to mother of adult children.
In a new job or career we might be trying to define ourselves in those terms or as a student or even in a broken marriage and trying to find our footing in a divorce situation or in the pain of loss.
Having buried a parent and feeling the weight of that loss can lead to trying to find a new way to define ourself.
But in this, the real question is how does God define me? How does the truth of God’s promises speak of me?
To remind myself today to define myself by the Truth of the Word rather than my own shifting feelings, I am writing down the adjectives from Ephesians chapter one and keeping that with me. Then I can bring my mind back to this truth today and let God define me rather than my own heart.
Those in Christ are defined by the grace of God and as Ephesians 1:3 tells us, God speaks every spiritual blessing over us in the heavenly places. Let’s soak in that, friend.
How would you define your current season friend? Or moreso, how do you feel it defines you?
Does your heart overflow from grief, emptiness and pain like Naomi or are you remembering to define yourself the way God in Christ defines you?
How can you, very practically, remind yourself today of how God defines you? What small step can you take to tend your soul by the Word of God?
Let’s ask God to reveal to us what step he is guiding us towards.
Lord, thank you for the truth of your word today. Would you show us specifically and individually how to tend the truth of how your define us into our soul today? Help us lean into you rather than into our overwhelmed soul and wandering emotions. Thank you in advance, father. In Jesus’ healing name. AMEN.
Oh friend, I’m so grateful you joined me as we tended the truths of Ruth chapter one into our soul over the last few weeks. Keep tending your soul through Ruth with my downloadable TEND journal, Tending through Ruth, you can find it at marieldavenport.com/shop.
And don’t forget to grab your free guide to keep cultivating intimacy with God also on my website marieldavenport.com
Now next time we will start a new passage to tend into our soul! You don’t want to miss this chapter and the beautiful truths of the Word of God as we meet Him in the garden and keep tending our soul by his Word!