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What One Book of the Bible Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and Loneliness (part 2, Naomi)



The last post I published was about Boaz, and how diving deep and studying the book of Ruth has helped remind me of some of the characteristics God calls me to seek in a guy, and some really important truths about relationships. (Read that post here!) And today, I am so excited to dive into another really important person in the book of Ruth......Naomi!


Naomi is basically the main character in the first chapter of Ruth, and man, she had endured a lot of heartache. There was a famine in her hometown, so her husband moved her and her two sons to a different town, and while they were living there, her two sons got married. Unfortunately, her husband and both of her sons end up passing away, leaving Naomi heartbroken with her two young daughters-in-law.


Naomi decides to go back to her hometown, and at first, both of her daughters-in-law started following along. But Naomi tried to push them away, encouraging them to go back to their families, where she believed they would have a better chance of getting remarried and thriving. One daughter-in-law, Orpah, did end up leaving, but the other, Ruth, was stubbornly determined not to leave her mother-in-law (which we will discuss more in depth later).


But I realized that in Naomi's heartache, she pushed away her community, instead of drawing closer to them.


Not only did her whole family move from all their friends and family when the famine hit, she also worked really hard to push some of her only remaining family away because she was hurting so badly.


In our pain, it can feel easier to push our people away so that they don't have to deal with our problems or that we won't become a burden. It can feel easier to seclude ourselves in our struggle, but that's not the way God created us. Naomi desperately needed her people, and thank goodness Ruth was there, or else she would have been drowning in that grief alone.


Naomi felt alone. Her husband, life partner, had just passed away, and so had her two sons. And her initial reaction was to push her people away, but when she began to allow Ruth to have a space in her life, she got so many blessings from that.


If you are feeling lonely today, or if you are battling heartbreak, I would encourage you to not push the people close to you away. Don't fight your hurt alone. Allow them to encourage you and help you, or even just be with you. God didn't create us to live alone; He created us to live in community.


I also want to encourage you with the fact that your community or support does not need to be big. All Naomi had for a season was Ruth, and that was who God had placed in her life for a reason. Please, please, please, do not feel discouraged if your circle doesn't look like everyone else's - that's okay. Lean into the people God has given you right now, and invest in them. He knows what (or who) you need right now.


Because if you'll notice, later on in the book of Ruth, God used Naomi to guide Ruth and give her wisdom on how to approach Boaz and eventually marry him. It wasn't long before Naomi had an opportunity to pour into the person who had poured into her so much, and that is really what relationships are all about. A give and take.


And, at the very end of Ruth, God gave Naomi a blessing beyond what she could imagine: a grandson. In the span of the four chapters of the book of Ruth, Naomi went from a heartbroken, bitter widow to a joyful and blessed new grandma. God takes our stories and turns them around in such beautiful ways, even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment. He knows what He is doing, and His plan is all for our good and His glory.

 

I honestly found so much encouragement in studying Naomi's story, and I realized so many important things about loneliness and relationships by learning from Naomi and her struggles. It was refreshing to hear a story of heartbreak turned joy, and to relate to a woman who didn't have the biggest social circle. I don't think I ever saw so many of these lessons in Naomi through the few chapters we get to know her, but it was a game changer, and I am so thankful.


What did you learn from Naomi? Was there anything you related to that encouraged you? Let me know down in the comments below!

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