What if you’re not a Ruth?

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you to your mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me…” Then she kissed them, and they wept aloud. –Ruth 1:8-9 NRSV

The movie “Monster-in-Law” exaggerates a woman’s struggle with her future mother-in-law to a point that (hopefully) bears little resemblance to real life. Whether your mother-in-law showers you with cake or dreams of smashing your face in, you can learn a valuable lesson from Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah.

Ruth and Naomi’s strong love sets a high standard for mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. Naomi was heartbroken after the death of her husband and sons. Even Naomi called herself bitter. Yet Ruth, the “good daughter,” stayed and persevered under hardship. In the end, both women were greatly rewarded.

Orpah also deeply loved Ruth and Naomi. In Ruth 1:14, she wept aloud at the thought of leaving them, but she ultimately made the choice that was best for her. We don’t know God’s plan for her but staying together out of obligation could have turned a difficult situation into a disastrous one. Can you imagine walking from Moab to Bethlehem with a bitter widow, no showers, and no Holiday Inns?

Setting healthy boundaries doesn’t need to contradict God’s plan for you. Are you doing for others out of obligation or giving cheerfully? Sometimes, God leads you to say “No.” Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and He will make your paths straight.” If God says, “Go,” you should go, but if He says, “No,” that’s ok too.

Prayer Focus

  • Knowing what to do and what to say can be overwhelming in stressful times. Ask God to guide you every step of every day.
  • Jesus wants to walk with you, so you won’t be alone even in times of despair. Reach out to Him. Thank Him for going with you.

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