"So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz." (Ruth 1:22-2:1)
The name Boaz means 'in him is strength,' and he is called a 'mighty man of wealth.' The word of God and much of life can often be found in the details. I heard it said recently that 'God is too great to find anything too small.' The whole of life, it's meaning and purpose are found in simple things becoming profound. When someone we love dearly passes, it is not their accomplishments or what they did that we cling to, it's who they were and how they touched our lives in a thousand tiny ways that added up to one giant love. Boaz was more than likely a man of physical strength, but he was also a man of profound character. He was a man of great physical wealth, but he was also a man who possessed profound wealth of heart.
You see, both of these women returned to Bethlehem as poor widows. Naomi had lost her husband and both of her sons. Ruth had not only lost her husband but was now living in a foreign land amidst a foreign people, having chosen to come back with her mother-in-law to her homeland, rather than to return home to her own family. Ruth goes out one day to glean after the reapers in the fields; a job she was entitled to do as a widow and foreigner (Leviticus 23:22), and she just so happens to end up gleaning in a field that belonged to Boaz. Boaz notices her and asks his servants who she is. Once he finds out, he speaks to Ruth and tells her to stay in his fields and to not go to glean anywhere else, he lets her know that she will be protected, and given a place to eat and to get water while she is working. He also commands his young men to leave extra for her to glean, so that she will have all that she and Naomi need. She works for him all through barley and wheat harvest (a few months), and then Naomi says to her, "Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself, and put on fresh clothing, and get down to the threshing floor: but do not make yourself known to him, until he is done eating and drinking." (Ruth 3:3)
Noami knows that Boaz is a near kinsman to them, and as such he can become a kinsman redeemer; one who restores and sets wrongs right. So, Ruth goes to the threshing floor; the place where grain is crushed and beaten to remove the chaff, and once he has laid down she uncovers his feet and lays herself down there in an act of complete submission. Ruth could not be sure she would be accepted by Boaz, but she makes herself vulnerable and waits. When Boaz wakes up and finds her there at his feet, and learns why she has come, he covers her with his skirt which is an act of acceptance, protection, and the acknowledgement that he is willing to marry her and become her kinsman redeemer. Shortly thereafter Ruth becomes his wife, and now the woman who came to Bethlehem a widow and penniless, is married to a mighty man of wealth, and the field she used to work in now belongs to her.
And so it is with God...He sees you...He knows how hard it's been....He knows your loss...He knows your hurt...He knows your heart. He's been leaving morsels for you of His love scattered about the ground...Can you see them? The people He has put in your life, the friends who helped you when you were having a rough go of things, the card that came at just the right moment, the gorgeous sunrise you saw this morning through healthy eyes, the food you eat, the roof over your head, the clothes you wear...all bits of barley left by a mighty man of wealth who has taken notice of you...and there's much more to behold.
So when will you go to Him there on the threshing floor? When will you let Him show you that He was beaten and crushed for you so that He could redeem you and set you free? (Isaiah 53) When will you lay at His feet in humble submission and allow Him to cover you with His wealth and protection? When will you allow Him to marry you, to become one with Him in intimate union? "Now when I passed by you, and looked upon you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I sware unto you, and entered in a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine." (Ezekiel 16:8)
He's right there. He's always been right there. Get your eyes off the ground, off of your circumstances. Look up. Your Kinsman Redeemer has taken notice of you, He is looking at you with loving kindness, and He desires to make you forever His and to share His wealth of heart with you...
Cover me in your wealth
Flow over me in every place
Not with mere riches but
with the beauty of your grace
Cover me with abundance
Let it rain down from above
Flood my emotions, my heart
with your pure, precious love
Pour out your gentleness
As I lay quietly at your feet
Cover me with your splendor
fill my every desire and need
Penetrate my solid surfaces
Melt away the years of dross
My Boaz, come and rescue,
wealth consuming deep loss
Marry me to your majesty
In you I am forever found
Dressed in mercy's loveliness,
to your richness every bound
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV)
Did you catch it? Who are we to love? We are to love God. We are to love our neighbor. We are to love ourselves. How you feel about yourself has much to do with how you feel about others. So, how do you feel about yourself? Do you like you? Do you love you?
I didn't. I didn't like me and I certainly didn't love me. I'd done things in my past (guilt) that led me to feel certain ways about myself (shame). Guilt is; Look what I've done. Shame is; Look what I am. Guilt is; I did a bad thing. Shame is; I am a bad thing. Guilt is external; it looks outward toward our actions. Shame is internal; it looks inward toward our feelings about ourselves.
Shame kept me from loving me. I wore it like a brightly-colored cloak drawing the attention of shame's siblings; fear, doubt, self-loathing, anger, sadness, low self-esteem, and distrust. Shame told me over and over again; "You are worthless." "You are not enough." "You are despicable." "You are bad." "You are unloveable." "You are unwanted." "You are nothing." "You are weak." For years I listened. And for years I was abused, mishandled, mistreated, misunderstood, used, and devalued.
Shame left unchecked in my soul destroyed me from the inside out. When you don't think you are worth anything, everything of no worth finds its way into your life.
I remember the day it changed. I was dealing with some deep rejection and pouring out my heart to God, when I heard these words deep inside of me: "I know you love Me, and you are beginning to learn how much I love you, but you don't love you...why do you despise what I made, what I love, what I cherish?" I was undone. Being rejected by someone else has nothing on being rejected by yourself. I rejected me, I didn't accept me, I didn't like me, I didn't love me.
From that day on I began to renew my mind. I began to like me. I began to learn to love me. I found out that God "made me accepted in the Beloved." (Ephesians 1:6) I heard God say from His word in Jeremiah 31:3, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." I discovered that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." (Psalm 139:14) I found out that I am "the apple of his eye." (Zechariah 2:8) And slowly the lies were taken apart. I wasn't 'bad.' What was done to me was bad. I wasn't 'worthless.' I am of great value, so much so, "that He gave His only Son." (John 3:16) If the God of the whole universe loves me, wants me, accepts me. and cherishes me then I can love me and accept myself free from shame, free from my past, free from all that would try to hold me back from all that God has for me.
So, if you don't like you much today, if you don't love yourself, I encourage you to see yourself as God sees you, to ask Him how He sees you...because His perspective is the only one that matters, and He is crazy about you, He can't live without you, He is off the charts madly in love with you, so perhaps it's high time you start loving yourself!
The Image of Me
A nothing, a waste, a worthless thing
These were the lies I have known
The voices of others cold and harsh
were nothing compared to my own
Used, discarded, less than, bereft
These were the image of me
If you believe you have no value
then valueless is what you will be
One day in the quiet stillness of pain
A whispered question clear as day
Simple words hit like a hammer,
"Why do you despise what I made?"
I say beloved, the apple of my eye
I say beautiful, whole, renewed
I say your image the likeness of mine
You were never made to be used
Lift up your eyes to the heavens
Lift up your head bowed down
The image you have held distorted
A broken mirror keeping you bound
I love you now and forever
My child, feel your shame no more
Release your grip on the handle
For my love has closed that door...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com.
qUIET IN CHAOS
Quiet in Chaos is a blog about nothing, everything, and all things inbetween…it’s a space, an ellipsis, a deep pause. Life can be chaotic, and often needs more moments of quiet…So join me as I share and give through the written word, the place I find my Quiet in Chaos…