Call Me Mara (Part 1)
by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines
Scripture References: Ruth 1:1-2,13b,19-20 and Romans 8:28, and Philippians 4:13
In the days when the Judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife was Naomi, and their names of their sons were Mahlon and Chilion.
No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me!
Now the two of them (Naomi and Ruth) went until they came to Bethlehem. And it happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was excited because of them; and the women said, ‘Is this Naomi?’ But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly against me. I went out full and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?
What were Naomi’s thoughts about leaving the land and her home? Did she agree with her husband’s decision? They traveled to a pagan country to live and raise their children. It seemed Naomi’s husband had no plan of returning. She did not experience the blessings of the Lord. Instead, her husband died, and her two sons married women from Moab, which was against God as He had commanded that they were not to intermarry with pagan women. Then her sons also died, leaving her alone with her two Moabite daughters-in-law.
It seems that Elimelech did not trust God to provide for him and his family, and he took matters into his own hands. This probably did not sit well with Naomi.
Did she ever discuss it with her husband? Or did she just sit quietly, but in her heart, she was crying out to God for help and guidance?
When Naomi returns home with Ruth, her daughter-in-law, she tells them to call her Mara because the Almighty has brought great bitterness to her. She was bitter because she had lost everything and felt God had abandoned her. She could have never imagined what the Almighty was going to do next. She would be the grandmother of Obed, who begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David, and so on in the line of Christ.
God chose a Moabite woman—Ruth—to be in the line of Christ. Sometimes we don’t understand why God allows certain things, but we know nothing is a surprise to Him. He knew Naomi and Ruth would return to Bethlehem-Judah and God would fulfill His plan. A Messiah would be born of a virgin named Mary, espoused to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of Ruth and Boaz.
We too have taken matters into our own hands, just like Elimelech did, when we aborted our babies. We didn’t trust that God had a good plan for us. We had to do it all on our own because there was no one else, which was a lie from the enemy. We didn’t seek godly wisdom. We hurried and made our decision without even talking it over with our parents, trusted family and friends. It’s interesting to me that we women who talk to our closest family and friends about important matters would keep this a secret.
For those of you who have suffered abuse by the hand of another, perhaps even a family member, it’s hard to not become bitter and feel like God has abandoned you. I want to encourage you, dear one, God sees you and it broke His heart every time you were abused. When you cried, He cried. I am so sorry that happened to you.
But GOD also has a beautiful plan for our lives too. He can make all things work together for our good for them that love God and are called according to His purpose (ref. Romans 8:28).
He didn’t leave Naomi broken and feeling abandoned, and He will do the same thing for us. Will you trust Him today to take the ashes from your life, the abortion and the abuse, so He can use it to heal you in all your broken places so you can help other women heal from their trauma too?
We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
Let’s talk about bitterness. Are you bitter because of what happened to you in your past or something you are dealing with right now? Are you struggling with a prolonged illness, your finances, a broken or dysfunctional relationship? Are you struggling with trials that are lasting years with no end in sight? How do we keep trusting God through these situations and not become bitter and despondent?
It’s OK to go there and to feel what you are feeling and share it in a safe environment and then move on. You are safe here to share.
Questions to take to heart:
- Are you bitter over the bad things that have happened to you in your past and/or things you are struggling with right now?
- Have you felt like God has abandoned you?
- What has God done to show His great love for you?
- How can we pray for you?
The first step is recognizing you are bitter and feel alone. Just by being on this call or reading this blog, you are beginning to heal. God wants to redeem your past. He wants to give you beauty for ashes. Will you trust Him to do that?
Please reach out if you need to talk. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are Loved,
Call Me Mara (Part 2): Hardship and Pain
by Toni Weisz/Spiritual Disciplines
Ruth 1:19-20, John 16:33b, Romans 12:2, and John 8:31-32
So, they both went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women asked, ‘Is this Naomi?’ But she said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has brought great bitterness to me. I was full when I left, but the LORD has caused me to return empty. Why should you call me Naomi when the LORD has opposed me? The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me!
We have all felt abandoned by God at some point in our lives because of the trauma we have experienced through abortion and abuse. We were vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.
When Naomi arrives back to her hometown to her friends and neighbors, she states, “The Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Naomi’s husband Elimelech made a series of very bad decisions, and Naomi says, “I left full and came back empty.” She states that God is against her. Have you ever felt that way? Have you also felt God has abandoned you?
Sometimes we suffer the consequences of our decisions, and it has nothing to do with God’s judgment. We make decisions based on our doubt or fear. I know I have, and they have never turned out to be good ones. I rushed to have my abortion, and I rushed into marriage so not to be caught living with my boyfriend. These two things alone are life–altering decisions, and both were made out of fear of man. I wanted to cover up my sin, unfortunately, with more sin. That never turns out well.
I didn’t trust God because I didn’t know Him. My perception of God was distorted due to what I observed as a child. I thought He was an angry God and that He didn’t care much about me. Going to God with my unplanned pregnancy was not even a consideration. I was fearful of His wrath.
Even though Naomi knew God, she doubted Him. She was overcome by her grief and loss, and she lost sight of the goodness of God and His faithfulness over the years. It’s easy to forget those things when life becomes so hard and the trials last for years. It is easy to become despondent, depressed, and bitter.
Instead, God wants us to focus on who we are in Christ.
In this world, you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33b).
Second, we must renew our hearts and minds daily with the living powerful Word of God (ref. Romans 12:2).
Third, we must resist isolation and reach out and send a text or call and say, “I need prayer” or “I need to talk.”
Fourth, we must have a safe community to share what we are experiencing so we can slowly unravel the chaos and the pain.
Our healing is a lifelong process. It is hard but also very beautiful. You are not alone. We are here to help you.
Never compare your story to someone else’s. The traumatic events that happened to you distorted your view about who you are and who God is from that dirty lens. God wants to remove the dirt and replace it with His truth.
Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
There is victory in our Savior’s love. He has come to set the captives free (ref. Isaiah 61:1).
Questions to take to heart:
- List some Life–Affirming Statements with the Scriptures you can meditate on?
Toni (my life-affirming statements):
I am adopted into the family of God.
I am more than a conqueror through Christ.
I am never alone.
I am a child of God.
I am forgiven.
I am redeemed.
I am victorious in Christ.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I have an inheritance incorruptible that can never be taken away.
I am loved by God.
He has a good plan for my life.
- How can we pray for you?
Toni (my prayer request):
Please pray for continued wisdom and guidance for me in the work of the ministry. I want to be humble and teachable.
I pray this topic has been helpful for you. Please reach out if you need to talk. You can email me at: email@example.com.
You are loved,