Monday, August 31, 2015

Get Packing

"Which girl's still got it?  Ruth's definitely got it!  Yes, that Ruth.  The one in the Bible.  And her mother-in-law, Naomi?  She's still got it too.  So do you, beloved."  ~Liz Curtis Higgs, The Girl's Still Got It

On days that I'm feeling like I just don't have it all together, this message comforts me.  Lately, every day feels like that!  Maybe it's the time of year - packing away the summer attitude and getting ready for a new school year.  And for the second time, it means physically packing up our oldest daughter's belongings and moving her into her dorm.  It is a bitter-sweet time of year and a bitter-sweet time in life.

I can only imagine what Naomi was feeling when Elimelech told her to get packing!  She was faced with packing up the family & all their possessions (or at least most of the household) and moving far away!  Far away from what they've ever known, far from friends, far from family.  BUT, life was hard in Bethlehem; and now a severe famine has taken hold of the land.  A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do to save her children!  So Naomi packed her bags and moved.  There's no doubt in my mind that it was a bitter-sweet time in Naomi's life.

In our study of Naomi & Ruth we will come to know both the bitterness and the sweetness of Naomi.  I know, the book is named for Ruth, but as a middle-aged mom (with some of my friends being grandmas) I find that I identify with Naomi as much as I appreciate the story of Ruth.  Both women are transformed over the course of the story.  And Liz's opening words indicate that although the book carries Ruth's name, it's not all about her.  It's about Naomi too, their relationship, their faith, and their hope.

What does that mean for me and for you?   One lesson may be that no matter what stage of life we are in, no matter what hardships we face, no matter if we are a new believer or have lost our way, God does not give up on us.  Even when we can't see how things could possibly get better, when we think we're 'past saving' or 'too old to be useful', God sees only His children and wants to make sure we are safe in His care.

I am so excited to start discussing this book with you!  The Book of Ruth and The Girl's Still Got It has something for everyone!   It's a many-leveled love story!  It's also a journey story of growth, faith, and redemption, with a little sauciness thrown in!  So, grab your book, your journal and ask a friend to join you!!

Don't have your book yet?!  Go HERE to support Redeemer Youth & Family Ministry by purchasing it through Amazon.  They have a great selection of used books at fantastic prices!!

Get Reading!  Please read "Before We Dive In" and Chapter 1 before our first gathering on September 11, 9:15 am.  Note: this is a little earlier than past years!  I will have the coffee & tea on at 9, so feel free to arrive early!

Can't make it Friday mornings?  That's okay!  That's why I started this blog!  You can read along, post comments & start discussions right here on the blog!  Want to talk?  I'd love to meet up over coffee, e-mail or have a word on Sunday morning!  If there's one thing I love more than reading a book, it's talking about it!  And I'm betting that I'm not the only one...
If you've never done an on-line Bible study, go ahead and take the plunge today!  Everything you need for the study is in Liz's book (the study guide is in the back).  You can do it on your own schedule and keep pace by following the blog.  It's a great way for a busy woman to stay connected to The Word and our community.

I look forward to taking this journey with you!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24

Monday, August 24, 2015

Peeking Over the Horizon

"In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a man from Bethlehem in Judah left the country because of a severe famine.  He took his wife and two sons and went to live in the country of Moab."  Ruth 1:1

Welcome!  I'm so glad you're here today.  As I'm peeking over the horizon of August into September I am both saddened that summer is nearly over and excited to gather with you once again!

I've been in August limbo with vacation, end-of-summer, start-of-hockey, back-to-school craziness!  When August arrives I feel like summer has just begun & is nearly over, all at the same time.  It hits me that there was so much more I had planned to do and just didn't get to it yet.  The stores & TV commercials are already in back-to-school mode and of course, hockey is in full swing.  Some day August will be just another month in the year and I'll miss all this, but until then I have to admit, August is a 'lost month' for me.  It is a month where I feel like I live a split personality: summer laziness & full swing craziness!  But I am thankful for every spinning minute!!

I could be facing a life like Naomi's...

In our next book, The Girl's Still Got It by Liz Curtis Higgs, we meet a wife & mother named Naomi.  The opening verse is not your typical "once upon a time" beginning.  In fact, it's about as bleak a beginning as you can get!  Naomi is peeking over the horizon to an unknown future in a foreign & unfriendly land.  She is following her husband to a forbidden place in hopes of saving her family from starvation.

To refresh your memory (or in case you didn't know), the time of the judges was not the best time for Israel, to put it mildly.  In my Bible, Judges chapters 1-3 are given the heading "The Military Failure of Israel" and over & over again, the  Israelites turn their backs on God.  If you haven't yet read the book of Judges, you should.  It's an interesting, scary, "Mad Max" kind of read and many scholars draw similarities to today's society.  The book of Ruth takes place during the time of Judges, setting the stage of the story.  On top of the religious upheaval & continuous warring with their neighbors, a famine sets in.  Could it get any worse?!  Read the book of Ruth to find out!

On Friday, September 11 at 9:15am,  we'll dive right in to our new study.  In order to finish the book by December 11th, we'll need to start right away!  (Yes, I know it's 14 weeks, but we'll have 2 weeks off in November.)

Start reading today!  

Read "Before We Dive In" and "Chapter 1" before our first gathering.  Read Ruth in your Bible, too.  Choose your favorite translation & grab a refreshing beverage - you can probably read the whole book of Ruth before you finish your drink!  It's only 4 chapters.  It will take a little longer to read our study book, but Liz has such an engaging writing style, you won't want to put it down!

Don't have your book yet?  You can get it here, on Liz's website.  Better yet, support our Youth & Family Ministry by going here and ordering through Amazon.

In order to get the most out of our time in The Word, it's important to ponder what we've read and how it applies to our lives - otherwise, it's just story time.  God wants to work amazing things in us and through us, but if we don't take the time to listen and apply His teaching, we won't be ready.  That's where the Study Guide come to the rescue!

After reading each chapter, turn to the back of the book and find the Study Guide (pg 175).  Our topics of conversation will begin with these questions every week.  Write out your thoughts in a cute notebook or journal.  It helps during discussion time - the sound of crickets can be very awkward!  And as we've talked about before, journaling our thoughts has tons of benefits!  The one that I struggle with the most is slowing down long enough to write out my thoughts.  In the fast paced, high demanding, instant gratification world, writing is the opposite of all of that!  But it's cathartic & therapeutic & just what we need!
I'd love to hear how keeping a journal has influenced your life.  Whether it's a faith journal, a personal journal, or a travel journal, how has it helped you?  What benefits have you noticed?

I cannot wait to get started!!!  I'll see you on September 11th, at 9:15 am, in the "library" of Redeemer Lutheran Church!  I'll have the tea & coffee on and light ReFreshments!

Encourage a friend and bring an open heart!

Your Partner in Ministry,


"Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."  Proverbs 16:24