: “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”'
I have never liked change. Never. Ever. I once heard a pastor say that change creates momentum. I doubted his words. But over the last many years I have realized that change can create momentum; change can be inspiring.
As a child, change bothered me, sometimes deeply. I always wanted to be the person who grew up and lived my adult life in the same small town. But that is not what God had in store.
My family moved twice during my childhood. When I married a man, who had always lived in his hometown, I thought we would remain in that town forever. We didn’t.
In our second year of marriage, we moved to another continent. It was hard, but it was also good. After that first BIG move, my husband and I moved five more times, taking our growing family with us. It was always hard, but it always turned out to be good.
A few years ago, I was sitting with my mother-in-law in her hospital room. In a quiet moment she looked me in the eye and asked if we would move back to my husband’s hometown to be close to her. I immediately said yes.
A simple request and a simple answer. But to uproot ourselves from our family home of 17 years would not be easy.
My mother-in-law and I had never had a Naomi and Ruth kind of relationship, far from it. But God had done a work in both our hearts and in the final few months of her life, I was willing to do just about anything she might ask of me, including moving.
Naomi and Ruth had a beautiful relationship. Naomi had welcomed Ruth, the Moabitess, into her family. Naomi must have taught Ruth about her God, because Ruth came to trust in the God of Israel.
Naomi had experienced the loss of her husband in a foreign land and then the loss of her two sons. One of those sons was Ruth’s husband. But rather than remain in her homeland, the widow Ruth chose to travel with the widow Naomi to Israel.
Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi is admirable. Ruth worked to provide for herself and her mother-in-law. They made a home together. The people in that small Israelite towntook notice of the kind foreigner who was good to her mother-in-law.
God honored both Ruth and Naomi and provided for them in amazing ways. God redeemed the loss and change they had experienced through Naomi’s close relative, Boaz. And God would bless coming generations because Ruth and Boaz would become ancestors of God’s Messiah, Jesus.
Ruth embraced and befriended her mother-in-law Naomi; Naomi’s God embraced and befriended Ruth. The two women were given a place in God’s story of salvation for the human race. They endured loss, hardship, mercy, grace, and redemption. All of the change they braved was for their good and God’s glory.
During the last few months many have experienced change due to the COVID19 pandemic. For some the changes have been immense. For my husband and me, the pandemic occurred as we moved once again, back to my husband’s hometown. My mother-in-law is probably smiling in heaven. As we all adjust to new normals, may God bless you through all of the changes.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.