If you don’t feel beautiful, if your circumstances make you feel bitter at times, if your attitude doesn’t always reflect the woman you know God called you to be, my prayer is that Naomi’s story will encourage you.
Friday Introductions – Naomi: Meet Naomi: Beauty turned bitter, and then back into beauty.
Naomi was married to an Ephrathite from Bethlehem, Judah whose name was Elimelech. They had two sons – Mahlon and Chilion. Elimelech relocated his family to Moab because a famine hit the land of Bethlehem. The Bible never says that the Lord told him to do so, in fact, many people stayed in Bethlehem during the famine and survived.
Soon after they arrived, Elimelech died leaving Naomi alone with her two sons. After their father died, instead of returning to Bethlehem, both sons married Moabite women—Orpah and Ruth—but after about ten years, both men died without having any children.
Around the same time her sons died, Naomi heard the famine had ended in Bethlehem, so she decided to return. Though she had gone out full with a family, health, and wealth, she was going back empty, with no money and no family.
Naomi’s name means pleasant, a word that is associated with the Godly kind of beauty. However, when she returned to Bethlehem, she asked people to call her Mara, which comes from the Hebrew word bitter that means to be angry, irritated, unhappy, and weighed down (see Ruth 1:20).
Although Naomi was going through an unpleasant time in her life and felt bitter, God never called her Mara. Naomi called herself Mara because she allowed her situation to overshadow her God-given identity. Naomi was still beautiful in the eyes of the Lord.
Naomi’s breakthrough came because she chose to move forward despite her bitterness and brokenness. She left the place where she became bitter and returned to the place where her life with the Lord began: the place where she received her name, had a pleasant life, and came to know the Lord’s love, acceptance, and beauty.
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