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Learning lessons from Ruth

My name Is Rachel Small, a Wife, Mum, Daughter  and Sister. I am a Matron specialising in Nursing & Midwifery. I love rugby and am unashamedly a springbok fan! I was born into a Christian family; I have been attending Renewal since 2006.

When Louise asked me to write about a woman from the bible, I instantly knew I would choose Ruth.

My paternal grandparents were devoted Christians who named their children David & Ruth. My Grandmother had great difficulties in pregnancy due to an underlying heart condition so deemed both my Dad and Aunt as miracles.

As a young girl my Grandmother would tell me the story of Ruth and why she named my Aunt the name. It was very clear that Ruth was obedient, kind and always putting others first, which is the same description of my Aunty Ruth, who happens to also be a Nurse.

Ruth was a beautiful young lady who was robbed of her future by losing her husband prematurely.  She showed a great heart and grace, particularly towards her mother-in-law (Naomi), by staying with Naomi rather than putting her own needs first and heading back to her homeland and finding another husband.

Naomi has lost her husband and 2 sons; she tells both her daughter in laws to go back to their homelands in which one does (Orpah) but Ruth refuses to leave her. Ruth and Naomi navigate their new lives together which was far from easy. Their only way of eating was to gather leftover grain for a relative of Naomi. Ruth worked hard with gratitude and determination.

This was noticed by Boaz, the owner of the land. Boaz bought the land off Naomi’s late husband and sons and took Ruth as his wife. They had a son named Obed.

As a woman now, this story has had a deeper, more significant impact on my life than that of a young girl.

As mentioned earlier my family are Christians and as one of 3 daughters we were taught the significance of marriage – it’s not about a big white wedding, it’s about a lifelong commitment of two people becoming one in God.

In 1996 I got married, I wasn’t attending church but had the values my family instilled in me, I got married for life. In 1999 we welcomed a son  – I named him Thomas as when I first held him, I was instantly convicted to bring him up right and to stop doubting, the following week I returned to church.

In 2005 my husband came home early from work and told me he was having an affair with a friend. We all went to church together, so I was in complete disbelief – these things don’t happen in church surely?

The next 12 months were a blur, there was so much pain and insecurity. However, in this darkness God was working.  I would get letters, e-mails, words of encouragement; sometimes from people I hardly knew – giving me scriptures to hang on to.

One phone call I had, was to leave the church I was attending and go to Renewal – so the next day I did. Tom loved Renewal Kids and I sat in the gathering to which the sermon was on adultery! I shed some tears that day.

In 2006 I attended the Separation and divorce course at Renewal, that course gave me tools and support to navigate the divorce, a word I never thought I would even have to consider, carrying the shame of the only divorced person in my family.

I met Robin at Renewal.  Robin is selfless, kind, protective & hardworking man – just like Boaz!

In 2009 we were married at Renewal with Tom right by our sides. 15 years on I am reminded how great God’s goodness is when we are obedient, kind and put others before ourselves.

God blessed Ruth with Boaz, and even though I wasn’t a widow,  my first marriage had died, and I too was blessed with a husband, stepfather, and an amazing South African family!

Robin and I run the divorce and separation course with another couple at Renewal as God’s work continues.

Ruth’s story represents redemption and hope, something I 100% connect with.

Thank you for reading.

Rachel Small