I’ve been spending some time lately in the Book of Ruth. Most everyone knows the story about Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi, and how Ruth decided to follow Naomi back to Bethlehem after both their husbands died, even though Naomi released Ruth and encouraged her to stay in Moab. (That’s my one sentence synopsis. Obviously, go read or re-read it for yourself.)
I have been so intrigued by Ruth and her willingness to follow her mother-in-law back to a strange city with different customs, in a land where she knew no one, except for Naomi, that it’s made me examine my relationship with my own mother-in-law. And that’s not a place I really want to go, but then again God often takes us places we don’t want to go.
My MIL lives out of state and for the most part (except when there is a crisis – with her) is not involved in our lives. She doesn’t know our boys in a way that most grandmothers know their grandsons. She forgets birthdays, holidays and other milestones in our lives. She struggles with health issues that involve addiction and it is difficult for any of us, even Hubby, to talk to her let alone have a relationship with her.
And that’s where the examining part has come in. It’s easy to point the finger and say the problem with our realtionship is her. But what if part of the problem is me? What if I need to examine my heart? What if I had to take care of my MIL and was required to extend the kind of love, loyalty and commitment to her that Ruth extended to Naomi?
What would I do?
Honestly, I’m not really sure. I’d like to give some spiritually correct answer and tie this all up with a pretty bow and tell you that I would do the same thing Ruth did. But I don’t think I can do that.
Instead, I will examine my heart and I will go someplace I really don’t want to go. Not because I want to, but because I know I don’t have to go alone.