We snuck into church, late as usual, trying desperately not to attract attention to ourselves. As I was getting comfortable in my pew seat, I noticed the pastor was starting a new series on the Book of Ruth, one of only two women who have their own books. Being a self-proclaimed feminist (no, not the bashing/burning/brawling kind of yesteryear), but one who admires and encourages women to be all that God has created them to be – smart, caring, and nurturing.
The Old Testament describes Ruth as a young woman living in Moab and practiced a different faith than the Israelites. She married one of two sons of Naomi. Within several years, Naomi’s husband and both her sons passed away, leaving Naomi and her two daughters-in-law alone. In those days women relied on family to care for them.
Soon Naomi realized she must go back to her home in Bethlehem where her family was. She told both her “daughters” to stay with their families. One daughter-in-law did just that. However, Ruth wouldn’t have it. She told Naomi, “Where you go, I will go … your people will be my people … and your God will be my God.” Ruth certainly could have stayed. No one would have blamed her, it was the logical choice. But Ruth never asked how she could get around this, she submitted willingly to be a part of her mother-in-law’s family. She didn’t become bitter and never looked for someone to blame. She exhibited self-sacrificial love, never thinking of herself first. Ruth was a woman of substance.
It’s ironic that this message was given this week, the Sanctity of Life week, commemorating the anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion on demand. Many of you know my story – once a staunch advocate for abortion, and now without apology a life advocate. As I watched hundreds of thousands march in our nation’s capital this past weekend, I was so very proud for their stand for life in an effort to stop abortion that has taken more than 60 million babies’ lives. How I wished I could have been there as in years past … perhaps another season.
The pro-life movement was built on the hard work of many women who took a stand against great odds when women, for the most part, remained silent without a voice: Mattie Brinkerhoff, Victoria Woodhull, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte Lozier, are just a few of the many women who supported women in all aspects of their life. Read more about these brave women staunchly opposed to abortion.
Over the years there have been many women of substance who started a movement to right wrongs in our society. As I learn more about Ruth, and other great women of the Bible, I hope to observe more parallels of these women of substance.
Ruth 1:16 “Don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you, where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”