Women of the Bible Podcast

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Ruth - Week 3: This Changes Everything

Season:  Ruth

Erin Davis: We’re walking through the book of Ruth, and we’ve made it all the way to Ruth, chapter 1. (cheering) We’re going nice and slow through the book of Ruth, taking our time because every word in the Word of God matters.

I love that you’re with us, but they might not know you like I know you, so I like to start with an opening question. I do this at Bible studies in my living room, too.

I want to know who has been the biggest influence on your view of God. Man, I’ll just go for the jugular on that question.

Kristen, what’s your answer?

Kristen Clark: I’m Kristen Clark. Okay, that’s a big question!

Erin: It is a big question.

Kristen: Thinking back on my whole life, I would have to say, honestly, my parents. They were teaching me the Word of God from the time I was so young—memorizing the little kids’ songs and teaching me who God is. My mom has been such a mentor in my life—and my dad. So, I would say, yes, my parents over the years, even to this day, have continued to influence me.

Erin: I hope twenty years from now the Davis boys are sitting in a room like this, and somebody asks them that question, and they give them that answer. I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

Kristen: I think they will.

Erin: I love that.

Tell them your name, and if you could think of the biggest influence on your view of God, who would it be?

Gayle Villalba: I’m Gayle Villalba, and probably the biggest influence on my life and my view of God was a pastor my husband and I had when we were so young. He was an associate pastor, and I was a young mom. He’s in heaven now, but he profoundly influenced us, and we still think of him as our pastor.

Erin: Oh, wow. Write a thank-you note to your pastor and send it to him.

Well, I would say a combination of those two answers. I am Erin Davis, and my mama had and still has a tremendous influence on my view of God. She is one of those women who just knows who He is and talks about Him all the time. And I’ve had a pastor in my life who’s pastored my church for thirty-six years. He’s been my pastor since I gave my life to the Lord, Pastor Jim Cook. He’s had a tremendous influence on my view of who God is.

And that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this session: Our view of God.

We need those parents and those pastors in our lives because it’s possible for all of us to have a view of God that isn’t true to who He is. Let’s just rattle out some examples from our lives or some other women’s lives of views of God that aren’t true.

Like, for me, I’ve spent a lot of years thinking God was always mad at me. That’s just not an accurate view of God. Any other examples of views of God that just aren’t true that you’ve encountered or you felt? Gayle, what do you think?

Gayle: An unrighteous judge. He is a righteous judge, but the unrighteous part . . .

Erin: He’s not fair.

Gayle: Right. We know better.

Erin: Kristen, what do you think?

Kristen: For me, I think when I’ve gone through really hard times, doubting whether God is really good or not and allowing my circumstances determine God’s character versus trusting that He is who He says He is.

Erin: Yes. I just want us to start with those realities and saying those thoughts, that they exist in our heads and hearts. Because I hope nobody’s listening to the Women of the Bible podcast thinking they are listening to women who have got it all figured out, and the Bible all figured out, and they never struggle with a misperception of God . . . because that’s not true.

The women we’re going to look at in Ruth’s story today—she gets a little off track in her perception of God. I hope that makes the women listening feel a little bit of a sense of relief.

Let’s do a quick recap. We’ve had session 1. We’ve had session 2. What has happened so far in chapter 1 in the book of Ruth? Gayle, maybe you can remind us: How did Ruth’s family come to find themselves in the land of Moab?

Gayle: There was a famine, andElimelech apparently thought this was the best thing for his family, to go to a place where the famine wasn’t affecting people. But there were real serious consequences in that decision.

Erin: Right. And what have we learned so far about Elimelech’s family, his children, his wife? How does Ruth come into the picture? What do we know so far?

Kristen: Well, the two sons each married Moabite women and then died—they died in the land of Moab.

Erin: Elimelech died and both of his sons died.

Kristen: Naomi lost a lot.

Gayle: She did.

Erin: She’s left with these two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. And now you are about caught up to speed, although we hope people go back and listen to the other episodes.

We’re going to fill in some gaps, but I want us to start with Ruth chapter 1:19–21. Gayle, I love how it is in your version—you’re reading from the NIV. Can you read it to us?

Gayle: Yes.

So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”

Erin: Let’s do a little fact check because Naomi says in verse 21, “I went away full.” Hmm, her memory of what had happened was, “My life was great. My life was full. And then I just landed in the land of Moab.”

But, Gayle what was the reality of Naomi’s story?

Gayle: Well, the reality was they were escaping famine.

Erin: So they were actually very empty.

Gayle: Yes. Right.

Erin: Their bellies were empty, cupboards were empty.

Gayle: Right.

Erin: We all get a little spiritual amnesia from time to time.

Kristen: It reminds me of the Israelites. They leave Egypt, and they’re going, “Oh, it was so much better in Egypt and all that slavery and all that garlic.”

Erin: Right. We see that pattern through all of Scripture. So Naomi’s re-writing history a little bit . . . not a little bit. . .Naomi is re-writing history by her own story.

Let me say verse 20 again, “And she said to them . . .” So this is maybe her friends, her relatives who meet her when she comes back—she’s been gone a very long time. She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi.” If you look in your little notes down there—in my Bible it tells me that Naomi means pleasant and Mara means bitter. So do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, (do not call me pleasant—call me bitter), “for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.”

Whew! Have you ever felt like the Lord’s dealt bitter with you? Can you think of an example in your story? Kristen, I know some of your story, so there’s an example that comes to mind for me for you when you felt like, “The Lord’s dealt bitterly with me.”

Kristen: Yes. Well, my husband and I have been married for nine years. I just assumed, “Oh, we’re going to have this happy life with kids. We want them, and we thought we had it all planned out. Two years in, no children. And then pregnancy and miscarriage. Six months later, pregnancy and miscarriage.

Six years go by and nothing. Then around seven-and-half years in, I got pregnant out of the blue—it seemed like it was out of the blue. And just feeling, “Wow! Things are finally looking up. It’s finally going to happen. We’re going to have this family. We’re going to have kids.” And then right before my first trimester finished, I thought, I’ve made it farther than I ever have. Then I miscarried, right before the second trimester

I just remember after that feeling, “God has dealt bitterly with me.” I felt just this darkness, this weight. I wrestled, truly, in my heart like I never have before, with wondering, Is God really good? Does He love me? Does He care for me? My circumstances just felt so black. I think I was wrestling in my heart with bitterness toward the Lord.

Erin: I know there are going to be women listening to this podcast that are feeling that on some level. Maybe it’s right there on the surface of their heart. They kind of drag themselves to Bible study, and they don’t want to be there because they feel this weight that Naomi is feeling, “The Lord has not been good to me. The Lord has dealt bitterly with me.”

Gayle, you work with a lot of pastors’ wives. I wonder what it is in their lives that makes them feel like, “The Lord has not been good to me.”

Gayle: Many pastors’ wives, I would almost say most pastors’ wives, never felt the call to ministry the way their husbands did. So they find themselves in this role—and it really is a role. I mean, it’s hard. It’s hard work being a pastor’s wife.

Then people hurt you. It feels like when you’re in a pastorate that the church is taking a vote on you every Sunday.

Erin: Oh, I know! I was married to a youth pastor for several years (I’m still married to him.) Every time I would change my hair color I dreaded going to church because there was lots of commentary over it.

Gayle: Oh yes. Someone has an opinion on that.

Erin: It’s like living in a fish bowl. Right?

Gayle: Yes. What I hear often from pastors’ wives is, “I didn’t sign up for this. I had no idea it would be this hard.”

It’s not that God is dealing bitterly with them. It’s that people are being mean, and that’s just hard to deal with.

Erin: As I was reading this part of the book of Ruth, what jumped out at me was, Naomi feels uncomfortable with the people of God. She’s come back into the Promised Land—these are the children of Israel she’s with—and she doesn’t fit there. She doesn’t fit in Moab anymore. She doesn’t even know what her identity is in a sense. She’s changing her name.

I can relate to that. I love the people of God. I do. They are my family, my brothers and sisters. But there are times when I feel like, “Ugh, I don’t fit here.” And sometimes then I translate that to the Lord.

I think if I could rephrase what Naomi is saying, I feel like she’s saying, “The Lord’s abandoned me.”

Gayle: Yes. “Where is He?”

Erin: Yes. “Where is God?” Naomi left physical famine when she was in the Promised Land before, but she kind of returns in a spiritual famine. She’s empty in her heart. I think we can all relate to those kinds of feelings.

Kristen: Oh, yes. I remember when my husband and I joined a church plant. We left the church where all of our families were—both sides of our families. We knew so many people there. We joined this church plant in San Antonio, and we didn’t know a single person walking into that.

So you’re describing these feelings of Naomi, “I don’t fit here. I know I’m not supposed to be there anymore, so I’m going forward in faith.”

It was hard building friendships from scratch, trying to figure out where you fit in and where you can serve. When we got in a small group, we knew nobody. They do small groups where you’re integrated with people of all ages, which I love, and I’ve come to love so much—younger, older, singles, marrieds. But it was hard just figuring out, “Okay, how do we fit into this? Where is God in this?”

But you just press on. You lean into that. Trust the Lord in faith. And He is faithful, but it is hard in that moment.

Erin: And I wonder how many women don’t press on? They go to church. It doesn’t feel comfortable at first, so they stop going. Or they join a Bible study, and it feels uncomfortable.

Listen, I’ve been in Bible studies for years, and there’s still an uncomfortable factor.

Kristen: Yes.

Gayle: Right.

Erin: So they stop going. They write that off. “That’s not for me.” Or, again, they ascribe those things to who God is and miss out on.

We’re going to see Naomi is going to move past this moment where she feels abandoned, but I want women to press in to that. But also, I think we can relate to Naomi here.

I once heard a woman describing a tremendous tragedy in her life—and it was truly tragic. And the interviewer asked, “Were you mad at God during that?” She paused for a minute and said, “I wasn’t ever mad. I just thought, I thought we were better friends than that.”

I felt that many, many times. And while it’s easy to go, “Naomi, get your act together! God’s good! Why are you changing your name?” I think we can all relate to feeling, “I thought we were better friends than this!”

Kristen: I’m so glad Scripture gives us these insights, showing us what the heart wrestles and the struggles. It’s not a book full of people walking with God in this wonderful, vibrant relationship They’re struggling. They’re wrestling. And that’s how we all are. Right? It’s just relatable. I’m so glad Scripture gives us this picture of the struggle as the story unfolds to see how God works from this place.

Gayle: Right.

Erin: Yes, me, too. That’s why we open our Bibles with eyes wide open going, “Okay, what is really going on here—not the sanitized version?”

So she changes her name from Naomi to what?

Gayle: Bitter.

Erin: To bitter, to Mara, which means bitter. And what do you take from the text by that name change, Gayle? Do you think she’s saying she’s bitter? Do you think she’s saying the Lord’s bitter? Some combination?

Gayle: I think it’s a combination. I think she’s taking that on as her new identity, which is sad.

Erin: I’ve done that sometimes, too—taken on grief as my identity, taken on sorrow as my identity, taken on hardship as my identity. And Ruth, our heroine of the story, faces a lot of the same trials, but she doesn’t let them mark her in the way that Naomi does.

Gayle: That’s right.

Kristen: Ruth faced tremendous loss. I mean, she lost her husband. I know women have walked through that. I haven’t personally, but I can’t imagine. I just think, “Lord, if You want to give me the ultimate trial in my life, take my husband—please don’t!” I just can’t even imagine.

So here she is, her husband is dead. She’s now moving to a country that she has never lived in, leaving everything that’s familiar—the food, the culture, the scenery—leaving everything behind.

So this girl, she had a hard life.

Erin: She did have a hard life. And yet, we don’t hear her saying it in the same way Naomi does, “The Lord’s been bitter to me.” Or, “I thought we were better friends than this.”

Kristen: It’s amazing.

Erin: It really is amazing. As we walk through the book of Ruth, we’re just going to love Ruth more and more and more.

Well, she changes her name from pleasantness to bitterness. I wanted us in this session to drill down a little bit on bitterness. So we’re just going to go for that difficult topic, and I’ll tell you why.

Several years ago, I was leading the women’s ministry at my own church. Every semester I would go into all the Bible study groups and teach. I’d really pray a lot about what to teach, and I felt like I was supposed to teach on bitterness. I was, like, “Whoa! This is not how you spur on the truth and inspire people!” But I did. I actually ran it by several of my mentors. I said, “I think I’m supposed to teach on bitterness.” And they were all like, “Then you should do it.”

I think I had about twelve groups to teach through. I was about halfway through, and my own family imploded—not my husband and children—but with my parents and my siblings. There was a series of cluster, relational cluster bombs that happened. And because I had been sitting in the Bible’s teachings on bitterness for weeks and weeks and weeks, it was like I was in a bomb shelter. I was not protected from the pain, but I was protected from the bitterness.

I’ve seen the Lord do so much work in my own church, in my own life, when women adopted a zero-bitterness policy. And I thought, as we’re thinking about Naomi and she’s describing herself as bitter and talking about the bitterness, I just wanted us to drill down on that topic together.

So, Kristen, will you take us to a passage on bitterness that I think we all need to memorize, which is Hebrews 12:15?

Kristen: Yes. It says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

Erin: Gayle, do you have a garden?

Gayle: No, I do not.

Erin: Kristen, do you have a garden?

Kristen: No. Plants tremble when I come around. (laughter)

Erin: Oh, good, I’m the garden expert in the group! I could talk plants all day long. But this verse describes bitterness as a root. You don’t have to have a garden to understand the root. So, with bitterness, you can’t just hack it off at the surface, because the root’s still there, and it’s going to grow back up.

Kristen: I have a plant like that in my backyard. I have chopped that thing down so many times. I have drilled down into the dirt . . . it still grows back.

Erin: It’s because you’re not getting all that root.

Kristen: I can’t find the root! It’s deep! There’s got to be a spiritual analogy for that.

Erin: There is! It’s right here in Hebrews because that’s exactly how bitterness works. But then it gives us this picture that that root springs out and defiles many. It becomes this plant that impacts many, many people. And we see that in the life of Naomi. Right? Her bitterness has implications beyond just Naomi.


I think sometimes we’re not sure what bitterness is, and so we might go, “Well, I don’t have bitterness.”

So, a question for us to wrestle with is: What is bitterness?

I think of the word picture, like, sucking on a lemon. That sour taste in your mouth, and it’s dry, and you can’t quite get over it. I wonder, do any word pictures or thoughts come to mind about defining what bitterness is?

Gayle: Anger turned inside. You’re punching yourself.

Erin: Versus anger turned outside?

Gayle: Yes.

Kristen: I’ve heard it put as being harbored hurt or just unforgiveness. You’re just not willing to forgive.

Erin: It’s that root, right? It just keeps brewing and brewing and brewing and brewing because you haven’t yanked it up.

We’ve probably all experienced bitterness. I tend to think women gravitate toward bitterness really easily.

Kristen: Yes, unfortunately.

Erin: When you think of your own lives, can you think of evidences of bitterness in your life? How do you know when that anger has turned inward. Gayle?

Gayle: Well, I lose my joy, and that is horrible. I think it sucks the life out of you. If I’m bitter, I can’t function effectively in anything. I’m just the type of person that it shows on my face if there’s something going on. I’m not a very good pretender. It has residual effects, and my husband knows right away.

Erin: Absolutely. Kristen, when you think of your own life, what do you think of as the evidence there’s a bitterness problem?

Kristen: If I’m bitter toward someone or with God, I see it come out as control, wanting to control the situation, taking it into my own hands and become the judge that will now determine what the right punishment is or what the right circumstance needs to be. And so I just become very controlling. I’m not surrendered, and I’m not entrusting it to the Lord. I’m trying to make happen what I think should happen.

Erin: You’re protecting that hurt a little bit. You’re justifying it.

Kristen: Yes.

Erin: For me, I know I’m bitter when I start replaying the tapes. I just rehash that conversation and rehash that conversation and rehash that conversation or that hurt. I replay it and replay it and replay it. And to me, that is just an indicator—“Hold up! There’s a bitter root there you need to deal with.”

I think bitterness is always a loss of perspective because it’s us trying to be the judge. Right? Or it’s us thinking the other person doesn’t have value.

And Naomi loses perspective here for a moment. She rewrites the story of her history. Naomi says things that aren’t exactly in line with God’s character. She lost perspective.

I think we can know we have a bitterness problem when there’s somebody we can no longer see as a fellow image bearer of God. We just want them to pay. I don’t know who. There’s not really anybody that . . . that’s true of Naomi. But she’s lost her perspective about her own identity and her own position as a child of God.

So the bitterness keeps growing and creates a harvest of pain.

I want us to look at another passage on bitterness—Ephesians 4:31. I’ve got it. I’ll read it to us.

“Let all . . .” (Ooo, that word, “All.”)

Kristen: Not just some? Not just most? Come on!

Erin: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”

And 32 is important, too: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Kristen: I love that!

Erin: In pre-marital counseling, my pastor, Pastor Jim I mentioned earlier, was the pastor who married my husband and I. He described this verse as a progression. If you don’t deal with the bitterness, it will lead to wrath. And if you don’t deal with the wrath, it will lead to anger and clamor. Clamor is when you’re willing to make a lot of noise about it. And if you don’t deal with that, it will lead to slander.

And I just think that’s so powerful. I wonder: Have you all seen or experienced the impact of one bitter woman? What has been the impact of just one bitter woman, Gayle?

Gayle: Just one? 

Erin: What have you seen the impact of a bitter woman be?

Gayle: I have friends who have gone that road, and actually have health issues and have lost friends, because it’s difficult to be around a person like that.

Erin: It really is. I have a friend who serves communion in nursing homes. She says she can tell when she walks in the door by their posture, the women who are bitter. Isn’t that powerful? Because it is showing up in their health, as you mentioned, in their bodies.

Kristen: Yes. It really affects us from the inside out—physically, emotionally spiritually, and our demeanor—just everything about us. There’s just a weight that we’re carrying, and it’s heavy, and it’s visible.

Erin: Yes. That’s that anger turned inward that you mentioned.

Gayle: Yes.

Erin: This also tells us that this is the pack that bitterness travels in. I do think we see a lot of this in Naomi—bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor. She’s willing to vent about it—slander. And so we see all of these emotions kind of lumped together.

I don’t want to be a Naomi in this life!

Kristen: Oh, yes. I have been before.

Gayle: I have an observation—and this would be a completely different study—but I’m interested in those verses. It doesn’t say that her friends from Bethlehem rallied around her and encouraged her and loved on her.

I wonder how many Naomis we have in our lives who just need someone to encourage them and get them back on track and see that God is a love, good God.

Now, it doesn’t say that, but the other part of that is: I wonder if her attitude and her bitterness repelled her friends, and they didn’t want to be around her, which is another tragedy.

Erin: Oh, Gayle, that is such a good insight.

Kristen: It is.

Erin: You’re right. Bitter women are often very difficult to love, especially those women who are saying things about God that just aren’t true. You kind of want to go, “Whoa!”

Gayle: Hey! That’s MY Father you’re talking about!

Erin: Right. They need us to rush in with grace and love and truth. I’m so glad you pointed that out to us.

She’s bitter toward God, and she feels that God’s been bitter toward us. This is why I started with: Who’s been your biggest influence on your view of God?—because our view of God matters.

Let’s just use our imaginations with the story. What could have been a different narrative Naomi could have said? She leaves. She goes to Moab. She loses her husband and children. She comes back home. What could have been a way she could have described these events to friends and family that weren’t, “God’s been bitter toward me?”

Kristen, what do you think?

Kristen: The verse that came to mind is just, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Kind of that heart of, “This is all in God’s control, and I’m going to seek His face. I’m going to pursue Him and trust Him and not become bitter at Him.”

He’s the giver of all, and sometimes hardships hit us. Sometimes we watch the really joyful, great, wonderful times. But at the end of the day, God is who He says He is. So not allowing her circumstances to then be projected on who God is and thinking in her mind, “Okay, now I’m serving this angry God.”

I don’t know what she was feeling, but that’s how I felt. Like, He’s angry. He’s not kind. He’s not good. But really, allowing God to be who He says He is, and trusting that, and going back with that testimony of God’s faithfulness through the trials.

Erin: I’ve been at some funerals recently, and the person who died was a believer, and their family was a believer. The story was: “We’re going to see them again, and they’re with Jesus, and we’re so glad they’re with Him. And yes, we’re sad, but there’s a hope beyond this.” And that could have been the way that she talked about it. She could have talked about the Lord’s goodness and the hope beyond that moment.

Gayle: Going along with what we talked about earlier, she could have said, “Yes, we’ve been through some really hard things. I really could use your friendship and your prayers right now.”

We have a hard time doing that.

Kristen: Right!

Erin: Why do we have a hard time asking people for help?

Kristen: We hate to feel helpless and needy—like, “Oh, I need someone to help me.” We want to be the strong one, the one helping others. But we need to really take that facade off, to get really vulnerable and honest. That’s what the Lord wants for us—before Him and before others. Then we can have those believers walking alongside with us, bearing our burden. That’s what we’re called to as the Church.

Erin: I can think of a time in fairly recent history that our family was going through a really hard time. I made the decision to open my hands, and anything that anybody would put in them, I was going to take—which is not my nature. But I knew we were desperate. I thought, Anything anyone would put in our hands, I’m going to take.

That looked like food. That looked like, my sweet friend, Joanna, who said, “Can I come clean your toilets?” I have four boys!

Gayle: I’d say, “Yes!” (laughter)

Erin: I said, “Yes, you can!” because my hands are open, and anything anybody puts in them, I’m going to take. It looked like a lot of prayer.

And Naomi could have had that. “We are brokenhearted. We are desperate.” She was experiencing financial devastation. “And anything you put in my hands, I’m going to take it because I need it.”

But that’s not the posture we see in her. She describes God . . . Let’s head ourselves back to the book of Ruth, because she gives some descriptions of God here that are significant.

So let me read us the verses again, starting in verse 21: “I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has testified against me; and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me.”

I think it’s so interesting—she’s talking about God a lot.

Gayle: Yes.

Kristen: She hasn’t forgotten God. He’s in the picture.

Erin: She hasn’t come to the point where she says, “There is no God.”

Gayle: That’s right.

Kristen: That’s interesting.

Erin: But she’s calling Him some of these names, like Amighty. “He is big. He could take care of me.”

Gayle: Right.

Erin: And then she calls Him Lord. When we see Lord like this in Scripture with the small caps, that means Yahweh, Jehovah, His personal name that meets people at their point of need. So I wonder if she’s saying, “Not only change my name, but the Lord isn’t living up to His names. This is who He says He is, but He didn’t take care of me.”

Gayle: Oh, wow! Right!

Erin: I’ve felt that. I’ve felt, “Yes, You can do this, and I’ve seen You do it for others, but You didn’t do it for me.”

I once heard a Bible teacher say, “God is good. God is good at being God. And God is good to me.” Whew! That is powerful, but I think sometimes, “Yes, God is good. God is good at being God. But I’m not sure He’s good to me.”

Kristen: Yes. I remember feeling. I just resonate with this so much. I know so many women can with her feelings.

I love how the Bible shows this heart wrestle and just, as I shared earlier, after the third miscarriage, it was about a year ago now, I felt like, “The Lord has testified against me. The Almighty has brought calamity upon me.” That’s how I felt. It almost felt cruel. Like, “Why, God would You allow me to . . .”

Erin: It seemed like that pregnancy went so much longer.

Kristen: Yes. The other two were right around six weeks, so, so much earlier. I’d made it through that big hurdle. It felt like a huge leap to get on the other side of six weeks—made it almost to twelve weeks. Then I went in for an ultrasound, and the doctor said, “I’m so sorry. There’s no longer a heartbeat.” That was like a knife in my heart.

In that moment, laying on that table, it was so, so hard. In that moment, that’s how I felt. “The Lord has brought calamity upon me.” I just felt like, “Lord, are You good? You say You are, but look at what You’ve done. This feels cruel. This feels like a mean trick. Why would You even allow me to get pregnant and then take me through this dark, deep valley?”

I wrestled with: Who is God? Who does He say He is? Is He really that God?

I had to do a study. My heart was struggling so much, I knew I needed to do a study on the names and attributes of God. For the next thirty days, I just had to just sit in that: Who does God say He is? What are His names? What do they mean? And then asking the Lord to help my heart believe that because in my emotions and those feelings and that place of grief, I didn’t want to believe that.

But as I went back to the Word and saw who God was, my heart was led by that truth. I was able to finally say, “Yes, You are good. You do good. Blessed by the name of the Lord.”

Gayle: That’s right.

Erin: Maybe if you’ve been listening to this episode, you’ve identified a bitter root in your own heart. And I want you to know the Word of God is the weed killer that goes to work against that bitter root.

So, if you want to open your Bible with us, we would love for you to still join us, walking through this Ruth study. You can head to ReviveOurHearts.com/Ruth to get your copy and catch up with us and finish the study.

It’s time to say goodbye, unbelievably!

So, Kristen, if somebody wants to stay in touch with you or find out more about your ministry, where do they go?

Kristen: Well, the ministry is Girl Defined, and I would love to connect with any mom or daughter at GirlDefined.com, and then we pretty much have a platform on almost every social media.

Erin: You do! You are everywhere.

Kristen: Just search Girl Defined, and you’ll find it.

Erin: And I love it.

And, Gayle, tell them more about your work at the Lodge, and if a pastor and his wife want to come retreat there, how do they find out how to do that?

Gayle: Go online to Retreats@TheLodge, or you can go through Life Action Events. It will bring you to The Lodge. And we would love to have you.

I think it’s important to let your listeners know that we only take eight couples at a time. So it’s an intimate setting. And your pastor will be grateful.

Erin: Can you send your pastor and his wife?

Gayle: Absolutely! You can send your pastor and his wife. We would love to meet them.

Erin: And it doesn’t matter where you are or what size church you’re in, your pastor and his wife need that.

Gayle: That’s right.

Erin: Thank you so much for being with us.

Find out why your work matters to God—on the next Women of the Bible podcast.

Women of the Bible is an outreach of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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About the Teachers

Gayle Villalba

Gayle Villalba

Gayle serves as Ministry Representative for Revive Our Hearts and has served on staff for nearly twenty-five years. She also facilitates, with her husband, at The Lodge, a retreat center for pastors and wives. Ed and Gayle have been married for fifty-six years and have four grandchildren and three great grandchildren, with two more on the way!

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark is married to her best friend, Zack, is co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries, and author of Girl DefinedLove Defined, and Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. She is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and drinks coffee whenever possible.

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Women of the Bible