For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live. - Ruth 1:16b
Ten years ago, I never would have pictured myself here...on the shores of Jackson Lake with 13 of the most incredible women I have ever met in my life. And as I reflect this morning, drinking coffee and reading Ruth, I see nothing but the providence of God. Where we, as sisters, as believers, are not subject to fate but remain always under the providential care of God.
We laugh together. We cry together. We pray together.
Nothing separates us from each other. We may not always agree with each other. We may struggle, at times, with one another. But never will we leave anyone behind. We bring the salve of sweet words to sisters with open wounds. When we are in denial, you can bet there will be a sister we can call on to tell us the truth. When we need stability and support, our sisters are stronger than any concrete footing. The hearts of these women are larger than life. And yes, when one sister follows her heart in another direction, we start planning road trips and counting frequent flyer miles to be with her.
As I sit back and examine this sweet sisterhood, it reflects likenesses of the relationship between Naomi and Ruth. The Holman Study Bible for Women talks about six observations of these two women and what makes their bond so great:
There must be a mutuality of commitment between each other.
The gratitude in the heart of one awakens loyalty in the heart of the other.
The selflessness on the part of one demands unselfishness from the other.
The bitterness in one gives opportunity for creativity in the other.
The interest from one is rewarded by a warm response from the other.
The counsel from one bears fruit when accepted and honored by the other.
As sisters, by blood, or by Christ, we each have unique gifts that we share with each other.
Large groups of sisters are oftentimes composed of smaller, more intimate groups of 2-4 that share in the specifics of one another's joys and struggles. Our individual gifts within the smaller groups compliment each other and get us through. These occasions when we all combine and make a larger group, the support of prayer and love abounds; builds strength in one another; and creates a bond so tight that nothing can separate.
There is more than the great love of sisterhood in the story of Ruth and Naomi. The Kinsman Redeemer. In their story, Boaz takes the role. In our story, its Jesus. Without hesitation, Jesus (and Boaz) paid the cost required for the ones he loved; a selfless and sacrificial love. Without Jesus, our sisterhood would not exist. We are not the sisterhood I described above, without our roots in Jesus.
As sisters, our hearts are bound together by the roots of Christ. We are the branches; each with unique characteristics that bring laughter, love and compassion into our sisterhood. How blessed we are to be bonded by our redeemer. Our healer. Our everlasting light.
Strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at the future- Proverbs 31:25