Your People Are My People

I didn’t understand my mother until I became one. I didn’t fully appreciate my mother-in-law until I became one.

David’s mother, Phyllis, had brain cancer when they used massive doses of radiation and chemotherapy. She lived in care facilities for years. I really couldn’t get to know her. She called me Sam.

My mother-in-law is Jane. When she married David’s father, she became a mother and grandmother! My daughter was a month old and she latched on to Jane. We used to joke that she loved Jane more than me! We have a picture of Grandpa holding Laura and she’s reaching her arm out to Jane.

Jane went above and beyond for me. Every Saturday, she took Luke and Laura, who are 21 months apart, for a few hours. I used that time to comb garage sales for children’s clothes. I was a stay-at-home mom and money was tight. I don’t know what I would have done without her.

* * * * * * *

“Ruth” is about a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law, Naomi. They lost everything and Ruth chose to stay with Naomi.

“…God raising up leaders who direct and guide through the tangle of difficulties always involved in living joyfully and responsively before God. Very impressive. …Our unimpressive, very ordinary lives make us feel like outsiders to such a star-studded cast. …But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. …In its artful telling of this ‘outside’ widow, uprooted and obscure, who turns out to be the great-grandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus, the book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or ‘out-of-it,’ as irreplaceable in the full telling of God’s story. We count – every last one of us – and what we do counts.” The Message Introduction to Ruth

Ruth moved to a foreign country to take care of Naomi. She didn’t ask her to do it. She told her to go back to her father’s house. But, if Ruth did that, she would have to go back to her father’s gods. Her love for God was the reason she refused to leave Naomi.

Loving God is the glue that holds a marriage together – when you “fall out of love.” The good news? You will fall in love with them again. And each time you fall in love a little deeper.

You hear these verses in many weddings. They sound so romantic. But they are the words of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law.

Ruth 1:16-17, “But Ruth said, ‘Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my God; (17) where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God – not even death itself is going to come between us.’ ” The Message

Love is not something you feel. Love is something you do. Don’t confuse romance with love. Or worse, don’t confuse lust with love.

God showed us how to love: Give your best. He gave his only Son.

Give even when it hurts. Jesus was gone for 33 years. There were years of silence while the human Jesus learned to talk. God had to reveal Himself to His human Son.

A common complaint of mothers-in-law is they don’t see their son and his family often. Yet, that is by design.

Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife. They become one flesh.” The Message

Men need that time apart to learn to stand on their own two feet. They are creating a new family. The rewards of letting go? Grandchildren!

If your relationship with your mother-in-law is rocky  – keep loving God.

If your relationship with your daughter(s)in-laws are rocky – keep loving God.

If you’re lucky enough to have a grandmother-in-law – count your blessings! That relationship may only last a short time.

Even if your in-laws abandon you – God will not.

Ruth 2:20, “…God hasn’t quite walked out on us after all! He still loves us, in bad times as well as good!” The Message

Merry Christmas, Jane!

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