The Stories Behind the Names

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my names. My parents chose their favorite Bible characters, Hannah and Ruth, and I believe the hope was that I would take after these godly, bold women. I’ve told my dad on more than a few occasions they may have set the bar a little too high!

They never intended the names to add pressure to my life, I know that. I am a nostalgic soul, so I am grateful for the stories connected with these names. I have read their life accounts over and over again, asking God to help me have faith like these God-fearing women. 

Their boldness came through in different ways. Hannah’s prayer was desperate. She was anxious and vexed, and as I’ve gotten older, that has been a comfort. It’s ok to go to God messy, frustrated, disappointed, angry, you name it. I don’t know if those emotions would characterize my own prayer life. The thing is, strong emotions have long intimidated me. If I have them, my knee-jerk reaction is to hide them. I don’t want people to see me angry or cry- either way, I would have to explain what caused such a reaction, and I would much rather hide behind a calm smile. At some point in my life I started believing godly people were always ok and could just magically accept all situations, whether good or hard. Now God’s sovereignty is trustworthy day in and day out, but God never asked us to be stoics. Not even Jesus, the only perfect human being, lived life like that. Hannah was bold in her desperation for God to work and move, and she held nothing back. Oh that my prayer life would be more like that. 

And after she poured out her heart, she got up. She was no longer sad. That’s a beautiful picture of grieving and then taking the next step. God gives grace for acts of obedience, and the more we pour our hearts to Him, the more we can keep taking steps, confident He will do what’s best.

Ruth was bold in her actions. She was fiercely loyal, and I have always admired that. She stuck with Naomi when Naomi was bitter and discouraged. Ruth went to a foreign land where she probably thought the rest of her days would be lived out as a widow. She cared more about following Yahweh than comforts of the present world. Sometimes I let the bleakness of current circumstances weigh me down, and I forget. The One true God knows my name, and I get to walk with Him daily. The beauty of timing, God’s timing, is all over the book of Ruth. Ruth, Naomi, or even Boaz couldn’t even see it, but when everything came together, no human author could have penned a story intertwined with such grace and mercy. Ruth was bold in her obedience, and God used her life to bless others for generations to come.

Going from being a teacher to a college ministry leader to now a marketing assistant, my life path is not what I expected. I don’t know what changes will come in the next decade, let alone the next year. But I do hope to see God the way these women did, to boldly depend on Him and follow Him wherever He may lead.

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