Naomi is flat out done with niceties. Her age and circumstances have given her this freedom, this right, this totally unfamiliar way of being. Working to reconcile herself to the harsh reality that her husband and two sons are dead has left her completely wrung out—emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually.So when she overhears the curious old clique ask, “Is that Naomi?” she straightens her aching back and sets the record straight, “Call me no longer Naomi (which means pleasant), call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.” Ruth 1:20
My decision to name this blog, Naomi’s Blog, is two-fold. Our sister-in-scripture, Naomi, models for me how to navigate through the foreign land of grief with faith, wisdom, and the ability to roll from rags to riches, from sorrow to joy. And my much-adored maternal grandmother, Naomi (who stood at the graves of her husband and son), possessed these same qualities that inspire and motivate me to this day. Naomi continues to instruct me about life, death, and resurrection.
They both have shown me that fear is braided with immeasurable sadness when our feet plod on life’s uncharted detour called “Grief.” Sleepless nights leave dark bags under our eyes. Friends want to understand, yet their toes haven’t ever inched into these sandy sandals. They also haven’t a clue how honest and strong one needs to be to raise arms and shake fists full of bitterness at the God of love. One woman, on a similar journey, shared, “I don’t even recognize myself anymore.” What changes have you noticed about yourself in this foreign land? Maybe this stranger in our skin needs a new name. How about Mara, at least for awhile?
Faith & Grief Ministries is a non-profit that Sharon Balch, Wendy Fenn, and I (each personally and professionally well acquainted with grief) started in July 2011. Along with a talented board, we provide resources of ongoing comfort to persons who have experienced the death of loved ones. Our resources include a monthly one-hour model, workshops and retreats, speaking engagements, and a monthly e-news with stories of ways faith and grief intersect, Facebook posts, and a website faithandgrief.org.
The short version of our mission: we journey with men and women through grief. We listen, encourage, and pray for them. We watch them change from Naomi to Mara and back to a Naomi who has changed in ways he or she could never ask for, hope, or imagine (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Each week, Naomi’s Blog will be full of words of struggle, hope, and grace upon grace. Some weeks the words will be what:
- I see bereaved men and women miraculously accomplish
- I hear anew through Scripture, poems or quotes
- I hold onto so that I (and hopefully you!) can take another step on grief’s journey
- I smell (like the sweet fragrance of things people say and do)
- I taste (like the well-meaning things people say)
Naomi’s Blog (my hope, hope, and prayer!) is a conversation between us. Your reflections and personal stories are what is missing. Begin the conversation! Also, feel free (there is no charge!) to contact me (Fran) directly at firstname.lastname@example.org .