Both of these Corinthian women are only mentioned once in Scripture, but there is much to discover about their life and role in the early church. Though it’s easy to skip over their verses, these names hold special meaning to me personally because they are the names of my two daughters, Chloe & Phoebe.
While I am sure Mary trusted God to be faithful as she bore His son, she knew that she was putting her reputation, marriage, and family status on the line. She knew that no one would believe her if she told them the truth. And she knew that people would treat her differently if she went through with it. Yet she was faithful.
So many of us girls love a good romance story. We love the drama, the beauty, the glamor, the excitement and the passion. There’s something so compelling about the story arc of two people falling in love. We’re so drawn to this kind of narrative that I think we often subconsciously read it into the story of Esther. Hers is a classic princess story, right? She’s gorgeous, wins a whole beauty contest, and catches the eye of the king, who chooses to take her as his wife. It sounds picturesque, right? But this romanticized version is simply untrue, no matter how badly we wish it were a classic princess romance story.
Growing up I learned that God wants us to be kind, love one another, and respect authority. Somehow along the way I incorrectly adapted that message into that I should not “ruffle any feathers” and instead I should seek to make "peace" in all situations. I became very shy aside from the rare occasion I simply could not stop myself from speaking out against injustice, but even then it was often in a whisper tone
It’s late Spring and the sun is high in the Israeli sky. Ruth bends down to collect pieces of barley dropped by the harvesters. She is a foreigner in this land and a childless widow. Fortunately, Israel has provisions in its law made for people like her, a woman with little lot in life, so she can glean in this field, and at least she won’t starve. When she returns home, the only one to greet her will be her mother-in-law, Naomi. A woman who too has seen loss: a husband and two sons. Naomi now desires to be referred to as Marah, which means bitter.
As a mother of two, I am inspired by this important reminder that children are a gift from God. Every day that we wake up, when we watch them take their first steps or wave goodbye at the bus stop, we are slowly releasing them into a world of overwhelming waters. We may not be facing the deadly orders of a Pharaoh coming after our children, but there are everyday injuries, natural disasters, and school shootings in our broken world. Try as we may, we cannot protect ourselves or our children from every harsh reality of this fallen world. We cannot possibly avoid every ailment or prevent every danger.