No ifs, ands, specifically no buts.
This morning I was reading through Ruth and the more I really read through it, the more I fall in love with the text each time.
- Naomi (Ruths Mother in Law) loses her husband and both her sons who were to be engaged to two women (Ruth and Oprah) but after the men pass away, she basically tells them to go find protection elsewhere because her sons are gone and she won't be having any more anytime soon if ever. Oprah leaves, but Ruth does not. Usually, in the story of Ruth, she's sort of the main character talked about. However, I want to bring your attention to Naomi.
In Chapter one verse 20, when Naomi returns home after her tragic experience of loss, the women of her town (probably seeing how heartbroken and empty she looks) asks "Can this be Naomi? (v. 19) and here's where it gets good... Naomi responds with “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (v. 20-21)
You know how when we experience tragedy we sort of "change our name"? Like I'm hurting, I'm broken, I'm lonely, I'm this and I'm that. We give the tragedy power over who we are and how we define ourselves in that moment. Naomi CHANGED HER NAME TO BITTER. Homegirl was hurting real bad, so badly she felt that even her namesake matched her circumstance.
"I went away full BUT the Lord brought me back empty"
Here is where I find a little battle of words in and vs. but. There is a power in both of those words "and" implies that there is a plus, there is something more. However, but implies that whatever was before the "but" becomes striped of whatever goodness it entailed, any positivity that was in that statement before is no longer positive because of that lingering "but". Sometimes we allow the "but" to be a bud of negativity that we give the power to grow in between our blessings and our sufferings and merge together as one big tragedy.
We give the "but" in our lives the potential to strip the good even though we may not be able to see it yet. There's a quote somewhere by someone that says "Don't put a period where God puts a comma." How often do we do that? Change our names, let our circumstances win, put a but in the middle of something that's not done yet because it just seems to unbearable?
I know I personally do this a lot, I have people who love me, I was blessed with jobs, I wake up each morning in a home but I don't have a significant other
I am at a Private Christian University, with people who have shaped me for the better but I wasn't able to graduate with my friends in may.
Giving power to the "but" in our circumstance just makes us feel sorry for ourselves and to be completely honest we don't have time for that. We have work to do and work to be done in us. So put the but behind you, move forward and realize that God is moving fervently to plant a bud of blessings where we keep insisting on gardening negativity.
No ifs, ands, especially no buts.