Session One.
Can You Relate?

"Hi, Mom and Dad." It was the excited voice of our son, Sean, calling from his Navy base in Pensacola, Florida. We chatted a while and caught up on the happenings in each other's lives since last we talked. Yet, with a mother's intuition, I sensed he had something to tell us and had to restrain myself from asking, "What's up?"

Sure enough, after about five minutes of talking and laughing Sean said, "Folks, I am going to ask Janel to marry me when she and her parents come to visit next month. I already called and asked for her dad's blessing, but I'm keeping it a surprise for Janel."

I let out a scream of joy and immediately began asking all the motherly questions. "Do you have a ring?"

"Yes," he said, excitedly describing his purchase. "When are you thinking of getting married?"

He wasn't sure but hoped it would be soon. They would have to fit a wedding into his military and her college schedule.

"Do you think she is going to be surprised?" "Yes!" Sean replied joyfully.

"Are you sure about this son?" my husband and I asked in unison.

With great confidence, Sean assured us that he was very sure. At nineteen, the youngest of our four children would be the first to marry.

As we said our goodbyes, the shocking reality hit me that I would now be a mother-in-law! What did that look like? The words sounded so old. It just seemed a few years ago I was the young bride and a new daughter-in-law. Where had the years gone? What would my role now be in Sean's life? Another woman was going to be the nurturer and provider of a home for him. I always liked the adage: "You don't lose a son, you just gain a daughter." But I had also heard the saying: "A daughter is a daughter for the rest of your life. A son is a son till he takes a wife." I wanted Dave and me to be "in-laws"—not "outlaws"—so my prayer was for Janel to feel welcome, comfortable, and loved in our family.

Let's look at a model for a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship that God shared with us in the Bible.

Day One.
How Does Naomi's and Ruth's Story Relate to Us?

Naomi and Ruth truly experienced a two-way relationship: they helped each other through some difficult times of life, and then we see God rewarding their mutual loyalty and devotion.

On Your Own and M&M's

  1. Before we go further, please stop and read the Book of Ruth in your Bible. Try to read its four short chapters in one setting.
  2. Look in Matthew 1:5 to learn something you might not have known about Boaz. Who is Boaz's mother and what relationship does she have with Ruth?
  3. Now read Matthew 1:5-16. Ruth, Naomi, Boaz, and Rahab are all part of whose genealogy?
  4. What prophecy in Micah 5:2 was fulfilled by Ruth's willingness to leave her old life behind and follow Naomi to Bethlehem (John 7:41-42)?
  5. Are there parts of the Book of Ruth that relate to your life?

Face-to-Face Reflections

The story of Ruth, and Ruth's second mother-in-law, Rahab, are shining examples of God's grace, mercy, and propensity to use anyone who believes in Him to accomplish His purpose and plans—no matter what their previous background. Ruth, a Moabite who turned from pagan gods to worship God, marries Boaz, the son of Rahab, a former Canaanite prostitute. Their child, Obed, continues the family line right down through King David to Jesus the Messiah! Ruth, a foreigner, actually becomes the great-grandmother of David. Rahab, also a foreigner, becomes David's great-great-grandmother, and they both are the multiple great-grandmothers of Jesus and two of only four women named in Jesus's genealogy!

Personal Parable

Like Ruth and Rahab, I was the least likely woman for God to enlist to do His great work. I had none of the credentials expected of someone starting a women's ministry. I hadn't lived a godly life for 17 years prior to rededicating my life to Christ, never participated in any women's ministry, didn't know many women at our church, and I was divorced and remarried. But three years after my rededication and renewal of faith came a call from God to start a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at my home church, Saddleback.

I said, "Yes," and never looked back. And now, 14 years later, God has taken Woman to Woman Mentoring throughout the world to thousands of women. God showed me that being a servant for Him to use does not mean having to have led a perfect life. If that were the case, none of us would qualify!

Mentoring Moment

If God fulfilled His plan through a Moabite woman and the son of a prostitute, He can, and will, use people of any ethnic group, sex, culture, nationality, or personal background, who are willing to serve Him. That means He can use you and me!

Day Two.
A Changed Life

Making a major change in life can be risky because we on't know what the outcome is going to be. We become comfortable with the known and change means uprooting and replanting; but if we lack the courage and faith to start, we're already finished.

On Your Own and M&M's

  1. Read Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:20-25 to learn more about the story of Rahab. How does Rahab profess her belief in God?
  2. What parallels do you see between the story of Ruth leaving Moab and her future mother-in-law, Rahab, leaving Canaan?
  3. What risks did Ruth and Rahab both take?
  4. Is there anything in your background you think would stop God from using you? If so, what is it?
  5. Read Joel 2:25. How do you see this verse applying to Naomi, Ruth, Rahab, and yourself?
  6. Read the following verses, looking for a theme that relates to Boaz's role in Ruth's life story:
  7. How does Jesus become your Kinsman-Redeemer when you give your life to Him?
  8. How are you letting the Lord use you now?

On Your Own

  1. If you've not asked Jesus to forgive your sins, or you're not sure how He could use you with your sinful background, let me encourage you to meet with a pastor at your church, to answer questions and counsel you. Jot a reminder to do so here:
  2. If you are not yet a Christian, but now feel ready to ask Jesus into your heart, stop right where you are and let's pray together the Salvation Prayer that follows. Then seek out a mentor to disciple you, or enroll in your church's discipleship class.

M&M's

  1. Be honest with yourself and each other. Are you letting anything stop God from using your M&M relationship, or your individual lives, to further His work? If so, write the obstacles here and commit to pray together that God would remove them.
  2. If you are the mentee and haven't come to know Jesus as your personal Savior, talk about your hesitations with your mentor. Mentor, help your mentee find answers to her questions. That's one reason God has put you together.
  3. Mentee, if you are ready to accept Jesus, pray the Salvation Prayer below right now!

Face-to-Face Reflections

If you are ready to accept Jesus into your heart and become a follower of Christ, all you have to do is sincerely pray this prayer of surrender. You can pray by you self; wherever you are, Jesus is right there with you. Or if you are in an M&M relationship, you might ask your mentor if she would like to pray with you.

SALVATION PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I know that I have made mistakes and sinned in my life, and I want to tell You how sorry I am. I ask You now to forgive me and cleanse me of those sins. Jesus, I want You to come into my heart and take residence there. I believe You are the Son of God and that You died on the Cross to pay the price for my sins and then rose again in three days to offer me eternal life. Jesus, I give You complete control of my life, and I willingly surrender my heart, mind, and soul to You. Please fill me with the Holy Spirit and Your love. Lord I give You my life—make me a new creation in You. In Your Son Jesus's name, I pray. Amen.

If you prayed the Salvation Prayer, welcome to God's family! He has wiped away your past sin, and you have a new slate: a new life in Christ. Congratulations! Celebrate and tell others about the decision you've made to become a follower of Jesus Christ—it's your testimony. Now you're ready to grow and mature spiritually, and this study will have so much more meaning to you. You go, Girl!

Personal Parable

I was 45 years old before I found my purpose in life. During my 17-year prodigal journey, I made some very poor decisions and didn't lead a godly life. I am sure that I broke God's heart. But in 1992 at a Harvest Crusade when Pastor Greg Laurie asked the question: If you died tonight, are you ready? I knew my answer was no. I rededicated my life to Christ that night and a prodigal daughter returned. I told the Lord I would go wherever He called, and it has been an incredibly glorious and wild journey.

I'm not proud of the things I did during my wayward years, but I took the risk and changed my life. I know the difference of living a desperate life of sin and a forgiven righteous life in Christ, Redeemer of the lost years.

Mentoring Moment

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime! It is never too late to become what you might have been.