Fall Devotional. Week 1: Trust.

September 9, 2013

For the month of September, we are going to be doing a four-week devotional centered around some of the themes found in The Ruth Experience. You will not need to have read the book in order to participate or use the study. We will be covering topics such as trust, sacrificial living, turning back towards God, and what to do when you’re waiting. We went back to a few of the women who shared their stories in our book and asked them to offer us some practical advice, based on their experiences, that could help us on our own journey. Our hope and prayer is that these four weeks encourage honest conversations and growth between you, God, and possibly those around you.

Kendra, Julie and Kristin

Week One: Trust.

Trust. It’s a sticky word. One we often find ourselves leery of, especially if we’ve been hurt by people in the past. There’s this part about trust, this feeling of giving up control, that is hard for many of us to want to do. And yet trust is vital to the growth and intimacy of any relationship.

Photo by Richard Bonnett on Flickr
So what exactly is trust? The dictionary defines trust as:
  • reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
  • a person on whom or thing on which one relies: God is my trust. 

In the first chapter of The Ruth Experience, we spoke with Linda, who shared with us the story of her husband’s betrayal and how God worked through that very hard time in her life. She shared not only the death of her original dream, but how ultimately, God gave her something so much better in return.

Here’s a portion of her story:

For Linda, starting over in her marriage meant reorganizing their priorities as a couple. Instead of focusing solely on their children and grandchildren, they began to make more time for each other.

“Russ and I needed something in our marriage to wake us up and to show us how important we are to each other—not the kids, not your job, not the church—and I could never get Russ there, but God had a plan,” she said.

Starting over also meant putting God first, giving her a deeper, richer walk with Christ.

“It changed me a lot. There’s no one like my God. There’s nobody, there’s nothing I want more than him,” she said and paused. “I love my daughters; I love my grandkids. But my children sometimes disappoint me, my husband sometimes disappoints me, my extended family sometimes disappoints me, I disappoint me—but God never does, and he never closes the door on me. I can’t imagine my life without him.” (The Ruth Experience, pg. 19).

And so we went back to Linda and asked her:

What are some practical ways to trust someone who’s hurt you?

Step 1: Trust God alone. I just had to let go and let God have full control of my life!

Step 2: Forgive them. To build back trust, I really had to learn to forgive those who hurt me, so I researched a lot of scriptures on forgiveness and did some reading and praying. God showed me how to truly forgive and trust.

Step 3: Pray for them. I also began to pray for those who had hurt me and lost my trust; that was hard at first because it still hurt so bad. But for me to heal inside, I had to FORGIVE.

Your Turn:

Listed below are some scriptures to meditate on, as well as some questions to help you start the process of trusting someone after you’ve been hurt.

1.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2) Given that Linda's first suggestion is that we fully trust God alone:
Do you find that you are able to trust God? If not, what is holding you back from trusting him fully? Honestly talk with God about your fears.

One reason we may find it difficult to trust God is if we are unfamiliar with his character and unsure whether we truly believe God is good, loving, and even trustworthy. Here are some further scriptures to study regarding God's character: Psalm 103:13, John 1:3, Psalm 84:11, and Matthew 10:29-31. What other scriptures can you find that tell you more about the character of God?

2. I once read a quote stating: "Living life without forgiveness is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die." (Unknown) If that's true, why is forgiveness so hard at times? 

Matthew 6:14 states, "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." We have been forgiven, therefore we must forgive. One of the biggest misconceptions with forgiveness is that in order to forgive, you must also forget. Not only is this virtually impossible to do, it is unnecessary: we need not forget in order to forgive. We simply decide to not allow the other person to have control over our thoughts and emotions anymore. Forgiveness frees us from harboring bitterness, anger, and resentment.
Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to forgive them of? And how can you ask God to help you with forgiving the other person? 

3. Linda's third step is possibly the most difficult, yet also the most important, step in the process: Pray for those who've hurt you. Linda told us that although praying at first was difficult and a matter of will, she found that over time, her heart and feelings began to line up with her prayers. Forgiveness and prayer for those who'd hurt her went hand in hand.
Who do you need to pray for today? What can you pray specifically for them about? (Don't worry if you don't believe what you are saying today as you pray. This is a practice that can be developed over time, not just in one sitting.)

We hope you've enjoyed this week's devotional. Please feel free to comment or message us with any questions or prayer requests you may have. We'd love to hear from you!

Topic for next week: How to turn your heart back towards God.

Disclaimer: One small disclaimer we'd like to make. Learning to trust others again does not mean we need to be a doormat for people in our lives who intentionally hurt us again and again. Boundaries are okay and sometimes very necessary for our health and safety. Forgiveness may still be a step we need to take, but it does not mean we need to continue to allow people in our lives that would harm us physically, sexually, mentally, or emotionally.

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