The name Naomi is derived from the verb נעם (na’em) meaning to be pleasant, sweet, delightful, beautiful.
This word ‘delightful’ is a word God gave me for my daughter when I was pregnant with her. As I look at this scripture today I reminded of that word…over my daughter’s life and how much I have to stand on that word. When you look at Naomi’s life I can imagine what Naomi’s mother had dreamed for her daughter, when she named her. She would have envisioned a very different life then the one Naomi is living when we meet her. She did not envision the grief and the loss and the bitterness her daughter would face. A famine and 3 funerals, and no legacy …these were not what she had in mind. It is no wonder that Naomi wanted to exchange her name for something a little more realistic…Mara.
When I look at my own girl and declare the delight she will be and have and enjoy …I do not see grief and tragedy in her story but I pray that should the valleys come, that she will know her Shepherd king and know that he will lead her through the valleys with a sense of his presence beside her and that she will know that as long as she listens and follows his lead he will lead her to green pastures. I pray that this daughter will not just be a delight but feel His delight and she will know the sound of blessing and harvest and seek it out just as Naomi did. I pray she will not succumb in sweetness and kindness to temptation to seek greener pastures at the cost of destiny as Elimilech and Naomi did.
I can not teach ‘my delight’ how to bring joy if she does not know how to find joy for herself.
I am so glad the women of Bethlehem continued to call Naomi by her real name not the name of her reality. At no point does she become Mara even though that is what she demands but instead they keep speaking life over her. This is so important to me. When others tell me who they are based on their reality and their past and their broken hearts, I have a responsibility to call them by their real name..the name God speaks over them not their reality name. I must choose to see them as God intended not how life has worked for them.
This is my prayer for the other daughters in my care, that they would know he sees them as his delight and that they would seek to know the God who delights and takes pleasure in them and their reality would be that they would not know valleys and famine and harvest without knowing the Lord of the harvest. His love and delight is not just how he names us but how he sees us and treats us and undergirds us and leads us. It was not God who called her Mara. How often we declare over our own lives the bitterness, the emptiness and the drama instead of the things God calls us….Isaiah 62: 3 and 4 says it so well.