Who Is Your Naomi or Ruth? (Power of a Mutual Mentoring Relationship)

Gold Brush Stroke

Relationships have the power to build us up or tear us down. The most powerful relationships are those in which we intentionally pour into each other. 

The most powerful relationships are those in which we intentionally pour into each other. Share on X

encourage one another

Relationships that Tear Down

When it comes to biblical women relationships, I find Leah and Rachel’s among the saddest in Scripture (Genesis 29-30). As young women, the sisters are married off to the same man in exchange for his combined 14 years of service to their father. The sad part is that the two begin a child-bearing war in an effort to earn significance and love in the eyes of their husband Jacob.

Instead of being happy for Leah as she bears children and supporting her in a loveless marriage, barren Rachel becomes bitter and starts scheming. Instead of comforting Rachel in her barrenness, Leah becomes obsessed with earning Jacob’s love.

Can you imagine a lovelier picture than if the two girls had been mutually supporting each in the areas of their deepest pain and their greatest joys?

Scripture does not mention the sisters’ mother, so it’s likely she was deceased. I like to think “Mom” would have been able to help her daughters restore their relationship, offering them perspective on the blessings of encouragement over discouragement, support over discourse. Apparently neither had a wiser woman in their sphere of influencers who could speak truth to them—a person who could pour into their lives.

In the absence of such a mentor, during their times of greatest need, Rachel and Leah allowed jealousy and bitterness to fracture their relationship and add to their misery.

Relationships that Build Up

Contrast that to the initially sad but overall beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi’s relationship (book of Ruth). In a foreign land, Naomi first lost her husband, Elimelech, and then her two sons died, leaving Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to fend for themselves in Moab.

Scripture tells us Orpah returns to her hometown at Naomi’s insistence, but Ruth refuses to leave her mother-in-law. What follows is one of the most heartwarming stories in the Bible. 

By her companionship and willingness to provide for Naomi, Ruth helps Naomi overcome her great loss. In turn, Naomi’s maturity and motherly wisdom helps Ruth make wise choices and find a husband for herself and a provider for them both.

Mutual Mentoring Relationships

This is a wonderful example of a mutual mentoring relationship. Ruth was there to bolster Naomi’s spirits; Naomi was there to guide Ruth. 

We all have times when we need someone to come alongside and lift us up. Supporting us when we have little capacity to do so ourselves. Offering us words of comfort and, at times, convicting words of truth. 

And we all can be that person to someone else. 

We all have times when we need someone to come alongside and lift us up; we all can be that person to someone else. Share on X

It takes intentionality to love another through life’s circumstances. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be that person who graciously receives another’s love and support and gives the same in return. Someone who builds up and offers guidance and sound advice.

We can each be that person who welcomes the assurance of the hope we always have in the Lord Jesus Christ and who can offer that same assurance to another. We can each be a loving, supportive member of a beautiful mentoring relationship.

God has placed someone in your life to be your Naomi or Ruth. Who might that be?

God has placed someone in your life to be your Naomi or Ruth. Who might that be? Share on X

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Reflections: Who has God placed in your life to be encouraged by you and be your mutual encourager? 

Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate my 4-year anniversary of blogging by entering my first giveaway. Don’t miss this second giveaway. Letters from Leanne: The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship by my friend, Jill Beran, is a beautiful testimony to the power of spiritual mentorship.

The second 4th-blogging anniversary giveaway is my friend Jill Beran‘s book, co-written with Leanne Anderson, Letters from Leanne: The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship. This book is a beautiful story of mentoring among women. (Click on the photo to purchase your own copy of this uplifting book.)

Letters from Leanne: The Beauty of a Spiritual Mother-Daughter Relationship - By: Jill Beran, Leanne Anderson

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And linking with Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista, 

Beloved Brews Linkup

By His Grace,



  1. paige on August 13, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    This is a beautiful testament to mentoring relationships. The questions you pose at the close have given me some food for thought. Thank you for sharing.

    • Julie Sunne on August 13, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Glad I could spark some reflection, Paige.

  2. Calista on August 13, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    I have been blessed to be a mentor to young moms and many times their enthusiasm was a inspirational to me. We girls need to stick together! (visiting from Beloved Brews.)

  3. Cherry on August 14, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Such good thoughts – thank you, Julie! I am always wanting to learn more and be inspired to build into the lives of my own grown daughters, and also into other young women. Appreciated your encouraging words. (Visiting from Bonnie’s linkup)

    • Julie Sunne on August 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Glad I could encourage you, Cherry. Thank you for investing in the lives of younger women.

  4. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on August 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Julie, Our Women of Worth (WOW) group discussed Naomi and Ruth in our August meeting, this past Tuesday.. I facillitated the discussion, It was interesting.

    • Julie Sunne on August 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

      It’s a fascinating account, Cecelia. One of my favorite.

  5. Aritha on August 16, 2015 at 2:33 am

    Thanks for this encouraging post! I have never had a Naomi or a Ruth in my life. But know I am thinking I could be one for another. Thank you so much, Julie.

    • Julie Sunne on August 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

      You certainly could, Aritha! And actually, in a way you are being Ruth to me in your regular encouragement. Thank you!

  6. Lisa Morris on August 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for the reminder that we can all be someone who lifts someone else up! I enjoyed reading your post.

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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