You Aren’t Required to Like Your Story
Heather M. Dixon helps women find hope and God’s sovereignty
in life’s disappointments and difficult circumstances
There are few things that can make us feel as helpless as living with a story we don’t like. Life is rarely fair, and things happen beyond our control that impact our lives in negative ways. Maybe our story involves the loss of a loved one, an unwanted transition, a difficult diagnosis, or a dream that fell through. At one time or another, we all deal with disappointments and feel that we are being punished. For women searching for a glimmer of hope, Heather M. Dixon has written Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story, a four-week study diving into the life of Naomi from the Book of Ruth.
While most studies on the book of Ruth focus on the book’s namesake, Dixon focuses in on Ruth’s widowed mother-in-law instead. “I’ve always read and taught Ruth from Naomi’s perspective because ultimately, I think it’s her story,” Dixon explains. “For all believers, a transformed heart is one of the key identifiers of life with Christ and as readers, we get to experience that journey with Naomi—from bitterness to renewed joy. Her transformation echoes that of anyone who has struggled with a hard story and found Jesus to be faithful along the way. It’s also my personal belief that Naomi’s response to grief has often been judged too harshly. I wanted to give my readers a safe place to explore feelings of bitterness as they learned to look for God’s movement in their own story.”
In Renewed, women glean wisdom from Naomi’s perspective, a woman who lived a story she didn’t choose or like. Forced to chart a new path as she mourned the loss of her husband and two sons, Naomi learned that the journey from bitterness to renewed hope and joy was rooted in God’s promise of redemption.
Dixon wrote Renewed for any woman that is carrying a difficult and life-altering story they did not choose and cannot change. She also wrote it for the woman who yearns to trust God’s sovereignty and His plan for her life even as she grieves and is angered by her circumstances. She believes that trusting God and grieving your story are not mutually exclusive. Dixon herself lives with incurable and terminal genetic disorder, so understands what it means to live a story that is not easy. With insight from her own journey, she teaches women to flourish even as they live hard stories through a willingness to trust that God can transform them and trade their heartache for hope. They will learn to rely on God’s movement in the details of their story, even when it can’t be seen, gain confidence to act in the part of their stories that they can change, and watch expectantly for God to redeem the parts they can’t.
“You have permission to grieve! Naomi was bitter because of her circumstances (and who wouldn’t be?), but she still remembered God’s sovereignty. Did He punish her for her bitterness? No, He was always working for her good as He brought renewed hope to her life,” shares Dixon. “Her story reminds us that it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to say this is not what we wanted. It’s okay to acknowledge this isn’t how things should be. We don’t have to be afraid of expressing our honest feelings to God because he understands. Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus, even when He knew He was about to raise him to life.”
The study can be done individually or as part of a group. The four-week format of the study is ideal for in-between or busy times. The participant workbook is comprised of three lessons per week for personal study that can be completed in 20-30 minutes each. The workbook also contains leader helps which include group sessions guides, discussion questions, prayers, video viewer guides, and more. In addition to the workbook, video sessions are available with four 20 to 25-minute dynamic and engaging teaching segments led by the author on DVD, streaming from Cokesbury.com, or through an AmplifyMedia.com subscription.
Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story
Lessons from Naomi in the Book of Ruth
By Heather M. Dixon
Available September 1, 2020 from Abingdon Women
Participant Workbook with Leader Helps
Paperback ISBN: 9781791006174 / $14.99
eBook ISBN: 9781791006181 / $14.99
DVD ISBN: 9781791006198 / $44.99
About the author
Heather M. Dixon is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher who understands living with a story that is not easy. Diagnosed with an incurable and terminal genetic disorder that she inherited from her mother, she is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to trust in God, face their greatest fears, and live with hope, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances.
When she is not blogging at The Rescued Letters or speaking at women’s conferences and events, Dixon loves to make the most of everyday moments such as cooking for her husband and son, brainstorming all the possible ways to organize Legos and superheroes, checking out way too many library books, or unashamedly indulging in her love for all things Disney.
Dixon is a regular contributor to Journey magazine and the author of women’s Bible studies, Determined: Living Like Jesus in Every Moment and Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story.
Visit Heather M. Dixon online at therescuedletters.com. She can also be found on Facebook (Heather M. Dixon – The Rescued Letters), Twitter (@rescuedletters), and Instagram (@rescuedletters).