Archives

All posts for the month January, 2015

The Shame of a Prostitute

Published January 19, 2015 by Dawn

Gomer covered her face in shame after hearing the name Hosea had chosen for her son. Lo-Ammi. “Not my people.” Her husband knew her shame and disgrace. He had found her many times in the beds of other lovers, and sometimes, even in their own with other men. She had been driven by her body into the arms of many others, and Hosea had always taken her back. Called her back. Dragged her back and demanded she stay. Her beautiful daughter played softly in the corner, her older son standing near his father watching Hosea hold the newborn near his heart. Lo-Ammi. Gomer watched him, painfully aware that he already loved this baby that was most likely not his own. Just like he loved Lo-Ruhamah, her little girl. Lo-Ruhamah, “not loved.” He had given her that name at God’s command, and yet, he loved her fiercely. She brought a light into his eyes no one else could. She seemed to be the apple of his eye. Hosea was the strangest man she’d ever known. And she loved him … but not more than she loved herself. She didn’t love anyone more than she loved herself. Not her husband, not her children, and not their God. She knew that. She wished it weren’t true, but she didn’t know how to love anyone, really. She rolled over and covered her head to block out the people in her life, and accepted this new child like she accepted the rest: with resignation and weariness.

***********************

I am fascinated by Hosea. A man called to be a prophet, chosen to represent God’s love affair with the children of Israel, and told to marry a prostitute. I can’t even imagine that kind of obedience. God asked for the best years of Hosea’s life and then gave him heartache. And told him to love it, to chase it, to hold onto it no matter what. Hosea obediently married Gomer and was given a son. His firstborn was his own. The children to come were bastards claimed by a man in obedience to the Lord. I believe God filled Hosea with all the compassion and love it would take to deal with the promiscuity of Gomer and to raise her illegitimate children like he was their own father. And I love that about Him.

I imagine the days in their home. Lo-Ruhamah looking lovingly into the eyes of her daddy, this man who called her daily “not loved,” as he held her and gently rocked her to sleep. Lo-Ammi running out to greet Hosea every day after work, running into his arms and hugging his daddy with chubby baby arms. Hosea putting crying children to sleep; they miss their mommy and he’s inwardly torn between his anger and pain on their behalf, and his concern and worry for her. How many nights did he go to bed wondering where Gomer was? How many times and in how many different ways did he excuse her absence in their home? How did he react when she came home on her own after nights spent in other beds? How did he respond to friends and family who knew her shame? How did he explain the names of his children to his mother? I imagine he kept a close eye on his daughter as she grew up, and spoke to her often of the woman he hoped she would be. I hope he told her often that regardless of her name, he loved her. I imagine him working side-by-side with Lo-Ammi, a son who was not his people. I hope he assured him that he would always be there for him, no matter what. I hope Lo-Ammi had the assurance of the prodigal son: that dad would always be there watching and waiting for him to come home no matter where he went or how far he ran. I know by the way Hosea chased Gomer that her children knew the depth of his dedication to their family.

Hosea’s obedience served as a daily reminder to the people of Israel of how much God was committed to them. That no matter how far they run, no matter how many gods they chased after, and gave themselves over to, He was continually calling them back to Him. Although they were so  called unloved and not His, He claimed them and loved them unconditionally. In Hosea 2:1, the Lord says, “Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.” And with that, God reversed the name spoken over them.

Hosea’s story also represented the New Testament dedication of Christ. He came for us. He calls us His bride, and loves us enough that he was willing to take on our sin and our shame. We are Gomer, sleeping around with many others, giving out real estate in our hearts to lesser gods. Being beckoned by a Husband we hardly know how to love. Being drawn back to a man who, like Hosea, gave His life for us. Hosea gave his life in that he was obedient to marry a prostitute and raised her children, enduring a lifetime of heartache and shame because of her. Jesus gave his life to death on a cross, enduring our shame. He looked at our sin and said, “I hate it. And it’s not mine. But I’ll carry it. I will bear it for her, because I love her so much. I am committed to her.” And no matter how bad it hurt, no matter how hard it got, he set his face like flint and endured it for us.

I’m also encouraged by this because when others look at us and decide that we are unloved, and when others don’t want us, we have a Daddy who will hold us and love us anyway. In spite of our shameful past, His arms ache to hold us. We make Him smile. We are the apple of His eye. We are claimed. We are His. He loves us.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)”

Don’t miss the sunset!

Published January 18, 2015 by Dawn

If someone ever decides to write a book about me, they’ll say that I chased the sky. I love it. I really do. I adore early morning sunrises, passionate sunsets, and star-gazing. And I headed out tonight to catch the sunset.

As I bounded out the door and down the steps to myself, I laughed boisterously and mused loudly, “It’s going to be a beautiful one.” I just knew it. The clouds were perfectly thin and high, and that kind of spread makes for a brilliant display across the heavens. I went to pick up my sister and we were off to my favorite place: my rock. It’s a very large rock jutting out of a loud, swiftly moving river. Rapids surround it, and it is absolutely the best place on earth to watch the sky. There’s nothing to block your view, and the sound of the water around you is glorious.

We got there early and walked a mile, climbed out over boulders and up the side of the rock. Then we settled ourselves down to watch the sunset. They sun was still pretty high, relatively speaking, so we talked a little, spent some time in our own meditations, and fervently watched the sky.

We could see that the sun was sinking, but the only color to be seen was a fiery orange with some emerging cloud coverage. Nothing too impressive. I figured since the sunset was kind of a letdown, we could just head back to the car while we could still see and avoid walking back in the dark, so we packed up, climbed back to the trail and headed the mile back to the car.

At some point, one or the other of us glanced over her shoulder and gasped. Then we both beheld the most intense pink sunset. Only it was obstructed by the woods between us and the sky. Which really dampened my appreciation of it. I was so frustrated! I had missed this beautiful display of splendor because of my limited reasoning, and even more limited capacity to be still and wait.

I was so mad at myself for missing it. I knew it was going to be beautiful. I just knew it. And then I missed it. All that time and energy; the mile walk, what amounted to a beginner’s mountain climbing lesson, and sitting there waiting, only to get up right before all that I had hoped to see appeared on the horizon. And I missed it. I saw it from afar instead of up close and personal. Bummer!

Somewhere in there, there’s a spiritual lesson. At least there was for me.

How often do we get up and move on before we’ve seen all that we hope for on the horizon. We get impatient and disappointed, and move before God’s perfect timing paints a beautiful masterpiece across the landscape of our lives.

Look at all the toil you’ve gone through. All the hope you’ve held onto. I’m not saying stand in a place where things are dead, in bondage to an idea that’s not inspired by the Holy Spirit. I’m saying when God has given you a Word, then hold on for it. Wait for it. It will surely come to pass. Don’t miss it. It’s gonna be beautiful!

Dear God

Published January 17, 2015 by Dawn

Dear God,

You have always wanted me? From before I was born, you have loved me? You knew me in the womb and before I was born, you had named me and made plans for me? How is it that the magnitude of that never blew my mind until now? No one has ever wanted me. I’ve spent my entire life feeling alone, rejected and invisible. But you have always been the God who sees me. I matter to you. You care about me and for me. You love me. You love me because … why do you love me? I fail. I’m imperfect. I’m judgmental and cruel and sometimes I have hate in my heart. I’m not a good witness for you. I am a hypocrite. My heart continually yearns for someone to physically be here; real flesh and blood to love me imperfectly and way less than you do. My whore heart would trade your love for imperfection in a heartbeat. I can’t even love myself after knowing that. HOW DO YOU LOVE ME?! How do you, how can you accept this?

 

Because I chose to.

                                -God

When I said “I do”

Published January 8, 2015 by Dawn

I knelt before my Father and said, “I’m ready to get married. Only I know I won’t choose well. Will you find him for me?”

My Father said, “Yes. Tell me, daughter, what is it you seek in a man?”

I read Him my rather long list and ended with, “But above all, he must love you more. That’s what’s most important to me.”

My Father assured me of His love for me, and His desire to give me His best. He said, “Leave it in my hands, daughter. I will surely bring this man to you.”

As time wore on, My Father continually assured me of His faithful work on my behalf. But I kept getting anxious, and looking here and there, said, “It is him! Oh, Father, is it this one? Is it that one” My Father simply smiled and said, “In due time, you will know.”

As more time passed, I began to fret and worry, and I stormed into my Father’s room and said, “You aren’t doing anything! How can you keep speaking of your Will and your Way when you aren’t even working? Where is he, then?”

And my Father stood and looked at me and said very lovingly, “When you sent me to find him, you said you wanted my will. That was the moment you said “I do” to this man. It’s a vow you made to me when you asked. You cannot ask for my will, and then pursue your own, and wonder why things are not working out. You have asked for my will and you shall have it. In my time, and my way. And he may not look like you assume he should, his job may not seem prestigious. His background may not sparkle and shine, and his proclivities may not enamor you. But he will be my best for you. Now daughter, do you trust me?”

“I do.”