Love Is


I noticed this morning that I will be finishing the book of Daniel on Friday and starting Hosea on Saturday. Song of Solomon is known as the love book, but if you ask me Hosea deserves just as much credit. To say I am excited to start Hosea on Valentine’s Day would be an understatement.

Like most girls I’ve always enjoyed Valentine’s Day, but I’ve noticed in the last few years it has grown considerably less exciting and important to me. I still buy cards and candies to show those I love that I do love them, but honestly it all seems superficial to me. I thought it was because growing older has taught me that loving well the other 364 days is more important than buying into the hype of one day. That is true, but this year I have changed my mind about Valentine’s  Day.

For the last 5 years or so we have busied ourselves each year with our youth group and hosting a Valentine’s  banquet for the adults at our church. I often think and plan ideas for my own loved ones early then it flees my mind and I’m grabbing last-minute gifts, and few to none of my plans materialize. Since becoming parents, we have a traditional seafood dinner at home where we exchange gifts with each other and the children. It’s quaint but lovely.

Not this year though. Maybe it’s because we aren’t busy hosting a banquet at church, but I have been thinking a lot more and a lot deeper about Valentine’s Day.

The story of Hosea is the true definition of love. Humans define love as an intense feeling of deep affection. 1John 4:8 defines love as God Himself. If God is love, and He is; then we should look to Him for how to love. Hosea is the example of how God loves.

God told the prophet Hosea to marry and love a Harlot. He married Gomer and it wasn’t too long after what we will call the honeymoon phase; that Gomer was being adulterous. Hosea pleaded with her (2:2). Hosea threatened to leave her with nothing (2:3). But Gomer continued to seek other partners and sin (2:5). Hosea lovingly took her back, but her faithfulness was short-lived and she would be in adulterous relationships again. Gomer finally officially leaves Hosea.

This is horrible! Why would you want use this story for Valentine’s Day? Why would God ask Hosea to do this you ask. Hosea was our relatable symbolic example of the depth of love and loyalty God has for us.

Hosea ends up having to buy back his wife for 15 pieces of silver and some barley (if the sin itself wasn’t humiliating that would be). This all has me thinking; if Christmas is the when and Easter is the how then Valentine’s is the why. Love is not an intense feeling of affection. Love is sacrifice. Love is keeping your promises when they break theirs. Love is when nothing makes sense. Love is when it isn’t wanted or deserved. Love is God.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1John 4:8

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How Long


I believe in sharing the raw and ugly. I believe doing so is the only way to find purpose for our pain, and finding a reason for your hurt is the best salve for the wounds. David said, “For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…” When I read that I felt like he took the words right out of my heart.

I am grateful to have received a beautiful text from a beautiful soul. Susie Sidebottom embraced the vulnerable and exposed the raw and ugly. I pray it was soothing to the wounds.

You can imagine my joy when she agreed to write a guest post. It was a testimony that stirred my heart. I had a feeling it would yours too.

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This week, while doing my studies of the Psalms, I was consistently drawn to the thirteenth Psalm. In this Psalm, David was praying for relief from despair. Within the first two verses, David asked “How long?” four times.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” ​​​​​​​Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

Ten years of marriage to my soul-mate, and I can promise you that I have asked “How Long” more than just four times. How long until we have a baby? How long do I have to work a job where I am unappreciated? How long until I am the number one priority? How long until we aren’t in a financial upheaval? How long are we going to be just the two of us? How long will this pregnancy last? How long will this test or trial last? How long until God finds and shows favor in me? These are just a few examples of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times that I have asked “How Long?”. Confession – the last of my thoughts are thanking God and rejoicing in Him and his salvation at those moments when I am asking that question. In reading the thirteenth Psalm, that is exactly what David did at the end of that prayer.
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”​​​​​​​Psalm 13: 5-6 ESV

I can say that in the last couple of years I have been able to find greater peace because I have been able to let go and let God. These last two years, I have been trying to focus more on being thankful for everything that God has afforded me. Admittedly, David made me chuckle with the sixth verse, because it is inherently true. God has dealt bountifully with me.

God knows exactly the right timing for everything in our lives. He is the master designer of our stories. Looking back on my life, and the trials within, I can understand the answer to some of my “How long?” questions. God answered by showing me that He has the perfect plan and that His timing is impeccable.

It was easy to find great solace in reading this Psalm, because the great King David felt the way that I do and have in the past. David sets an excellent example and reminder that it is okay to ask of our God “How Long?”, but we also need to remember that He is the great provider, and we need to be thankful for everything that He has already done for us. Remember, He has dealt bountifully with us. That is quite a job on most days.image

3:33


On the way home from a ministry conference in Tulsa, I listened to fidgety kids and Josh telling me about one of his sessions. He said that the minister who was teaching told of how he and his expecting wife spent a week working youth camp. In the middle of the night, 3:33 to be exact, his wife woke him up and told him she was losing the baby. On the way to the hospital the car was silent and they believed that they were about to experience the ugliest of here.

Back at camp they gathered to pray. They didn’t say, “we will pray for them in the morning.” or “everyone remember them in prayer.” They got out of bed; blurry-eyed and held hands as they burst into the presence of God on behalf of ther friends. The speakers question to his pupils was, “who here is at 3:33?”

And my question to you is: who do you know at 3:33? You? Your mom? Your grandpa? A friend? A stranger you found on social media?

I’ve had to do a lot of growing over the last few years. During my efforts to “Moses out” He met me at every handicap I informed Him I have, and some I didn’t realize I had. He began etching me into a better person for His calling.

One of those handicaps was/is prayer. I have to set alarms or I’m likely to make it through the day without talking personally, one on one with God.

“I’ll pray for you.” Was a line I was accustomed to saying. As you can imagine; God wasn’t ok with that. I threw Him all my excuses. “You know I can’t just kneel here in the middle of the mall and pray right?” “I can’t bow and drive.” “I’m shy.” “It’s uncomfortable.” “What if I make them uncomfortable?”

I learned that during prayer—actually lets make that life; the posture of your heart is a lot more important than the posture of your body.

I learned God don’t care much about our comfort either… Does He Paul?

Seems like the more my prayer life improves the more people God entrusts for me to pray for.

Today skimming Instagram; my heart ached as I read a short comment left on another bloggers post. A request for prayer. Our sister who we’ve never met was asking for prayer for her 10-year-old daughter who received a brain tumor diagnosis.

Just a few hours before that I was talking to a mentor whose sister has advanced pancreatic cancer.

Maybe life’s looking good for you right now, but you’d have to be blind not to see a 3:33 anywhere.

It’s not a resolution it’s a requisition. This isn’t something we purpose to do then get to let our ambitions fade. There’s ugency here. You may fail but you must get. back. up.

I’m noticing two different kinds of friends in the Bible.

Jesus told the man with palsy, whose friends literally tore the roof off the place to get him to Christ, because their faith was through the roof; that because of his friends’ faith, “take up your mat and walk.”

Oh Job’s friends? Sure, they felt sorry for him. They tore their cloths and sat silently for seven days with him. They were even more than happy to help him get to the bottom of the situation by suggesting all the ways he must have blew it, but in the end; Job was the one praying for them. Seems kinda backward doesn’t it.

My timers set for 3:33. My prayer list can feel overwhelmingly long, and that shows me just how big God really is.

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