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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You Are Here


I’m the girl holding up the drive-thru. I take too long. I take too long to choose from the menu. I take too long to choose an outfit. I take too long at the store. I take too long deciding on plans.

I also take too much. I pack too many outfit choices. I buy too many hair products. I own too many eyeliners. I say too many yes’ that should be no’s, and too many no’s that should be yes’.

The point is to choose one word as your focus and reminder of your goal for the year. Here we are in the second half of January and I’m just now deciding. I was holding out for an epiphany. I knew all along what I needed to choose though. It’s nothing deep and super spiritual. It’s been blogged, preached, talked, published and made its way to the bargain books by now.

I am also too messy. I take too many words. I need at least a four word minimum. Be fully here to fully hear; a do-over lesson for me.

My decision was affirmed last week when a friend called hoping for a hair appointment for that same day. I explained that I was full and we set an appointment for the following morning. I said I would see her tomorrow. I expected her to say, see you tomorrow. As I pulled he phone from my ear and hit the end call button I realized she said, “I’ll see you tomorrow if I’m ok enough.” I was in such a hurry to get to what I was deeming most important that I finished her sentence and cut her off. In doing that I told her she wasn’t important to me. I called her back and turns out she needed a friend more than a haircolor.

How many times have I failed to love people well because the timer on the cloths dryer went off? I received a text? I needed to scrub the toilet before the blue cleaner I had just put in it got flushed?

Be fully here to fully hear. Because when I am dividing my attention I am saying, you don’t matter.

People matter most.

Be fully here to fully hear. Fully hear God, our friends, our family, the girl working the register…

People matter most.

No big epiphany or super spiritual thoughts. Just a do-over. Be fully here to fully hear.

Anyone want to tell me your word/words for the year and your thoughts behind them? Leave a comment. I would LOVE to hear. And I promise to be fully here to fully hear you, because you matter.

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So I Sing


I called her a burn scraper.  Yeah. I’ve never been great with conversations.  That explains why that was my intro into telling her how through asking hard things of me, she was helping me to heal.

See, when I woke up in recovery I knew in my heart I’d never be the same. (Funny they should name it that, because I wasn’t recovering.)  The doctors and nurses played it all off, but I knew.  Gasping for air and unable to tell anyone why or what or how I was feeling.  Strip a persons voice from them and they’ll be at your mercy.  Whatever you or any other well meaning people want to say they need, are, want, feel… That becomes their new identity or prison.

My sister said that after Granny had her stroke, she felt trapped in her own body. That’s accurate.

You know what Satan says about your gifts? “You aren’t very good, and you certainly aren’t as good as_____. Just sing in the car; God hears you there and it’s for Him anyway.” Lose your gift and you know what he says? “Well you blew that. You didn’t use it and now you’ve got nothing to give God.  You aren’t useful to Him now.”

So when someone strokes your arm and tells you the doctors say she’s only got 18 months at best, and she just wants to hear you sing. What can you say?  I’d like to tell you that I didn’t care; that there were several other people in the room or that I wasn’t weighing my options, but that’d be false.  I did know I didn’t have much, but I love her and what I had was enough for her so she could have it.

So I sang.

Then there was the time we were setting in the foyer after service talking. That same bald head wrapped in what the best I could tell was a turban of glory ask me to do it again. Yeah, that isn’t awkward. Just bust into song. Right there. As if I’m worthy of hosting some concert, and these people have nothing better to do than be my groupies.

So I sang.

Then that time after Satan lost and she had a silver crown of curly hair as a trophy to prove it. She came to the seat behind me cupped a shoulder in each hand and ask me to stand and sing. In the second pew from the front, in front of everyone, I found my feet.

And I sang.

She had the guts to obey God and scrape at the raw places. Because if cancer taught her anything it was that to really recover you had to endure. And if cancer made her anything it made her strong enough and brave enough to do the painfully pious.

I stood there with my back to the crowd and laid it all out. The little 10% of the one vocal cord that works; sang.  This time I realized I wasn’t singing for Becky or because of cancer or for the ability to avoid regrets over not granting her a dying wish.  I didn’t have much but I love Him and what I had was enough for Him so He could have it.  And He did want it; like He wants the widow’s mites. It isn’t much but it’s everything I have, and it’s what he wants, and He says it’s enough.

So yeah, funny that my right cord is completely paralyzed and I have 10% on the left because that’s all God ask of us. Our 10%.

So I sing.

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