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



Measuring Up

Confession: I don’t always feel lovable–or even likeable; to the point of creating an idol out of others approval. I have spent many a long nights laying in bed regretting comments I’ve made. I have chosen to do things at a high cost in effort of earning approval or love. Too high of a cost.

You know all those beautiful things God says about how much He loves us? I believe they are true… For you. And I walk around measuring myself up. I’ve never been good enough, thin enough, kind enough, a good enough wife, mother, friend… Being perfect is exhausting! Let alone impossible. So here I am, unworthy. Unworthy of blessings. Unworthy of position. Unworthy of love…

I just finished doing 30 Days of Praying God’s Names with Tony Evans. I was amazed at the new names for God that I had never heard before. When I tried to count the names of God I came to 235. I am certain that isn’t exactly accurate but I think we can all agree that there are gobs. Me? If you count my maiden name I have four. If my name determined who I was to be as in the days of the Bible; I’d be a renowned tiller of the soil. Mom and Dad thanks for not making me a mediocre or an inferior tiller of the soil.

Not God though. His names have meaning. They are all an attribute of God. You may or may not know who I am based on my four names but it takes hundreds to even begin to know who God is. King Solomon said, “The heavens and the highest heavens can’t even contain you, but you are going to dwell in this temple I’ve built!”  That got me thinking about another verse I’ve read: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Corinthians 6:19  And I’m all, “The heavens, the highest heavens, and even Solomon’s Temple couldn’t contain you but you’re dwelling in me?!

We have established that God is indescribable, uncontainable, and once we are saved He is dwelling in us. I’m thinking we should ditch the scales, toss the ruler and just seek our worth in the Bible.

Amber. Now that’s a girl who knows where a person’s value comes from. You know what she told the homeless girl she brought  home? “God sees you and I am proof he sees you. He sent me to help you because you matter.”

I can’t stop thinking about how God saw that scrawny dirty little shepherd boy. David mattered. I doubt many thought the girl running the brothel was measuring up to much either but God saw her heart and He thought Rahab mattered enough to be an ancestor to Christ. You can find yourself running far from home tending your father-in-laws sheep, You can find yourself in the belly of a fish at the bottom of the ocean; God sees you, wants to use you and says you matter.  You’ve lost hope? Yeah, so did Sarah. That didn’t stop God from blessing her.

When God told Samuel that he seen as man but God sees the heart. I think that applies to how we see ourself. I get so busy beating myself up for all the ways I don’t measure up I don’t even know my own heart, but God does. He finds us at the bottom of the ocean, in the dark ugly of the red-light district, and wallowing in hopelessness. He sees our hearts and he claims them.


A True and Holy Love Story

Here we are in the midst of the Christmas season; which I have managed to make more about the mass of gift buying than about The Christ, but there is still time to fix and still grace to cover that-another post another day.

While we are talking gifts, I’d like to tell you about a gift I received over a decade ago but just realized a couple weeks ago. Jailyn and I were cleaning the kitchen. She was sweeping while I was wiping down countertops. Broom in hand she morphed into a singing sensation as we all do (let’s be honest here). To my surprise it wasn’t “Let it Go”. Today is was the Little Mermaids “Kiss the Girl”.

I joined in and we were belting it out way too loudly to be pretty. We got to the line where it says,

Yes you want her

Look at her, you know you do

It’s possible she wants you too

There’s just one way to ask her

It don’t take a word, not a single word

Go on and kiss the girl.


I was 12, and my sister, cousins and I were playing basketball at a church down the street; where a bunch of kids would hang out and play. Out of the blue, without warning a boy from school came up and kissed me. There I stood in front of all my peers being kissed without warning  by someone I didn’t like. I felt so humiliated. I played it off until I got home.

I called my friends and told them about how embarrassed and grossed out I had been; only to be told I was being a prood. As if that wasn’t bad enough the next day I learned how fast 7th grade news travels.

That was just one of several times I felt invaded by a boy.

Standing there singing those words I had sang and heard MANY times before but this time was jarring. When headlines are saying the count of women coming forward is now 16 and they have nothing to gain and everything to lose?

That’s when I realized the gift I’d been given. I though of how many times we have laughed about how long it took Josh to get the nerve to just hold my hand. I remembered how respectful he had been; waiting for our first kiss, and I remembered the phone call after he had felt he’d crossed the line.

Josh gave me the gift of a true love story to share with my daughter. A bit of truth to counter the Disney lie with. We stopped sweeping and looked into each others eyes as I shared the testimony of true love. Holy and real romance.

A brave young man who lived a life against the grain and in opposition to everything the locker rooms, magazines, movies and hormones told him. A man who respected a girl who was accustomed to disrespect not because she was someone’s daughter or sister or future wife, but because he knew she was made in the image of God. She was Gods and not his.

So sure we can keep on believing those are harmless lyrics, and kids will be kids, but somewhere something’s going wrong when boys are thinking they have the right to girls and girls are thinking its a boy that will make them alright. Its all mixed up, jumbled up and backward.

I am a hopeless hopeful who believes we care and can change things.

I believe we aren’t ok with the schools or anyone else teaching our kindergarteners about homosexuality. I believe uncomfortable as it may be we would rather tell our children the truth then let them go on believing the lies. Because, we aren’t blind to the cost and we know its more than reputation on the line here—souls are at risk. They belong to God and we are our brothers keeper.