When I stopped looking for love 7 months ago, I was challenged by a sermon I heard to take a year off dating to change your bad habits, your unhealthy perspective. Never did I think I would find love when I let it go.
This post has probably been about 28 years in the making and probably one of the hardest for me to write. I’ve been trying to turn my thoughts, emotions, and experiences into sentences for weeks now, but never feeling like the words would adequately express my heart.
And then I re-read the story of Gomer in Hosea last week and the words were there. I felt like I was reading my life played out in Old Testament Scripture. I am Gomer. I am the adulterous woman. Even after I became a Christian, I held back in the area of relationships. I didn’t trust that God’s love was enough to satisfy my heart. So I supplemented His love. I sought love, value, worth, and identity in my relationships. And each time, these relationships would provide all of these things to me…but then, then they would break. I would feel unloved, not valuable, unworthy…my identity felt shattered. I felt like the rug where I had planted my feet had been pulled out from beneath me. And then I would find another relationship.
I could hear Gomer’s words coming out of my mouth “I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.” (Hosea 2:5b). And like Gomer, when those lovers failed, I would return home…tail between my legs, looking for shelter, but never really seeing or trusting that He is the source of love, value, worth, and identity. Patiently, He pursued me…“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her path. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them.” (Hosea 2:6-7b). And like Gomer, God patiently pursued me. He blocked my paths and built walls to bring me back to Him.
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” (Hosea 2:14)
In the past 7 months, God has shown me love. Love that speaks loudly my value, my worth, my identity. Love that blocked my path, that spoke to tenderly, that turned my troubles to hope, that brought me back to Him.
And in His pursuit for my heart, He is showing me that where I had previously put periods at the end of relationships, we are in a relationship without any periods. An eternal love. In His perfect love I no longer have to live in fear…fear of failing, fear of being rejected, fear of losing that person. His love comes with freedom…the freedom that comes from knowing His love is not conditioned upon my behavior or treatment of Him. His love is best…there are no substitutes, supplements or replacements. His love is teaching me to exchange all my lesser loves for the best love I’ll ever know.
And one day, I will tell someone, “I love you. But I’m human and I’m going to one day fail you, disappoint you, hurt you, and I won’t necessarily mean to do that…but I can only offer you imperfect love. That’s why I’m going to need you to run as hard and fast as you can after Jesus, because He already loves you far better than I can love you and I want you to be loved best.”
“19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19-20)