” ‘You can do anything a man can do’ isn’t helpful either. I didn’t want to be a man. What does it mean to be a woman?…..Think about it: God created you as a woman. ‘God created man in his own image…male and female, he created them’ (Genesis 1:27)…Your feminine heart has been created with the greatest of all possible dignities – as a reflection of God’s own heart.”
(from Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge)
Recently I’ve taken on some of the characteristics of Gomer, Hosea’s wife – spiritually of course! But nonetheless, it’s been tugging on my heart, so I decided to study the book of Hosea. In a nutshell – sometimes my past looks interesting and I start thinking “coulda”, “woulda”, “shoulda”, and then “what if”. Though it’s only in my mind and just thoughts, it’s still bothering me. God has brought me a long way out of some messy relationships (both romantic and friendships). It bothers me that I even think about going back to that and walking outside of the purpose God has called me to.
I’m trying to take this study slowly and fully exposit the Word instead of just reading through it, so I’m only in Chapter 2 after about a month. Initially, I wanted to get to the root of my issues, but after paralleling the book of Hosea with Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge, a book I read over the summer, but recently decided to re-read (that’s what nerds do), I’ve become more interested about the overall story of Hosea & Gomer, how it relates to God & the nation of Israel, and how that reflects my heart and purpose as a woman.
Man was created to reflect God’s image. As children of God, we’re to look like Him. Much like my grampy always tells me how much I look like my dad or my friends tell me how my mom and I could be twins – I am also to reflect the image of God as a woman. But what does that mean – as a woman? It’s easy to see God as this big majestic figure who can strike you down with lightning at any moment, but is that it? Is that the only side to God? Even in Hosea 2:1-13 we read how God could punish the nation of Israel, according to the traditional process of that time, but yet, in verses 14-23 the Lord shows mercy on this nation that has turned away from Him. Despite that God would be acting justly if he punished his adulterous bride, He gives everything that He has to show her how much He loves and takes her back from her false Gods. Why? Because He wants the nation of Israel to pursue Him just as much as He is pursuing her. He wants Israel to come back. He loves Israel and wants Israel to fully love Him back.
We are a broken, messed up, adulterous, hateful, lying people – and I’m not just referring to the world, I mean the Church! But yet, we are being pursued with everything by a Holy, loving God. He is jealous for our attention. “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jeremiah 24:7)
By no means does God need us, but man, does He want us! He desires to be delighted in. When you look at the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10, Jesus says that Mary has “chosen what is better (Luke 10:42) – she chose Him! My focus is way off! I sit day after day, studying the Bible to know God, but missing it all! I began my study on the book of Hosea to study what’s wrong with Gomer – what’s wrong with me! In the past, I’ve studied the story of Mary and Martha to look at which woman I was imitating more. But I think I’ve missed the point! We say it all the time “We were made to reflect His image”, but I still missed the point! The Bible is a love story between God and His people.
I wasn’t created to act more like Mary over Martha. I wasn’t created to make sure I don’t do what Gomer does. I was created to reflect His image. The only way I do that is by getting to know who God is – what He desires, so that His desire may become my desires. God desires to be loved, admired, and wanted. He desires to be in relationship with His people – but not because we deserve it. My heart, as a woman, has reflected that, but I’m not looking for the love or the admiration in the right place….
Above all else, God is passionate about His own glory. The fall of man and the reconciliation we have through Christ taking on the wrath of God for our sins – it’s all for His glory. My belief and daily recognition of that truth and seeking Him with all I have because of that truth is what He desires. Simply, recognizing His glory. And not just recognizing it, but being amazed, speechless and in complete awe because of it! It is through a relationship like such with God where my void is filled. My purpose, my identity as a woman is found complete.
It’s not complete because I diligently studied and tried my hardest to be a “Proverbs 31” woman, it’s not complete because I successfully strayed away from becoming like Gomer. It is not complete because I was hospitable like Rebecca or hard-working like Ruth or recklessly abandoning all I had like the woman who poured out her alabaster box….
I can’t live in the shadow of them. God created me to reflect his image as LySaundra, not them. These women are very important of course, and great for studying and learning from, but let’s not miss the bigger picture. Our goal is not to reflect their image, it’s to reflect God’s! What does that look like in your life? What is His purpose for you?
God desires to be loved. I am made in His image, and as a woman, I so strongly desire to be loved, accepted and wanted – to be passionately pursued. My purpose as a woman is made complete when I find that acceptance and love in God and Him alone. It’s complete when I realize His never-ending pursuit. Why? Because He feels the same way! Hosea was not the only prophet to speak to Israel about their adulterous ways towards God! God had been rejected by those He loved time, after time, after time! He knows how it feels to be rejected. I can so easily go to different people, things or hobbies that will give me a temporary emotion of feeling loved and accepted, while I have God pursuing me saying “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).
What does your heart long for more than anything? What are you constantly in search of? And where are you looking for it?