Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hosea and Gomer

I can remember, while I was still hiding my prolonged affair, asking my husband if he ever got angry, thinking back to the affair he KNEW about.  He would tell me that sometimes he thought about it, but most of the time, it didn't even come to his mind.  He would also tell me, as I would be weeping thinking he MUST be only seeing "the affair" when he looked at me, that I was wrong. He didn't look at me and see the affair and feel the hurt I had caused him.  He would reassure me and tell me that he loved me and that was that.

I wonder if that is just the way men are wired, or if my husband was just given an extra measure of  grace, a deeper insight of what it means to be my Hosea.  That's how I see him, by the way.  As my Hosea.  

In the Bible, God called this man named Hosea to do something that most people believe is absurd.  Hosea is one of those books that some people "throw out", like Jonah, because it's just too hard to "swallow".   My view of the Bible is that, aside from the parables Jesus told, if the Bible says something happened, it happened.  Yes, I really believe Jonah was swallowed by a large fish and spent days inside of the animal's acidic stomach, before he finally obeyed and went to Nineveh.  

So, I believe that there really was a man named Hosea, whom God called to do something that the majority of people would shy away from.  "When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, 'Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.'"  Hosea 1:2

And I just wonder what Hosea thought.  Was he like "Sure God!  That sounds like a great idea!  Why didn't I think of that?"

Or was he horrified, thinking "What?!?  You want me to do what?"

We don't have any insight into what Hosea really thought. We just know that the following happened:

"So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son."

Wait, what?  He just did it?  He just went out into the streets, found a woman that he knew would be unfaithful, and then he "put a ring on it"?  Was he crazy?

No.

He was obedient to God.

I think he had to have had a HUGE faith in God.  How else could he have done this crazy thing God had asked him to do?

Because Hosea didn't just marry a woman who might be unfaithful.  He married a woman that would be unfaithful, and as you read Hosea, you find that it was not a one time event either.

Don't even get me started on these poor children and the names God gave them, because of their mother's sin, and ultimately Israel's sin.  Because that was the point God was trying to make.  

It doesn't matter how many times you screw up.  It doesn't matter how many times you stray and you are unfaithful to me.  I will NOT be unfaithful to you.  I love you and nothing you do can ever change that.

I find Hosea 2 both confusing and redemptive.  One of the cool things about God is that ALWAYS, in the end, there is restoration. No matter what we go through, no matter how we hurt him, there will always be a chance to be restored.  To be redeemed.  And if God is willing to do that for us, then shouldn't we also, in an effort to be more like God, respond the same way to our spouses who have been unfaithful?  And I'm talking unfaithful on many levels, through addiction, emotional adultery, physical adultery, etc...

Listen to how God talked to His people through Hosea 2:

Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’
2 “Rebuke your mother, rebuke her,
    for she is not my wife,
    and I am not her husband.
Let her remove the adulterous look from her face
    and the unfaithfulness from between her breasts.
3 Otherwise I will strip her naked
    and make her as bare as on the day she was born;
I will make her like a desert,
    turn her into a parched land,
    and slay her with thirst.
4 I will not show my love to her children,
    because they are the children of adultery.
5 Their mother has been unfaithful
    and has conceived them in disgrace.
She said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
    who give me my food and my water,
    my wool and my linen, my olive oil and my drink.’
6 Therefore I will block her path with thorn bushes;
    I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
7 She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
    she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
    ‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
    for then I was better off than now.’
8 She has not acknowledged that I was the one
    who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
    which they used for Baal.
9 “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens,
    and my new wine when it is ready.
I will take back my wool and my linen,
    intended to cover her naked body.
10 So now I will expose her lewdness
    before the eyes of her lovers;
    no one will take her out of my hands.
11 I will stop all her celebrations:
    her yearly festivals, her New Moons,
    her Sabbath days—all her appointed festivals.
12 I will ruin her vines and her fig trees,
    which she said were her pay from her lovers;
I will make them a thicket,
    and wild animals will devour them.
13 I will punish her for the days
    she burned incense to the Baals;
she decked herself with rings and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers,
    but me she forgot,”
declares the Lord.
14 “Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
15 There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
16 “In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “you will call me ‘my husband’;
    you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
    no longer will their names be invoked.
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them
    with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
    and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
    I will abolish from the land,
    so that all may lie down in safety.
19 I will betroth you to me forever;
    I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
    in love and compassion.
20 I will betroth you in faithfulness,
    and you will acknowledge the Lord.
21 “In that day I will respond,”
    declares the Lord—
“I will respond to the skies,
    and they will respond to the earth;
22 and the earth will respond to the grain,
    the new wine and the olive oil,
    and they will respond to Jezreel.
23 I will plant her for myself in the land;
    I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’
I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’;
    and they will say, ‘You are my God.’


Is anyone else thinking "Yeah, that's kind of hard to take in, God"?

But it boils down to this.  And THIS is the truth, so it bears repeating.

It doesn't matter how many times you screw up.  It doesn't matter how many times you stray and you are unfaithful to me.  I will NOT be unfaithful to you.  I love you and nothing you do can ever change that.

I could really relate to verses 5-7.  Well, except that all of my children were conceived by my husband (thank God!).  But the part about how Gomer was dissatisfied and wanted to go after the men who had given her gifts and "treasures".  Men who made her feel better about herself and her life of sin.  

Sinful men will not encourage sinful women to be holy.  Just as sinful women will not encourage sinful men to be holy.

"Christians" become entangled in affairs ALL THE TIME, and because we (as sinners) like the darkness, we do not encourage those who are in darkness with us to seek the light.  We don't want their deeds exposed, because we don't want our deeds exposed.  

And if there is anything I have learned from my mistakes and my own infidelity, it is that there was no way I was going to encourage my co-conspirator to change his ways, to seek God, and go home to his wife.  I was perfectly content for us both to stay in the dark.  If he stayed in the dark, then I could continue to be in the dark.  And I wanted to stay in the dark!

Because the enemy had whispered lies in my head, convincing me that staying in the dark was EASIER and SAFER than coming into the light.

And I also find it interesting that Gomer reasoned out that when God blocked her way to her lovers, she chose to go home to her husband because she felt that she would be better off with Hosea, than she was currently.  Her path barred, she went back to a man that she knew would take her back.

God indeed blocked my way back to my lover.  Not seven years ago.  Seven years ago, he allowed me the free will to CHOOSE to go back to this man.  And He continued to tolerate it for a long time.  When He had finally had enough, he DID block my way.  

By way of exposing the darkness.

By way of showing Kris the truth about how I had been living.  

I feel like God was tired of me going back to that adulterous life time and time again, and He simply put His foot down and said "I will block her path."

Not because He controls me.  

Not because He wanted to take my free will away.

But because He LOVED me.  

He was tired of seeing me hurt.  



He was tired of watching me choose a life that did nothing but bring pain and anguish to everyone involved.  I was not only harming myself.  I was also harming the man I was choosing to hide in the dark with, his wife, and my own husband.  AND the children!  

Do you think my children didn't suffer because I wasn't fully THERE?  I was not the mother I could have been during those seven years.  I spent more time trying to get out of the house to be with this man than I spent trying to care for my children, let alone teach them what a Godly home and marriage look like.

And I have to admit something else here.  When I left home back in February, I was not going to choose to go home simply because I knew Kris loved me and would forgive me and life would be better than it was alone.  I very specifically wanted to be sure that my decision to go home was based on a DESIRE to go home and fight for my marriage, not simply to go home because it was a better life than the life in the darkness provided, or an empty life without the darkness.  

This was a very strong point for me.  I would not choose to go home because it would be easier than being alone.  I would not choose to go home because I thought it would be better than wandering around aimlessly trying to find purpose and meaning in my life.

If I was going to go home, it was going to be because I WANTED to go home.  

To my husband.  

To my children.  

To fight for my marriage and to rebuild what Kris' pornography addiction and my life of adultery had torn down.

I went home to my husband in February, and to my Savior in April.  Those are the two best decisions I have ever made in my life.  

And now, I CAN teach my children what a Godly home and marriage look like.  I think often about how Kris and I interact now.  And sure, maybe the kids gasp and say "Eww..." when we kiss in front of them (except the youngest two because they're romantics and love a good kissing scene).  

But I don't care.  

THIS is what a healthy marriage looks like.  

We love each other.  

We are affectionate to one another.  Quite often!

And I know that while the older ones roll their eyes and want to say "Get a room!", we are teaching them something vital.  Something that they will take with them into their adulthood and their own marriages.

We are teaching them that we were very broken (we have told them as much), and that God brought us back together and we chose to fight for marriage.  

Because it's worth it.  

Because THEY, as our children, deserve to see what a marriage is supposed to look like.  Not what it was.  But what it is now.  We are showing them that in the worst of circumstances, we chose each other.  And we chose God.  And this transformation in our lives and our marriage will stay with them through their entire lives.

Sometimes I think about why God waited so long to expose my sin.  It's all about timing.  I love that song "Timing Is Everything."  

If our children had been toddlers still when this transformation took place in our marriage, they would have missed something important that I think God wanted them to learn.  They are 12, 11, 10 and 7 now.  They are learning and growing and understand many things.  

And I think that sometimes God chose this timing to bring the darkness to light so that for generations to come, this family will choose to stay and fight.  This family will understand that it might be hard and it might be painful, but in the end...

...it is ALL WORTH IT!


31 comments:

  1. POWERFUL testimony. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly!

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    1. It is my goal to live a life of transparency. I will not be the Christian who hides her sin, and further show the world that the Church is full of sinners who won't admit it. I'll stand up and say I am a sinner, and God still loves me!

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    2. Finally a word that pierces the darkness and gives hope to those who may feel as if there is no way I can bounce back from this! This has truly encouraged me and your transparency and your husband's love for God is a witness that unconditional love still abides no matter how great the sin,
      Blessings upon your marriage and ministry!
      Bishop O.T.McCray Jr.
      Founder and Senoir Pastor of Remnant Church Tampa,FL,
      Rfcctampa.org

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    3. Thanks for reading. I am very passionate about this now and I love that God has given me so much more than I deserve, as well as a story to tell to bring hope to other hurting people and marriages.

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    4. Thank you for this testimony. My wife left me almost a year and a half ago; and she started an affair with a man whose wife had just past away, we were just one month shy of our third anniversary. Since, we have divorced,and I have learned that they are both preaching and have been labeled in their small church as pastors; the have even gone so far as to call there home church. he has showered with things I could not pay for: a large home with acreage, a new $40,000 trike and the list goes on. I guess though why I liked reading your story is this; I pray for her everyday and when I tell people I have faith in God and the story of Hosea they cringe and look at me as If I am crazy, maybe so, however there is a reason God has lead me to the book of Hosea and who am I to doubt? May god keep blessing you, your family, and your marriage.

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  2. Beautiful post Jamie. You will minister to many because of your transparency!

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    1. Thank you Jolene. See comment above re transparency. I didn't even intend to write about Hosea and Gomer honestly. I started out writing about something else and then when I went to call my husband Hosea, this came out. :-)

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  3. You go, girl!! Keep making those kids roll their eyes and say "EWWW!!", you know they feel safer than ever.

    Thank you for sharing the Gomer perspective. One of the BEST things God showed me when I was standing for our marriage and Scott was living with his girlfriend is that he wasn't happy. Ever. Anything that would have remotely brought him joy, made him think of me, which made him think of what he was throwing away....so he got angry and drank. Gomers spend a lot of time convincing themselves and everyone else that they are happy....because they aren't.

    Love you, girl!

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    1. You know, I wouldn't have believed you at the time. I would have insisted that I was happier than I had ever been before. I convinced myself that this other man truly made me happy. And yet, there was still all this guilt. When I was with "him" I was in another world. When I came home at night, I was in reality and I was miserable. I see it now...how desperate and unhappy I truly was. Because God didn't have the place in my heart that He has now. I was NOT happy, but you can't tell someone that when they are in the midst of it because they really think they are happy.

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  4. THE GREATEST transparent POST that I have read and seen in a long time. Thank you for your honesty and remembering that everyday..every hour HECK, the next minute is NOT ours..anything can happen and we MUST FIGHT...FIGHT because of our choices. This blessed me so! Praying with you always. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. It's funny, as I re-read this comment about fighting, God gives me a little gift. You know what is playing on the radio RIGHT NOW? Battle by Chirs August. "Life's a fight of wrong and right..."

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  5. Jamie, your story blesses me in huge ways. I have read some of the parts, not in any particular order. I think after this weekend (which is going to be EXTREMELY busy for us) I will sit down and read your entire story in order. Our story has many similarities. Can't wait to hear from you on what your counselor said about "memories". Keep on doing what you're doing with this blog! MANY will be blessed, and perhaps somebody out there will stop their slide into adultery and make things right. You just never know how the Lord will use your story!

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    1. It's a messy, ugly story, but God's redemptive hand was at work and He wasn't about to let us go! I actually planned to write about the memories today but God apparently wanted me to go a different route! Soon...because I still need to process the thing about the memories!

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  6. You know, I've always loved Hosea too, but there is one really interesting thing that a lot of people miss in Hosea. Hosea married a prostitute and had children with her, and because he made a covenant with her, God wanted him to be faithful to her while she was being utterly unfaithful--emotionally and physically! Know what that means? God didn't say "Your married life has to make you happy" or "Being married should be easy and if you have to try, it's okay to look elsewhere" or "As long as your spouse is being unfaithful and dishonest, you can be too" or almost ANY of the reasons that people give for being unfaithful! There's no nice way to say this: she was a WHORE and God still expected Hosea to love HIM (God) enough to act in a way that pleased HIM...even though it hurt him, made him sad, made him lonely, and was hard.

    Now, as someone who is a recovering disloyal spouse, I constantly (and I do mean it...constantly) remind myself that I love God and want to obey HIM. That means if my spouse hurts me, makes me sad, makes me lonely or being married is hard, I LOVE GOD MORE, and I want to please HIM. Now I know that since my spouse is a human being and is imperfect, my call is to love God and mirror HIS holiness to my spouse by loving my Dear Hubby even when it's tough.

    BTW... I love your blog. I want to invite you to my link-up on Saturdays.

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    1. I think blogs should have a "like" button for comments and stuff. :) Like Facebook does! You'll have to let me know more about your link up on Saturdays-what is it about?

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  7. Thank you. This testimony is truly a blessing to me.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read. God has been so good to me and I'm grateful to be a part of what He is doing.

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. A friend of mine shared with me that her pastor taught on Hosea and Gomer and that she was hoping this was not going to be her situation with her husband. I didn't remember the story so I googled it. I got a lot more than I bargained for as I knew the story about God telling him to marry a promiscuous woman but not all that it entailed. Your testimony is absolutely awesome! Your transparency to share it is admirable. God put you through it not only for yourself and your children, but for others who would come down the same road. That's sometimes the problem with us as Christians. We are expecting to live the lives of perfect people and the Bible is FULL of stories of people who have struggled and the world is full of people with testimonies like yours to ensure people that God is able to restore and reunite and He is always there for us. Praise God for you and your testimony.

    My children balk at my husband and I when we are affectionate too. I don't back down, They need to see that we love each other and this is how marriage looks. If you don't model it for them, where will they get positive images of marriage. Online? On TV? Magazines? School? No it's best they see it at home. You rock!!!!

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  9. Beautiful testimony! I chose to be a Hosea to my husband. It was not easy but through it I saw the way God loved me when I was a Gomer to Him and God restored me to Himself so I gave my husband what God gave me at one time.

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  10. I am a women's minister to women. I am sharing this true story of God's amazing love tomorrow night at a prison. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for allowing God to use my story as you minister at a prison. I've given my testimony once at a women's prison and am doing so again the last weekend in March. God uses our wounds, doesn't he? Praise God for leading you to show unconditional love to your husband.

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  11. I need this. .. I am so broken my husband's creating is ruining me as a person as a mother ... I just don't know what to dp anymore I have begged I have shown him how
    I feel tried everything how do I get my husband to change I am so broken

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    1. You cannot get your husband to change. This is something that took me so many years to learn. I can pray and I can hope, but it has to be my husband's choice to change. When you find yourself in this place of brokenness, you have to run to God. He is the only one that can heal you. Your husband changing will not heal your brokenness. This is only something that the safe and strong hands of God has the power to do. Now, it's all about you and your heart, and your relationship with God....not dependent on anything your husband says or does. If you can strengthen your relationship with God in spite of your marriage situation, then God will show you that He carries you and He gives you the strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, but we have to be willing to admit that we are weak and cannot do it on our own. Praying that God's love and comfort envelop you and that you grow closer to Him.

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  12. thank u so very much for your story and for being so real. my husband is living the life of Gomer wife as I type. I went to the lord crying telling him I am so tired and I tried to find the part where God told him to love her but couldn't find it so I asked the lord to show me what he wanted me to do and found your story I believe it was of God and will continue to stand in the gap for him thank u for your testimony God bless

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    1. Praise God that he knows exactly how to show us the answers we need to hear. Praying for you. Go to God with your broken heart and with your pain, tell him your troubles. He is the only one that can truly heal you and offer you the hope you are longing for, and the strength to hold on until his time of restoration comes.

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  13. This is a very powerful revelation. I myself is in this similar situation. Except that it is my husband that is on the other end. We were newlyweds when we were stormed with disagreements and misunderstandings –but no third party involved. He wasn’t a very patient man. I left on a 3 week trip to visit my dad who is sick and came home, my husband is no longer there. He left without a word and left me a short email that he needed time and that he thinks this marriage is not worth salvaging. I was shocked, humiliated, hurt… I sent him emails for days and weeks but no response.. It has been a year with no explanation ,and as each day passes by I cannot help but feel anxious and wonder. I stayed quiet and did not allow opinions of others discouraged me to move on because they all say that he is not worth my time. Friends would tell me how coward he is…. But deep inside no matter how he wronged me, I still want our marriage to work out. But How ? How can I make him come back home to make things work ? He would not respond to my calls or emails… so I continue to pray to God. This led me to the story of Gomer. ..thanks so much ! this gave me more hope. I have a faithful God and I know HE will vindicate me and bring restoration into my life and In this marriage. Help Pray for us…. -Anne & Arnold

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    1. I will definitely pray for you and your husband. I love the story of Hosea and how God woos us back to him, and how he uses people in our own lives to demonstrate his unconditional love to us. I'm sorry for your pain. But keep trusting in God. He does restore!

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  14. I am a 42 year old male in my second marriage. My wife has been physically abusive towards me since before we got married, and there have been several incidents of infidelity along the journey as well. But my heart simply has failed to move away from this woman. We have been married just shy of two years, and in early June, my wife physically assaulted me again. I had had enough, and I called the police (not the first time), and I was determined, this time, I would let her bear the consequences of her actions fully, without me dropping the charges. I also decided to move out of our home, not because I wanted the marriage to end, but because I just had had enough of the abuse. To cut a long story short, I am now facing the possibility of the end of my marriage as my wife is now angry about how I put her in jail, and have tried to destroy her life with the charges and domestic violence order, etc. We have two young children together, and of-course, they are now caught in between. Recently, I found out that my wife (we are still married) had started dating some guy, whom she went to the extent of bringing into our former marital home. She has been going out and doing things with this guy and our two young kids. I have barely been out of our marital home for 2 months. She has even told me that she likes this guy, and also she believes he will care for our kids like his own. Anyway, as you can imagine, I have been in deep distress, and my heart bleeds, because I still love my wife, and want us to just work. I have grown closer to God this time around, than perhaps any other time before, and just a few days ago, God let me to the story of Hosea and Gomer. I had never even heard references to this story, and I do not remember any other time God has led me to any scripture in the bible. So you can imagine how mind-blowing this story has been to me. SO I have been trying to learn more about the story, and just hoping to get some message from it all, that is specific to me and my situation. I pray every day and night, that God would speak to my wife, and convict her of her sin and soften her heart towards me. But I feel my hope wain when I realize that God often works very very slowly on things like this. My hope fades even more when I realize that God's will may be that I not be with my wife anymore. I just ask for your prayers for God to strengthen me, and also God to touch my wife, and to help restore our hopeless marriage, so we too can be a testament to others of God's mighty power.

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  15. Wow. I needed this today! I'm so thankful to have "stumbled" on this today. I'm in the middle of a messy marriage crisis where my husband has had multiple affairs and now there is a child on the way as a result of the latest one. This has encouraged me so much. I know that I am called to be Hosea to my husband, but it can be hard to see how to live that out practically day to day. This gave me that extra bit of encouragement I needed! Thank you. ~ J

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