Hosea, Soggy Dishes, and My Mess Of A Life

My children have decided to interact like rabid, wild dogs during every waking moment.

I painted an entire room baby boy blue, before I realized that it wasn’t the gray I was going for. (See above comment on wild dogs to understand how this could happen.)

I stubbed my toe, and now the nail is going to fall off. Yes. I stubbed it that hard. And, pastor’s wife that I am, I was tempted to wander into the satisfying ditch of profanity.

My dishwasher is broken.

My kitchen is piled high with soggy, forgotten dishes.

Photographic proof of the chaos.

Photographic proof of the chaos.

A bag of kale turned bright yellow and went bad on my counter. That probably explains the fruit flies in March...

The laundry isn’t even at the “well, at least it’s clean” stage.

I bought some amazing succulents (my love flowers) for the centerpiece. As of today, they have never been fully visible through the chaos.

I bought some amazing succulents (my love flowers) for the centerpiece. As of today, they have never been fully visible through the chaos.

My two year old threw up. Cheeseburgers. In the middle of the night.

I found my three year old playing with a dead mouse. In my kitchen. And yes, my three year old still sucks his thumb.

I’ve spent late nights painting this week... and I’ve ruined three shirts. Because someone thought it would be a good idea if I tried a little more. (Yes. That “someone” is me.”) So I had gotten rid of all my truly sad shirts, and had only unstained shirts (which equals "nice" in toddler mom world) to paint in. 

And because of the above paragraph, I’ve also been wearing the same sweatpants for three days.

My hair and face are clean. That’s all I’m going to say about them. I’m very proud of their basic cleanliness.

Normally at this point in this misadventure, I would have broken down in tears, rage, or hopelessness. (I do seem to enjoy a good pity bath.) But not this time. I kept disciplining and discipling my children. I kept (trying) to make dinner. I kept painting. I kept smiling. I kept taking book-reading breaks, and kissing the hubby, and cuddling the babies.

And sometime yesterday, I looked in the mirror and said, “Who are you?” (And then I quickly walked away, because mirrors are not my friend right now.)

I sifted through my habits, thoughts, and daily routines, searching for the magic golden ticket to all this peace and joy. I wanted to find it, clutch it, and never let it go. And then I stumbled upon it.

Yes. I was sipping from my current favorite mug while I wrote this post. Note the laundry, unmade bed, and whipped cream. This is the life...

Yes. I was sipping from my current favorite mug while I wrote this post. Note the laundry, unmade bed, and whipped cream. This is the life...

I was reading Hosea.

Every morning, I would crack open my Bible, sip my amazing coffee (I have this fantastic “Try Your Best” mug that is my current love.), and dig into Hosea.

My Bible study theme for this year is to find the forgotten. I am often drawn the same books of the Bible over and over again. I think we’re wired by God to have favorites, and while at times we may twist and abuse that privilege, it is lovely to have familiar places to return to. But I rarely made myself read the books of the Bible that are less “glamorous.” So, right now I’m working through the minor prophets.

I have always justified my ignorance of some of the “lesser” books of the Bible by saying, “Well, they’re just really hard.” Or “I have something I’m really digging into in the NEW Testament right now.” Or “You know, I just forgot...”

But the truth is, my Bible reading is often very selfish. Like my morning coffee, I want it strong, concentrated, and with just enough feel-good whipped cream to get me through the day. I would never consciously state that as my goal, but it is. I want to pop my daily “feel good” Bible pill, and I want it to magically make the rest of my day better. Of course, it has that power, but that’s not the sole reason God gave me the Bible. He didn’t give me the Bible so I could feel good. He did it so I could know Him.

And each morning, Hosea was showing me a God who never ran away, who never gave up, who pursued the ugly, the messy, and the hopeless. And as I grew to know my God in a deeper, richer way, my day was magically transformed. And I didn’t even recognize it.

By simply using His Word in the manner in which he intended, God blessed me. Another act of His love that I did not deserve.

We so often boil our success in Bible study down to how it made us feel, and not whom it made us know.

But God planted in my mind, this truth:

I will make you my wife forever,

    showing you righteousness and justice,

    unfailing love and compassion.

I will be faithful to you and make you mine,

    and you will finally know me as the Lord.

(Hosea 2:19,20)

If he would want this paint spatter, barely clean, fatigued housewife... if he would take this, and choose it to be with him forever. A bride, perfectly manicured, dressed in wedding-day finery, carefully tended, the queen of the hour... despite all the dirt, sin, mess, arrogance, and grime that smears me every day, then His love is deeper, and bigger, and stronger, and more persistent than I could ever imagine.

And that’s a God I want to know.

Hellooooo, Minor Prophets.