welcome, messy stories | let's jump into Hosea
The Reaching Her team is thrilled to welcome you into our newest study on the book of Hosea! If you are just joining us, go over and download your free Hosea study guide and jump in with us!
I remember the moment vividly as I think of you opening your study guide, perhaps with a circle of strangers or girlfriends around you, silently wondering what the pages ahead might reveal about God or yourself. It was several years ago for me, I was a new bride still waiting for my new last name to feel normal as I stepped out and joined a women’s bible study at my church. I had printed out directions to the leader’s home, but the closer I got to her home address the more lost I felt inside myself. Everything in my life felt unfamiliar, and I was desperately trying to carve away at the insecurity I felt and simply belong somewhere.
I sat down with my Bible in my lap, nervously looking into the faces around me, hoping by some miracle that this next hour wouldn’t feel like seven lifetimes. I watched each smile and wondered how genuine we were all being with one another, because all I could think about was the mess that I am and how misplaced I felt. I worried that someone would expose me for the failures I’ve made, the sins I’ve bought into, the gnawing desire for acceptance at all costs. My life was messy and complicated, but I was looking for something more. At the same time I was so tired; exhausted from trying to hold it all together while trying to muster up enough energy to be spiritual and cordial. I craved to be honest with someone, with anyone. Especially with God. Yet I worried that if I let my mask fall to the ground, I would be pushed away.
But you know something? God met me there. He found me shy and trembling with His book in my lap, pages worn with searching but never trusting, and He gave me good news.
When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners. (Mark 2:17, New Living Translation)
He wants to give you good news too. If you’ve never met Him before, I hope you meet Him in the pages of Hosea. If you’ve known Him for years, I hope you hear the good news He is still proclaiming over you today.
I may not know you personally, I may not know all the chapters in your story, but I feel such a tender affection for you that grows and grows as I sit here thinking about you. Because I know a God who knows your name, your fears, your dreams, your wounds, your hesitation to believe that He adores you -- messes, baggage, scars and all.
I want more than anything to reach you with reminders of this all-knowing, all-consuming, all-out love of God. And it’s because I’m standing in the shade of such amazing love that I can say with reckless honesty: you -- yes, you -- are wanted here because you are loved.
So take off the mask and let your messy story show. Jesus didn’t come for those who have it all together (as if there is such a thing). Let’s stop playing make-believe with Jesus. Embrace the truth.
The book of Hosea is a safe place to drop your mask, because it’s definitely not a “tidy” story. In fact, the book of Hosea might catch you a little off guard. God uses some very graphic illustrations here, but only because He wants you to pay attention and understand the wretchedness of a heart forsaking Him. It may poke some sensitive stories in your life or reveal a heart that isn’t as pure as you thought it was. But the book of Hosea will reveal the heart of God in ways you may not expect.
Some of you may be squirming in your seat like I was because you are afraid of what might be revealed during this study. Some of you may feel restless because you want to believe in the love of God, but it just doesn’t seem real to you. Some of you may feel choked by regrets and insecurity because He revealed Himself to you long ago, but you turned your back.
Friends, we are all runaway souls, restless and insecure, fighting regrets and fear. Welcome.
He never stops running after the runaways. He never stops calling for the lost. He never stops showing up at your front door with an invitation to come back home. His love never stops.
Take that with you as we meet Hosea. Behold, the love of God.
Kaysie Strickland is definitely nothing fancy. Jesus found her in a mess and won her with His Words. She feels called to be a servant of the Word and His people through spending her life and words proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house (God bless her husband), loves gardening and DIY projects, enjoys long conversations over coffee, and loves all the words. She and her husband are expecting their first little one in February! You can find her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Blog