Mar 12, 2008

And the deserts bloom, He makes all things new.

Over the summer I got to spend a lot of time with a group of eight girls. I lived with them. We all shared a room and two bathrooms. I enjoyed watching three of them make their way around the room not touching the floor. They climbed over beds and dressers and swung themselves on closet doors. One I watched the entire BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with. One I worked with more than any of the others, and we had great laughs in working with middle school girls and each other. One I thought I was too immature to relate with, and we became close friends. One I would ride in a car with and watch in amazement at her energy, outgoing attitude, and rocking hair. And one shared a bunk bed and a bathroom with me, shared stories, shared tears, shared laughs, and I catch glimpses of her weekly.

I was utterly blessed by this group of girls. We fit together in uncanny ways. We broke curfew nearly every night. We hated my alarm. We hated the house alarm. We collectively became comfortable with ourselves and each other. And the favorite night was staff bonding...when we were required to hang out with everyone.

The first night of summer staff I sat blindfolded next to one of the other girls. She was the one I knew the best going in, and the one I expected to feel the most inferior to. We started talking about books as we were transported to our secret location. She talked about Redeeming Love and Hosea. I proceeded to read Hosea a lot over the summer. You see, this girl, she is quite incredible. Beautiful, easy to talk to, hilarious, and a humble heart. I read Hosea because she said I should. A portion that has hit me square between the eyes...

Hosea married a prostitute and dealt with her infidelity and wayward eyes on a regular basis. It was God's metaphor for his relationship with Israel. His people who looked to other gods and means for satisfaction. They thought they could do it on their own, so they turned away from God. He proceeded to ruin their success. He punished them...but not forever. Hosea allowed his wife to return again and again a ruined woman, yet he always redeemed her with the unwavering love and acceptance. God did the same with Israel.

14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
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 sing 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 and the birds of the air
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.

Hosea renders you ruined. Embarrassed and ashamed, yet simultaneously hopeful and overwhelmed with love. I am a broken person, a prostitute to the world. I have turned away, letting myself be caught up in the culture of money and lust and selfishness and materialism. I care about things and how I appear to others above people and loving God and others. And God has been silent because I have not listened.

On Friday I am going to the desert. And as I prepare, I can't help but think that God is alluring me and leading me to the desert. Both spiritually and physically, I have entered and am entering a place with little means of survival. I am counting on God to provide me with the sustenance I need to make it. I am asking that He grant forgiveness for my turning away. That He bring me to the door of hope. That He love me. That He betroth me in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion, in faithfulness.

God's mercies are new every morning. I pray that my broken heart will soften to the joy that comes in the love of One who is bigger than me.


  1. so this is a really great post, and i should probably say something about the verses you used and what god is doing in your life.

    but mostly what i cannot get out of my head is that the summer staff girls hated MY alarm clock too! yeah parsons alarm clocks!

    do you know that song by nichole nordeman, 'mercies new'? i really like it, and it goes with this blog.

  2. first. the desert blooms song is my favorite at the gathering and i thought you should know.

    second. you write beautifully.

    third. i love you and i am so excited for what God is doing in your life. can't wait to see you in a few days!

  3. i miss you already! thanks for this post...such a good reminder to my heart.

  4. sarah. blogging! yay!

    that was the greatest post i've read in a while. i love that passage. and that book.
    i saw you from a distance on sunday at church. i wanted to run up and say hey but my mom wanted to leave... but you sang beautifully! anyways, next time i'm in town i'll let you know. i need to catch up with your fam!
    -mary kate

  5. you're beautiful.

    i hope i see you someday.

  6. hey! i found you on here randomly! How are you girl? How's life and school? Sounds like God is teaching you tons!

  7. the bit about the desert was very nice. come visit manhattan. and bring the guys with you.