Almost a decade ago, I started thinking about Gomer a lot. Gomer is the prophet Hosea's wife. If you don't know the story, she was a prostitute who left him multiple times for to sell herself to get drugs or whatever she felt she needed. She had children by other men and Hosea took them in. He kept taking her in. She came to the point where she hit rock bottom. She was trying to buy the affection of theses men. She ended up sold into slavery and God told the prophet Hosea to go buy her back. He scraped up what he had and obeyed. He could have brought her home and made her a slave, but he chose to restore her as his wife.
I have read as many commentaries as I have found on the book of Hosea. I've learned more than I would want to know about cultic prostitution. As I watched my brothers struggle with addiction, I wondered if this is what Hosea took on. Did he have to go through detox with her? Did he have to daily guide her heart to the right way of living and loving herself and others? What about the part of the story we never hear? If Gomer is the picture of redeemed Israel, what must she have been like as an old woman? What becomes of someone who finally settles into love? She must have become beautiful, don't you think?
As Jesus began to stir our hearts to enlarge our home to be able to constantly have guests who may need prayer, or food, or furlough, or love in the face of repentance, Gomer was on my mind. I thought so often about how Hosea continually washed her with the water of God's word. He was a man looking forward to the promised seed of Jesus Christ and doing everything he could love this woman the way he was directed.
We bought an old mansion in a little town of a few hundred people. Every square inch needed to be gutted. Three stories. Five thousand five hundred square feet of mess. So, we named her after Gomer. We named her after Gomer because of the lengths that Hosea went to in order to restore her. Every day is a battle. Every day is an opportunity for tears as we have taken this project on while homeschooling three girls and running a business (as well as hosting people). Every day, I think about her. Every day I pray for God to restore what is around us. I ask Him to rend our hearts. I pray for everyone who has ever graced our doors. I beg for healing, restoration, redemption.
When She Reads Truth announced a Hosea study, I cried. I cried because those are my people. I cried because my heart is tied up in the redeeming work. I cried because this work with this house and these broken people has brought me great pain that I have seen turn to beauty. I'm completely invested in this revelation of Jesus Christ. As I read through the text each day I realized some beautiful things that God has done in my life through His word. First I realized that everything I was doing for others, He was doing for me. The second thing truly brings me to tears. God has taught me, an emotionally damaged person, to move beyond ministering to people. God has taught my heart to love.