Brokenhearted, I lay across my twin bed, crying into the darkness. I had never felt so empty. Losing a guy I loved was painful, yes, but that didn’t fully explain the depth of depletion inside me. The mask of my carefree, party girl lifestyle had suddenly been ripped off like a ragged bandage, exposing my existence for what it was: lonely, meaningless, and marked by an ache I was scrambling to hide.
I was done, and I knew it. But where else could I turn? To an unconcerned God who wanted me to follow a bunch of rules? I was bored by the very thought of it. I was sure that He only loved me because He had to, and that didn’t really like me.
But I remembered what I had recently read in the book of Hosea, the story of an Old Testament prophet whom God called to marry a prostitute. I couldn’t shake it; the words haunted and teased me with an image of God I’d never believed could be true. A lovestruck God, wooing the heart of His beloved back to Himself? I wasn’t sure the metaphor could be trusted. I cracked open my Bible to read it again.
“I will allure her, I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.” (Hosea 2:16)
Tears came. I was in the desert all right, but it was no coincidence: the past three years had culminated in this, and although it looked like a wasteland of my own making, I knew in my gut I had been brought here by God. He had led me into the desert so that He could speak to my heart.
“On that day, says the LORD, She shall call me ‘My husband,’ and never again ‘My baal’.” (Hosea 2:18)
I read in the footnotes that the word “baal” means “master,” and it was a fitting description of how I viewed God. But husband? Could it be that God’s desire for His people is that we might feel intimately adored and delighted in—fully known in the most tender of ways? It was almost unbelievable but for the still, small voice in my heart that whispered, Yes, this is Who God is. This is what He is like.
That night I met a God whose love pursued my wayward heart. And I would never be the same.
Are you stuck reconciling your past or current mistakes and a God Who wants you and loves you? Take it to a trusted friend, priest, or spiritual director. Reach out for help to make a plan to change your habits and shed your sins. God loves you so much.
Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. She is a writer, podcaster, and speaker, but potty training four boys will be the achievement on her epitaph. Shannon and her family make their home in central Iowa, where they seek to live out the social teachings of the Church in their small and ordinary days. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Our Father study found here.