Dear Girls, He is Not Your Savior: Addressing our desire, our value and our worth


I’ll be honest, middle school was not my finest.

It was so difficult for me that when I started coaching a very fine group of 5-8th grade cheerleaders on a whim, I felt like I was stepping back into my 8th grade year and my internal anxiety was through the roof.

Who really wants to walk back into middle school?

No one, ever.

I have a theory that middle school is hard because we desperately want one of two things:

To be noticed or to be not noticed. Or the third option…a little bit of both.

In middle school we don’t know our desires, as girls, as budding women, or as people, but as we grow we begin to identify them more clearly.

We want to be loved.

We want to know we’re valued, worthwhile.

We want to feel safe, physically, emotionally, and relationally.

There’s probably more, but I think those are the big three, particularly for girls.

Some thing weird happens too, sometimes we have no idea where to find them. We start searching, searching, and searching some more…we look every where, but we mostly look at men to tell us, what only God can –

We are loved.

We are valued.

We are safely held by Him for eternity.

A few months ago, I wrote this article for Concordia Publishing House –

Dear Girls, He is Not Your Savior

It’s about our deepest desires, the problem of sin, the struggle of Satan trying to hide what is good from us, and the weight of expectations in relationships.

As the months passed, I wanted to hash all this out a bit more; to understand why my wild, young, and rebellious heart looked everywhere but to God for fulfillment in this life, and why it’s a struggle still today.

Why do I so often want a man to fill me, when I know good and well that only God can?

You’ll find a few of the answers I found here, in this new podcast episode: Dear Girls, He is Not Your Savior.

It present 5 things I think we’re searching for, a few good questions for evaluating our expectations in our relationships, and also offers encouragement, whether you’re single, married, young, old, wild, or tame – to run to God, run. He’s already got you anyway.

You are loved by Him.

You are valued by Him.

You are safe in His arms.

I’d love to hear from you. Tell me your experiences, your thoughts, or send your questions. We’re all figuring our this life together, led, and fully filled up by our Savior.

Mercy Pursues You

I’m not the only one with good ideas. Obviously.

It’s one thing I love about Bible study. When we open the Word, insights come flying of the page, and your insights will probably look different than mine. The same message will apply differently depending on the given day, moment, season, or struggle in life, along with the sure and certain message that transcends time and space – that hits home for the hearer in the First Century and is exactly the same for the hearer 2000+ years later.

I am convinced that one gigantic benefit of the Body of Christ is the gift of connection and insight. When we gather to be vulnerable and share what we hear from the Word for our own lives, we also reach across the table in a way we cannot completely understand to touch the life and offer insight for the person in study with us.

Last Fall, one of the women in our Bible studies at I Love My Shepherd shared with me a simple insight, passed along from her pastor to her years before, to those of us in the Word that day –

Mercy pursues.

Open your Bible to Psalm 23:6 –

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. (ESV)

The Greek root word for follow here is radaph. It can mean to follow, to pursue, to chase, or even in certain circumstances, to persecute. Context helps translators choose which are most usable in Biblical translation. Look at the character of God, according to the Psalm as a whole:

He shepherds.

He leads.

He disciplines. 

He comforts.

He prepares.

And it is in His nature to pursue, as well as follow.

How many of you have had a situation in life that you can point to and say, “Mercy pursued me? He was after my heart, my mind, my soul, all of me.”

God is patient. He is loving and kind.

He is also jealous for His children. He sent Hosea to chase after Gomer. He sent the spies into Jericho for Rahab, among other things. He handed His mother to John from the cross. He found Saul on the road to Damascus.

He has a plan. He has a great big awesome plan that involves Mercy in your life, with a capital M.

Sometimes He sits and lets us do our thing. Sometimes we wonder what in the world He’s doing, where in the world He is. Sometimes we wonder if He’s even listening, but He has a plan. He is active, when we cannot see Him. He is active when we cannot feel Him.

His plan is for our good, for mercy to come in, for loving-kindness to infiltrate, and He knows just the right time. His plans are always best and oh so worth the wait.

In all of this He is always, always pursuing us; never for a moment are we not on His mind and in His heart.

Some days, friends, I need to know that I’m worthy of pursuit. Because God calls me Child, He also calls me pursued. When I look to other people to seek after me, to honor me, and deem me worthy… I can look around and find His mercy, which was the only thing that ever mattered all along.

So, what do I do with this insight? I shared it with my friend, Melissa, and we created a reminder. This Summer we’ll be coming out with the Mercy Pursues line on the I Love My Shepherd Products with a Message page.

Someone needs to know Mercy pursues them, so let’s tell them.

Here’s a downloadable Facebook Cover, which is also a sneak peek at our new line. Orange suns, grey and white goodness – clean and simple.

Free downloadable Facebook cover

 

Christ Jesus pursues me.

Christ Jesus pursues you.

Today, know that Goodness and Mercy is after you, because you are worth chasing after. Radaph

Mercy pursues.

 

You are never forsaken

Have you ever loaned out a book and never received it back? Or maybe you’ve been on the other end and stopped borrowing books from friends because a borrowed book is as good as lost in your house? What is it with loaned books? We return them to the library, but if a friend loans us a book it suddenly goes MIA overnight. I have been on both the receiving and the losing end of this strange book conundrum.

I have one book I loan out like candy. I hand it out like a grandma hands out butterscotch candies, just waiting for their rightful recipient in the bottom of her purse for a good three years. I don’t honestly care if I ever get this particular book back, it’s that important to me that people read it. (Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret.) I may keep Amazon in business with the number of copies I have bought and “lost” to people over the years. But in the end, who cares. The message of this book for me was so powerful, that I press it on people,

“You must read it.”

“It’s life changing.”

“Let me send it to you.”

What was the message? The same as our passage in Isaiah for today. Please read Isaiah 62:12.

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

Circle the titles listed below in your Bible, if you have it out.

Holy
Redeemed
Sought Out
Not Forsaken

My book, mentioned earlier, is a historical retelling of the message, life, and writings of the prophet Hosea, a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. Their messages overlap and are in concordance with one another, but just as each of us have a different testimony of Christ written through our lives, so does the work and words of each prophet. It’s helpful to dig into them side by side when we get the opportunity.

Hosea has something to say about Sought Out. My personal opinion is that His message of sought out, of not forsaken, is stronger than any other Biblical book. But maybe that’s just because my book found me at just the right place, at the right time, with the message I needed to know more than any other:

You are sought out.
You are not forsaken.

You see, this is the message of redemption, of the Holy One not only coming to us in His Son and His Word, but seeking us out, searching our hearts and our lives until He gets ahold of us, literally chasing us down with His Son and His Word.

Read the following verses from Hosea to piece together his story. Rather, it’s the story of his family and God’s great forgiveness working in all of it:

Hosea 1:2-3

Hosea 3:1-3

Hosea 6:1-3

Sometimes, I need to know that at my worst, I am sought out. This message…this, is what brings me up from the ash heap. It brings me back from ugly sin and creating messes wherever I travel. It finally shuts my mouth when words are flying left and right and edification is far from my heart and mind. While we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us. He died for me and you and Gomer and Israel, at our worst.

Read Isaiah 62:12 again, adding 63:1 this time. Remember, there’s no chapter and verse numbers in the original Hebrew. It is a fluid passage.

And they shall be called The Holy People,
    The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
    A City Not Forsaken.

Who is this who comes from Edom,
    in crimsoned garments from Bozrah,
he who is splendid in his apparel,
    marching in the greatness of his strength?
“It is I, speaking in righteousness,
    mighty to save.”

Mighty to Save.

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

1 Timothy 1:15

Mighty to seek. Mighty to Save.

You are Sought Out is the message that you are worthy of saving, worthy of seeking, finding, and showering with Grace, not because you look like you have it together, but because you don’t.

Hosea loved in the hardest circumstances, in unimaginable grace and mercy, he sought out his wife because she was precious to him, because God seeks in places you and I wouldn’t even think of it going.

He is mighty to save.

You are Sought Out.

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Exploration:

In our culture, “I’m not worthwhile” or “I’m not enough” is a difficult lie of Satan for people to overcome. What message would you share with a friend struggling with not being good enough for Jesus? (May I suggest sharing our image for today as a message of hope, online or privately?)
What “least of these” people do you have a heart for?
When has God ministered to you and sought you out or hunted you down to show you His grace?

sought-out

Sought Out Scripture Engagement Tool

*My book = Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, check it out at your local library