My Daughter, Gomer
If you're not familiar with the story; God asks Hosea to take a prostitute as his wife - letting him know right off the bat that she will not be faithful to him - he chooses Gomer. He (God) does this to show His children, Israel, what His love really looks like - how He loves them even though they constantly stab Him in the back. He wanted Hosea's love for unfaithful Gomer to portray God's love for His people.
While the story portrays a husband/unfaithful wife relationship, there are a lot of areas where we can learn how to parent a not-so-perfect child, too. After thinking I might be brilliant, I googled Hosea and parenting and a bunch came up - so I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it was good for me to discover these truths for myself.
My daughter, Gomer, is fictional - probably a combination of several children at different points...
Here are some quotes from the Message version of Hosea that took me to the parent/child relationship:
"Israel is stubborn as a mule, how can God lead him like a lamb to open pasture?" Ch. 4
"Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears." Ch. 6
"Their sweet smiles are sheer lies, they're guilty as sin" Ch. 10
"I took care of you and gave you everything you needed. You were spoiled. You thought you didn't need me." Ch. 13
See what I mean? stubborn. nice for a moment. deceitful. having all they need from us but not acknowledging it...
I've mentioned before the idea of the book Sacred Parenting, by Gary Thomas - how parenting is supposed to make us holy, not necessarily happy (same with marriage). If, by being a parent, we can learn to love our kids like God loves us, then that is true. And that is what God wants us to learn in Hosea. He wants us to see how much we treat Him like dirt; and to see how much He chooses to love us despite of that. And since I desperately need this grace - I, too, need to be a vessel of it!
In the book of Hosea, God speaks about how much He really wants to leave Israel to their own demise, but He can't do it - He loves them too much. He disciplines them, is tempted to destroy them, but ultimately, since they are His children - He wraps them in His arms and brings them back to safety. And, while I felt like Hosea as I wrapped my little pistol in my arms that morning, I realize now, that I am really Gomer; a girl chosen by God, who leaves Him often, but oh so thankful that He never leaves me!