love /ləv/: an intense feeling of deep affection; a great interest and pleasure in something; feeling a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone)
It’s February and love is in the air! Everyone wants to be loved. Some will go to extremes for this emotion, others will settle for much less. This month, I want to tell you the story of a woman who few people know about. She is a friend of mine and, without revealing her true identity, has allowed me to tell her story. For the purposes of this message, we’ll use the Biblical name Bithiah (Bih-THAY-ah).
Some may recognize the name I chose as the name of one of Pharaoh’s daughters. Bithiah was the adoptive mother of the prophet Moses (Exodus 2:5-10). The name Bithiah means daughter of Jehovah. During the time of her father’s reign in Egypt, many horrific things were happening. Although she is not mentioned much in Scripture, we know that she left Egypt with the Israelites, converted to Judaism, and married into the tribe of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:18).
But back to my friend.
My friend was not from a broken home, nor was she brought up in an impoverished neighborhood. She never went hungry and all her basic needs were met. She went to church and was taught regularly about faith in Christ. During her school age years, she was bused from her working-class neighborhood to a more prominent school district. Unfortunately, many of the faces at the school were unfamiliar. In fact, most kids were jealous of her life and the love she received from her relatives.
Regardless of her situation, for some reason, Bithiah began looking for love in all the wrong places. The need for attention started around age 13 when she decided that her life didn’t have enough love in it. She believed that she should be the object of everyone’s affection.
At first, she sought love and acceptance from the girls in her class, attempting to buy their friendship and attention. She soon realized that they really didn’t like her and only wanted what she could give them. Bithiah then moved on to seeking attention from the boys. Since she wasn’t allowed to wear makeup yet, she would sneak it to school and apply it when she arrived there. Then she would take it off before she got on the bus to go home. Of course, this type of attention seeking led to a few inappropriate situations that ultimately damaged her reputation for at least the next three years.
She never told me in detail what happened exactly. As I look back, I believe that her self-esteem just continued to plummet, and it made her even more desperate to find the love she thought she didn’t have. During this time, she made some very bad choices. Drinking, smoking, cutting classes; she just seemed lost and nothing gave her what she was craving.
As her grades began to slip, her relationships with everyone who really cared about her started to deteriorate. She became combative with just about everyone who tried to talk to her. She stopped going to church and started distancing herself from her closest friends. I was the exception since I never questioned her or asked her for anything. I never judged her, and she never judged me. We basically let each other just be ourselves. Oh, I didn’t agree with the things she was doing and when she would ask me my opinion, I would tell her so and vice versa.
As the years progressed, we parted ways for stretches at a time. Bithiah eventually went back to church and basically grew up. But the growing pains of her life included some really tough things like a teenage abortion, an arrest, a car accident, a miscarriage, a failed marriage, illness, death of a parent, a near death experience and much more. However, it’s not my place to share all the intimate details. Even though it was a hard life brought on by some really bad choices, she fortunately came back to Jesus. She finally realized that a love affair with Jesus is the best affair she could ever find. While others can’t seem to get pass their past, she and I can now laugh about our younger days.
Bithiah is now married with a husband that adores her, children and grandkids that feel the universe revolves around her. She is grateful for another chance to do good and to do right. She is now considered a virtuous woman, whereas, had she continued down the path of her own destruction things would have not ended so well. She has embraced the love that Jesus has for her and forgiven herself. She is extremely grateful for His saving grace and that He didn’t give up on her when others had written her off as a lost cause.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Romans 8:38 NLT
Many of us can relate to some or all of my friend’s choices. Even though my friend’s experiences were many, they are not as uncommon as we think. Many of us are looking for love in the wrong places, because we forget that we are already loved. No matter what we have done, or what we have been through, we are so very loved. We are loved unconditionally. The only thing stopping us from having a wonderful affair of the heart is ourselves. Jesus is always waiting on us to accept Him and His unfailing love.
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us unconditionally, even when we mess up or stray from You. Thank you for saving us from our pasts and loving us regardless. Help us to accept the free unfailing love that will heal all hurts suffered. My prayer is that someone today realizes that they are not alone, that they deserve to be loved, and that they have Your love to depend on. I pray that they will embrace Your love now and forever. Thank you for allowing this story to be told so that it can be used for Your glory. May Your love, grace, and peace reign now and forever. Amen
Written by Melony Henderson
All scriptures are taken from the NLT.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.