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Your Love is Fierce...

I was so angry. So painfully, gut-wrenchingly, angry.

I didn’t know that’s what it was.

January was exhausting, sickly, draining. It clipped fast on the heels of December and holidays and before I knew it, what should have been a day to celebrate my beautiful niece, was a reminder that she wasn’t here. And I was a mess all day. Cried about everything. I had a purple heart on the calendar and I was destroyed.

I went to choir practice the following Wednesday. I usually always want to go. This week, I didn’t. I felt shattered and exposed and I knew that any song, every song, would set me off. I knew I needed to go, something deep in my spirit knew, but I was so apprehensive. One chorus. One bridge. One well-meaning repeat and I would be undone. I had been breaking and re-breaking in a thousand different ways since October. I was falling apart in every direction.

I had to leave during practice once that night. Went into the ladies room and sobbed so loud, before I could stop myself. My grief was tearing its way through me. It wouldn’t stay in and it couldn’t be tamed. I was going to unravel completely. One tug, one hand on my shoulder, I would fracture again and again. Not even an hour later, I stepped off the risers and all but ran out of the church before we finished sound checking for Sunday. I couldn’t do this. Could. Not.

I sat in the parking lot for thirty minutes and cried.

On my short drive home, I started talking to God. I had become a little estranged from Him. I hadn’t intended to. I just thought I was a mess and when I felt better, it would all be better. But I wasn’t feeling any better and He only seemed further out. I seemed further out. I didn’t know what to say... as though we had had an argument and I didn’t know if I should make the first move or keep waiting. It felt uncertain and painful. But I spoke the words against the windshield of my husband’s truck. I spoke into the night and I spoke to Him, because I knew He was everywhere. The truth eeked out.

“You should have told me.” My voice cracked and my spirit severed. 

I gasped for air. The truth was out. The ugly, nasty truth was out and it finally made sense and He heard me loud and clear. I’m mad and I’m hurt and dismayed and it’s all too late, so, so too late - and You should have told me! I know I’m not God, but I could have done something. Would have done anything. I was near Him and listening and seeking and I would have heard. Would have followed through. Anything, Lord. 

I pull into our gravel drive and sit. Crying. Watching the moon. Gritting my teeth, my head pounding. But there was a warmth against my chest, my shoulders. A nearness. He was there, had always been there - holding me together and holding me together still. I had just been fighting and angry; so gosh darned wrecked that I didn’t see that all I was doing was running in the wrong direction. My busted heart in my hands, a hundred thousand miles in the wrong direction.

Thursday I woke up and for the first time in months I felt it. Hope.

On Sunday night I’m sitting with my small group from church and our leader talks about the beauty of Christ. Starts talking about Narnia and Aslan and the stone table. Of sacrifice and love and fierce loyalty. My heart was gasping for air and truth. My eyes blinking too fast against tears. And I just sat there and soaked it up. Give me every crumb, every dusting, every appearance, every nearness and greatness and smallness of Christ. I was starving for Him. I sat there and listened and fell in love all over again. How great, how tender, how beautiful, how fierce. Our God.

I came home and put an image of a lion on my phone as my lock screen. 

And I’m scheduled to play keyboard with the band for the following Sunday morning and we have a new song. A brand new song, simply called, “Jesus”, and I print it out and write in my chords and I swallow every word, eek out harmonies and I’m amazed as we sing of the loveliness of Jesus: “He roars like a lion, He bled as the lamb...” 

He roars. Like a lion. I would wake up in the night for weeks with those words.

My heart finally mended. While loss was certainly making my heart ache, isolating and keeping myself distanced from God was destroying me in ways I couldn’t put into words. I’d glance at the lock screen and my hungry heart would smile and feel safe. At home. Three weeks solid, a lion on my phone, a fierce love taking me back and healing me all over. Whenever I felt like I was suffocating or that my insides were stabbing through my outsides, I would see that image on my phone, hear the words of that song and I would take a deep breath and put myself back in His hands.

Back between those mighty paws, if you’re a Narnia fan.

A full three weeks later and it’s another Sunday. I’m back with the earbuds in my ears, my fingers on the keys, clearing my throat against the mic. And I’m stunned a little silly - we’re doing a new song, but not the new song we had scheduled. I’m a little confused as to what this song is or where it came from. I text my friend, Richelle: “We’re doing another song about God being a lion.” She texts back, “I’m not surprised.” My voice falls in step with our worship leader,  “Our God is a lion, the Lion of Judah. He’s roaring with power and fighting our battles.... Who can stop the Lord almighty?”

And then it’s today, a fresh week,

I’m sitting in my house with my two youngest boys and my friend and a plate of cookies and we’re talking about it all. About where I was in my spirit a month ago and where I am now. How good God is. How near. How aware. How tender. How careful. He’s the most loving, most adoring, most dear. I felt overwhelmed with Him and the sun blinded me as it poured in the windows of my home.

For the first time in like forever, both littles were napping. I opted out of work and settled down with coffee and candle and journal. Decided to take some deep breaths and do a little recon on this lion of a God. I tap “Aslan” into my Pinterest search bar.

I burst into tears the second the page loads.

That’s me. I know that’s Narnia and Lucy. But that’s me.  That’s God. That’s a hundred and twelve times over and over again what has been going on with me. Sit stunned, tears streaming and I take a picture and text it to Richelle. My heart pounding, smiling, freaking out. I keep scrolling and pinning to my new board. So grateful. So released. So seen.

I pin and scroll and scroll and pin and then I’m frozen. My heart stops, skips.

I had no idea about Lucy and her crown. I can’t even say I’ve read the Narnia series completely through. I have a vague recollection of a witch and a wardrobe and some beavers. Right? I know about the stone table. But this? I didn’t know about this. 

He loves me, He loves me. It reverberates through my entire spirit.

My name, Laura, means, “Crowned with laurel leaves.”

You can’t make this stuff up.  

I sit freshly stunned. Just sit and stare and blink at my screen. 

The lyrics to a new song I've been listening to winds itself around my ears for what feels like the first time. It's the words I didn't write and the song I didn't pen, but it's all of me. For the first time in maybe forever, I get it. It all snatches itself together - a long line of stories and truths and moments - and His presence overtakes me. I'm under His wings, in His hands, my face buried in His mane. 

I'm honored and understood and victorious. It's the eve before the day of love and I've never felt so adored. So fought for, so known, so passionately redeemed, so deeply understood. 


It's not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear

It's not the road we would have chosen, no

The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead

But You're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead

And I didn't know I'd find You here

In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace

So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry us through everything
You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fears, with peace

You say that I should come to You with everything I need
You're asking me to thank you even when the pain is deep
You promise that You'll come and meet us on the road ahead
And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad

And I didn't know I'd find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace

So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry me through everything
You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fear

Here in the middle of the lonely night
Here in the middle of the losing fight, You're
Here in the middle of the deep regret
Here when the healing hasn't happened yet

Here in the middle of the desert place
Here in the middle when I cannot see Your face
Here in the middle with Your outstretched arms
You can see my pain and it breaks Your heart

And I didn't know I'd find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me with, peace

So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry me through everything
You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fear with peace

Rejoice, rejoice
Don't have to worry 'bout a single thing, 'cause
You are overwhelming me with, peace!

Don't have to worry 'bout a single thing
You're gonna carry us through everything
Overwhelming peace...
~  E l l i e   H o l c o m b ,   " F i n d   Y o u   H e r e "


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