I just have to let you down easy from the get-go. I know the title of the blog is “The Lioness” but it’s not some profound blog about the power us Christian ladies have. Sorry to let you down! This blog is about a day trip my family took one Monday in August 2020. In this season we had all been breathing down each other’s necks, stressed to the max and, in all honesty, we almost forgot that we love the Lord. It was on this day, surrounded by stinky animal smells, the hot Texas sun and screaming, excited, wandering kids that Jesus captivated my heart…again.
You know when we say, “Here I am Lord, use me!” our little natural minds cannot fathom what that actually means.Sometimes I picture God in heaven like, “Awe baby! You’re so precious!” because we can’t expand our minds big enough to grasp all of who God is or what he wants to accomplish. In our “yes” He’s looking for our surrender, to where our hearts cry out “anything Lord, anywhere, anyone!”. That reverential trust is where our hearts link up with His. Where we know that He is who he says He is and it is ok to say yes to Him. Our “yes” would propel us into a season of trust that we had never experienced before.
My husband and I have four biological kiddos and then we adopted 2 little girls right after the New Year. Adoption, theoretically, is amazing. Practically, it can be a whole-notherball game. Our girls were 2 and 3 when we became forever family, but there was still so much trauma that had occurred. Nothing could prepare us for what it would take to walk out this “forever family”. Many nights consist of screaming and crying, slamming doors, frustrations on overdrive, patience worn completely out. Strife, arguing, and fighting. Nonstop teaching, training, constant repeating over and over and over and over and over again. Worshipping until 4 in the morning, interceding, spiritual warfare and begging God to break through. There was/is lots of happiness too, lots of love, grace, redemption, restoration, laughing and happy tears, lots of “ah ha” moments and healing and growth as well. But it was in one of the hard weeks where I was crying out to God and asking him for a game plan, strategy, insight, a bone, something, and he asked me a simple question. He said, “Would you let me expand your love?” Me being my “holy” self figured he was talking about a nation, or nations! But he’s interested in the “still small voice” moments more than the grand scale things. Naturally I said yes to him and that began a series of weeks that our family had not seen in a while. It was as if the warfare dial was cranked all the way up and right in the midst of this we began our meal prep company.
So back to the beginning of the story, one hot Texas Monday in August, we loaded up our car and headed out of town, annoyed, fed up, exhausted, empty, hurt, confused, broken, hopeful, hungry, and in such need for God. We stopped at a roadside snake farm and our kids ran around full of excitement and wonder and they came to a stop in front of the lion enclosure. There sat 2 incredible white lions. The daddy lion was asleep in his cave, but the mama lion was on top of the cave. Our whole family was in awe of the majesty, they were just amazing. The kids were calling them both but daddy slept on, totally unphased by the quiver of shouting kids. The mama lion was intently staring at something, nothing could knock her focus off of whatever it was she was looking at. Quickly the kids hurried off to see the next greatest thing and as we walked on I felt like I needed to revisit those lions. I headed back, alone this time, and as I approached the enclosure I could feel the presence of God. I stared at this mama lion and noticed that she was deadlocked on something. She was not concerned about me at all, even if I stood in her eyeline, it was as if she could see through me. I figured out that she was locked on the zookeeper that takes care of her. He was cutting down some palm leaves and every move he made, this mama lion was locked on him. At one point in time her mate lifted his head and she inclined her ear to hear what he was doing, but she never broke her focus on her keeper.
This mama lion wasn’t concerned about me, my amped up kids or the Capybara next to her because she knew where her provision came from. She knew who her provider was, this mama knew where her protection came from. She could trust that in her time of need, that zookeeper would be there to take care of her, to give her something to eat, to give her something to drink, to wash her, to comfort her. She never swayed her focus, she never backed down, not even to pant. Her gaze was steadfast, fervent and relentless. As I stood there in awe I began to tear up as I felt the Lord start speaking to my heart. This is how we should be as lover’s of Jesus, locked on him, never swaying or compromising or backing down. Never tossed to and froe in the storms of life, never looking to the right or to the left, never judging a move of God by what you can or cannot see, but fervently, relentlessly, passionately focused on Jesus. But even still, this is how Jesus looks at us, his eyes are locked on us, his beloved.
Written by Lindsey Garcia
Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
The steadfast love of the Lordnever ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”