I, Lena, did not learn how to drive at the traditional American age-- 16. No driver's ed for me. Why? I am not sure. But the responsibility of driving truly frightened me. I was afraid of wrecking the car, of hurting someone else. I was 24 years old when I finally learned to drive, at the "strong encouragement"of Bill when we were engaged. That is one of the reasons I really love him. He never lets me sit in my little room of fears, but throws open the door and helps me get on with it.
Fast forward quite a bit of time and mommy carpooling, long distance driving, and now to crazy Peruvian traffic. We took a team from the States on the road this past weekend, and I had a harrowing passing experience. It left me a bit shaken. I have found everything since then to be a bit of a trial.
But yesterday, as I was talking to one of the team members about my nervous state, I remembered a dream I had while we were in Costa Rica in language school. My father-in-law had recently passed, and I had heard some things about traffic in Lima and that it was a very dangerous city for pedestrians. I had found myself very worried about our children. I dreamed that I was walking down the street, and Abi was at my side. I had her hand, but even so, she was a little extended out into the traffic, and a car nearly hit her. In the dream, I continued on, very shaken, but trying to pull myself together. Arriving at our apartment, I walked in to find the rest of our family and---Bill's parents home (you know how the dream thing goes). I was surprised, but not nearly as much as when my father-in-law walked out of the bathroom. We were all in shock, not knowing what to say, and Bill made a joke-- something about, "So, is that where you have been all this time?!!" He looked at us, very intent and sincere, and urgently said, "You have to be fierce; like lions!!"
That was the end of the dream. I am so thankful to the Lord for his reminder that I need to be fierce. The definition of fierce implies an intensity that has a wild side to it. Fierceness is something that comes from the gut-- a strength that is all about busting out, not about tucking yourself away to make sure you are out of harms way. Fierce is a mom protecting her kids; a split-second decision to ford the waterfall careening over the highway on your way to share the gospel. There is no giving up of ground, but a taking of new ground. Retreat is nowhere in sight.
We all have moments--even split-second ones--when what is inside us is tested, and we can cower or pounce. Cowering involves inviting fear in to tea, and pouncing requires us to steel ourselves, push the mute button on all the voices of doom, and go for it. I am really working on accepting that this life-- in the States or abroad--requires me to step up and be fierce---like a lion.