Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards. Hos.2:14.
It is 7:30pm. Lucy recovers from a cold/ear infection. She sleeps peacefully, her body abandoned to long hours of healing sleep. Jack and Scott huddle on the couch, Wii controllers active and laughter abundant. Hilarity ensues. I zip up my puffy coat and slip outside. It is cold and clear beyond the chill beauty of a November day. Darkness slides over Colorado so early now. I clasp Diva dog’s collar around her neck, tuck in earbuds securely and trod into the advancing night.
Therefore now I am going to allure her.
My lungs adjust to the glacial air. Diva is restless. She pulls on the leash, eager to exert the full reckoning of a pent up day. I set a course beyond the neighborhoods, into the shadows of empty fields, where she can run freely, unfettered. I turn up the volume on my iPhone. Matt Redman, 10,000 Reasons. An anthem of worship. I lift my hands into the night sky, because I do not know how to listen to that song any other way.
I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.
We tramp through the fields as the temperature descends. Diva zigzags through tall weeds and leaps over the deep cracks that form in untended ground in our mercurial state. So many weather changes; the land expands, contracts, bulges and slivers in response. I scroll through my playlist. My eyes fall on this song.
I push play, bracing myself.
(This song is a boiling cauldron. I fell to my knees when I first heard it. God was healing me then, but He was breaking my bones to get there. I lived in pieces. This song was a bridge from my darkness to the Light of the One Who Sees Me. I had not listened to it in many months, maybe over a year.)
As its haunting echoes pour over me in the fields, I weep. But not because the song speaks to me. Something is different. Something has profoundly changed.
I remember the months and years I spent fighting to be free. I recall the lies that enslaved me, the dark memories that flooded my broken mind, the terrible dawning awareness of my chains. I thought I was going crazy, that I would never recover. I shook with fear that I was beyond redeeming. I filled my mind with Truth, my days with Light, but darkness often felt stronger, like it slowly seeped past fragile defenses, like it might coat me with slime and drag me back to insatiable strongholds. Freedom was so slow in coming. I feared it was lost to me forever. No way to recover innocence.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Lam.3:19-21.
Then the Light grew stronger, brighter. It overcame the darkness, one chain link at a time. Slowly, implacably, the Lord blazed a banner of redemption over a broken life. It happened so slowly, so naturally, that it had been long since I recalled that story.
This is a beautifully broken song. It sings life over the wounded seekers. But it is not my song anymore. It is a song about the way I was, not the way I am. Perhaps my heart will access its power again for other wounds, but for now, it is a past tense song.
There I will give her back her vineyards.
Tears fall, then evaporate into pure joy – a raucous worship. The Lord laughs over me, I have done the work! “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this daughter of mine was dead and is alive again; she was lost and now she is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24. I scroll through my songs to Counting on God by New Life Worship, a reflection of now-not-then.
This I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lam.3:21-23.
I revel in a moment, a lifetime, of victory. A “W” in the Win Column.
I breathe thanksgiving this day that I am a W.