Fierce Love

Deutsch: Ein Löwe wird verwendet um Aslan darz...

I’m not sure when I first realized that my love for my children was a fierce love. Was it when I held my first-born and counted fingers and toes? Was it on the way to the emergency room cradling a 2-year-old with a gash over his left eye? Or was it when I watched one of them being excluded from a game or play time?  Whatever event or time it came over me that this was not a quiet, comfortable, sit down by the fire love. Rather, it was a fierce love characterized by strong emotion and equally strong action.

Maternal love is a fiercely protective love lest anyone hurt my children. It is a believing love – wanting to give the benefit of the doubt. It is a hunting down love – I will get you. I will hunt you down if you hurt my kid. My maternal love wants to be a building up love – hugging tightly even as a vice grips my heart at their hurt, wiping salty tears away and praying for the words to encourage and heal the wound. Maternal love is a fierce love.

And so when I read the words that describe God’s love I think I get it. From metaphors of labor pains, bears with cubs, and leopards I am given a picture of a fierce and female love that defends and protects, often at a great cost.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:3,4

In the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia  “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe“, before the four Pevensie children have met Aslan they talk with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about him. In the conversation Susan and Lucy find out Aslan is a Lion.

“Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you.”

Maternal love has never been just a comfortable, safe love. And no matter how much I may want to portray God’s love as comfortable and safe all the metaphors tell me it’s so much more. It’s a defending, all-encompassing, satisfying, nourishing, protecting and restoring love. Surely it’s a fierce love.

17 thoughts on “Fierce Love

  1. I just stumbled on your blog through a link at Desiring God. I especially was intrigued because I have worked with refugees here helping with English, my husband took a TEFL course in Alexandria (which afforded me a trip to meet up with him in Egypt with his frequent flyer miles) am passionate about using hospitality to touch the lives of those from other cultures in our area, and married to a pastor who has taught himself Arabic and desires to return to the area to minister. The other delightful part of exploring your blog is that I, too, am a nurse (working with lung cancer patients) and am in my 50’s but about 5 1/2 years older, and have 5 children….my youngest is teaching English in Prague this year. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the days ahead. And to comment most appropriately to this post, I always saw moms as “mother bears”…fierce when it comes to protecting her cubs.

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    1. Lou Ann – first let me say that I’m so happy you stumbled on this blog! It sounds like we are living parallel lives and that you are a kindred spirit! I have the same passion as you – what area do you live in? We were just in Alexandria over Christmas and had such a good time. I’m wondering how you enjoyed Egypt so tell more!
      And about the mother bear analogy – absolutely. My big paws can be gentle until the claws come out. Thank you thank you for finding me and commenting.

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      1. We live in Cleveland Ohio and I presently work at the Cleveland Clinic. This new job with lung cancer patients does not afford me the time with refugees I used to have. I gave up 12 hour shifts, every other weekend and holidays to have a Mon through Fri job, weekends (especially Sundays) off and holidays! This was important as my children are all scatter and it may be the few times I can share with them. I was in Egypt summer 2006. I must admit my impression by day 2 when I was put on the “Superjet” from Cairo to Alexandria, all alone, I kept thinking “I don’t want to live here, oh Lord, I don’t want to live here”. I was surprised by my response as I have spent time in Guatemalan remote villages, South Africa, (Can’t really count Europe as it has always been beautiful to me) and it was the first time I felt that way. As I grew more accustomed to my surroundings those feelings dissipated and by the time my week ended, I thought I could get used to the heat and really enjoy the middle east. My husband had the privilege of returning Oct 2008 to teach at a conference of Christian workers outside Alexandria. He would never hesitate to return as it has become a fond place in his heart. I love forward to the day I can retire and start a new season and adventure being used of the Lord. I have been able to be a part of a few Sudanese women most recently helping them out as I can, but there just is not enough hours in a day to do all that my heart would want. Well this has become quite wordy, sorry.

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      2. Wow – we do live parallel! I too work a Monday through Friday job as a public health nurse at the state’s Department of Public Health. I love knowing I have those important days off with my kids as well. Ours are scattered all over with one in Cairo, two in Chicago, one in NYC and one home. I am so glad that you came to a place of liking Egypt. For people who have traveled elsewhere it doesn’t necessarily come easily…sometimes not at all. It’s interesting that you mention working with refugees more – that is my heart as well. While I do a lot of work with immigrant communities, my heart is in refugee communities. Thank you so much for connecting!

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  2. You’re so right Marilyn! Fierce protective love is exactly it. What a fabulous quote from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe! It says it perfectly and yet we don’t often actually SEE God that way.

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    1. It’s one of the reasons that I love CS Lewis children’s books so much. There is so much truth through the whole series. I think we want to think of God as safe and comfortable because then we can sit back and not be challenged. What are your thoughts on that?

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  3. I have always loved that quote: “course he isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.” YES. I had to think, as I read your post, that loving others – whether it’s folks in our church, the people we reach out to, our cross cultural relationships – isn’t safe. It hurts to love fiercely. A dear friend once told me that letting myself love will hurt, but it’s a good hurt. So let’s love deeply, fiercely!

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  4. Marilyn, as you may know, I have no human children. Daisy deer was as close to having my own child as I will get. While raising our little orphan, I knew great love, nurturing and protection of her. On setting her free, I find I struggle even more wondering and worrying about how difficult it is to survive in her wild world. Last night I was upset to find a clump of deer hair at the corn feeder, then noticed lots of Daisy’s deer hair on my gloves after petting her. She had likely been hoofed at and run off by other deer. This morning I watched her react with alertness when the neighbor’s dogs arrived at the fence barking. Her hair flared out, making her look large, and she began stomping and strutting, showing no fear. I was filled with pride! I was filled with the same pride the other day seeing her leap a fence to escape the neighbors dogs. While I can never run to her rescue or defend her, I trust that the Universe will protect her and provide for her. I pray each night… and I know that it is enough… prayer is sufficient. I love what you say in the last paragraph about God’s love… how comforting are those words!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing this – I don’t think I realized that you didn’t have children but I love what you have shared about your farm and Daisy. It’s a great illustration of loving someone/thing that can never love you back in quite the same way, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have done what you were supposed to do. Thanks so much for bringing in this illustration.

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  5. Marilyn, your words echo the words of my heart. Moms especially love fiercely. Our fierce love does not stop when our children are older. It is my philosophy, “you can pick on me, but you can never pick on my child”. Our children need to experience such fierce love in order to fill safe and secure. Wishing you a lovely week, Petra

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  6. LOVE this, Marilyn! :-) And your quote from Lewis is my favorite quote from my favorite book! Aslan is indeed on the move!
    God bless,
    Deane

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    1. Deane – I echo your love of these Narnia quotes. Madeleine L’engle says that if you want to write a book that is too difficult for adults write it for children. I think that’s was some of CS Lewis’s philosophy as well. So many quotable quotes!! Thank you so much for this comment and keep on with your fierce love!

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    1. This is so funny – I just read your “Daughter Rant” and then went on to read this comment. Talk about timing being perfect. So first let me say – thank you for both reading and the comment. The words are kind – as a mom there can be a lot of self doubt so we tend to eat up the compliment quickly and with condiments!!
      But I wanted to say about your post – I couldn’t agree more with the statement “You don’t mess with a person’s mom – Not EVER! So thanks for that this morning. Have a great day.

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