Lessons From My Dog

That’s not my dog, but he/she sure is pretty! My dog is a black lab named Raven. šŸ˜Š

I have a sneaking suspicion that our dog is pregnant. About 8 weeks ago, she ran off and was alone with a male German Shepherd … while she was in heat. And for the last few days, she’s exhibited symptoms of late pregnancy in a canine. I’m no vet and all I have to refer to is google, so I guess we will see in the coming days! Either way, I find it all so fascinating. Perhaps it’s my maternal side coming out, but I’m really interested in the entire process. I’m not really interested in the mess, but anything to do with life and God’s creation just simply fascinates me.

But this isn’t about dog birth. Perhaps if my sweet girl delivers pups, I’ll share the story. Til then, I’ve got a pretty good one about when God used her to teach me …

It’s about the moment when I looked into my dogs eyes yesterday. I had been checking her tummy and was just loving on her. Unfortunately, between running a household and chasing kids, I don’t give the dog much attention. I love her, but she’s just a quiet companion most days and I’ll forget she’s even there! (Unless she’s chasing the kitten.) However, as I looked into her eyes, I realized something that broke my heart. I wondered what exactly she sees from me every day. She sees my ugliest moments, the things I’d never want broadcasted to the world, my poor attitude, bad tone of voice, or words that should never be said. She quietly observes. And even though I can be quite the failure, she never fails to stick close to me and love on me. She just loves me anyway. 

The Lord used that moment to remind me that although I’m at home most of the time, my job to live a godly life doesn’t change. What you or my friends see doesn’t matter if what happens behind closed doors tells a different story. Character is who you are when no one is looking. 

Oh, but I do have people looking. Maybe it’s not a boss that signs my paycheck or someone I’d like to impress. It’s three little people that God has entrusted to me to raise, teach, and nurture. Most importantly, my job is to teach them about Him. They also see me at my worst. They’ve seen me lose my patience and they’ve seen my worst days. 

The most important thing for them to see is that in spite of much failure, I get on my knees and ask for forgiveness and grace … and then I try again. They need to see that what Daddy and I teach them is real and not a far away concept they only hear about at church. 

That, my friends, is a monumental task. It’s convicting to know that they see more than anyone else … and sometimes it ain’t always pretty. 

My dog will always be here, as long as the Lord allows her. Dogs are faithful and loving. That’s just how they’re made. However, my kids can decipher the things they see me do. As they grow and mature, they will learn from me and make decisions based on what I taught through my actions. Yikes. They aren’t dumb. They see things more clearly than most adults. I can’t fool them. 

This realization just shows me how great of a need I have for my great Savior! I need His forgiveness, mercy, grace, and strength to do the job that He has given me. And I feel so often that I’m the wrong lady for the job. However, He continues to forgive and teach me. The best thing I know to do is stay in the Word and in prayer, surrendering my will to His as I go through my day. 

Who knew the Lord could use my sweet dog to teach me all of this? This hasn’t even been the first time He has used this dog to set me straight. Hey, He did use a talking donkey! 

God uses the foolish to confound the wise, yall. That theme just keeps playing in my life.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Loss · motherhood

Tears and SmilesĀ 

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and how I feared losing the pregnancy. I lurked the forums on TheBump.com and read various experiences of women who were just as far along as me. They’d discuss morning sickness, weight gain, and all of the other typical pregnancy woes. The saddest topic discussed usually began as,

I’m out. Bad news guys.Ā 

I didn’t really want to or need to read about their losses, but curiosity always convinced me to open the link. As I’d clutch my still tiny tummy, I would wonder how in the world they could go on. How would they deal with that grief? Some of these ladies had demanding jobs or other children to keep them busy. How did they move forward from something so devastating? Do they just cry and eventually it fades? Do they lay in bed for days on end? Do they find magical strength? I used to wonder these things, though I had never experienced them. I sympathized with these women greatly.

And now … I know. I know what it’s like to have your heart broken in an unexplainable way as the world keeps turning. My husband sent the kids off the day after I miscarried … and I sat there unable to enjoy anything on tv and drowning myself in an obscene amount of mini Reese’s cups. I got rest and did my thing, but once he went back to work, I got back to life. It wasn’t really easy at first. I was still coming to grips with what happened, as well as reeling from the ER doctor’s misdiagnosis of me having suspicious ovarian cysyts. (I’m good. Nothing is wrong.) But I just moved forward that first week, kind of in a haze.

Once I got relief about the cysts, I felt a lot better. I felt more hope that I could try again when we were ready and could begin healing. The pain didn’t stop, but some of the burden was lifted. I’ve gotten back into life full swing with homeschooling and spending time with my kids. I laugh a ton and feel so grateful for the beautiful life God has blessed me with. I am moving forward. I am not withering away. My pain hasn’t killed me.

But my heart still aches. I still feel punched in the gut when I see a pregnancy announcement or when I think about what I’ve lost. I feel tears well up when I think about the fact that someone is missing. It still hurts. It still stinks. There is no other way to put it.

However, I’m learning that sometimes as grief enters our lives along with our lives moving forward, sometimes the grief and joy we feel learn to coexist. It’s okay to smile and feel joy over the good news of others, to praise the Lord for blessings. It’s also okay to cry and pour my heart out, especially when I feel like none of this is fair. It’s okay to experience both, feel both, acknowledge both. I dont believe I’d be a very healthy human if I didn’t.

With that said, God is still good. He is still ever present in my heartache and still blessing beyond measure. He is growing our family spiritually and healing us in ways I never knew possible. I don’t understand all of the things that have went on, but I can rest knowing He has a purpose and a plan.

I don’t know what kind of grief you’re facing today, friend. It’s okay to cry and scream if you need to. It’s also okay to enjoy the joyous moments and praise the Lord for His blessings. Life happens all at once sometimes and it can be the hardest thing to make sense of it all as it hits. Give your burdens to the Lord, He already knows your thoughts and heart … it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to smile.


He’s Good

Grief is so sneaky. 

My life is loud. I’m always cleaning up after a spill, refereeing a fight, getting a toddler to quit going places she doesn’t belong, and cheerleading my 7 year old as she works through “big” subtraction problems. The kitten we have adopted has definitely brought new life into the mix, as now our typically lazy dog is typically chasing him through the house. My life is full. It’s beautiful. 

And yet my grief creeps in at unexpected moments. 

Everything is loud and I have much to do, so I don’t find myself dwelling on my loss as much as I would have imagined. But when it does, it stings. 

I used to be pregnant. I’ve had four pregnancies, but only 3 living babies. My baby is in Heaven. 

I’m so thankful that even though there is grief, it isn’t everything. I still have this full, blessed life that is better than anything I could have ever imagined. The Lord has been so good. I may not have much earthly treasure, but between my marriage and beautiful children, I have much. There is so much to be thankful for in the midst of those moments of sadness. 

My husband did a lesson on Psalm 23 tonight, which kind of brought these thoughts to mind. I took a look at my life, including the pain that is harboured in my heart, and realized that the Lord is so good. He’s my protector, provider, comforter, helper, and as my hubby said so well – He’s just good. 

Psalm 23

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.