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Competing for Devotion

Months have passed and we are all trying to come to terms with our new normal since Carl left. Of the three of us, little Bee has adjusted quite well. Instead of Carl getting to go on walks with my husband, Bee has slipped into this special position of strolling companion. Each morning, she knows that her walking collar will be placed around her neck and off they will go into the wild of the neighborhood.

It is funny but Bee seems happier and even healthier being an only dog. She no longer has to compete for the devotion that everyone poured out onto her brother. Now when someone enters, Bee briefly greets them and then goes about her business.

Unlike Bee, there was a woman from Canaan that knew she had to fight for Jesus’ devotion to her cause. This woman had a child that was possessed with a demon that tormented her day and night. As the years passed, and the child grew stronger, the mother knew she would soon be unable to care for her beloved daughter.

In Matthew 15:21-28, it is recorded that Jesus left Jewish territory and went to the land that was occupied by pagans. He and his disciples walked over fifty miles into Canaan. If Jesus came primarily for the Jews, why would he walk so far into terrain possessed by the Gentiles?

At first glance, I am sure his disciples asked the same question. Once Jesus entered the area of Tyre and Sidon, nothing worthy of such a walk could be identified. The disciples only noted the obnoxious screams from a woman that called out to Jesus.  Finally, Jesus allowed the woman to be brought to him and she knelt down. “Lord, help me!”

Jesus replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” (Matthew 15:25-28)

There is no other recordings of any other life shaking event that took place on this one hundred mile journey. So why would Jesus walk so far for the sake of a Gentile that he refers to as a dog? For only one reason. Her faith.

Because of the woman’s devotion to her daughter and her unwavering faith, Jesus walked a hundred miles. And if he would give this woman so much of his time and effort, why do you think he won’t give you the same?

Bee is now the center of attention. She no longer has to fight for it. It is just hers. As I watch Bee bask in her life as a single dog, I can’t help but think about how this woman must have spent the rest of her days. Grateful with a large dose of peace.

Hidden Gifts

Bee’s gift has been revealed in the last couple of days. Just like each of us, even dogs have special gifts from God. My daughter had hip surgery on Monday morning and had to come home with us to start her recovery. To make it easier for everyone, she has taken over our bedroom on the ground floor with all her equipment and different apparatus’s.

Since Bee lives on the ground floor, she has become the night time nurse. Bee has been extremely observant, watching almost every move our daughter makes. Our little dog was particularly protective late at night when our daughter would get up all alone and make her way to the bathroom.

Our daughter shared with us that every time she got up, she would look behind her and see Bee a safe distance away. Our four legged family member would sit and watch our daughter until she was safely back in bed. Only then would she go back to her own comfy spot and close her eyes.

This morning, it is clear that Bee hasn’t had the restful sleep that she usually gets. Instead of being alert and ready to go, she has been in a deep sleep since we came down to take over the nursing responsibilities.  

In the last couple of days, Bee’s gifts have been revealed for all of us to see. It took a special circumstance to expose them but the gifts have always been there.

What is your special gift?

It may be hidden and not easily seen, but just like Bee’s gift, can be exposed under the right conditions.

Feeling the Love of Christmas

Bee would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  As you can see, she has made herself nice and comfortable in front of the fire and is content just being healthy and loved.

Hoping everyone out there can join her mindset and have a blessed day, no matter your situation. If we can just take a minute and remember the day we are celebrating. There was nothing about this couple’s situation that would have given them joy. They were in a foreign city with no place but a dirty space to bring their child into the world.

But with nothing but the promise of God and the love between them, a baby was born. Even when the shepherds showed up to honor the baby, their situation didn’t change. But even so, they found joy in their situation.

I pray that we will take our eyes off of the disappointments that may come today and place it on the true meaning of this day. Jesus came into the world in poverty for a reason. To demonstrate that it doesn’t take things to make us happy. Mary and Joseph only had each other and were happy. Praying that you can turn to the ones that God has given you and feel the love that is meant for this day.

Bee a Friend

Bee looked up at me with her deep black eyes and seemed to be telling me that it was time to look at her. Time to put the past behind me and focus on what God has given me today. That the gifts of the past were for the past and it was now in this day that I had so much to be grateful for.

A special friend reminded me of this this morning. We had been conversing the other day about what a great author Carl had been. She noted that my writing wasn’t the same since our little dog had past. I had to totally agree.

But then this morning, I was awakened by a message on my phone that brought me to tears. She shared that she had been nudged by God to encourage me to look at my little Bee in a different light. One that she felt that could inspire my readers in a special and unique way.

So I took some time and observed my little pooch. Her quiet demeanor and sweet presence filled the empty space within my heart. Bee has never demanded attention or expected us to be anything but ourselves. She has only desired to be in our company and enjoy the brief time she has on this earth.

Then it struck me. Bee does have a message to share. God gave me this little pooch for a reason and for so long I didn’t see it because of being distracted by “you know who”.

So today, if you get a nudge from God to encourage someone, please do. Don’t put it off.  That person may need your words more than you will ever know. And just like my little Frenchie, Bee a friend.

Standing in the Pain

Remembering Carl can be bittersweet. Even after three months, the thought of him causes my heart to sink and a sadness to sweep over me. So why is it that even though it hurts, I don’t want to forget our four legged family member?

My husband just recently had a picture of our friend placed into an acrylic cube for us to have as a way to remember him. The picture was taken when we were traveling and Carl was perched on the side of our truck. Even though we were going through a tough time with the sickness of a family member, that moment will always be considered special to us.

God never intended us to experience death when He created us. Genesis 3:2-3 states, “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

Once Adam and Eve ate the apple, death came into the world. And now we have to figure out how to best get through the pain of loss. So often, we want to question God or turn our back on Him when the suffering becomes too unbearable.

Martha and Mary were also suffering for the loss of their brother. They could have become bitter and pushed Jesus away when he arrived after their brother died. Both women were in immense pain but somehow even then, they approached Jesus.

And this is where the shortest and one of the most profound verses in the Bible is placed. (John 11:35) ”Jesus wept.” No words. Just a heart wrenching emotion of love for these two women that were hurting. Jesus wants to weep alongside all of us as we go through the excruciating pain of loss. No judgement, no words, just heartfelt empathy.

So as much as I want to put away the pictures and avoid the pain, I believe facing it will help me to remember my savior standing in the pain providing me a peace that can only come from Him.

The Importance of Remembering

Bee has been gone for nearly three weeks. She has been with my daughter and her family. One member of my daughter’s family is her dog Maddie who can be seen in this picture doing what she does well, jumping. Bee, on the other hand, is waiting for the door to open so she can come in and have her dinner.

Just the other day, after we had gotten off a cruise ship, my husband and I were taken by bus to the airport where we were corralled into a check in line. As we all waited patiently, people were coming off buses and stepping in front of us, disregarding the lines of people off to the left.

I could feel my anger building up and the need to call out to the service attendants about the unfairness of the situation. My husband told me to calm down which only caused me to become angrier. Why had I become so annoyed in only a matter of minutes? What was it about my own nature that precipitated these emotions?

“The Israelites said to them, “’If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.’” Exodus 16:3

We all have a tendency to judge the Israelites for their negative attitude as they were shuffled out of Egypt and led through the wilderness. But if I can’t keep a positive attitude for thirty minutes in an airport line, why would I think that I could stay cool wondering in the desert without food or water?

And if I struggled over such a minor issue, how can I get through the major calamities of life? There is only one way that I know of. Remembering who God is. If we can only take the focus off of our present circumstances and place it on who God is, our feelings will follow.

Bee finally got inside and has eaten not only that meal but many others while being with my daughter’s family. She has added an inch or two around her waist and doesn’t seem to be missing me. But none the less, I am looking forward to having her home and our family all together again.

God’s Power Exemplified

As Bee led me down the beach, her raised tail and upright body demonstrated to me that she was enjoying the sea breeze and the last of the warm fall temperatures. She even loved the feel of the sand underneath her paws. But the one thing she did not enjoy was the sensation of the cold ocean water as it drenched her without warning. 

Bee seemed so confident on dry land but just the brush of the cold ocean water repelled her towards the higher sandy beach and the safety that I had to offer. Aren’t we all like her in a way? When all the conditions of life are to our satisfaction, we appear so confident. But once the cold unpleasant experiences surface, we run towards the comfort that we enjoy?

The Israelites are a perfect picture of how humanity reacts when the waves of life come lapping at our feet. God had just redeemed them from a life of slavery and was leading them out into an unknown existence. The Israelites were in high spirits during their first few miles of their journey but then when they heard the chariots of the Egyptians come out of nowhere, they were terrified and faithless.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22)

God had to create an impossible situation in order for His power to be exemplified. The Israelites had already gone through a night where the angel of death had killed all the first born of the Egyptians but even so, they needed to see an unexplained supremacy take control of the physical world. And that is what God gave them.

After Bee shook the water off, she continued to walk down the beach with a confident air. On the other hand, I looked out over the ocean and waves and was struck by its enormity and force. Thankfully, God didn’t cause the ocean water to stand straight up as I walked the beach. He didn’t have to. Just knowing his word and what he has done in the past is enough to believe that He could.