Tag Archives: Carl the French Bulldog

Wet Paw Prints

The rain continued to beat against the window pane as Carl looked up from his bed, and then rolled over. It was clear he had no intention of jumping off, and making his way outside to do his business.

For the last couple of weeks, the rain has come in waves, turning our backyard into a pond. Carl has tried to avoid getting wet, but even with his efforts, it is impossible to miss his muddy paw prints scattered across the wood floors.

Just like Carl, at times we leave muddy footprints across the floors of life. They can come from making rash decisions or stating harsh words in the middle of our own personal storms.

Given that life will bring days of squalls and dark clouds, we must prepare ourselves before their arrival.  And who best to emulate than Jesus, the creator of the storms.

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘“Quiet! Be still!”’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:37-39)

Many people have questioned how Jesus could sleep during this horrendous storm when all his disciples were scared to death. Just like these men, we often wonder where Jesus is when we go through storms. And when we can’t find Him, we have a tendency to react out of fear.

I have found that if I focus on what Jesus did during this storm, I will not be consumed with fear but faith. In order to sleep, Jesus must have known the outcome of the storm, and then once He was awoken, He demonstrated His power by calming the wind and waves.

This passage points me to Jesus when I am in the middle of heavy rainstorms. When it doesn’t look like it will ever stop and the sun is missing from the sky, I visualize Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat.

Carl continued to sleep until the rain subsided and he could go outside without getting drenched. We appreciated his attempt to stay dry but had to laugh as he walked across the wooden floors and left a trail of wet paw prints.

Trading in Bitterness for Blessings

It was clear that Bee was bitter about her situation.  It had been three weeks of hearing the casted paw clunk across the wooden floor. Bee’s freedom had been compromised and instead of free reign of going in and out, she had to have her paw wrapped before going out into the yard.

As she dealt with the uncomfortable cast, her brother, Carl didn’t miss a beat.  He pranced right by his sister to go in and out as he pleased. After weeks of being immobilized, Bee had shown signs of a deep seated anger that could be clearly seen as she watched her brother run circles around her.

Miriam, Moses’s sister knew bitterness. She had lived with it for years as she watched her brother take center stage. She was fed up with being a supporting actress so she corralled her brother Aaron into helping her cause. But when she tried to slander Moses in front of the Israelites, God burned with anger.

Once God finished speaking, Miriam was covered with leprosy from head to toe. Miriam was banished from the Israelite camp and if it wasn’t for Moses’ plea for her, she would have died alone. (Numbers 12:1-3)

For seven days, Miriam lived alone in her bitterness. Because of her sin, everything was put on hold. The people of God were stuck.

Isn’t that what a sour heart does to us?  Keeps us separated and stuck. Unable to move forward in the direction that God wants us to go.

It’s too bad that Bee doesn’t understand how her feelings towards Carl can only hurt her. But as I observe her, I can be reminded of the dangers of focusing on the blessings of others, when God has so many blessings just for me.

From a Distance

The car slowed to a stop and the man rolled his window down.  Not sure what he was going to say, both my husband and I leaned in. “I just want you to know that you have a good looking dog.” As we thanked him, we couldn’t help but say back in jest, “You can have him, if you want.” (We were just kidding!)

I have also seen Carl from a distance and have to agree that he sure is cute and desirable. But what Carl is from a distance and what he is up, close and personable are totally two different things.

What is it about us humans that cause us to crave the things that are at a distance? So often, we feel the need to have the very thing that can cause us such heartache.

All the Samaritan woman wanted was to have a husband that loved her and she ended up with five broken marriages and a compromised life. The rich young ruler only wanted his wealth and ended up lacking the peace that comes from putting God first.

Jesus clearly tells us in John 6:36 “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

If we can only stop looking in the distance for the bread of life and turn to the source, we will finally be content and full.

I personally can’t imagine life without Carl.  Even though it has been difficult at times, I am thankful God has used this little dog to help me draw closer to Him so that I don’t have to continue to desire what is at a distance.

Slammed Doors

Carl stood at the door waiting for us to call his name to come along on a journey. But today, Carl wasn’t going to be able to come. Instead of joining us for a fun episode of life, the door was shut in his face.

How often do we wait at the door of opportunity to have a door shut in our face? We can be so excited about life one moment and then the next moment, we feel like God has played a joke on us.

It is during these times of trials and suffering, with no entrance in sight that we are forced to take our focus off of what is on the opposite side of the door. It is at this moment that we are provided other options, ones that we may not choose, but ones that have to be faced.

Most of the people Jesus interacted with had doors shut in their face. Individuals just like you and me that were locked out of the dreams that they had based their happiness on. Some chose the path of bitterness and resentment that left them facing the locked exit.

But then there were the few that understood Jesus’s power to show them an upward direction that would transport their earthly journey to a spiritual one.

There was a Gentile woman that knew what life was like to have doors slammed in her face. Her daughter was demon possessed and was suffering. This mother had heard about the miracles that Jesus had performed and believed that He was from God.

The woman respected Jesus’s mission. He had come specifically for the Jews but she had to try. So when she engaged Him in a conversation about dogs eating crumbs, Jesus opened the door of healing. (Matthew 15:21-28)

As we drive down the road towards our destination, I can’t help but think about the door that Carl is facing. Hopefully, he will realize that he needs to look beyond the door until we return. If not, he will be staring at a shut door for quite a while. Poor Carl.

Paralyzed with Fear

I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.  It had been so long since I had seen Carl in this position that it took me a minute to realize what I was looking at. I had gotten up in the middle of the night and I happened to look in the hallway and there, paralyzed, was Carl.

Darkness was surrounding him on all sides. I could see Carl’s body shake and knew he was unable to make his way through the door and over to his bed. As I peered in the direction that he was looking, all I could see was Bee, our other French bull dog dozing on her pillow.

Fear can paralyze all of us. It can stop us in our tracks and surround us like the darkness of night. Whatever we are facing can seem too large for us to get through. To others it may seem as passive as a sleeping dog, but to us, it can be too massive to get around.

When the fear begins to continue to lie to us about our inability to move, there is someone that we need to picture in our minds. Someone who didn’t allow fear to dictate His next moves. Someone who knew the horrific events that He would have to get through on our behalf.

Jesus didn’t allow the fear of the night to stop Him from the journey that took him to the grave, the place where we fear the most. He did this so that we would continue when our hearts tell us to stop.

The same power that was used to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that we as believers have to walk through our fears.

The only thing I could do when I saw Carl stuck in place was to escort him to his bed. He didn’t want to walk by his sister Bee so he took a detour under the bed and slid close to the outside wall. Even though it wasn’t the most direct route, he did have the courage to find his way to his bed.

Hopefully, the next time I am gripped with fear, I will be willing to find my way through it, even if I have to follow Carl’s example and take a detour.

Resolving Carl’s Problem

Carl has a problem. He and his sister Bee are not getting along. He doesn’t see this being an issue but we do. Just the other night, Carl became embarrassed when he was being given his Frontline on his back and out of nowhere attacked his Frenchie sister.

If this isn’t a guilty look….

Things didn’t turn out the way that Carl thought they would.  Instead of hurting his sister, she took hold of his left cheek and wouldn’t let go until they were pulled apart. Bruised and in pain, Carl retreated to his couch and laid there for the rest of the night.

I am not sure exactly how to solve this problem. Carl’s prideful attitude can take over at the most unexpected times without any sign of aggression. One moment he is the sweetest little fella and then the next he is out of control.

We all have problems that are hard to find solutions for. Some are huge problems while others can be very minor. Many times when we are faced with troublesome issues, we want to take drastic steps to eradicate them. But if you seriously think about most of the problems you experienced in the past, many of them were resolved by what was nearby.

Just a couple of months ago, I was faced with an issue that didn’t seem like it could be resolved. My thoughts traveled to places way out of the scope of reality on how to solve the problem. I was willing to choose steps that would make the matter worse, not better.

Yesterday, I heard a message from Steve Furdick from Elevation Church that resonated in my thoughts about solving problems.  He shared about Jesus and the first miracle he performed, the changing of water to wine. If you remember, Jesus used what was readily available to Him. He took the water containers used for ceremonial washing and had servants fill them with water. Once the containers were full, the water turned into 1000 bottles of some of the best wine ever made.

Jesus used what was nearby. When we have a problem, most times the solution can be found close to where we are. Jesus then acted as soon as the problem was presented to Him.  He acted in the now. He didn’t wait until tomorrow when it would have been too late, but acted immediately.  And lastly, He looked to a normal solution, not an outrageous one like winning the lottery or finding another spouse.

So many times we are confronted with problems that can be resolved if we first of all ask for help in the form of prayer and then focus on what we have at our disposal. Speaking of problems, I am still not sure how I am going to handle Carl’s outbursts of anger but I do believe with some prayer the answers will come.

My Problem Child

Traveling Through The Rough Times

Carl was in a funk. Almost every waking moment he was constantly seeking out our attention. It had gotten to be pretty annoying in the last couple of days. It didn’t make any sense. We were home more now than ever before. He was getting a long walk every day and receiving more treats than usual. So why was he so needy?

So often, everything on the outside looks great.  We all have a tendency to look at others and think that they must have a perfect life based on the things they possess and the situation they are in. But just like Carl, many times our peace doesn’t come from what is on the outside but what lies deep within our souls.

The times when an unexplained dark cloud sweeps over our lives can be the most difficult.  It is easier to travel through hard times when you are sharing the circumstance with others. We can all huddle together and know that others can relate to what is happening. But it is when we have an internal mood pass through, that life feels like you are on your own.

No one likes to be alone in their sorrow and the gut wrenching feeling that comes with it. We can easily deny the feelings but everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. When this overwhelming emotion takes residence in our bodies, we should look to the one that can sympathize with us.

Jesus had been with God since the beginning. They had been together from the start. But in order for us to be able to have a relationship with God, Jesus had to separate himself from his father.

It is hard to fathom the deep hurt that Jesus and God felt to be a part. It was such a devastating experience that God turned the day into night.  In the darkness, Jesus cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 26:46 Words that demonstrate how hurt He was as He left this world alone.

Jesus wants us to know that He has been alone and knows the feelings that accompany this state of mind. His willingness to experience isolation from his father was done so that we would choose to call on Him when we are grieving in silence.

As I wrote this, I felt the need to go and spend some time with Carl.  I felt he wanted to know that he was loved so I sat on the couch with him. As I petted his soft coat and spoke to him, he seemed to appreciate the attention I was giving him. In the same way, we can receive what we need if we converse with God and use His word to encourage us out of the rough times.