Tag Archives: french bulldogs

Living Between Faith and Fear

Carl knew that we were leaving.  He just wasn’t sure if he would be included in the departure or would be left. To improve his odds of being allowed to join us, he placed his paws in front of him and took a prayer stance. His body was shaking with fear as he waited patiently to see the outcome of what would take place. Carl was living in the middle of fear and faith.

How often do we reside somewhere between the fear that wants to stop us from acting in faith? Personally, I have to confess that I have allowed fear to dictate too many of the decisions in my life.

Abigail was one woman that stood firm in her faith and brushed the fear that was brewing in her heart to dissipate. When she heard that David was coming to kill off all her family because of her husband’s foolish behavior, she knew she had to act quickly.

So with fear trying to convince her to stop, Abigail chose to act out of faith. Immediately, she packed enough food to feed an army, and rode out into the desert to meet the one who had the power to end her life.

“When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground.”(1 Samuel 25:23)

With humility, Abigail made her case and stopped the demise of her family. If she had chosen the path of fear, the story would have ended very differently. But because she elected to act, God took care of the situation and her family was spared.

Carl ended up coming with us and spent the day playing with other dogs in a pet resort. He met new friends and enjoyed frolicking around with no cares. What could have ended as a lonely day turned into a fun filled excursion.

The Wall of Insecurity

Carl was clearly showing signs of insecurity. He wouldn’t come into the bedroom because of his fear of his sister. After going out into the hall and literally pushing him inside, it was clear our pooch needed support to enter. 

Once inside and on his bed, he was shaking uncontrollably. Carl, who stands only a foot off the ground, typically portrays himself as the size of a great dame on his walks but now had shriveled into the body of a Chihuahua.

How can a dog who one minute appears so confident be transformed into a pile of mush? Before judging this little Frenchie, we should look in the mirror and ask ourselves the same question.

We all have sensitive spots in our personality that cause the wall of insecurity to keep us from going forward. The question arises when we are face to face with the wall and how we are going to get over it. Or in some cases, if we are even going to attempt the climb.

Many of us are forced to make the ascent over our personal insecurity when we are in occupations that require it. Others, make the choice to fight through uncertainty when an important relationship is on the line.

But then there are others that avoid facing their barricade or pretend it doesn’t exist. King David was a perfect example of this. After his son Absalom was killed, the king was paralyzed by his insecurity. Instead of leading his country, he became absorbed with self-doubt and drew inward. The result of his actions had a devastating effect on the country. Without a leader, all the people went back aimlessly to their own tents.

Thankfully, Joab, his right hand man, had the confidence to speak sternly to the king. Then and only then did King David take his position of authority and push through his insecurity. Once he was seated on his throne, the people were willing to come out of their own hiding places and give respect to the king.  (2 Samuel 19)

Carl doesn’t understand how his insecurity impacts us. He doesn’t see the inconvenience of being awakened by his howl and having to get up to move him through his self-doubt. Many people who lack confidence don’t see how their actions hurt the people around them. But just like David, it only takes a decision to take the position that God has given us.

Hopefully in the future, Carl will climb over his personal wall of self-doubt and make his way to his sleeping position that he has been assigned. And just like him, the next time I come face to face with my own wall of insecurity, I will be willing to make the climb upward and over. 

Us and Them

Carl looked up at me and then turned toward the door and pranced out with my husband for his daily walk. If he could talk, he would say something like, “If you want to come with us, that is okay, but it doesn’t matter to me.”

When he takes to the streets, Carl makes it clear that it is all about “us” and “them”. He really doesn’t care about the feelings of the other dogs or humans that he comes across, just as long as he has the undivided attention of my husband, Carl is perfectly content.

Since social media has given people their own personal platform, people are becoming more and more about us and them. Social apps are bombarded with extreme views that automatically categorize friends and family into “us” or “them”.

With each comment, a brick goes up into the wall that divides “us” from “them”. A wall that is being built without concern for others. So how do we take down the bricks to create a world that focuses more on “we”?  It starts when we take our focus off of “me” and place it on a man that walked the earth two thousand years ago.

This man lived each day of His life for everyone to be a “we”. As He was getting ready to die for each one of us, He prayed to God for unity. “I have given them the glory you gave me, that they maybe one as we are one.” (John 16:22)

Whenever I am tempted to put an “us” and “them” brick into the wall, I have to take my thoughts to a hill covered with blood and tears. And when I am there in my mind, I look around and see others that could be on the other side of the wall looking up into the eyes of the man who died for “we”.

Being a dog, Carl will never understand how he may be hurting others when he walks by them with his nose in the air. But unlike Carl, I hope the next time I am feeling the temptation to place a brick of “us” into the wall, I will remember the “them” who resides on the other side.

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.

The Truth About Angels

Carl is no angel.  He is far from it. If I get too close to him while he is dozing on the couch, I have learned that if he is irritated by my proximity, he will let out a quiet but effective growl. This is his way of letting me know that I need to back off.IMG_4061

Just recently, I have been doing some research on angels and their spiritual purposes. It is amazing how many myths have been written about them and how we humans have a very shallow understanding of these invisible but real beings.

I don’t want to be a myth buster but I do believe that angels are real and have a specific purpose. First of all, angels are only male. There is not one single female angel mentioned in the Bible. Given that God created them before He created man and that they don’t die, there is no reason to have female angels flying around.

Another perception of angels that many believe is that they are like cuddling little beings that would only give us a warm feeling inside if we saw one. In every incident that an angel appeared in the Bible, the person practically freaked out with fear.

Angels are noted by the messages they send from God and the protection they provide to believers. Michael, the archangel is known for the battles that he has fought against demons while Gabriel is known for bringing messages to Mary, the mother of Jesus and to others.

The cool thing about angels is that they are invisible but can be transformed into the likeness of a human. And on rare occasions, a human can be given the ability to see them in their spiritual form.

Have you ever had a situation where you saw someone at an accident scene or in a hospital room that was there one minute but gone the next?  It could have been an angel. Or have you ever been on the highway and you were sure that you should have been hit by a car but didn’t? It could have been an angel interceding for you.

Carl has at times provided the inspiration for my blog as well as tried in his little bulldog way to protect me from harm.  Other than this, as much as I would like to believe that he is my little angel, he is far from it. But he does seem a little angelic with his wings. InkedIMG_0916_LI



 

Masking our Weaknesses

Carl never likes to show his weakness. When he is distraught, instead of whimpering and demonstrating a feebleness in his character, he will bellow out a howl of authority and strength. The sad thing about this action, is that instead of drawing comfort, I usually will end up yelling at him to stop being so loud.IMG_4145

I can’t find fought in this action because I know that I can be just as guilty. When I feel vulnerable and in need of another’s comfort, I usually will mask it with an independent spirit.

Why is it that most of us want to appear strong, without a need for others? Are we much more concerned about how others think of us that we neglect one of our basic human needs, to be comforted?

Jesus saw right through this human flaw. He was constantly challenging his own disciples to shed off their pride, and admit their weaknesses. Even after three years of being with Jesus, Peter still wanted to hold onto his human strength and refused to admit his weakness in character.

After Jesus told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed, Peter refused to believe that he could do such a thing.

Matthew 26: 69-75 paints a picture of a man who not only betrayed his best friend but did it in a very short period of time.

“Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”

But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”

And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”

And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”

Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!”

Immediately a rooster crowed.  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.”

We all can relate to Peter in this situation. Instead of admitting his fear, Peter acted like he had it all under control. Choosing a strong demeanor over admitting weakness demonstrated for all mankind the flaw that we all possess.

No matter how much I want Carl to change, I know in my heart that he will choose to act like he doesn’t have a feeble bone in his body. On the other hand, I can only hope that I will be willing to become weak so that God can transform me by his strength.IMG_4170

 

 

The Price of a Peaceful Heart

If I just didn’t love Carl and Bee so much.  But the truth is our little dogs are our “babies”.  With the approaching hurricane, my husband and I had to make an extremely difficult decision. Instead of going to Puerto Rico for several days with my daughter whom we haven’t seen in many months, we canceled our trip. IMG_2358

Carl and Bee have a difficult enough time when we are gone for several hours but if we got stranded away, they could definitely be traumatized.  So, with heavy hearts we are going to stay home where we will be with our dogs as Florence makes its way over us.

To make life even more interesting for us as we go through hurricane force winds, our four grandchildren will be joining us for the ride. Given that my other daughter is an EMS worker in Wilmington, it just made sense that they be evacuated.

The hurricane isn’t supposed to arrive until Thursday but our little ones will be coming tomorrow afternoon. So instead of a quiet vacation on the island of Puerto Rico, we will create our own island as the waters approach Durham, North Carolina.

Carl has no idea of the sacrifice we will be making by staying home, but that is okay. Peace in my heart is much more valuable than a drink with an umbrella and time on the beach.

Lord, I know you will be with us as we go through this storm. Just as your Son tamed the winds and waves, I believe You can give us a peace during the days and weeks to come.