Tag Archives: lessons from our dogs

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.

Stuck

Carl is stuck. It has been several nights that he has not budged from the couch.  No matter what I say to him, he refuses to get up and go back to the chair that has been his bed for countless nights.

Carl’s Bed

I have several theories that may be causing my little guy to choose the isolation of the living room over the bedroom where we all have been joined together for the last couple of years. He could be avoiding Bee, who he has been fearful of or he could just be content with being stuck in the couch.

Carl’s greatest fear

If you live long enough in this world, you will encounter a sticky place in life. We can be moving forward and then something occurs that gets us to stay put.  The cause can come out of nowhere or it can be as simple as settling into a routine.

Jesus encountered lots of stuck people.  Some that seemed more set in their ways than others. It was evident that the paralyzed man that sat at the pool of Bethesda was stuck. He had been sitting at the pool for years waiting for someone to help him so that he could be healed. There was also the Samaritan woman who had been stuck in the cycle of sleeping with men to meet a need that she believed couldn’t be met in any other way.

These examples are obvious but have you ever thought of Martha being stuck? Here was a woman that opened her house up for Jesus and was busy preparing a meal for him.  How can her innocent behavior be perceived as being stuck? If you take away the layers of duty and good works, you will see someone stuck in bitterness and resentment.

I can totally relate to being stuck where Martha was. For years, I took pride in my works and as I looked around, anger would come gushing out towards the people that weren’t working as hard as I was. My heart grew a hard shell towards people that I believed were getting an easy pass in life.

But then Jesus spoke to me through Martha. “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 38:41-42

I can envision Jesus doing what I do a lot with both Carl and Bee. He took his fingers and pointed them right at me and then turned them towards Him. “Cora, Cora, you are worried and upset about many things. Take your focus off of others and place them on me.”

Life has been so much better since the stickiness of bitterness and resentment have been unglued. I can’t say they don’t come to visit every once in a while but if I keep my eyes on my savior, I can keep them from sealing onto my heart.

Carl is still stuck to the couch and the fear that must be keeping him there. Hopefully, he will make a decision to unglue himself but until then, I know where I can find him.

Pushing Forward into Confidence

Carl hid behind the blanket and it was clear he didn’t want to be seen. When he heard the closing of the door, he knew he had missed his opportunity to ride in the shot gun seat in the big black truck.  Instead of riding with my husband on their regular Sunday morning drive, Carl stayed put in his comfortable bed.

I had encouraged him to get up and catch up with my husband but he seemed to lack the confidence to do so. What had been a move that Carl did automatically, he now seemed hesitant to even try. Could this little dog who seems so confident at times, feel insecure today?

We can easily lose confidence in life if we aren’t careful.  A blow to our self-esteem can come out of nowhere and if we aren’t centered, can send us reeling. When this happens, I find myself backing away so that I won’t feel the hurt that comes with the blow.

Many times, I have probably given up some of God’s most amazing gifts because I pulled away when I allowed my feelings to dictate my actions. Instead of pushing through the stabs of pain and using it to refine my heart, I have taken myself out of the fire.

“These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold;” 1 Peter 1:7 Living Version

God has a purpose for the fires in our lives. It is meant to refine our faith, not weaken it. This encourages me when my feelings are telling me one thing but His word is speaking an entirely different message.

As for Carl, I will encourage him to get up and move past the disappointment he currently feels. And when I push him, I am going to also push myself to not pull back but push forward when the fire begins to get a little too hot for my liking.