Tag Archives: pets

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.

Stuck Behind the Wall

Bee is still healing from her broken leg. There has been some improvement with the bone mending but recently an infection on her leg has caused us to be concerned. The cast has been rubbing up against her leg and intensified the infection.

There are times in our lives that we are broken. It could be from a death, a diagnosis, or a wrecked relationship. No matter what caused us to be shattered, we usually have the opportunity to mend and become even better than before.

But occasionally, when we are broken, an infection of sin will set in and keep the healing process from happening.  If we are not careful, during these broken times, the sin of anger or bitterness can seep into our hearts.

While plagued with the constant inward thoughts we become stuck behind a wall built by all the why questions.  With no answers and only scabs created by hostility, we can become unable to move on. So how do we become healed? If we turn to God, our creator, the answer can be found.

David was often broken and could have easily been satiated with why questions.  But instead of focusing on questions that would keep him behind the wall, he focused on God.

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

  Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—

  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,  

  who redeems your life from the pit                             

  and crowns you with love and compassion,

  who satisfies your desires with good things

  so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

Bee’s paw is finally getting better, but until it is healed, she has to wear a stylish cone that has to be worn to keep her from licking. Just like my little dog, when sin seeps in, we can use the cone of God’s word to shield us from aggravating our own infection.

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.

Unintended Doors

Since the season has recently changed from winter to spring, Carl has made his way outside to frolic among nature. There is not a lot of wildlife for my little Frenchie to interact with but when a squirrel makes his presence known, Carl is sure to do his best to chase him up a tree or over the fence.

Bee, my other Frenchie, has just as much ambition to clear the backyard of unwelcomed guests as Carl. So one Thursday afternoon when both little pups saw the prey from afar, a chase began that ended with Bee falling and breaking a bone in her paw.

At first, I didn’t know if it was broken or just bruised, but after two days of limping and not putting weight on it, we took her to the vet where the x-ray showed a clear break. Bee was given a cast and we were given directions to wrap the cast to keep it from getting wet when she would go outside.

We have an electric doggy door which Bee has been using for several years.  Her collar has an electrical transmitter that lets the door know that she is near and will automatically open. But since we are supposed to keep her paw dry, we have taken the collar off to protect her paw from getting wet.

Bee doesn’t understand why this door is not responding to her presence. She has begun to give up on the door but every once in a while, Carl will trigger the door and Bee will slip through.

How often have we slipped through a door that wasn’t intended for us? This is why it is so important to closely monitor the friends we keep. I can remember in my past the times that I followed someone through a door that God never intended for me.

Proverbs 12:26 states it perfectly: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully. For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

My past has been sprinkled with doors that I slipped through because of the desperate need for acceptance.  Times that I didn’t trust God enough to complete me with people that hungered for His righteousness.

Just last night, Bee followed Carl out into the backyard without our knowledge. When she returned, her cast was wet and moldy. And just like her cast will decay, our hearts will also wane from God if we keep going through the door that is not intended for us.

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.