Loyal

Loyal

Katie, our Dog of Unknown Lineage (#poundpuppy), is about as loyal as they come.

She prefers to be where I am at all times. If I’m writing at the dining room table, she’s under it. If I’m reading in my favorite chair, she’s on the floor next to my feet. If I go into a room where she’s not allowed, she waits for me at the door. And if I take a nap on the couch, she sits next to it hoping to be invited up. (I almost always grant that request…I love the way she curls up in a ball behind my knees. Heaven!)

She’s even loyal when I hurt her.

In an attempt to save money and time, I attempted to groom her myself a couple of years ago. All was well until I misjudged and cut her scalp. I was absolutely horrified. But even as I assessed the cut, tears in my eyes, she still looked up at me with those big, brown, “I Love You” eyes, tail wagging.

After a trip to the emergency vet, she came home with several stitches and a Cone of Shame. I felt like I should be the one wearing it. That night the vet assured me that I had not done any permanent damage to her scalp or to our relationship. (Bless his heart…I was a sobbing mess.) Katie was loyal…still is…even though I hurt her.

It makes me wonder how loyal I am when I’m hurt.

When God allows pain, do I still look up at him with my big, green, “I Love You” eyes? Do I stay near even when my feelings feel fractured and my soul needs stitches? Do I stand still while he assesses my wounds? When I know God could have stopped the thing that led to my suffering, am I loyal?

Or do I try to hide in a corner, clutching my wounds, bitter and angry? Do I act as if I don’t need him? Do I pretend he doesn’t really care?

In all honesty, I’ve done some of both.

Of course, there’s a big difference between my actions that night with my dog and God’s actions toward me. I didn’t intend to hurt Katie. It was an accident.

Nothing is accidental with God. Neither the good, nor the bad. He knows the plans.

So, how do we remain loyal when sometimes it feels like maybe God isn’t?

We recognize that lie for what it is…a lie. And we remember who he is.

We trust that he is good. We trust that he is love. And we thank him.

Easy? Not always.

Necessary? Absolutely.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

 

 

I enjoy participating in the Five Minute Friday community of Christian writers. Each week the members of that community have the opportunity to write for 5 minutes about an assigned theme. This week that theme is Loyal

 

 

You are Loved

You are Loved

I’ve been thinking back over this summer a lot this week. It has been a DOOZY.

Summer 2018 provided more than its fair share of stress and change. It has made me  long for a calmer Fall, the kind where everything is stable and untroubled. We’ll see.

In the course of 3 months, several tough things happened in my family. My husband had a car accident (he’s fine…the car was totaled). We moved my Mom into assisted living (she’s adjusting well…I’m working on it). And my husband received a couple of chronic, life-altering diagnoses (thankfully, the kind that can be helped through diet and medication). Aside from my own personal family crises, I’ve had close friends go through hard things this summer, too. Relationships strained. Finances stretched thin. Addictions battled.

So, as I sit here tonight thinking about all that this summer brought with it, I’m reminded to think about the love of God. It’s such a constant in a sea of variables. It’s unending and sure in a way that not much else is these days.

God loves us.

When our judgement is off. When our flesh is weak. When our bodies break down.

God loves us.

When our relationships fracture. When our memories fail. When our addiction wins.

God loves us.

When we succeed. When we fail. When we’re afraid to even try.

God loves us.

How amazingly generous he is, doling out his never-ending, extravagant, grace-filled love like he does. What an amazing Father we have. What an awesome God.

So, whether your summer was blissful or beastly, remember that you are loved by the God who made you, knows you, and is for you.

You are loved.

 

I enjoy participating in the Five Minute Friday community of Christian writers. Each week the members of that community have the opportunity to write for 5 minutes about an assigned theme. This week that theme is Loved

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I Might Have Plucked Big Bird

I Might Have Plucked Big Bird

I think my struggle with worry might have started with Big Bird.

I was 5 years old when our local tv station had a special promotion. It was simple: If you watched Sesame Street for 5 days in a row and your parents sent in a special form from the newspaper confirming your viewing, you would receive your very own Big Bird feather. I mean they would send you ONE OF BIG BIRD’S ACTUAL FEATHERS!

Please! I was ALL IN!

I LOVED Big Bird, so the idea of having one of his ginormous feathers for my own sounded absolutely delightful! What a treasure that would be!

I watched dutifully all week long, pig-tails pulled tight in our wood-paneled living room (Hello, 70s!), laughing at Bert & Ernie and reciting my ABCs like a champion. And at the end of the week, my mom sent in the form. A couple of weeks later, an envelope arrived with MY VERY OWN NAME on it. Inside of it was the yellowest, biggest feather a girl could ever want! It was glorious!

It felt as if we had a special connection now, Big Bird and I. He probably knew my name and stuff. I could hardly wait to see him the next day so I could show him my feather (Because, 5  years old…).

My excitement was short-lived, though. I think it lasted for 3 entire minutes. Because it hit me: What if all of the kids all over the whole wide world did the same thing that I did? What if when I see Big Bird again, he is…(gulp)…plucked clean! Naked!

The guilt, people. I hardly slept that night, wondering if he was cold. I mean, can’t you just picture him sitting on that big nest of his, shivering?!

When it was Sesame Street time the next day, I was so happy and relieved to see that Big Bird seemed to have plenty of feathers! In fact, he looked exactly like he always had. (I didn’t think anything of it, because…again…5 years old.) 

Big Bird was safe and full of feathers. My guilt was relieved. I cherished that feather for a long time, before silly pre-teen me threw it out. (Foolish girl. Wish I still had it.) 

Even though I can see that memory clearly now with grown-up eyes, I still have a tendency to worry about things. And most of the time, that thing I’m worried about isn’t even very realistic or likely. Aren’t those the MOST FUN things to worry about?! The giant “what ifs.” The things we can’t control. The things that steal our sleep and peace.

There’s one thing, though, that helps me shed worry every single time: Sharing it. When I share my worries with people I trust, they are SO OFTEN able to help me put things in proper perspective. What is especially helpful is when I confide in people who follow Jesus the way I want to, with their whole hearts. Those are the people who remind me that Jesus is just ready and waiting to catch that worry. All I have to do it toss it over to him. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Did I share my Big Bird worries with anyone? Nope. I wish I had. How much better off would I have been if I shared my concerns with my parents? I’ll never know, but I imagine they would have been reassuring and kind. They would told me that he was fine, that he had plenty of feathers and that all was going to be ok. Instead of sharing, I stewed and tossed and turned, worrying myself to pieces.

So, if you have a worry or twelve today, share your concerns with someone you can trust. God gives us friends on purpose. And God gave us Jesus. Don’t ever forget about him. He’s the friend you can trust the very most.

Cast those cares, people! Trust Jesus with your worries. You’ll be so glad you did.

(And in case you’re wondering how the Sesame Street gang is doing these days, you can follow them on Twitter. You KNOW I do.  @BigBird)

 

Big Bird, Bert & Ernie, and Sesame Street are trademarks belonging to Sesame Workshop (formerly Children’s Television Workshop), New York, NY 10019.