“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.”
Okay folks, prepare yourselves for a long one…and a weird one. It all started on January 8th, 2018…Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap…okay so neither of those things is true. But to make a long story short, as mom and I sat in the living room discussing the finer things in life (Golden Girls) a bat came swooping at my face. We chased it around the living room, then followed it upstairs, and then I hit it with a frying pan, mom wrapped it in a towel, and we took it outside and set it free. (For the people reading this who care more about the binged bat than the mortified Maggie, he flew away into the darkness with no struggle.)
Upon returning to the house mom and I mad ample jokes about not enjoying the experience. We made joke upon joke about how it only seemed fair that the next animal trapped in the house with us would be a cute one (the last animal before this bat…was his bat cousin). I vowed to hurt anyone who complained about lady bugs (and I mean it) and explained very simply to God that the next animal that gets trapped in our house with us needed to be a puppy.
Fast forward. I had made plans to see my oldest (that sounds bad) long-timeiest friend today but she has been sick with the plague and suggested I stay away for fear of the zombie apocalypse. So I did. However, today at around three, as I sat working on some stuff for my upcoming event (January 27th, 6:30, 314 South Franklin Rd. Mount Airy) I was kind of…washed over with a feeling of loneliness. Mom has been visiting with family today and it was just Rigsby and me around the house.
So I moved out of my windowless basement to the upstairs part of the house. Thought some sunshine might help. And I picked up my current reading material. I highly recommend Donald Miller’s Searching for God Knows What. Never have I read such a book! It is about having relationship with Jesus not religion about Jesus. Miller suggests (rightly so) that if we are seeking first the relational aspect of faith in Jesus, our relationships with others will kind of…work itself out. So in this fit of loneliness, I was trying to keep my fallen mind on my risen Savior.
As the quiet introspection grew…so did my annoyance. I hate clocks. The really loud ones that tick constantly, their repetitious and syncopated tocking disrupting everything that could be mistaken as a perfect silence. I also hate all other repetitious and syncopated sounds. Which is what I was hearing. A high pitched and irritating noise. Suddenly, my ears adjusted to it.
It’s a dog. “So, we have dogs.” I reasoned. Then my mind got away from me. We have a couple heat lamps set up for our outside dogs because it has been so cold but as a pyrophobic, I am sure we’re going to burn the house down. That is when my brain decided that the dogs must be on fire. So I put down my book and stepped out on the porch.
Well, really more like a yelp. I quickly surmised that these noises were too small to be coming from our black lab and striped Clydesdale (plott hound). I let my ears guide me off the porch, down the side of the house where our two dogs came to meet me proving once and for all it was not them. The three of us ventured through the woods down to the creek and there he was. A tiny little snowball trapped on the steep incline on the opposite side of our creek under a tree.
You wouldn’t have believed the action I jumped to if you had witnessed it yourself. In two minutes I ran back to the house, changed out of my shorts, put on overalls, wool socks, boots, and a sweatshirt, and made it back to the creek. Now the tricky part. The edges of our creek have frozen in this extreme cold about a foot in from the shore. So I cracked away at the ice and then started looking for a good foothold to keep my feet as dry as possible.
Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen.
Slugging through frozen water up to my knees I crossed the ten feet of creek to the other side. I then walked on my knees across a patch of ice to get to the puppy. There were no arguments from him as I grabbed his dirty and shaking little body. I stuck my arm under his belly from the back between all four legs. He wrapped his four legs around me as tight as he could. When I needed my arm to get up the bank, I had to peel him off of the one arm and wrap him in the other quickly to keep him from freaking out! I scanned the bank for any siblings but quickly returned to the house as I realized…I couldn’t feel my feet. I peeled off the wet things and layered on new dry things then watched this tiny pup inhale a small bowl of milk. As I watched him…the irony began to sink in.
Friends, as a joke last night, I literally said, “God, the next time something is in our house it better be a puppy!” Go ahead, ask me what’s in the bathtub right now. A puppy! If you don’t know me very well it is hard for you to comprehend just how much I LOVE DOGS AND PUPPIES and anything having to DO WITH DOGS AND PUPPIES. So this may not seem like a very big deal, and some would roll their eyes and say, “You really believe God sent you a puppy?” And I would say to them, in my best puppy face, while holding up this precious little fuzzy nugget, “Yes I do! Yes I do!”
But here’s the beautiful thing, my second irony. Ask me if I’ve been lonely tonight. Ask me if Satan has had the opportunity to sneak into my mind and convince me that I am all alone and have no one, which is a song he has been playing on repeat in my life since November 7th, 2016. Go ahead and ask me. Now ask me, if at one point this evening, I was sitting in my favorite chair, with my beloved Rigsby laying on the reclined part between my legs, and my new friend Nugget sleeping on his back in my arms with his little front feet wrapped around his little back feet.
I wrote recently about a little boy named Jaxon. As a random FYI, Jaxon is continuing to improve every day. It is amazing. But I had a painful epiphany when I found out he was doing better and was amazed at how wonderful that made me feel. You see, I prayed for Jaxon, and in a way I can’t explain because I don’t even fully understand it, I believed God for that little boy in a way I’ve never believed Him for anything before. And I realized the reason: I had no stake in it. I had nothing to lose. If this little boy didn’t get better, I didn’t know him…I didn’t have to deal with the hard questions of why would God let a little boy die. I could really get in there and believe God for healing because I wasn’t afraid of facing what would happen if God didn’t.
But God has. And He continues to. And the whole thing has been an educational experience for this girl. I want to be in a relationship with Jesus. I want to love Jesus as my best friend and bridegroom since that is what He is. I want a Romeo and Juliet kind of love knowing that I don’t have to die at the end of the story because my love did (again, you should really read Searching for God Knows What). And it just so happens that my love, my friend, my bridegroom…my Romeo, He gifts me with other loves and friends and maybe someday a bridegroom (I already have the Romeo and he is a golden retriever), Jesus gifts me with these things because He loves me and His love is a giving love. A selfless love.
That is why I have a puppy in my bathtub. That is why I had a bat in my house. That is how Jaxon’s miraculous recovery is being used to affect lives. That is why Jesus is my love. That is why I love Jesus.
Also…does anyone want a puppy?