She tests me.
She pulls away.
She is loyal.
She is strange.
She’s my dog.
Almost 5 years ago, I adopted this strange little creature from an animal shelter here in Los Angeles. I always loved dogs, but never had my very own. You see, I was 18 years old and thought that I was ready to handle some responsibility. While this may have been true, I definitely didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
As silly as it may sound to you, this 7 pound creature has taught me a lot over the years. She has tested my patience and prepared me for life in ways that I didn’t expect.
My sweet Abby, who was probably abused before I adopted her, found herself afraid to move when I first brought her home. She wouldn’t move, eat, or even go to the bathroom. She would just lie in the same spot on the floor and stare at me. After a couple days of kind words, loving discipline, training, lots of petting, and nurturing her back to health, she slowly gravitated toward me (and is now glued to me as we speak).
I had to save her. I had to nourish her and love her for her to feel free at last in my arms. Often times I think about what Jesus has done for me, what he sacrificed, his absolute infinite love, and without his nurturing care for me, I would be much like Abby was when I found her. She was 3 pounds, malnourished, infection ridden, so sick, couldn’t eat, and was barely making it alive on her own.
My eyes fill with tears as I recall my time prior to having authentic relationship with Jesus. Trying to do life my way wasn’t working. I was sick physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
“I once was lost, but now I’m found.”
I often joke that my dog is preparing me for children. She is neurotic, throws up in cars, doesn’t travel well, is very codependent, moody at times, and requires a lot of love, grace, and attention. She is just one part of my full time lifetime job of being a homemaker, almost wife, dog care taker, actor, writer, model, speaker. Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing I have to factor her into the choices I make. Waking up early to walk her, factoring her into my budget.
But isn’t that who I am to my Father? I am His neurotic, codependent, flawed, silly girl. And only His unconditional love allows me the abundant life. A life of amazing grace. He thinks I’m worth the work.
The things we love the most in life will ask the most effort of us. It will expend our energy. Push our buttons. Test our limits. But they are so very worth it. They grow us.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
I love that passage of scripture because when I get anxious or doubt, it puts in perspective how God sees me. Do you have an Abby? A dog? A cat? A fish? A plant? If you care for these things, and even knowing that God Himself cares for these, don’t you believe He will care so much deeper for you…His girl?
Remember His amazing grace today and never forget how valuable you are in His kingdom.