What My Dog Teaches Me About Grace: Happy National Dog Day!

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Today is National Dog Day, so I had to post about my favorite dog of all. A little over 5 years ago, I adopted a sweet, wonderful, chihuahua mix from a shelter here in LA. Since my dog, Abby, wasn’t a puppy when I rescued her (she is almost 10 years old), there are a few things she’s learned…and a few things she hasn’t. They do say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and I suppose that is true sometimes.

For instance, up until I got married 6 months ago, Abby slept in bed with me every night. She would snuggle as close as she could get. For a single girl living alone, I loved it! But 2 months before I got married, I thought it might be time to train her to sleep on her own. Much to my surprise, Abby learned very quickly and loves sleeping on her own (in a very comfortable chair topped with a pillow and blanket…yes-she’s spoiled…but at least it keeps her out of our bed!).

One thing she hasn’t quite mastered, though, is that every time I take Abby for a walk, she drives me crazy because she pulls on the leash. She pushes it to it’s absolute limit. She somehow thinks that her 7 pound, bone-skinny body will be able to lead me in any direction other than the one I want to take. This little dog tugs and tugs…using every bit of strength and energy she has. Worst of all, she sometimes pulls and tries to go into the road or toward a moving vehicle! This makes me wonder…after all of these years of me feeding her, protecting her, taking such good care of her, and keeping her alive, does she still not trust me to guide her?

When this thought hit me…it also dawned on me that this must be how God feels. How many times have I pulled away, tugged to break loose, shut Him out, and run far from His perfect plan for me? You see…God sees the moving cars in our way, the red flags, the destruction, the damage. And in the midst of His perfect love and faithfulness, still, I run in my own direction straight into harm’s way.

There’s something really interesting about my chihuahua, though. Most of the time, she doesn’t know what she is running toward. However, my old apartment building had this really long hallway that lead straight to my front door. It’s completely closed in and safe…and while it is a long hall, it is thin…the narrow path. Abby loves my husband, Nathan. Truly, she thinks she is his dog. When Nathan would go on walks with us in my old building, he always runs to my door before us. Then, I turn the corner with Abby…she sees him standing at the door. I let her off of her leash…and she runs straight into his arms. Once she sees him, she knows where she belongs…she remembers. And she is ready to go home.

Have I given up on my dog just because she tries to break free? No. And God’s grace does’t work like that, either. His faithfulness to you and I is so fierce, so strong, and completely unconditional. Because no matter how many times you try to pull away, when you are ready to run back into His loving arms, He will be right there waiting to catch you.

Don’t forget to hug as many dogs today as possible! 🙂

{Photo credit: Emily Magers Photography}

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