What am I going back to? I’ve been sitting with this question for quite some time. I read Tracy’s encouraging post about returning to her life after a season of challenge, embracing new and old things she enjoys and feels called to do. You can read it here. Then I read Jen’s thought-provoking post about returning to her past and using 5 questions to embrace deeper healing. Check hers out here.
As for me, nothing much was making sense until I realized the answer was staring me straight in the eye.
Literally. Two precious dark-brown puddles of love watching me type.
World – meet Cynthia or, as we call her, Scout.
I’m a pet owner again, for the first time in over six years, and it’s so.much.fun.
Scout is the most loving, patient, laidback dog I’ve ever met, let alone owned. She rarely barks, loves belly rubs, and is usually found within a couple of feet of me, often snuggling close to my feet.
Scout is also a rescue dog. Several weeks ago a friend posted her picture in search of a foster family to take her in. My husband and I had been talking about adopting a dog, but we weren’t sure how the kids would do with a dog, or how a dog would handle them. When I saw my friend’s post, I realized fostering might be a great way to test the waters.
Yeah, I know. You see where this is going, don’t you?
After I made arrangements to pick Scout up one morning, I realized I was nervous. It had been a long time since I owned a dog, and I was hesitant to let one into my heart again.
My first dog was a Dachshund named Otto. I was a baby and don’t remember him at all, only stories of him chasing me which quickly prompted my parents to find him another home. Twenty-six years passed until Abby, a golden retriever, strolled into my life through my first marriage. She was older, sweet, and fairly laid back. Abby died peacefully under a tree at friend’s house while we were on vacation a few years later.
Then came Lady, a beautiful Sheltie who quickly adopted my youngest daughter, Emma, as her buddy. Wherever Emma was, Lady was nearby. It made sense then, in a way, that Lady died in the same fire that took Emma’s life. (You can read more about that here)
About a year after our life turned inside out, I learned of a rescue, Beauty. She could’ve been Lady’s older sister. We cared for her through her final years of life until she died a little over six years ago.
Heart-wrenching, I know. To become attached to a pet only to have it die, not once but three times. What in the world was my husband thinking when he mentioned getting a dog?
Sometimes I wonder.
Didn’t he know how difficult it was going to be to enjoy another pet? Didn’t he know the pain it could cause? The worry? The work? The poop-clean up?
But when I saw her picture on my friend’s page, asking for a foster family, something stirred in me and before I knew it, I responded we’re interested!
I know what it means to be rescued. I know the depths of loneliness and fear. I know the pain of regret and disappointment. I know the darkness of grief and loss. I know what it’s like to be cast aside, to be lost and desperately in need of compassion and care, to be wanted, just as I am.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18, NLT
But I also know what it’s like to meet the One who loves me so much that He sent His Son to earth to make a way back to Him (Ephesians 2:5). The One who lavishes His love over me (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT). The One who calls me by name (John 10:3).
I know these truths, but sometimes I forget. I forget the depth of God’s love for me.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:18, NLT
I forget that He delights in me (2 Samuel 22:20) as I begin to work and strive, hoping to earn His affection as if I’m reminding Him why I’m worth loving. I glance at my schedule and see good work after good work until exhaustion sets in. And when exhaustion takes hold, the whispers of the enemy growl loud.
Why would anyone want to hear what you have to say?
If they really knew you and what you’ve done, what you’ve thought . . . they’d all walk away.
Accusation tumbles over accusation as my worth falters under the weight of lies. Finally, when the pressure feels too great to carry, I turn with head low and eyes down, hopeful that God will take me back. That He’ll allow me to return to the safety of His wings.
His voice begins to speak louder than the lies.
I love you. (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
You are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
There is nothing that will ever change that. There is nothing that can every snatch you away. (John 10:28)
I delight in you simply because you’re my daughter.
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17, NLT
Yes, I definitely know what it’s like to be rescued, to be restored and welcomed into God’s family not as a guest or a foster, but as a full-fledged daughter of the King. And as His daughter, I’m learning that He delights in me, longs to give me good things, and not only redeems the places in my heart that have been broken by loss and sin, but restores them as well.
And sometimes it shows up in the form of a precious pup named Scout.
What truth or characteristic about God do you need to return to? Join the conversation by posting below or heading over to our Facebook page to share. We’d love to hear from you!