I haven't been writing much lately because I am all over the place...mentally and physically. In addition to our busy weekend, my husband flew to Chicago for a conference Sunday and I traveled to join him for a brief getaway yesterday. This quick escape is wonderfully timed. Life for me right now is FULL--full of duties, worries, decisions and circumstances beyond my control. And as I search for how I am to respond to it all, I keep being reminded of my nine year old chocolate lab, Haley.
Haley spent the first seven years of her life as an 'outside dog.' We live on a large lot with an invisible fence, so she was able to run and play or nap in the sun daily, then retire to her kennel in the garage at night. When my trio started eating from high chairs, Haley was also granted admission to the kitchen after meals. She was far more efficient as the clean up crew than this weary Mama. It was an enviable 'dog's life.'
A year and half ago, while playing fetch, Haley blew out her knee. The injury left her lame and after a trial of six weeks of indoor rest she had surgery. Her post-operative instructions called for four more months of indoor rest. Her knee is now completely healed. Her physical health has been restored. Yet, the combined six months of indoor life changed Haley.
She is now an inside dog that sometimes (reluctantly) goes out. Our family has bonded with her on a level much deeper than the more recreational enjoyment we experienced before. When we are outside she wants to be there. She still loves to run, play, fetch and swim, but when we go back inside she insists on accompanying us.
I thought at first it was because of the weather, but it has become clear it is about our presence. She has traded 'freedom' for relationship. She simply wants to be where we are. She waits anxiously for us to come home. She tries to get in my car when I am taking the children to school. Home for Haley is wherever we are.
Earlier this week as I sat down to work on my laptop Haley came and collapsed at my feet. As she laid her head on her paws she let out a sigh that I envied. It was a clear indication that she was relieved and completely at peace. Then, she took a nap.
God used that moment to speak to me. THIS is what I mean by abiding, Jen. THIS is the type of peace and rest I want your soul to find in my presence. THIS is why I wanted Mary at my feet, not in the kitchen scurrying. Slow down. Stop fussing and fretting. REST in me. Not because you know how it will all turn out, but because I AM ENOUGH.
It's humbling when God has to use your old dog to teach you a lesson...but He did.
I am often far more of a yappy dog in my relationship with Him. Jumping up and down, barking, whining, begging for what I want from my Master. He doesn't reject me for that or put me out, but the most intimate moments are those when I collapse at His feet with a sigh and find comfort and rest. Today I am challenged to be more like Haley.
“Come to me, all you who are weary
and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am
gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29