Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Clanking Bowl

                                                                      google image

I tugged at the pink fleece, bringing it to my chin as I sank into the worn leather seat; its cushions created an enveloping refuge.  The fire next to me, cast green and golden hues. The fresh scent of newly laundered fleece and the sounds of the TV caused my eyelids to grow heavy and without my knowing I drifted into a peaceful slumber.


I'm not sure how many times I heard the noise before I found my way back to consciousness. The familiar clanking of ceramic against the hard wood caught my attention. I could hear it as it spun around the floor; spinning fast at first, then slowing with each repetition, coming to a quick crescendo before its final halt. I opened my eyes, knowing the sound far to well. Yet comfort called to me again; soothing was the crackling of the fire.  My eyes closed. And as I began to drift away, I heard it for a second time. My eyes flew wide and I waited. . .

While clearing the fog from my eyes, "it" came just as I suspected; a low guttural growl from the kitchen door way.  A simple request from an friend; Shadow's usual and final plea before his Lassie like bark.  I dreaded the idea of moving from the comfort of my seat by the fire, but I knew far to well Shadow would not give up easily.  The fleece fell to the couch as I shuffled into my slippers and headed into the next room.



There in the middle of the floor stood the empty water bowl, Shadow next to it. A smile tugged at my heart as I recognized his trust in me. My old friend, thirsty as he was, knew I would be the one to satisfy his thirst if he could get my attention.  I pet his head and began to run the water cool, waiting for just the perfect temperature. His tail wagged as he pawed at me; another request.  I felt for him, how awful it is to be thirsty. The sound of the running water caused "Bo Bear," Shadow's brother to come into the kitchen.

 I could not help but ponder over their contrasting personalities. Though Bo was also thirsty, he never attempted to alert me of his desire for fresh water.  Yet, Shadow never gave up, always knocking, faithful that I would hear and respond. Persistent is Shadow, that special one of mine, trusting me to lavish him in love; knowing I will give him what is needed and what is best.

As I stared into the stream of clear water I was reminded of the Lord's words ,  "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink." (John 7:37)

The Psalmist words followed, "As a deer pants for  streams of water,  so my soul pants for you, my God." (Psalm 42:1)


       Clean water refreshes, cleanses and heals. It replenishes and gives life.


God spoke to my heart showing me that we can learn a lot from Shadow's persistence. When we are running on empty, dry as a bone and thirsty, who or what do we turn to for refreshing?  In what or whom do we trust to satisfy our our deepest needs? Are we like Shadow, persistent to knock at our master's door; trusting/believing that he will hear us, that he will satisfy?  Do we trust God's love enough that we would knock long and hard?

               "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7: 7-8

   Yes, Shadow panted, he thirst. He knocked, trusting that I would respond by giving him refreshing waters. Do we desire Yeshua and his promises with such persistence?


When, like the bowl, our souls run empty we have a choice. We can, like Bo, stay quiet and not request refreshing; or we can choose to walk in faith and trust in the Good Master, Jesus, whose desire is to satisfy our deepest needs with his unending well. He longs to fill us, if only we would knock.

I am grateful for the things the Lord teaches me through my sweet and faithful pups.  An empty bowl clanking on the floor, who would have thought? But what a wonderful reminder to us that God desires us to come to him knocking while believing in His goodness.  Trusting that He is the living water, the unending wellspring of life who longs to refresh the emptiest of souls.

                                                  Linking with:



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Corn Pile

Lately I have wondered if Shadow has become hard of hearing or simply more stubborn in his old(er) age. Inside the house he still is "attached at the hip" following me from one place to the next, but outside seems to have become a different story.

                                  It seems he has found a new love. . .
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When the leaves begin to turn crimson and gold, my son, Caleb, places piles of corn out back for the wild life to enjoy. He continues to do so through out the winter season. We've enjoyed a herd of deer that comes to visit each dawn and dusk.They skip from our neighbor's apple tree to our yard for their meals. We watch as they prance around and wait with baited breath to see the old buck make his way through the woods into our yard. Yet, somehow Shadow feels he too falls into the wild life category; as he sneaks his way to a pile hidden behind an old evergreen. 

Corn is not good for puppies (or old dogs). It can cause all kinds of physical ailments, and it can cause an already pudgy puppy to become even pudgier and lazy.  Over the years I've been very careful to give only the best food to our dogs so they can be healthy and vibrant. I love them and want only the best for them, but I cannot compete with their desire for the forbidden goodies.  I've talked to my son regarding removing the corn, but that's another story for another time. He insists on feeding the wildlife. But would someone please inform Shadow that he IS. NOT. A. DEER?

This winter the cold weather has brought an even greater challenge. You see, as I call out the back door to Shadow, he seldom will come running and no longer glances up, as if intoxicated by the corn before him.  In the early morning hours, I've been know to traipse out to the corn pile to bring him back inside to eat his own healthy breakfast. Once he sees me he usually will walk sheepishly toward me- ears back, or run for the door. There have even been times I can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he tries to weigh which he desires most, the corn or my affection.  And do you have any idea how awkward it is walking out to the back fence in Angry Bird footie pajamas?? The neighbors must get a good laugh at my expense.

This morning was no exception (except I wore a coat over my PJ's). I called his name as I made the trek toward the back fence. My sweet (and ornery) puppy was deeply distracted once again by the corn.  I walked closer still repeating his name, and still there was no response. My heart began to sink at the thought that perhaps my sweet friend could no longer hear my voice.  And as he fed his growing belly he lost sight of me. However, I could see him; his nose to the ground as he chomped on a nugget of corn.  Approaching the pile I called one last time. He looked up, a bit startled and came to me, sitting at my feet. I gave him a pat on the head and then scolded him pointing to the door. He trotted ahead of me.  Even in my anger, my heart swelled.  I just love that dog. He's a special one alright!

The truth is that I know his heart still wants to please me, but he has become so easily distracted by the corn that he's loses his focus. My voice,  he no longer listens for.  As I walked back to the house in my footies,  I felt the Lord tug at my heart about my own distractions.  Once again the Lord taught me about faithfulness through my dear old friend, Shadow.

How many times as believers have we become so distracted by our own earthy desires, that we have completely missed the call of our master?  How often have we chosen to "feed" on unhealthy things rather than the pure food of the Lord? And how many times have we found ourselves so caught up in what we wanted that we no longer listened for our master's voice? 

From time to time we all have our own piles of "corn" that keeps us from hearing the loving call of our master.  He calls us to safety, to the wonderful feast He has waiting for us, yet often times in our stubbornness we refuse to listen, to hear.
The Lord whispers in his quiet gentle voice, desiring to shower us with his love and affection. He knows there will always be distractions of the heart, but it is His grace that draws us back to him, back to our first love.  It is true: hearing is not only with our ears but with our heart. May we stop "chomping on a nugget" long enough to hear his loving voice calling to us once again. Thankfully, He never loses sight of us and comes looking for us even when we're at the corn pile.
                      "May he who has ears,  hear." ~Jesus
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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Grabbing His Boots


     My sweet "puppy" Shadow, (who is actually 13 years old) went outside this morning so he could "do his business."   Chicago has been referred to as Chiberia the last few days because it actually has been colder than Siberia. It is so bitter cold that Shadow's little paws  kept giving out from underneath him as he attempted to relieve himself. He'd pull one paw up, then the next, then the next, his body sinking into the snow as he tried to alleviate the pain. Squatting became almost impossible for him.  I watched from inside, my heart aching. When he finally finished he began the short trek through the drifts back to the house. Sadly he was unable to walk and needed to lie down in the snow to give his paws and legs some relief. All the while his eyes stayed on me. Immediately, I left the door to run for some boots. Within a few seconds, I was out the door.  In that short time he had managed to pull himself up and began limping/crawling through the snow toward the house; his eyes still on the door.  His determination made me run faster.  He wasn't far off,  yet it was far enough that it was torturous. Right away I wrapped my arms around his soft neck, giving him a reassuring hug, guiding and encouraging him all the way back.  Once inside, his paws were inspected as I dried them with a warm towel.  I spoke softly and slathered him in love like only a loving master can do.  His tail began to wag as he gave kisses and I knew my sweet friend was going to be okay.  I just love that Dog.  He's a special one alright.  It was classic Lassie-like moment. How faithful is my Shadow!


      I began to think how a believers's life is much the same way.
Often times we find ourselves crawling through painful circumstances and   desire to get back to the safe arms of the One who loves us the most. When Shadow could no longer see his master at the door, he became determined to find her,  in spite of his pain. What a picture of faith.

    Sometimes during the most painful storms we ourselves lose sight of God  and wonder where He has gone. Some cry out and feel abandoned, ready to throw in the towel; while others keep trekking along, eyes still on the door longing for their master to return.  What many don't realize is that God is simply "grabbing his boots."   The question for us is this:  "Will we stay in that place of pain,  with the weight of it all pulling us to the ground and become paralyzed by it? Or will we, like Shadow,  push through the pain; giving it our all and never losing faith that the one who loves us most is simply "grabbing his boots"?

Psalm 25:15  "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare."