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Friday, August 24, 2012

My ~Aha~ Moment

My ~Aha~ Moment
Conversation with the Lord

Today I thought I would share with you a conversation that I had recently with a ~new to Christ~ young lady in which she ask "What was the one thing that made me realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord actually sees us and hears our individual prayers".

I honestly had to think long and hard about that as throughout my Christian life the Lord has done so many things that I ask of Him; some of those things feel so trivial to me now that I am frankly much too embarrassed to mention. Yet; answer those prayers He did as well, trivial or not.

But; what was the One thing that was my defining ~Aha~ moment?

And then I knew what it was. Those of you that are pet lovers will completely understand this story while those that are ... not so much ... probably won't get the full impact of the significance of my ~moment~ but I hope you do.

Years ago I had a miniature schnauzer named Buddy. I know ... not very original but it so suited him perfectly because he was absolutely my "buddy", my "pal", my "laugh a moment fuzzy ball of pure joy". If it is any consolation his name was suppose to be "Winston" which is a very dignified and proper name for a schnauzer but Buddy just seemed to describe his personality so much better.

From the moment we brought him home as a tiny little puppy it seemed as if he had always been there and knew the routine of toilet activity. Listen; I have my share of potty training puppy stories and puppies that will eat the finish off the walls if you leave them alone for even a second but Buddy seem to come pre-wired with the do's and don't's of what is acceptable behavior. All of the Lysol wipes, potty pads, carpet cleaner etc. etc. that I purchased prior to bringing him home went unused and stashed under the sink.

Soon we settled into a routine of day to day life. If I got up to get something Buddy followed me. If I went outside for fresh air Buddy went to. When I went to bed Buddy went to bed and when I got up in the morning Buddy got up in the morning. He even insisted that I leave the bathroom door cracked so he could lie on the rug while I took a shower. Secretly; I believe that his favorite time of the day was when I curled up on my chaise lounge to read or watch TV- in which case he also curled up on the chaise and took a nap.

Not so secretly my favorite time of the day was when I gave him his dog bone chew and instead of eating it he walked around with it hanging out of the side of his mouth and I promise you it looked as if he was smoking a cigar. Why I found that so hilarious I have no idea but every time he did it; it just cracked me up. He looked like Humphrey Bogart. So I started calling his dog bone a Bogart. I would say to him "Go get your Bogart ... Humphrey" and off he'd run and come back with it hanging out the side of his mouth and I would laugh every single time.

So; yes. I was completely "gone" over this dog. Completely "over the moon gone" for him. Every day he would make me laugh about something and it feels so very good to laugh just for the pure joy of laughing; doesn't it?

A little before Buddy's third birthday I got up with the alarm and went to make coffee and of course Buddy followed me in the kitchen. While I was waiting on the coffee to perk I said "Humphrey; where is your Bogart this morning"? and off he ran to get it. He came back into the kitchen with it hanging out of the side of his mouth just like he always did- promptly dropped the bone on the floor in front of me and then fell over onto his side. I thought he was just goofing off but just that quickly Buddy had died. No fuss, no muss, no nothing - he just simply died.

Well; it's 5 o'clock in the morning and the Vet's office doesn't open up until 7 am so I just sat on the floor in the kitchen and held him in my lap and cried until I could take him to the Vet. Not of course because I thought there was anything to be done. What can you do with death but just deal with it? But; if I had to deal with it then I demand to know why! Why was this wonderful creature that had brought me so much joy gone at such a young age? How could this happen? How could this be? I wanted answers and the Vet came to the conclusion that Buddy appeared to have suffered a massive heart attack.

How? What? Why? Had I not kept up with every conceivable test, inoculation, exam known to veterinary medicine? Had I not fed him the veterinary recommended nutritious diet? Stayed away from giving him "people food"? Given him daily bouts of exercise and free play time? Had him regularly bathed and groom right there at the veterinary office? So; how is it that my beloved dog is dead? The best the Vet could say was that he simply must have had some undetectable heart problem which resulted in a heart attack and that's just that.

Anywho; my dear sweet Buddy was dead and my heart hurt in ways that simply defy explanation. I cried every time he crossed my mind or those unexpected times when it just skips your mind that they are no longer there. You expect them to be lying on the rug when you step out of the shower and when you pull back the curtain and they are not you are reminded all over again that they are gone and they aren't ever coming back.

I am not entirely sure when the idea rooted in my mind to find out definitively that animals go to Heaven and that one day I would see Buddy again. Frankly; I just always assumed that they did. But now I had to know for certain. I was like a mad woman possessed. I Had To Know! I read every Scripture that I could dig up. I spent hours on the Internet reading the arguments of those that were "for" and those that were "against" animals going to Heaven. The decision was so split that it only caused me more anxiety. The more anxious I became the more sadder I became. The more sadder I became the more I cried. It was a vicious circle and more than a few times I seriously considered getting professional help. Surely it is not normal to grieve this much over the loss of a dog?!

But of course, as is often the way, we underestimate the ways in which the Lord will reveal Himself to us and His love for us; don't we?

Left with no where left to turn to discover beyond a shadow of a doubt that our beloved pets go to Heaven; I went to sit out on the back patio and just pray. I cried out to the Lord that I had to know. I told Him of every avenue- including the Bible - that I had looked for the answer and came up confused and unsure. I cried and I poured my heart out to Him. Finally I said "Please Lord please. Tell me that Buddy is in Heaven and one day I will see him again. Please. I have to know".

Sitting out there on the patio there wasn't so much as a hint of a breeze. It had been that way for weeks. Just hot, muggy and still. It was the subject of most every conversation around here.

While I waited sad and quiet for the Lord to speak to my heart; to answer my prayer, all of the sudden a wind blew up. More than a breeze but far from a gale; just a soft warm wind came blowing up out of no where and then there rolling like a tumble weed across the patio was a large tuft of Buddy's hair! and it stopped at my foot and then the wind stopped blowing. There it was so shiny and silvery and I leaned down and picked it up and then I smelled it. It had that same lovely vanilla scented shampoo smell that Buddy had whenever he went to be groomed. But; Buddy had been dead for months and schnauzers do not shed their hair! Nonetheless; there it was. A big tuft of Buddy's bright shiny silver hair smelling like fresh vanilla shampoo and then all I could do was fall on my knees and Praise God right there on the patio!

Jesus; in all of His wondrous Glory and infinite love had heard my prayers and had answered it in a way that left me knowing so many wonderful things. Yes; Jesus hears our individual prayers. Yes; what matters to us matters to Him. Yes; what grieves us also grieves Him. And Yes! Buddy is in Heaven and one day I will see him again. Jesus is taking care of him; just like He'll take care of me when I die. Just as He takes care of me while I am alive. And you too.

There is nothing that escapes the attention of the Lord. Everything about our lives He is completely in tune to. Our hurts, our fears, our joys- all of it. If it effects you then it effects Him. You are not small. You are not insignificant. Jesus loves you so much that He is willing to do anything to win you over to accept the love He has for you.

Why do you resist that love? Why can't you just accept the love that is offered to you so freely?

It isn't weakness when you bend your knee to the Master. It's strength. It takes courage to admit that you aren't doing so well on your own and need help.

If you believe my story - and I hope you will - and you can clearly see in the telling of it the lengths in which Jesus was willing to go to the answer my prayer over a little dog; ask yourself what would He be willing to do for me to accept His Grace and Mercy?

My defining ~Aha~ moment. What will yours be?
In His Service,

“Let your beauty be found in “the hidden person of the heart,
with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is very precious in the sight of God.”
1 Peter 3:4

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