It has been a few years since I lost my sweet Rascal dog. My husband and I adopted her when the family who owned her told us she had developed behavioral problems around their children. She was a senior citizen when she arrived in our home, so we immediately knew each day was precious. We had four wonderful years with that loveable black dog and I was heartbroken when she passed. I didn’t know I could love a dog so much.
This August, I published my first book. The initial chapter is about Rascal. For several months now, I’ve had numerous readers talk to me about her. Sometimes our conversations feel like someone is pulling me around by my hair. It hurts that much. But other times, they remind of the unconditional love of a pet and how Rascal shared that with me.
After she passed, I debated long and hard about getting another dog. When I finally decided to look, one of the options was from a litter of squirming puppies. The breeder picked up a female and handed her to me. My first thought was, “This little one will break your heart.” Memories of Rascal’s passing barred me from enjoying the wriggles and soft licks of this newborn pup. Before we finally took Lily home, I visited that litter three or four times anxiously holding one of the female puppies, pondering if I was making the right decision.
It is so easy to allow life to close down your heart but when you do, you miss out on some of the most wonderful things in life. The worries, the potential for heartbreak, the fear of the unknown rob us of the joy of now.
I don’t think of myself as a worrier. Apprehension about life isn’t my typical modus operandi, sometimes pushing my risk-taking much further than I should. I’ve found, however, I can’t hide my fears right before bedtime. Negative thoughts swirl through my mind keeping me up. I often need to remind myself to set aside my worries – to get up in the morning and strive to live to the fullest because that is what God wants.
God’s love for us knows no borders. He desires for us to thrive in this world. Holding on to fear, failures and worry is being in bondage. 1 Peter 5:7 states, Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. I’ve often struggled with bringing past hurts and disappointments into my present and allowed them to rob me of my joy.
The present is a brightly wrapped gift. God wholeheartedly desires we enjoy it. Fears and doubts rob us of His blessings. Every day overflows with miracles poured down on us from our Heavenly Father. I don’t want to miss a single one of them. Do you?
Had I not opened my heart to that little puppy, I would have missed a lot. I wouldn’t know the joy of driving Lily to the doggie park. I would have been unaware of how she knows the way, bouncing up and down with excitement in the back seat sometimes barking loudly as if to say, “Can’t you make this car go any faster?” And I would have remained ignorant of the beauty in watching her romp with her canine friends. Sometimes I can hardly contain my bliss, wanting to fall to my knees in the park to thank Him.
We can always come to Him with thanksgiving. He is faithful to provide. He helped me overcome my fears of loving a new dog and replaced them with the sweetness of hours enjoyed with her. Captivated by that simple pleasure, I’ve learned when fears and worries creep into my life, I only need replace them with gratitude.
It is the same with you. The God of peace will be with you for all time. He is always beside you and he always will be. Embrace the peace that comes from focusing intently on Him. And live unafraid.
Cast every anxious moment, every heartbreak on Him. Walk by faith. Live by faith. Don’t miss out on all the grand adventures God has planned for you. Don’t miss a single moment.