Is Your Compass set to TRUE North?

Being lost is an awful feeling. I recall after being deposited in Romania to continue working on our adoption, several weeks had passed and I was wanting to venture out on my own to attend an English-speaking church. I did not have a car and I wanted to try and get around alone on the bus system there. I needed to take a bus from the small town where I was staying to the larger city of Suceava nearby. I had not yet developed my language skills enough to function well, but decided to go for it anyway.

It was so nice to attend the Wednesday evening worship service and meet other English-speaking people. After the service, I found my way back to the center of town. I knew the bus number that would take me back to Ițcani where I was staying with our soon-to-be-adopted children and their cousins. The problem was I got on the bus in one location and wasn’t quite sure where to get off because of the route it took back. I was told that some of the buses that head to the Gara (train station) quit for the night and I did not want to walk alone, in the dark all the way from the train station! When I figured I was close enough to my destination and saw that most of the people were getting off near the viaduct, I got off and followed the crowd. As they confidently began to disburse in different directions I began to fear becoming vulnerable, uncertain of which way to go, yet did not want to stop and appear lost. Thankfully, I recognized a storefront that I had been in the week before with cousin Angela and I was able to confidently walk down the street that led to their home.

I shared that story to say the crowd can feel safe for a while but eventually, you have to know for yourself where you’re headed. Without a true inner compass to guide you, there will be times of vulnerability and fear. Our world is only growing more troubled and confused as scripture says it would (2 Timothy 3:1-17) before Christ returns for His Bride-the Church. This is no time to live in confusion or fear. One thing is sure: if we have the confidence that God IS our Father, and the Holy Spirit is living within, we can trust Him to help us in our time of need. I urge you today if you do not yet know God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son (I John 5:20) in a personal way then seek Him while you can. You’ll want to find a church that adheres to scripture, with a shepherd that does not fear others to help you on your journey. Finding a pastor and leaders that can disciple you and that you can get to know in a personal way is so important.

YOUR COMPASS

Id’ like to have you think about your inner-compass, and ask yourself if it is sure, trustworthy, and set to True North. We had an elderly outdoorsman friend who knew all about true north vs. magnetic north. My son used to love to go treking around the Adirondack Mountains with Mr. Fred. Andre would come home having learned so much about hiking, hunting, and woodsmanship. As we trek through our agitated world, we must learn and determine for ourselves what is Truth (True North), as God our Creator explains it, versus what is relative truth (magnetic North) the way humankind interprets it. They are very different, much more than the 12-degree difference that travelers adjusting their compass for declination must do. We live in a post-Christian society that knows little anymore about the God who created us, and the need to adjust our thinking to His Word in order to rightly find our destination. walking only a few degrees off true north causes major deviation as time passes. Failure to navigate without God’s help is causing so much confusion and division in our world, and in our families.

Unless we align our heart with God’s and center ourselves in the Truth of His Word daily, we will find ourselves in compromised situations wondering what to believe or do. People end up way off course by multiplying the untruth that human wisdom alone provides. The Potter (Isaiah 64:8) who molded and made us is well able to guide us through the maze of these tumultuous days. He is the One who instructs us with the Truth about us, our world, and our condition.

DIVISION

Our society has never been so convoluted in its division. Yes, the Civil War (1861-1865) was the fruit of a major division in our country over the issue of slavery. But today we have so many issues that are not clean-cut, discernable and based upon clear criteria, such as the slave trade was. We’ve fallen into a pit of darkness concerning every possible topic one could discuss. There is no longer a sensible view of what is right or wrong. People are so confused over the simplest of matters, such as God creating people male and female (Genesis 1:27). When such an obvious biological fact becomes debatable, we have completely lost our way. Agendas abound… I do not want to be led astray by people feeding me lies, partial truth, or man-made “facts”. I want the whole truth that God offers to us in His Word.

WHERE ARE YOU HEADED?

I do not watch TV. I decided long ago that for me it wasted valuable time that I needed to invest elsewhere. If I were going to be able to think critically, I would need good source information beginning with the Bible. Next, I add to that a variety of reliable sources to learn from. I think it is wise to educate ourselves on what’s going on in the world, but if you allow the news media to interpret these events you will be misled by their viewpoint. Because of our fallen nature, all people lie to some degree, whether with intent or not: God alone is True and knows all. Human beings can only offer what they see from their limited view and particular bias. Without the lens of Scripture to help us interpret Truth from falsehood, we are left to hopelessly navigate through lies. You must decide whether your brain will be washed by the world’s thinking or by God’s Word (Romans 12:2). Even with God’s Word to guide us, we are often wrong in our views. This is why humility is so important and a highly regarded ingredient in scripture. Prayer with humility is crucial in finding our way.

WHY All THE FIGHTING?

So why is there such major divisions among us today? All people have agendas, and we are naturally (I Corinthians 2:14) governed by our sinful lusts: greed, power, fame, and self. With the transformation that Christ stepping into the center of our lives brings, we gain the opportunity to renounce these lusts by God’s grace, and live another way (Colossians 3:9). We come to know that God holds our future in His Hands (Hebrews 13:5) and we are taught to give rather than hoard things for ourselves and dominate others. We are also encouraged to speak up for the oppressed and for righteous causes (Micah 6:8). While many good people attempt to do this, the heart’s true motivation is eventually seen. Motives and desires are heart issues and our actions reveal what we believe. The clash of thinking, values and all-out war concerning ideas in the public square is because of opposing worldviews; mans vs. Gods and how we apply scripture to our lives.

WHERE IS YOUR COMPASS TAKING YOU?

We can find peace and assurance as we set our sights and resting place with God as our dwelling place, both here and in eternity. I desire to follow the inner compass God has placed within my soul. I am serving God by doing His will as He daily reveals it to me. When we fix our compass upon the scripture and are nurtured daily, feeding upon God’s abundance, we find ourselves secure under His care. But this is not the case for those who follow their own way; they call it following your heart or doing your own thing. We are told in the Bible that this will lead to destruction and worse yet, Hell (a place created for the devil and his demons, not mankind) in the end (Revelation 21:8). The decision you make today, will determine your destination, your outcome… what will it be?

Psalm 1 is my favorite, it pretty much sums up the 2 divergent groups and where they land. Think about it and decide: Am I lost… following the crowd of this world? Or, are you found in a secure, flourishing place near God’s stream of living water. He offers you abundant life, will you take it? (See John 10:10).

Psalm 1 says: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Recipe for Relief

While living in Romania, I would find joy in the morning by sitting on the porch reading God’s Word and watching Gabriel herd his sheep, and goats, down the lane. I would think about Jesus, our gentle Shepherd, and it would bring me peace. We can find ourselves at times in emotional and spiritual struggle and I hope this article brings relief to your mind during these times.

The Recipe

Read God’s Word often and ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust the Father and understand what He has written. Put on the armor of God and pray as the scriptures instructs us. Resist temptation and keep your heart clean.

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… (Ephesians 6:18)

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)

Walk humbly before God and thank Him for opening your eyes to see Him. Our real enemy is Satan, the deceiver, those who oppose God are still blind. Pray that their eyes may be opened to Truth from God.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2Corinthians 4:3-4)

Trust your Heavenly Father, He is at work in ways much higher than we know. He is in control and has authority over this world and He will bring justice in His time. Acknowledge His will above your own and pray as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:9-15.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

Fast (Isaiah 58) and pray, financially support, and speak on behalf of those who are truly oppressed. Extend yourself to those in legitimate need: children of poverty, refugees fleeing war, orphans, children in foster-care, widows without means of support (no family), preborn babies and their parents who are considering aborting them, and the families of those unjustly imprisoned for their faith.

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17.

Understand that God is allowing each heart to be revealed. God, our creator and sustainer, is warning us all (our entire world) to reflect and consider if we will submit to Him or not (individuals and governments). He is a loving Father and gave everything to extend mercy to us, but at some point, because He is also a just Creator, His righteous judgement will come. But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5)

Remember: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (I Peter 3:12)

 Photo Credit: flickr.com/Turatti

Triggered!

arrowsTriggers come in a variety of ways. I recently had the experience of being triggered by someone’s behavior that took me back to a painful place, causing me distress. To someone else, who does not have my past, it would be nothing perhaps. But to me, the situation flooded my soul with pressure, old anxiety, and a rush of blood to my heart, flushing my face. I thought, “What should I do?”

What Triggers You?
Do you have instances, times of painful remembrance that trigger you? An argument between a couple in a neighboring apartment, a parent who is offering too much advice, an impatient person, the testimony of someone who has overcome an addiction, the story of abuse recounted by the victim, a liar, an angry person, attending church? These and many other circumstances can take us back to a very painful place in our lives that brings us anxiety, doubt, and fear. BTW: Satan loves this! The more He can incite these emotions in you, the more it keeps you on ice, a bit frozen, unable to move into God’s provision and the future He’s designed for you.

I believe all people “trigger” to some degree, some of the differences in how we respond involve the degree of trauma suffered, denial, or the hunger with which we have pursued healing.

In the example of my trigger-induced-situation, I was able to recognize it for what it was and responded respectfully, not holding the unknowing person responsible for my past. Rather than blaming them for my internal response, I chose to respond through what I’ve learned. While the physiological responses to temporary stress were evident, they dissipated (my blood pressure normalized) and I could move on.

Time can heal some things, but learning how to deal with past offenses takes aTalking diligent pursuit of healing from God.

Often, relationships never mend because it takes desire and skill to navigate these waters; and some feel the relationship is just not worth the effort. Humility is a big part of healing. Recognizing that we all have sinned in some way against others helps us see how important mercy is.

Freeing ourselves from offense through forgiveness is something we can do. Additional action may also be needed. You can ask God to bring justice; He does this in ways we may never know of. He has also placed civil authorities (Romans 13:1-5) in our world to deal with law breakers.

Who Do You Trigger?
Many of us can sense when someone is causing us distress but we may have a hard time recognizing when we do the same to others. We are reminded in Philippians chapter 2 that we are to look out for the needs of others, not simply our own. Paul uses Jesus as our example in these verses. It’s true, we don’t see how often we cause pain to someone without realizing it. We are fortunate when we have the kind of relationships with others that allows for freedom, a loving-exchange of the heart, to where you can talk about these things. This honest communication works toward healing (Ephesians 4:15).

Our Healer
There are many circumstances that God uses in our lives to help us see the condition of our soul, our inner-man. As our creator and the lover of our souls, God the Father wants us to experience what He designed at creation: oneness with Him and others. Jesus came for that purpose; the Father sent Him to bring that about. He desires that we are made whole, fully integrated with Him, finding a place of peace. From there we can move forward into relating well with each other.

Freedom from the past
Think about who or what you have turned to for relief from your internal triggers?

FALSE solutions
I’d like to encourage you to be aware of the traps that are laid, by your very real enemy, to ensnare you into a false way of overcoming the past. This list seems innocuous enough at first, and you may feel very good inside from switching up to new people, places, and things… but please do not make the mistake of substituting them for the real solution.

Offended (2)1. People (Relationships): When we have had a poor or failed relationship in our past, we often believe that trying again and succeeding will cover the pain. Please be careful here. Unless you seek full disclosure within your own soul and receive healing from the past, this will only increase and multiply your issues. Don’t allow another human being to become a surrogate for God in your life.

pendulumPeople are prone to react to their past by jumping onto the pendulum and swinging it as far to the other side as possible. Overcompensating, compromising your beliefs and standards, and living out of character in a desperate attempt to normalize life, will only bring more pain down the road.

2. Places (Moves): Starting over feels good. Moving to a new location, thinking that you’re leaving the pain behind isn’t the solution. Many people change something up in their lives thinking this will offer relief. How many people have you known who attempt to find relief through some physical change, a new town, school, workplace, church? Changing locations does not change your heart and it may further complicate the situation.

3. Things (Possessions): Gaining ownership or control over things (or people) can lead to addiction if our soul is not healed. We are a society full of addiction and no one is immune from this temptation.

Looking for comfort in good things from God like food and work can become addictions if we’re not careful; habitually going to any-thing other than God is dangerous. Look at the massive time-consuming addictions of our Addictionday: social media, fake relationships, texting, sexting, pornography, gossip, gambling, gaming, shopping, drugs, alcohol, workaholism, and numerous other self-destructive behaviors, these come easily to a soul that is lacking fulfillment.

Things cannot replace the peace that God offers and the contentment found in a life centered in Him.

(Note: If we are availing ourselves to needful help and proper counsel there are times that changing people and places can serve as a good buffer for a season while actively working our side, especially where major abuse has occurred.)

Grace and Mercy

So today, will you consider what God might have you learn about yourself? Look within, rather than without at what others have done, or are doing, and realize that you decide your future. Will you be focused upon growing in grace and God’s mercy and love toward others or continuing to live in your past, the pain, the offense. Yes, triggers are real, but they do not have to control us. Our response when we are triggered is determined by the progress we’re making through God’s healing power within.

When Jesus was headed toward the cross, he knew his disciples would face difficult, traumatic experiences and so He had an important discussion with them (found in John chapters 14-15). He reminded them that their joy, confidence, and peace would come from the Father through the Spirit. He introduced them to the Comforter— whom He said would be able to take up residence inside of them. Wow! and it’s the same for us… we will face difficulties but let us be wise; pursue healing from God for ourselves and then, in turn, extend it toward others.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Reading: Forgive & Live! may be of help.

Are you Offended?

Offended 9Do you realize that Jesus spoke about offenses because He knew it would be a major obstacle for each one of us, and what we do with an offense will determine the strongholds we allow in our life? Someone experiencing turmoil in their soul will have a trail of crumbs leading to an offense.

Our Attitude, the posture of our heart, is so important when it comes to how we interact with others. Our thoughts, determine how we respond to what comes our way. On any given day we can become offended, it all depends on what’s happening in our soul.

Everyday Offenses
We all have the opportunity to react to people who rub us the wrong way or treat us disrespectfully. If we are not careful, we can develop an offended spirit; everything someone says offends us, we take it personally and allow it to turn over and over again in our minds. This is the playground of our enemy; Satan loves to bring suspicion, fear, and pride into our hearts. A freeing place to live is learning to recognize that you can control your thoughts, and what you will allow to control you. Jesus said, “offenses will come but woe unto those through whom they come.” (Matthew 18:7)

Contempt
Have you been dealt with contemptuously? Homes with addiction are breeding grounds for contempt. Lying is a given, abuse is common, scapegoats are necessary – they are created to handle the blame and feelings of shame. The large elephant consuming the space, time, and poor relational health is ignored with hopes that it will just leave; but it won’t.Offended 3

John and Julie Gottman have done extensive work over four decades on divorce prediction and marital stability, they list contempt as one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” in determining factors in marriage failure.

Contempt is not easily understood, and it comes forth in various ways. Disrespect, scoffing, sarcasm, an attitude of indifference or accusation, are traits of a contemptuous heart (Matthew 12:34).

 Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart gives a good understanding of what contempt is in Chapter 3. He points out: “… contempt serves a person entrapped there in four ways: It diminishes our shame, it deadens our longings, it makes us feel in control, and it distorts the real problem. Contempt is complex and often hard to see. It sometimes masquerades as conviction; other times is seems like righteous indignation.” 

Overcoming OffenseSOLUTIONS
STEP 1: Forgiveness – An important step in being successful in dealing with offense is to be able to forgive those who have offended you. It is a journey, and the power of God’s Word at work in your heart is crucial (Hebrews 4:12). His Word has the power to reveal what you need to see and it will retrain your brain to think rightly and help you to avoid remaining a victim of the circumstance.

Unless you can arrive in a steady place of forgiveness, letting go of the offense, and building good guardrails you will not be able to proceed to step 2 properly. “Forgiveness gives me boundaries because it unhooks me from the hurtful person, and then I can act responsibly and wisely. If I am not forgiving them, I am still in a destructive relationship with them…” – Dr. Henry Cloud

STEP 2: Truth in Love
People who treat others with contempt should be confronted about what they are doing. Share specifically what it is that you are seeing. In order for someone to work on themselves they need a clear picture of what you perceive the problem to be. This gives them the choice to take corrective action or not.

Offended 8When someone treats you with contempt it is your responsibility to set boundaries, and be prepared for the possible consequences. When someone has been accustomed to scapegoating or blaming another and you are no longer available for that, this new approach will likely anger them. Your willingness to confront an issue will be very difficult for them to receive.

If you plan to confront someone about their contempt toward you, it is wise to have a support group, Counselingaccessible pastor or counselor, and prayer team in place for emotional support before doing so. To go through the process of confrontation is very difficult and you can easily become overwhelmed and want to give up because of the anger, accusations and rejection you will suffer.

Along with the ensuing attack from those you confront, you will also face a tremendous battle from Hell. Satan does not want people freed from offense – that is his trap and deceptive way of holding them captive. This is why before confronting sin, you need to examine yourself so as to be free of these things yourself, walking in the Light (I John 1:7) and having your heart cleansed by Christ. Our attempt must be in a Christ-like manner even though we fall short of His precise actions, do not let that keep you from bringing clarity and potential healing into your situation. Be sure to pray also, as God may soften their heart and they could receive your words of truth in love and with grace change.

STEP 3: Reconciliation May Not Happen

fenceBy ridding offense from your heart, you place yourself in a position to relate in a healthy way. Family relationships are for a lifetime and worth the effort but it may take time to see change occur. These are the most difficult because of the history and pain involved, and some will choose not to let it go. Patience, caring and love with boundaries are necessary to endure with stability and strength in God, while each one works out their own heart issues (Philippians 2:12-13).

Is Someone offended at Christ in you?

In John chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17, Jesus has intimate discourse with his beloved disciples (place yourself there as you read). Among other things, Jesus tells His disciples that He is sharing these things so that they will not be offended when someone hates them because of Him.

Jesus went on to tell them they would face persecution and have trouble in this world because they chose to follow Him. Not only did the religious leaders of the day treat believers in Christ with contempt, but the Roman authorities wanted to kill them; their lives were under constant threat. Family members also betrayed them because of fear, some because they did not want to obey Christ’s teaching. Some were simply offended with God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:10 that many shall be offended and shall betray one another and shall hate one another.

For you, it may be that your family rejects you because of your walk with Christ. Your obedience and love for God will be tested and it will determine your ability to stand for Christ and His testimony of life within you. When our family becomes an idol over God, then God cannot be Supreme (Luke 14:26). Your family may want to control your level of commitment to God and despise you for choosing Him over them. Fear is a big motivator when it comes to our family members. At times, your godly zeal exposes them to their own hearts of indifference toward God. The reasons are not as important as your response to their behavior. Often times people get caught in between an offended person and another party. Someone can react to a concern you express in genuine care, and you may find yourself being falsely accused. Don’t cower with the fear of man and their spin on your situation, stand firm and remember Jesus said this would happen. Receive encouragement by reading these chapters in John; read them over and over for a week or two and see how differently you end up thinking.

person-731467__340[1]When you are experiencing a contemptuous attitude, withdrawing for a season until there is time for reflection, and the Holy Spirit to work, can be helpful. When I think wrongly or say something inappropriate to someone, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict me and I attempt to make it right with them. Be discerning here as well, because you can over-apologize and diminish the work of the Holy Spirit. If you have spoken truth in love, then stand upon that. Do not waiver due to fear and false guilt but be firmly committed to a godly solution. This is why God’s Word and good counsel is so important for each of us.

What you give your mind to does affect your brain and your actions, or reactions. Do you need faith? Read God’s Word and get yourself into a position of faith and obedience to God. Psalm 119:165 says Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them. Let this be your goal as you commend your soul (mind, will and emotions) to God.

Recommended Reading:
A great book on handling offense is, The Bait of Satan, by John Bevere. The book is loaded with biblical principles to help mature us in this area.

Photo Credit: Google Images, Pixabay

Saying Good-bye

I know why they call them “man’s best friend”. They are unconditionally loving, overlooking your failures, always responding, eager to please, and somehow we learn to read each other’s faces. 

Saying Good-bye

There was always plenty of noise in the house and she listened well, knowing when to get up and respond, or to stay put until called. When the children were young and full of energy, as she was, hearing the noise of her claws clicking on the kitchen linoleum was constant—she was engaged. Any time someone was coming or going, she was the sentinel monitoring the activity. But not so much these days, it was just her and I; she knew when to get up or not.

I remember trying put my shoes on and sneak off one day to head across the main road to see my neighbor without her. It didn’t work. Her keen ears could always tell the sound of the x-country ski boot, my tennis shoe, or even a flip flop! She knew my next move by the sound of preparation.

Part of our day throughout the years included taking a walk or bike ride in the woods that surrounded our home. The neighbors had developed their ATV trails and we used them for walking, running, biking and skiing in the winter. We all enjoyed this setting; it was a wonderful place to call home.

Should we mow today, girl, or wait until Thursday?” the place was quiet now, activities had slowed down and the listening ear had much less demand these days. It helped to converse with her, always a knowing look coming back at me. Her look responded to my tone, and now more than ever, my visage spoke to her.

I, along with many others I’ve talked to, have concluded that dogs are a wonderful gift from God; they are a tool in His Hand to demonstrate His love and care for us.

2017-03-14 008I remember how our youngest daughter, the one who begged for a puppy, would love to trick our canine into feeling like something big was happening, either a thief was present and she needed to respond in a protective mode or a visitor had arrived and we needed her welcoming skills. She was the classic Golden Retriever – effervescently wiggling, body swaying, scrunched up a bit, and swooning with love.

The process of letting her go was extraordinarily painful. I remember our final day together. On Monday evening, we drove down to one of her favorite places. Years earlier, our friends had turned a piece of land into a place of adventure, fun and most of all hospitality and love toward anyone who visited them. This was displayed through smells from wonderful cooking and the sights; it was a hobby farm perched on the ridge along Lake Champlain, and the sounds of a horse whinnying, chickens clucking or the faithful dog barking, as someone pulled up the long drive. It felt like home, even though we all usually left before bedtime. This would be her selection, if she could tell me where on earth she would like to spend her final 24 hours, this would be the place.

That Tuesday, August 1st, would be an emotionally consuming day by the time I pillowed my head that night. I tried to contain myself throughout the day, not wanting her to pick-up any more of my emotional scent than necessary. Thankfully, we were at a place that felt comfortable and held many good memories for us. When she was a pup we’d bring her down on our 4-H fun-days; she’d follow the horses as we’d ride, or cautiously go over and look at those curious birds pecking, pecking, pecking at the ground. And the people! So many people coming and going, stopping to visit; dropping something off, picking something up, and the holidays could not be beat. It was golden retriever grand-central and fit her enthusiastic personality nicely! Now, 13 years later, she was moving slower, her white face, surrounded by her reddish-golden coat, was tired. She had become the ole girl now, like the one she’d follow around as a pup learning the pathways and routines of the ridge.

As the afternoon sun grew warm and I looked at her lying in the thick green grass, it was bitter-sweet. So many memories tumbled through my heart. I needed to focus upon the good ones, if I did not, if I thought too much about all that had brought us to this day; I would not make it through. The relief of having sold the house 20 days earlier was good, but the strain of moving and now losing her was weighing upon me; so much loss, grief and pain, the temptation toward bitterness was great. The conversation earlier that morning loaded additional shame and blame upon me for doing what I thought was best for her. I was left to decide, the weight of the decision was heavy. And I was only halfway2017-07-21 002 through this day. Like a mother trying to present a peaceful front to an unknowing child, I got up from the porch rocker and went to her, “Come on girl, let’s take a walk”. She got up with a bit of a grunt and gave me that look indicating it was worth it; just being together was worth it.

As I drove her to my veterinarian’s place for an after-hours appointment, I cried. I called a friend while driving and crying, who had recently euthanized their dog. He encouraged me that it was the best thing to do. That helped some; I needed some encouragement in this dark hour.

I was to face one more major hurdle before I spoke her name to her one last time. My friend, the vet, had a young assistant who wanted to intervene, offering to take my girl, obviating the appointment. She meant well but I could not consent. I alone knew my already desperate attempts to place her with someone; her inability to thrive in a new family, not eating, nor engaging with life around her. I had spent the past 3 weeks trying to leave her with different people only to find that she was shutting down and would not stay without enduring major stress. I was so distraught and desperate, I considered it, but when I asked if she had other dogs and learned she had 4 already, this was my relief sign from God that it was not an option. So we continued on.

I let her out of the van to sniff around one last time. I could tell she was reading me well. She got out and looked at me, wondering… was I leaving her there?, what was happening? I called her back to the van, her place of comfort, her place of belonging, with me. She laid down. With me beside her, petting her, the injections were given, she was gone.

2014 025Postscript:
Our dear friends, Ed & Lisa and their children–also gifts from God to me, had provided and prepared a burial place; I drove there, nearby, sullen, sad, crying, broken-hearted. Yet I knew it was best. Our dear ole girl was resting safe, no more worries for her.