We buried our beloved dog today.
And two other puppies, also. It’s been a rough weekend.
I had such plans for the weekend…and they didn’t include the discovery of a nearly-dead puppy Saturday morning, rushing to the vet, thwarted by stand-still traffic, puppy finally dying on the vet’s table. My plans did not include the entire pack of our dogs dealing with (some not so well) the parvo virus and a terrible parasite infestation. My plans didn’t include my son’s Dutch Shepherd, Bern, dying last night, almost exactly a year since his last “Dutchie,” Kane, died.
But God’s plans did.
My plans were to clean and organize a house that has been patiently waiting for me to be inspired to do so. This was a day when I was finally going to tackle all the clutter in our bedroom…all the piles of paper…all the abandoned Amazon boxes littering (literally) the dining room, their purpose of delivering smiles long since fulfilled. Piles of paper were slated to be demolished by my organizational frenzy…this inspiration that sometimes takes so long to arrive. I know I should not NEED that strike of inspiration, but creatives like me can struggle in this area, feeling overwhelmed by the mess that seems to constantly mock our efforts. So when inspiration and motivation arrives, we must act quickly to take advantage! And I was excited to do so.
But God’s plans were not my plans.
His plans for the weekend were lifeschooling through pain. His lessons for us were on how to trust, even when we don’t understand. How to humbly ask why without questioning His sovereignty. How to let go of our plans and of our things and thank Him for all the good, despite the bad. And he wove these lessons together not just through losing our dogs, but through the simple everyday moments, as well. Coming home from church yesterday, our air went out. What a delight to my mother heart to hear my six-year-old suggest that we find things to be thankful for! (Yes! Maybe I AM getting through to him!) In fact, I couldn’t seem to stop him from finding things he was thankful for on the entire 48 minute drive home. What a blessing to my heart. He also insisted that I drink his remaining water, an act of love that I rewarded him for later.
His plans for the weekend were lifeschooling through pain. His lessons for us were on how to trust, even when we don’t understand. How to humbly ask why without questioning His sovereignty. How to let go of our plans and of our things and thank Him for all the good, despite the bad.
And so we give thanks for each day (I created this just before Konur’s dog died last night), rejoicing in all things that come from God’s hand. As Job said, “He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” We only lost dogs this weekend, not sons and daughters, as well. As my mother-in-law reminded me Saturday afternoon, all these things we have are not ours anyway. They have just been given to us for a time to steward.
What a freeing thought this is! We don’t have to control it all because God is handling that part. We don’t have to worry when things don’t go “as planned.” Our job is just to be faithful. And to thank Him, who is perfectly faithful, for His grace! Because He also “remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14) when we fail Him in our stewardship.
Our job is just to be faithful. And to thank Him, who is perfectly faithful, for His grace!
And so where do we go from here? We pick ourselves back up and carry on. We evaluate: Did we do everything right? Probably not. Could we have been better about researching options for prevention? Yes, certainly. Do we love these animals enough to risk the pain of more loss? Yes, absolutely. We will continue being faithful stewards of the blessings God gives and continue learning how to be better.
There are times for “quitting”…times for recognizing that the cost outweighs the gain. Time for cutting our losses and moving on. This is the point we had to come to with our goats. One by one, God took the entire flock and we had already determined that if He chose to do so, then we were just not meant to be goat farmers. We’ve seen a lot of death on this homestead, sadly (we joke that our farm should be named “Grim Reaper Farm”), but through the trials God is growing us, making us stronger and more dependent on Him. We are failing forward. But He gives more grace for each day!
And we will rejoice in each grace-filled day that He gives!