Monday, February 15, 2010

Puppy Love

Today I am participating in Rachel Olsen's Devotion Carnival. The theme for today is LOVE. Though I feel I could write on so many topics associated with love, I have chosen to express one close to our hearts at this very moment with the addition of a new puppy to our life. I am ever aware that God speaks to us sometimes in the big moments but more often in the smaller moments, the more mundane ones, when we take them to Him in our quiet time. May your day be blessed with the presence of His whisper upon your heart.

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God ... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us."
~1 John 4:7, 11-12~

This past week found us in the throes of Valentine-topia. Snowed in and school-less, our thoughts turned to the upcoming holiday of loooove and we made valentines. We stuffed little bags for the children's schoolmates. We even made a trip to the pet store to buy a special gift for our newest family member, a honey cockapoo named Maggie.

As our three year old settled in for her nap after her Valentine's party, she clutched in her hot little hand a card. A valentine. From Cooper. A boy. And she told me rather matter-of-factly that she was going to marry him; she just hadn't told him yet. She also called me close to whisper in my ear, "Mommy, I love Maggie, I mean I really love her. She is a fluffy, fuzzy ball of love." This is true.

Our older daughter has desired her very own puppy for years. These sweet children saved their own money, that we might open our home to a furry, fuzzy ball of love. In her words, "Pets love you no matter what, I mean they need you for everything." And it has made me think about the agape love that the Lord pours out on us. It is ours. Our father in Heaven wants us to rely on Him. He wants us to seek Him and to live according to His word. He loves us, no matter what, and we need Him for everything.

Puppies are a lot of work. So are humans. With our wildly wicked hearts desperately needing to be tamed and our judgemental, haughty spirits, it is a blessing and a miracle that the Lord can love us so unconditionally, readily accepting our pleas for forgiveness, our cries for help and our many times less-than-acceptable time that we spend with Him. Our sweet puppy, shreds paper, bites, chews, cannot control her bodily functions yet; and even so, we love her with an almighty love that does not consider we speak different languages and live considerably unparalleled lives. We reprimand her when her actions fall short, not to punish or condemn, but to teach. For this lifelong Christian, that simple statement sheds new light on the process that God takes us through.

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned, forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."~Luke 6:37~

At times, we need to be reprimanded, reminded, restored, not to punish or condemn us, but to teach us. Maggie knows this, but do I? When God calls me back, I find that doubt has a sneaky way of creeping in and corrupting my heart. I am mindful, He wants to teach me. Teach, change, evolve. Not punish. He wants me to grow, to be so confident in His love that I CAN love others the way He intended.

When we open His Holy Word to seek our own hearts and not merely out of an obligatory sense of duty, we are cultivating, nurturing and maturing a relationship that the Lord so divinely desires. He wants us. He wants our hearts. Just as we want the heart of our puppy, he wants our hearts. Tail wagging and joyfully jumping, that is how I want to approach my God. I want to recognize He meets my every need, He loves me when I am unlovable. He feeds me, clothes me, bathes me in His tender mercies. And do I love Him as unconditionally? I would like to think so. But, I am not so certain that is truth.

As I gaze into the endless black pools that are our puppy's eyes, I am aware of how very unconditional she is. Her heart harbors no record of wrongs or judgement. She casts no blame and seemingly forgives her enemies. She hugs and kisses the children regardless of how tight they squeeze her or how many times they pull her tail. Always loving, always forgiving, truly living out the scripture that love is of God.

Ephesians 4:32 reminds us, "And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Do I forgive my enemies? Do I pray for them? Do I truly keep no record of wrongs? As God commanded me to love others as HE loves me, am I living that out every single day? Or when I choose? When our hearts hurt and we are cleaning up the messes of our lives, be they on newspaper on the laundry room floor or in our innermost personal relationships in dire need of repair, there He greets us, encouraging us to be tender hearted and forgive one another. He is not asking us to do more than what He does already.

In my heart, I want puppy love. First love. THE love. Not straying, fleeting love that will not withstand the test of time, but authentic, true, Godly love that pierces our hearts and transforms our lives. Like the spirit of our gentle Maggie, kind and embracing, I want to love others as God has instructed and more importantly lived out in His love for me. I stand amazed in the beauty of His design, all of his creatures, the lessons we can learn in the timeless love of a puppy.


Rachel Olsen said...

Oooh, I want "puppy love" too!

Thanks for showing us how God's correction = God's love. Just like the Bible says, He disciplines those He loves.

Sweet Blessings ~ Rachel

Michelle said...

What a great analogy, Heather. Your posts are beautiful and always reminders to me of things I need to continue to focus on in my own life. Thank you, sweet friend.


Sharon Sloan said...

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

Opening His Holy Word and (as Nancy Leigh DeMoss would say...) "throwing ourselves on the Rock" Oh yes.

Love you friend!
Proud of you!

day by day said...

ohhh...what a wonderful post, Heather!! And yes, that unconditional love!! Amen!

Pets and children can teach us most of what we really need to know in life, can't they? The important things, anyway!

And what an adorable little puppy she is!!!


Kitty @ Four Little Toms and a Mom said...

Every moment with our puppy in the past year has taught us new ways to love. Thanks for sharing!


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