Four Things My Dog Taught Me.

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In the past year and a half, I’ve had the beautiful privilege to own two dogs.

Kid and Mud have taught me some pretty hard lessons,

But also wonderful ones,

And all in all, they are all lovely.

I am thankful for each day I have with him,

Each day I wake up and get to wake him up,

How happy, joyful and excited he is to see me.

To arch his back as I scratch him.

It melts my heart.

(Yes I know, I probably love my dog a little too much.)

If you don’t really know me, I’ll let you in on a not so secret, secret;

I spend a lot of time with my dog.

Actually more time with him than I spend with people.

Mud is my constant companion,

He is almost always at my side, other than when I am inside.

And I realized how deep my love for my companion goes when Kid died back in October.

It was in losing him where I truly realized that I don’t just give to them companionship but they actually give back to me so much more.

I am thankful to have had two things love me so deeply and challenge me.

It makes me smile to think that they don’t even know it, they’re just how they are!

I now couldn’t imagine my life without one.

For, to me, life is far, far richer with a dog following along side of me.

So here it goes,

Four things I learned through my two pups;

 How To View Life

I watch as they joyfully run through the fields, rushing through the tall grass and bounding over streams. I watch as Mud lies in the rays of Sun on the porch and soaks in the warmth in quietness. I would watch Kid as he sweetly sat with the kids in the summer, lying with them, letting them stroke him, chasing after balls they would throw for him. I watch these animals, as they peacefully, go through the days. Not worrying about what’s next, or what they don’t have, but being present. And through that, I’ve learned the beauty that is in each thing I do, when I finally choose to change my view to be present in it. To walk through the forest, not sprint, and watch the trees sway in the breeze. To be present with the campers as they are around me, and not fear being silly with them. To joyfully frolic through fields and spend more time soaking in the warm sun rays. To see that life is beautiful, life is short in comparison to eternity, and each day, if I change my attitude to rest in the day the Lord has made, life can be so abundantly rich. And just like Mud, I can go through the day, enjoying each moment and the simple things. For, from day to day, year to year, they are the big things. They make up most of my life, and are worth embracing and basking in. And my attitude is what can change the world around me, how I choose to see what’s before me, my circumstances, the people that surround me, the tasks I have for that day, the hard things that might show up – by yielding to the Lord, I can walk through anything that may come my way, without needing those things to change – rather, I change and face it. What a freeing truth!

The Beauty of Rest

Since having a dog, I’ve walked a lot. Every day pretty much. I’ve learned how important it is to have that time to myself. To quietly walk through a forest. How to lay in my bed, or under the shade of a tree, with my sweet companion laying beside me, and just lay there. To not always need to be doing something, being on my phone or talking, but just to rest. To be still and feel the grass underneath me, to close my eyes and actually rest. For watching movies don’t give you near the same amount of rest as just being still. Laying and enjoying God’s beautiful creation. To enjoy just sitting with their company, reading a book while they sit with me. To spend time doing the things that bring me life, that refresh me – such as walking, breathing in fresh air, communing with the Lord and enjoying the marvelous world around me. Away from the hustle and bustle of life, to be alone and allow my mind to be quieted from my To-Do List (which isn’t always easy) but it is such rich, restful time. Mud doesn’t have an agenda, he just enjoys the moment and when he rests, he truly rests. For so often I realize, I get distracted by all the things around me, all the work I make for myself, the people I neglect because I am too busy – but those are excuses, and in all that, I am taking the beauty out of my days, out of my life. Going from resting in the Lord, to running around like a chicken with my head cut off. For there is something beautiful about peace, about calm in a storm and how to live a life resting in the Lord. Knowing that the day will carry on and we can make the most of it, but also seeing that taking much needed time is important. Taking a Sabbath, being refreshed and spending time doing the things that give us life, that refresh our Spirits and encourage us.

Unconditional Love

The way they love me, blows me away. These little creatures, look to me and trust. They love unconditionally. They follow me, listen to me and long for companionship. They have shown me a glimpse of our Fathers heart for us. For us to follow Him, Listen to Him, Yield to Him and long for such close companionship with Him. Mud is always happy to see me, when I look at him, his eyes are looking intently, tail wagging and body full of joy. I call him and he comes sprinting. He licks me, cuddles up close and knows my voice compared to others. Mud continues to show me how beautiful unconditional love is.. So when I look at him, I see that he wants to please me, and is more than happy just sitting with me, even that means in five hour car rides. He has taught me to love unconditionally, to trust deeply, to be patient, to be kind, to be slow to anger and full of hope. Mud also teaches me how to love, and that love is firm and kind. That love disciplines, love rejoices and love cares deeply for the good of others By having Kid and now Mud, they have helped me to love people deeper as through their unconditional love (and my partnership with Agape, my horse) I have come to see how great and deep and wide our Fathers love for us is. Even just a glimpse of it. And the communion He calls us to have with Him. And man, is it beautiful!

Oh Trust

The definition of trust is – firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. When I look at Mud, I see trust and adoration. He has shown me immense trust. From getting him as a puppy, after being separated from his mom, and his own kind, and asked to simply trust me. To come when I call him, to trust that I will protect him and care for him. The trust has grown as the days have passed by. But yet, I know that he trusts me, obediently listening to my commands or following me into somewhat scary places (to him at least – like the horse trailer ) or even sitting by me while I shoot skeet, crack a whip, ax down a tree. He has taught me how to trust the Lord greater, how to come to see that He has my best interest at heart. That He loves me more than my love for Mud. And in that, as Mud loves me, how could I not love the Lord? Knowing that as Mud trusts in me, a human who makes mistakes and is imperfect, I can’t place my trust in the Creator of the Universe. The One whom all things were made by and whom holds all of it? He is all together wonderful, and through the obedience and trust in my little dog, I have come to see the beautiful trust I can place in God Almighty, trusting that as the days go by, more and more I see that His ways are far higher than mine and thoughts far greater than mine. And that is a beautiful truth to my heart.

For Kid taught me child-like faith,

And it changed my life, knowing that I can go through my days,

Trusting in God, joyfully facing all that may come and looking to Him rather than that which stands before me or surrounds me.

For we can learn a lot through the things our gracious God has placed in our precious lives.

Not only do I learn a lot from dogs,

But from horses,

From creation,

From His Word,

And also His beautiful people.

But it takes us to come with an open heart,

Listening ears,

And eyes willing to see all that is around us.

Taking time to stop,

To actually stop,

To stand still,

And take a breath.

To ask for eyes to see, ears to hear and a soft heart.

To stop in the busyness of life and choose to slow down.

To stop trying to control our time so tightly, and give Him control over that.

To stop rushing, and begin resting.

To be willing to lay down in the shade under a tree,

To walk and breath in the cool, fresh air.

To not let life consume us and pass us by,

But look to Him and embrace the day.

Noticing those around us who could use some love,

Some encouragement,

A friend.

To break free from our selfishness,

And look outward.

For the world is beautiful,

And is waiting for you to notice it.

To notice all that surrounds you,

For God created it and it is good.

And life is richer when we begin to see it from a dogs perspective.

You’re wonderful,

And I pray that through these simple truths I learned from a dog,

(Yes I know, it took dogs to teach me these things)

That your life begins to change,

And passions are stirred to know God deeper,

To receive His love with open arms,

And above all else,

To walk closer with Him,

Shoulder to shoulder,

Everyday of your life.

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