I have had a couple of relatives text me each day this week to ask me how I was doing in dealing with the loss of my four footed companion. And I have had to reply to their loving inquires that it has actually been harder as time goes on! Yesterday I caught myself in mid-movement as I followed my daily routine of reaching for the dog’s bowls after I finished preparing Piper’s breakfast. I also found myself turning to look for her as I walked around the house and especially later in the day when Piper and I went out back to dig a couple of holes for the two fruit trees I recently purchased.
I decided to take my sister’s recommendation and dedicate the Brown Turkey Fig Tree to Mandie as I had inadvertently planned to plant the tree right next to the area on the lawn that the pooch liked to roll around on and bark at various times throughout the day. (Hummm… maybe it wasn’t a coincidence???) When we came into the house a little while later, I looked over at the chair she used to lay on and instantly had the thought that the dog had been with us throughout the journey we have been on with the battle for my wife’s health. Up until that moment I hadn’t really realized how much I depended on the dog for emotional support.
It was almost kind of a scary thought when I considered that things were different now. What would I do without her? It suddenly felt like there was a huge void in our house! It was a very strange feeling, one that I had not necessarily experienced before throughout the last six or seven years. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it, so I quickly prayed and distracted my thoughts by busing myself in the preparation of our dinner.
It is interesting though, that the Lord wasn’t distracted from my need. I actually slept very well last night and didn’t wake up until I heard the hourly engine roar that emits from my Mustang themed wall clock in the study, reminding me that it was 8:00 o’clock. I am usually up before that and I flew from the bed as I wanted to get as much study time in as possible before I got Piper up at nine. After I got dressed and brewed a fresh pot of Folgers Gourmet Selections Caramel Drizzle coffee, I quickly went out to the garage to get the dry root pear tree out of its dark storage place and into a pail of water in order to hydrate the roots before I plant it this afternoon. I had been concerned that it might die as I had to keep it in storage until the wet and cold weather cleared out. But low and behold when I pulled it out of the box, there were new roots sprouting!
Then when I slid up the blinds in the study I looked out and down at the three rose bushes I had been lovingly caring for (since they looked like they hadn’t been pruned for years when we moved in) and I noticed a beautiful red rose in full bloom. That wonderful picture made me pause for a moment and I sighed “Ah! The first rose of spring!” Then I immediately heard that small still voice inside of me say, “It’s a new beginning, a fresh new chapter in your life!”
And with that I turned around to my desk and instantly pictured that void I felt in my heart late yesterday afternoon, but you know… the void wasn’t there anymore. In its place was a new hope, a new expectation of God’s best, a new vision of His plans for our future and maybe… just maybe… a new dog!
How is your future looking? Is your hope (or lack of) placed in the things around you or in God and what He has planned and purposed for you? When you talk does your conversation revolve around you and the things you are accomplishing or around the things that God has been, is now and will be doing in, for and through you? I recently discovered to my dismay, that when others talk a lot about their activities and accomplishments that it is easy for me to slip into the same mode, even though I am usually pretty good at pointing all my success to my faith in the Lord and His Word.
Now that I am aware of that personal revelation, I plan to make a change… for my hope and my self-confidence isn’t in what I do, but in what He has done! Philippians 3:3 declares that as Christians we “worship by the power of God’s Spirit and take pride in Christ Jesus. We don’t brag about what we have done.” (Contemporary English Version) That plan and purpose keeps us pointed in the right direction in life!
As I was thinking about all this while sitting at my desk this morning, I also heard that “voice” deep inside me saying: “The end of one chapter in your life always leads to the beginning of the next new chapter.” That thought reminded me of the current action novel I’m reading at night. The end of each chapter always concludes on such a note that I can hardly wait to read the next chapter and it takes all of my will power to close the book so I have time to get in a little Word before I turn off the lights.
So now I am very excited to see what the next chapter of Piper’s and my life reads like! But I am also very aware that I don’t try to paint a picture of how I think that new chapter should be. I want to be surprised and I want to be assured that our future stays right smack in the middle of the palm of His hand. I also am praying that same thing for you!
Have a great weekend, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting the next chapter of my life to be?”