A Better Way

The German Shepherd puppy was in need of a full-time sitter. Stepping up, I took my son’s pup under my wing. There were car rides, walks in the park, playing ball or fetch with a stick, and lots of unsolicited doggy love. I had gained a friend. Man’s best friend, who loved me and followed me around, wherever I would go.  

But then, sweet fun loving German Shepherd puppy began to shed. And, with that, everything began to change, as my allergies kicked in! As the weeks rolled by, our bond began to break down as I began to distance myself. Gone was the closeness we once shared. 

As new boundaries were set and put into place, things began to look up. I was feeling better and the pup was adjusting nicely to her new routine of spending time outside and actually enjoying it. Sure there were sacrifices to be made, such as laying down the beautiful yard as I knew it. Holes were dug out of sheer doggy fun or to bury her bones, flowers were pulled up and broken off as bouquets for me, bless her heart, and garden and barbecue tools were chewed upon because in pups mind, well, they were just a unique sort of stick with an added challenge of not getting cut or stabbed!

This situation with my son’s pup brought to mind the scripture found in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 which tells us, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” I had been helping my son with his dog, but things just weren’t working out. Did God have a better way?       

We may not be doing something that is wrong, per se, but is it the best for you and those around you? I felt this verse applied to our situation, and also extends to many other aspects of life. All those areas that are not black and white, but gray.

What kind of liberties are we taking in the way we live? Are we considering the consequences and outcomes, the effect it will have on ourselves and the lives of others, and most importantly, are we bringing praise and glory to God? The most important factor in making sound choices is bringing the situation before the Lord, asking for wisdom and discernment, and then waiting for Him to provide the answer in His perfect timing and way. James 1:5 tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Our lives are truly a sphere of influence. We may feel insignificant, but the truth is, we all influence the lives we touch. Each day, we make either good deposits or bad deposits into the relationships we have with others. Over time this will determine the overall health and success or demise and destruction of our relationships. Philippians 2:3 tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

Giving up the companionship of the dog was not an easy thing for me to do. But, I believe it was the right thing. The blessing of this was how it benefited my son. I had bonded with his dog, which resulted in a negative impact up pup’s relationship with him. When I stepped back, their relationship began to blossom.

It may seem unnatural at first, but waiting upon the Lord before making a decision is definitely well worth the time and effort. When we put Him first, instead of pushing forward with our own agenda, He honors that desire of seeking Him and waiting upon Him for wise counsel. Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” When we walk and commune closely with Him, we will ultimately bring God glory.

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A Humbling Spoonful of Spiderlada

giant-house-spider1A friend had asked if her son could stay with us for a couple of days while she and her husband went away on a marriage retreat. I had willfully agreed, and our kids were having a great time together. On the last evening of his stay, I was thinking back upon the weekend and how good I felt about helping my friend and also providing a nice weekend for her son with plenty of delicious healthy hearty meals. It was this very thought that would get me in trouble.

As I prepared dinner that night, I put together one of my family’s favorite meals. It was chicken enchiladas with sour cream and cheese in a green tomatillo sauce. I was feeling pleased with myself and was thinking how wonderful it was that I was feeding my friend’s son so well, hoping he would appreciate his time with us and every tasty meal I fixed too.

Dinner time came and we all seemed to be enjoying the delicious meal I had prepared, to the pride of my heart! Everything seemed just perfect. We had fun dinner conversation and smiling faces, while the food disappeared from each plate. Then, there came a screech from the corner of the table where our guest of honor was eating. Much to my shock and dismay, as I approached the end of the dinner table, my eyes honing in, there in the middle of his plate, was an ugly, gigantic, unidentifiable slimy brown spider, covered in green enchilada sauce! My heart sank, and I felt as tall as that smashed flattened spider on the plate.

Oh dear Lord! How in the world did this happen? Was it in that spicy green sauce I poured from a can onto my tenderly wrapped chicken in tortillas? Was it lying in the pan dead and I didn’t notice? Did he crawl in my casserole dish when I turned my head and then become my victim? Or, was he a destitute spider who had just decided life was not worth living and to end it all he jumped right in just as I slid it all into the oven?! I had no answers. This, I thought, was crazy and quite repulsive.

How humbled I was, along with being mortified and embarrassed! There, on the plate of our guest, the one person I was trying to impress with delicious food, prepared from my heart, sat an ugly arthropod with eight legs and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. All eating at the table had come to an immediate halt. Jumping up and quickly scraping the dead disgusting arachnid from my guest’s plate was not enough to encourage further eating at that table. And so, the weekend had come to an end and I had reached a new pinnacle of being humbled.

That was eight years ago, and I am still impacted, even today. How easy it is to get puffed up with our silly insignificant selves. We tend to try to do things with our own ability, thinking we got it going on, and, if that isn’t bad enough, with the motive being to impress others. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2

Instead of trying to impress others, the Bible tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23. I have found having this mindset is the most rewarding way to live. When we seek to please our Father in Heaven, not mere man, it really does change everything. God sees our hearts and when we are doing our work unto Him, He blesses and affirms us in ways that will never compare to the words of affirmation that come from man.

Remarkably, in spite of the revolting revelation of a spider in our chicken enchiladas that night, my kids still embrace and enjoy eating that meal. For me it is a constant reminder and message in being humble and seeking to serve and please the One True Living God, not people. It makes me chuckle as I reminisce how God used a dinner we have now coined as Spiderlada, to humble my spirit. I am grateful to the Lord for His love, grace, and mercy as I realize God can teach us much, even in the simple everyday tasks of our life. It’s important to remember, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you; Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3.

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