Kay Lynn Shetler | Coordinator, Chapel Kids
What are the things in life that make you smile? For me, it is a baby’s toothless grin, a toddler learning to walk, or a furry, playful puppy.
My three boys wanted a puppy for years, but until this past December, we felt our family life was too busy to take on this challenge. When we took in our goldendoodle, Belle, I knew that it would be work, but what I did not expect is that God would teach me some valuable lessons about my relationship with Him through her.
We brought Belle to our home when she was only 8 weeks old. She was just like a baby who needed us for everything—food, shelter, potty breaks, and love. Belle had to trust us to care and provide for her. She was dependent on us. How dependent am I on God for all my needs? He is worthy of my trust and wants the best for me. It is so easy to look to other people and things for my needs and to forget that God is there, just waiting and wanting to provide.
Belle loves doing a lot of things—playing catch, going on walks, and eating apples—but her favorite thing is just being with us. She gets so excited to greet us after we are away for the day, or when she first sees us in the morning after a night’s sleep. Her joy is just being in our presence. Am I joyful and content to just be in God’s presence? Am I waiting to welcome Him into my life every day?
Our puppy enjoys life. When she is playing with her favorite toy, nothing else around her matters. Belle is thankful for what she has at that moment and is not thinking of what she has to do next or what the future may hold. People often struggle to be thankful for the moment. We long for more or something different, and we forget to praise God for what He has already given and done for us. God has given me so much, and I want to be thankful each moment. Am I able to be thankful for the now? I am working to be more joyful and thankful for the present, so I don’t forget to enjoy the blessing God has already given me.
Belle gets so excited to go on walks and always wants to be the leader. She thinks that she knows what is best when going on a walk and will pull hard. Belle looks like she is walking me and not me walking her. She does not want to be led. However, on her own, she will get into stuff that would be harmful—poisonous plants, busy streets, or buzzing bees (yes—she tries to catch anything that flies). She does not understand the importance of being led. We purchased a Gentle Leader Headcollar which helps her learn to follow our lead. She does not like wearing it, but we want the best for her and need her to follow our path, not her own. Am I allowing God to be my gentle leader? He wants the best for me and can see what is ahead. I just need to put my trust in His leading.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.Proverbs 3:5-6
God can use everyday things, people, and even dogs to teach us eternal lessons. We just need to have our eyes open to see it.