We had quite a little situation at our house this weekend. Saturday night, the back gate was left open in the yard, and our two dogs ran loose, like Thelma and Louise with fur. Me, being somewhat fickle in my parenting of animals, didn’t sweat the escape, because I figured they would return when they were finished with their frolicking. Their pattern had been established. They would get out, run around the neighborhood a couple of times and flex their muscles to all the dogs still imprisoned behind their gates, and then show up in the driveway, thirsty and ready for bed. I knew the drill, and didn’t have the energy to resist their rebellion. The geese were panicked, but I assured them that when we woke up in the morning, Abby and Sugar would be present and accounted for. Looking back, I see that I should have been more concerned, but I had more important things to worry about that night…like whether or not Kansas State was going to beat the OU Sooners. You gotta have priorities, people.
The sun came up on Sunday morning, and as I stumbled to the Keurig (speaking of priorities) I noticed the lack of two nose prints on the glass window of our back door. 20 minutes and 5 different “oh no…they didn’t come home last night” statements later, Captain Obvious left the premises and I began to feel annoyed. Where could those little jailbirds have gone? And then it happened…annoyance gave way to panic…panic gave way to guilt (it was me, after all, that opened the back door after hubs had specifically put them in the house while he worked in the yard) and then guilt gave way to tears. Tears are the official place that hubs figures out that any given situation is serious. After some reassuring hugs and some “we can look for them after church” salve applied to my guilty wounds, I got dressed and the five of us headed out the door.
My sweet friend, Heidi, made the mistake of asking, “How are you?” and you would have thought that Armageddon was near due to the high-pitched, unintelligible squawking that came from my mouth. I think I sputtered out something about my dogs being missing and that it was all my fault, and anything else neurotic you can think of. I made the decision to spare the souls sitting around me of this mess and go look for my animals. My kind-hearted son overheard this conversation and offered to come along to “help and keep you company, Mama”. (I kid you not that some days I fantasize about smearing my children on crackers and eating them up because their sweetness overwhelms me) So off we went to search for the dynamic duo.
When I say that my little and I drove through the trenches SEARCHING AIMLESSLY for those animals, it would not be an exaggeration. We hollered their names, we whistled until we were hoarse, and we brainstormed on their direction of departure. We prayed out loud, we prayed silently, and we may or may not have stopped once for refreshing beverages to fuel our journey. About half-way through our pilgrimage, I received something from the Lord that took my breath away. I received the words from God that said, “This is the kind of searching I do for my children every single day. You search for your dogs with great fervor, and I search for my children. I will drive up and down the streets, I will holler their name, I will go to ends of the Earth to call every single one of them Home. “ Leave it to the God I adore, to go with me, as I left the church building. Leave it to Him to quiet my heart in my moments of panic and anxiety, and understand that while this may seem small to some, it was a really big deal to me. He knew to go with me because He knew that this was more than just my dogs being missing. He knew to go with me because He knows that when I screw up and make mistakes (aka ALL THE TIME) I hear another little voice in my head that blames, accuses, and slaps on the guilt. A voice that is undoubtedly, not His. “You are so irresponsible…you let your kids’ dogs run away…what kind of mother are you?” OR “you know that Abby is Meredith’s best friend, right? Are you just the cruelest parent ever to dismiss your kid when she cried last night for her dog to be found?” The voice of an enemy that wants to see me wallow in shame and guilt for something as simple as letting my dogs out; but he uses the simplest of things to destroy the most convoluted of people. How many times do we as mamas hear that voice instead of the One that proclaims Life abundantly? How many times do we spend our days beating ourselves up for the mistakes we make with our children instead of celebrating the One that redeems them all?
At this point, my hubs had called and left word that upon his arrival home, he discovered that there were two exhausted, thirsty little mutts in our backyard, waiting by the door, nose prints in-tact. I cried again, this time out of sheer thankfulness that I didn’t have to watch my daughter’s heart physically break when I broke the news to her that Abby and Sugar were gone. Selfishly, I had decided that I would rather have had my spleen removed with a bread knife than have had that conversation. I came home, grabbed those stinkers (the dogs, not the children) and hugged them in-between scolding’s. Abby got a bath, complete with the adorning of her Halloween dress, and a snausage. I honestly kept looking at her and thinking about the Prodigal Son story. How melodramatic is that? How could this little being with fur tug at my heart in such a powerful way? Is it because of what she represents…ultimately my kids laughter and joy at the end of a long day? Probably. But deep down I know it’s more than that. It’s the way that God uses everything around us…everything… to teach us about His love. If I will drive down a weed-infested alley to look for a little animal that smiles with an under-bite and smells other dog’s backsides to say hello…what in the world would my God do to find me? That, my friends, is theology at its finest.
So…where is God revealing Himself to you today?