A few days ago, our much-loved Golden Retriever, Bess, died. She went very peacefully, lying in the garden she loved. So ends over 45 years without a day when we haven’t owned a dog. We’ve decided not to get another one. In all the sadness of losing such a special friend (who’s featured in some of my Seeds), we realise that there is a different future in front of us. As long as we had the responsibility of looking after her, there were things we couldn’t do (we couldn’t visit a stately home where dogs aren’t allowed, and leave her in the car on a hot day) and things we didn’t like doing because we would have to leave her alone for too long, and she needed our company as much as we loved hers.
Of course, we knew that the day would come when she would die. And we felt that God was telling us not to replace her; He wanted us to be free to do things that caring for Bess made difficult or impossible.
Leaving the old behind and moving into the new things that God has for us is often quite a challenge. We get so used to old patterns. Doing without what has given us pleasure and satisfaction can be quite a wrench. I miss taking Bess out first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We miss her exuberant company on our walks. I even miss vacuuming the floor every morning to pick up her hair! And it may be a while before the new things God has for us will become apparent. Waiting isn’t always easy, either.
But now we have precious space: space to explore new possibilities; space to spend more time with God and get to know Him even better; space to listen to Him and find new direction; space to be equipped for new service. I’m sure that many of the old things will stay just as they were. Other things will just get tweaked a bit, while still others will change completely.
As it happens, the last of my Seeds to be published featured Bess. God used her reluctance to drop her ball so that I could throw it for her to remind me how I need to be willing to drop things so that He can do something new. I wrote then, ‘It’s as if He says to us, “Put what you’re hanging on to into my hands and see what happens”’. We’ve had to drop having a dog. Bess died, but not replacing her has been our choice. As we adapt to the change, we are excited to see what God will do.
This has been my personal story. But maybe God has something to say to you, too, as you read it.
Prayer: Dear Father, thank You so much for all You have given me so richly. Please help me to accept that not everything is forever, and to be willing to recognise that changes in my circumstances are Your opportunities to do new things in and through me. Amen.
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