Yesterday I got to my (belated) Bible reading. When I got to the day’s scheduled reading, the topical heading was “Psalms of Joy and Praise.”
I was really heading to my favorite nature spot at family camp to mourn and pout a little because our sweet pup is missing. I did NOT have joy or praise on my heart and mind. Totally not there. And, I think my response was an audible, “For REAL, God. Today?!”
See, I’m an animal lover. I have potential within to be a radical, fanatical animal lover that does some crazy ninja moves on you if you don’t love your animal. It was only the crossroads of choosing between my pets or my children that pushed me more into the world of the human over the animal. I’ve never watched or read Old Yeller and was despondent for weeks when they showed Where the Red Fern Grows in the 4th grade. I can’t tell you how many animals I’ve brought home in my lifetime.
In November, we added a sweet beagle puppy to our family. We did a lot of research and study on the breed and knew we were up for a challenge. And, it was with a bit of trepidation as I’ve already learned in a short year of living out here that country life is not pet-friendly. True to the breed description and tales we were told, this little beagle was the MOST hard-headed creature I’ve met. I commented often that it was a good thing she was cute. We could spend 20 minutes outside, and she would come in and pee in the floor. It would be bed time and and just as I reached down to pick her up and bring her in for the night, she would dart off; and I promise you, she would look over her tail at me as she ran away, and she was smiling and laughing. Little toot. There was the day we came home from Israel, after 36 or 41 or some big number of hours of travel, went to get her, and she jumped out the window of the car and ran into the woods right as we went to leave. Yes.she.did.
We knew she was wayward from her hunts where she would take off and, no matter how much we called her name, all we saw was a little white flagging tail running away from us. We knew she was headstrong and needed protection from herself. We loved her and wanted the best, and we set out to provide that best.
BUT, I REALLY loved her.
So, when the discipline of boundaries seemed unfair, I backed away and let her have her freedom.
When the pain of training seemed cruel, I backed away because it hurt ME, too.
When I received criticism for how I was training her, it hurt me, and I doubted myself and backed off what was actually best for her.
We’ve been at family camp this week – always a sweet time for our family – and the theme has been ‘Our Family FIGHTS’ based on Nehemiah 4:14, ” Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and FIGHT for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” And in Friday morning’s family devo we discussed how we will have to FIGHT our culture.
John 15: 18-19 says 18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
And THAT is when it hit me, this whole allegory of losing sweet Journey: I have to parent my children better than I parented that little beagle.
So, when the boundaries of discipline seem unfair, I cannot back away.
When the training causes pain that seems cruel, I cannot back away, even when it hurts ME, too.
When I receive criticism for how our family is training for the future, I cannot and will not back off.
Because, I’m called to FIGHT.
*note the pain spoken of in the blog refers to emotional pain and, in the case of Journey, the pain of a shock collar as she, repeatedly, ran out of her boundary.