I longed to attend the weekly women’s Bible study Wednesday morning, so I took the dogs on a long walk, shut Sam in the bathroom with a rawhide bone, put Thorin in the kennel with some chew toys, grabbed my book, wallet, and water, and left the house. I hoped they would behave for an hour and a half. The second I heard the click of the door behind me, I realized that I’d left my keys inside on the cabinet. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to swear or cry, so I prayed instead as I walked to the office. Within ten minutes, I opened the door to my condo, and Thorin trotted up to greet me, so proud of his escape. Rather than throw a tantrum (or toss him out the door), I decided to experiment. Well, that and pray for the protection of my property.
Leaving Thorin out and Sam in the bathroom, I drove to church and, arriving late, joined the third session. It was such a blessing to hear all of the praises, see God working in everyone’s lives, share my story, discuss Nehemiah, and listen to Kelly Minter’s inspiring video. Afterwards, one sweet woman handed me a hundred dollar bill and another provided a bag of cat food and another of cat litter. In the past week, gifts have been given to every living being in our condo; no one left out. I feel so fortunate as well as awestruck at the overwhelming generosity of those around me.
I offered gratitude and prayers all the way home. When I arrived, everything was intact; like Daniel in the lion’s den, my things were protected while at church. The lesson, the sharing, the people, the gifts…all of it fueled my soul, and I felt content and overflowing with love.
If I hadn’t gone through the recent conflicts with two best friends and if I hadn’t lost and gained classes (two incidents that were stressful and complicated at the time), I wouldn’t have had the time nor the push to join a women’s group at church. In the back of my mind, I wanted to, but it wasn’t a priority until those other two things occurred. So, I remind myself to find the gifts and opportunities in challenges as well as blessings.
I recently read a book (Lisa Scottoline’s Come Home) where the main character realizes that she needs to “fall out of hate” with her ex, and those words knocked me off my feet. That is the next step in my divorce recovery process. The hate keeps me connected to him and only hurts me and our daughters. So, I’ve been praying for God to help me “fall out of hate” with my ex. Only this morning did I realize that the dog situation is part of that.
Just last week the dogs came down here, and my uncle, cousins, and sister rescued the rest of my belongings (15 years worth of living that were moved into the garage of the new house my ex rented when I left three years ago). Both of those links between us are now severed, which is a step in the right direction, but I am still working on falling out of hate.
Accepting the dogs here is an added responsibility that reminds me of taking on too much responsibility in the past. In fact, having the dogs here is forcing me to revisit and re-examine the past and throw more of it off my shoulders and away. As I clear out the “rubble” and let go, I am allowing God to help me and making room for something new, different, better in my life.