Just over a month ago – a friend in my house group gave her faith story where she talked about how this song by Amanda Cook – has helped her through some difficult seasons in her life. After she gave her testimony I jotted down the artist and song name, and immediately added it to my playlist on Spotify. Listening to it, and really enjoying it.
It wasn’t truly until two weeks ago that it began to really take hold. Our hearts are unbelievably broken as I shared with friends and the world on facebook that Niko is now running wild and free with Tyler & Eli. For those that didn’t know he was ill, just before Christmas he began acting strange, and it almost seemed as though he was going blind. After a few days and after him running into walls and trees we brought him into our vet who believed he had central blindness, and refered us to an Opthamologist.
The Opthamologist confirmed the blindness and said that we needed to see a veterinary neurologist. After consulting on the phone with one of the techs at the University of Minnesota – and learning that we’d have to spend several thousand dollars to maybe get an answer -and then another 10-20K for treatment on what was most likely a brain tumor we decided to love him up in the best way possible.
Unfortunately he progressed much faster than we thought he would. Within a month he could barely walk, was loosing control of his bowels and spending nearly all of his time sleeping.
I know for those that aren’t passionate about dogs it’s hard to understand that our dogs and pets are really so much more than just pets. The loss off three dogs, two of which were just puppies in 18 short months, shouldered by my dad’s death is a devastating blow, but I think about what Ann Voskamp once said, when speaking about being thankful for every gift that God has given us. To appreciate hard gifts as well. Because the hard gifts WILL BE for good… the good gifts will be FOREVER and the BEST GIFTS will be forthcoming. I love that.
I don’t think that my losses were gifts necessarily, but God can somehow make ugly situations beautiful.
My husband and I recently went to see the movie American Sniper. Both in the movie and in real life when a Navy man is in BUDS training one of the things the trainers make them to is walk out into the surf, sit down and let the waves crash over them again and again and again.
In Amanda’s lyrics, You Make me Brave she sings, “As Your love, In wave after wave crashes over me, crashes over me. For You are for us, You are not against us..” and I look back and think about how true this is.
In the past six months I have leaned in close to God, and have been nearly drowned in His love. Just like the Navy Seals in BUDS training – its like walking out into the surf sitting down, and letting each wave of His grace, comfort and love just crash into you. The ocean is relentless, and God is relentless in his pursuit and love for us.
I am reminded of the promise that God made to His people in Jeremiah 29:11-14 “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” – God’s Decree (MSG)
I have found such truth in verse 14 – When you get serious about finding God, and drawing near to Him. Being in His word daily – filling up on worship music, and good christian books , and wanting more of Christ than anything else – you will be so covered – read – drowning in his love that it becomes like the air you breathe and something you will crave when you wake up each day.
Living in this state of Grace is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced, and in that, God has made me unbelievably brave. How else could I cope with loss or deal with trouble, or difficult days , or plain old LIFE without him near me? I am living a BRAVE new life right now, and when he calls me out into the water – I don’t tread lightly but RUN to him as the Anchor that He is.