Sometimes Healing Comes From Strange Places

For several years now, my husband and I have carried around a large burden of guilt and shame.  And it all stemmed from owning a dog. 

We had paid good money for an adorable puppy, even traveling to an airport three hours away to pick her up.  We had brought her home, introduced her to the eager children who had been begging for a dog, and bought all kinds of doggie supplies.  And then our lives had promptly fallen apart.

We couldn't train her to go outside to go potty.

We couldn't train her not to chew everything up.

We couldn't train her not to bite the kids.

We couldn't train her not to jump the fence and run away....every single day.

We were complete failures as dog owners.

And a year later, by the time I dreaded going home every day because I had to deal with her, I knew we were beat.  We shame-facedly gave her away.  And a few months later heard her new owners had trained her well and she was now a perfect little angel.

We were not only complete failures.  We were complete failures who had funded someone else's dream dog.

And so, we believed that was the end of the story.  We gave away all our doggie supplies.  We bought a fish.  We said never again.

But, there's something amazing about God's redemptiveness.  He doesn't do "never agains" real well

.  He has a way of taking our vows and turning them upside down and bringing everything full circle.  He has a way of making us forget our shame (Isaiah 54:4) and bringing us to new tables of joy.

Enter the angel of mercy who found her way into our carport one cold winter night, now over a month ago.  We tried to find an owner, but without a collar and no one to answer our internet queries, we decided she was probably dumped in the pasture just a bit down the road from our house.

My heart was hard where her kind were concerned, but she was not deterred.  She wore down my defenses with her soft velvet fur, her huge, kind eyes, and her ability to go potty outside.  She made me love her further with her snuggles in the morning, her snuggles on my lunch break, and her snuggles on the couch at bedtime.  She entwined herself around my heart with her kindness to my children.

We now own all new doggie supplies, along with a collar that reads "Sugar."  And oh, how sweet she is.  She has removed the shame in our house from past dog failures, and healed our hearts by becoming the member of the family we didn't know we were missing. 

I'll need to remember that the next time I'm tempted to say "never again." 

Maybe failure isn't always the end.  Maybe it's just a longer walk to the finish line.