Friday, June 1

chocolate cake and roadkill

A few weeks ago, as we passed by the dumpster to toss away little doggy excrements, we saw this big, fluffy squirrel enjoying this huge, brown something. A little closer look and we realized it was chocolate cake! Or a brownie...he was enjoying this special treat either way. Something that would not usually occur in nature.

[This is where that awesome picture would be...if I had had my camera...]

Then, today on my way to work, there was a squirrel in the middle of the road, twitching because he had been hit but not killed. Another thing that would not happen in nature.

The first occurance brought such joy that Alex and I have been telling everyone we see, and we still look for the sweet-toothed squirrel when we pass the dumpster. The second made me break out in tears on my way to work. (And again as I type this stupid thing.) I just can't hardly stand animal cruelty, abuse, death, etc. in any situation.

The other day our littlest one, Phoebe, was watching the rain pour down for hours, as if in deep concentration, adoration, or maybe sadness. I don't know why, but it was just the sweetest thing I've seen her do.

Then, I heard a story on the radio about two pitbulls in Arizona. The female stray had been hit trying to cross the road, and died. The male stray sat beside her and licked her for hours until animal control took them both to a warm bed. The male still won't eat or drink or hardly move, and he's visibly depressed. They're praying for a good home for him soon. (Our dog limit is 2, or he'd be a Colorado pitbull...)

A man once told me that "having kids is terrifying. They bring worry and fear to a whole other level, and all day, all you can think about is what could happen to them. But then, there's the love they bring. You've never even known love until you have a child. The love you give to them comes back times a million."

And I think almost everything is this way. I think even Christianity is this way. With Jesus, there are a whole lot of extra hurdles and trials you get to face. God works in our hearts and minds to transform us into more godly people. And, if you are or were ever like I was, this is incredibly painful. I was stubborn, selfish, rebellious, and a know-it-all. Take all of those things and figure out how to make them more patient and willing, giving, obedient, and humble, and you'll see the only way to do that is to mash it up, crush it down, and rebuild it. And rebuilding is hard.

Plus, all of the things I face now, I want to know what God is doing and why, and what He's asking me to do in return. Now, tests and hard times aren't just a pain in the rear, they're now chock-full of responsibility, loyalty, honesty, trust, faith, perseverance...

But I also know that I've never known love before God. I never knew that it didn't matter how badly I screwed up today, that I would still be loved so much. I didn't understand that no matter how many times I dropped the ball and failed, I could still be used to do great things. (Now, my parents have loved me unconditionally for sure. I have battered and beaten them with teenage years and bad decisions, and they never threw me out or abononed me.) I just never grasped the theology and thinking behind that kind of love until I was truly redeemed.

So many things require all of our heart. If you're going to love animals as much as I do, (Noah could have hired me to be the pooper-scooper on the ark...) you're going to have to feel pain when they hurt and when they die. If you're going to have children for all the reasons you have children--fun times, giggles, slave-labor, love--you're going to have to struggle with discipline and disappointment, too. If you're going to ask God to come into your heart, you're going to have to allow him to break you down and change you. You're going to have to face the trials and tests of this world with understanding, joy, peace, and patience, even though you'd rather throw your hands in the air and say 'I quit!'.

Jesus came to save these hearts of ours. He came to tell us that even though we face hard times, and even though this world sucks some days, that he loves us and desires for our hearts to be whole with him. I will always cry when I see road kill, or watch horses die in movies because my hearts gets that this isn't what we were made for. Death and harm and pain were never the intent for our lives. Right now, we have to take the good with the bad because of the state our world is in. Did you know that even the world groans in pain? (Romans 8:22) But the promise that one day we won't have to cry anymore, we won't know pain, and the lions will finally stop eating the lambs, isn't a fairy tale or a story told from long ago, it is reality and truth. Life hurts today, in a million different ways, but the little moments of joy that you experience in a day? Yeah, those are minscule events compared to the days we spend in heaven.

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