As I write this I am on a plane on my way to Omaha to visit my 5 month old niece, a trip I almost cancelled multiple times because my dog has been sick and it has put my life on hold. I had no idea I loved this 8 pound Maltese until I watched him start to slowly die; it just broke my heart. I asked God to either heal him or please take him quickly. When He did neither, I had to face the unknown every day, and it was almost too much for me to handle as I struggled with my lack of control I had over the situation.
Day by day he got worse. After a bone marrow biopsy and a blood transfusion, Theodore started to improve. But he wasn’t quite the same and the effects of the strong medications he was on made him extremely hungry and thirsty. I was up all hours of the night some nights feeding him or taking him to the bathroom. I began to have extreme fatigue and often doubted that I made the right decision to ‘save’ him. I remember crying in church one week as we sang the song “He gives and takes away…but I still choose to say, Oh blessed be Your Name.” And my eyes were opened to what God was trying to show me. I was hanging onto Theodore and I knew I had to let him go and give him to God. Theodore wasn’t mine to keep forever.
Of course this opened the door to many conversations I started having with God about death and why we all die someday. I didn’t like death very much and told him so. My heart was hurting so badly and I realized I hadn’t cried this much since my divorce 5 years ago. Ironically, I had been protecting myself from relationships to avoid this exact pain! But God gently showed me that I can’t hide from pain in this life, because then I would also miss out on love. And Theodore is worth all the tears. Loving him has made me a better person because it has given me a glimpse of the love Jesus has for me.
Jesus says there will be heartaches here. We aren’t in heaven yet. So there are still tears, There is sadness and suffering. There is death. But Jesus has also overcome all this! He brings peace in the midst of our struggles. He is there with us through the pain. I don’t know how this part of my story will end, but I thanked God for blessing me with Theodore these past four years. I told him I trusted Him and that He knew best. The most beautiful part of this painful experience is that God used my love of a sweet white fluffy dog to show me more of who He is and His amazing love for me.
Thank you Lord for when you give, and bless you even more when you take away, for that is when I see you more clearly than ever before. And where I learn that you are enough.
*The author’s name is a pseudonymn