Sunday, January 3, 2016

God is answering my prayers with a.... DOG?!?!

For the duration of my entire life I have wanted more than anything to be good enough. I have an idea in my head  of what is good enough and I almost never reach this idealization. Once in a while I have a glimpse that I am what I should be... I have noticed in my adult life that this always occurs when I give up my ideals and focus on God and just doing the next right things one step at a time. I have learned with time and experience that many women feel this way. We tend to compare our worst inside feelings to the best of what we see on the outside of other people. I have learned through trial and error what it means to really live the spirit filled life and to lean into the Lord. But... I'm human and I'm I have some areas that really need to grow and I tend to fall away from this blessed path over time.... and time and again. Don't worry, I am repentant but I also understand that this is typical for being human and well documented through the Bible.
I have been praying for God to show me in a real and literal way what I need to do to keep growing. I know in my heart that I need to stay in the word and to keep living the truths I know in my heart but somehow in this recent spiritual winter I have been missing the real radical presence with life application that I crave with all my heart. I WANT A ROAD MAP!!!! Yes, I know that's now how it works. God is a radical presence but we don't get a road map.
As I reflect on these deep thoughts I looked back through my prayer journal and my "ah-ha" moments. I noticed a pattern and I saw that once again I have fallen away from what I need.
I have the answer I need.
How do I get back on track and really seek the Lord with a heart that is willing to follow and learn and submit?
The pattern I saw was that I have have countless moments where I realize that if God wanted me anywhere else he could have put me in those places. I have had several realizations that I just need to be present in the moment. I need to stop comparing my worst to others' best. I need to just be content and not even worry about the next right thing when this moment is not over. This seemingly small step could really go a long way toward some areas I really need to grow in; patience, peace, self-control, grace... just to name a few.
So I pray and and I seek and I wait and I keep going in circles.... until one day I realize that I have started a project that addresses all of those struggles I just described. I think God has facilitated something in my life that is so meaningful that I can't give up and forces me to live in the moment and to concentrate on what is presently going on.
As you know we have a cute Daniff (Great Dane/ Mastiff) puppy. He is a little over 3 months old and we are just a few days past our 2 month milestone into this journey. I haven't slept through the night in 2 months and 3 days. Our world revolves around him right now. We are training him as a service dog for Faith. It's a long journey and we have already had our speed bumps but we're committed and we really believe that this is the best for our child and so we won't stop and we will give everything we can to making this work.
Part of our process is puppy training. We have committed to 2+ years of regular training with high standards. As usual I have an idea in my head of what this should look like and where we should be and what we should be doing. Our dog trainer over the course of a few sessions has said some things that really resonate with me and force me to realize that once again I am missing in this present moment. She said that one of the reasons she loves dogs is because they only have this moment right now. They don't know or care that last week they could sit and walk through the mall perfectly. Today, right now, he can't walk through the mall perfectly. When we see others around us and it looks like they are doing so well and their dog sits even when you are hopping up and down with distractions while I am still using a food lure to encourage my dog to make a good choice.... it doesn't matter is I'm comparing our worst to their best. We have not made progress and will not make progress until I am present only in this moment with the dog and we work through what needs to be done together.
 My to-do lists don't matter. My check lists of training skills and my long-term plans are meaningless in this moment. The work lists and the IEPs to be written, the dishes, the laundry, the next appointment, the next sports activity, the homework that is due, the chaos... all of it... does not have meaning unless it is what I am doing right now. It's a skill I have never learned. to practice this feels like ice skating for the first time. That dog will not learn and we can not serve our child until I am forced to practice being present in the moment with this animal when we are working.
Could it be that God has taken this journey in such a place in my life that it not only benefits Faith but also teaches me a skill I never learned and impacts our world in a big way? It seems like a God thing to do and it is in keeping with how he works in our lives. Usually when we start a project or have a door open or close, it ends up teaching us so much more that just the face value of that phase. I also believe that life is what you make it. I could choose to walk away from this idea and chalk it up to being too tired. I could just have a great family pet or I could ask someone else to train the dog. I see the potential for greatness here. I see that if I take this opportunity to learn how to just focus and be present in the moment it will impact my parenting, my teaching, my attitude, and the chaos that sometimes rules my life.

Maybe when I picture my ideal scenario, I am not picturing material things or specific activities... Maybe what I seek is the peace that comes from surrendering everything else except for this moment.  Maybe this dog was meant for more than Faith; maybe he has as much to teach me as we have to teach him. Everyone eventually hopefully has a moment in a season of life that defines them... Maybe this is my moment in this season of my life.

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