I blogged earlier about the first two lessons I'd learned from babysitting a friend's dog. (Part One, Part Two) But likely the most powerful lesson was while we took a walk one afternoon. It was a rainy afternoon and my spirit felt stormy as well. I was upset ... so I decided to walk the dog to clear my head.
I walked down my country road a lot further with Shiloh than I had in the past. I could see her becoming confused. She kept turning around to look back to our house. I didn't care. I needed to vent some frustration.
See, I had received a review of a manuscript I had sent out to an author. It was a prize I'd won on an author blog, Seekerville. I was so discouraged. But not for the reason you might think. The author loved my first chapter, using words like "riveting" and "brilliant". But I was angry. I know that sounds weird and believe me it felt weird too. I had received feedback from two contests before this with a range of responses - some liked my writing and some didn't. There seemed to be no way to tell where exactly I stood. I figured I was just just average.
That was reason enough to quit in my mind. I have so many things on my plate as a mother, wife, role in my church, owning a business and so many other ventures ... why would I put myself out there for ... average. So I had decided that my writing was just for me. (And maybe a few friends.) For now at least. I didn't need the hassle of rejection, disappointing reviews and what not. I didn't want to be published badly enough to endure that. So I made my mind up.
Then came the response from the author. "Wow, Jodi. This is really powerful. Beautifully done."
Now I was mad. So I walked the dog. As we walked I saw something that stopped me still.
As I stood there with tears streaming down my cheeks and an anxious dog at my feet I confessed to God my pride and told Him I was afraid I might be hurt if I kept going on my writing journey. I wanted Him to protect my heart. Then I started to walk away.
I was so consumed in my own moment I hadn't noticed that Shiloh had wandered under the barbed wire fence to check out the grass on the other side - to see if it smelled any different than the grass on our side, I guess. Once she realized I was leaving she bounded over to me in excitement, getting her fluffy tail caught in the barbs. She tried to pull it out, whimpering and squawking, but to no avail.
I knelt down in the wet grass and held her in my arms so she wouldn't wiggle. Then I began trying to pull each hair free from the grasp of the barbed wire. Shiloh sat still and patient in my arms waiting for me to free her. I was amazed.
My first thought had been 'what if she won't stay still?' 'What if she bites me for trying to help her?' But she didn't. She somehow knew to trust me. Why?
God wants me to trust Him too. Why or how can I do that? It is simply, because He has been good to me and faithful to me in the past. He has never left me hanging from a barb before and He won't do it now. 'What if I am never more than average?' 'What if I get hurt by the words and thoughts of others?'
That's okay because God has me in His arms, in His lap and it is all going to be okay. It might still hurt. I am certain it caused Shiloh pain to be set free from the wire's hold. But she trusted me and that taught me to trust Him.
Deuteronomy 32:10 (NIV)
In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye,Deuteronomy 32:11 (NLT)
like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions.