My 13 year old daughter Emmy has a new love: an adorable little cairn terrier puppy named Juliet. Of course, with this love, comes responsibility and commitment, so Emmy’s instinctive mothering skills have indeed been aroused. She wakes up with the puppy, feeds the puppy, bathes the puppy, walks the puppy, administers medicine to the puppy, puts the puppy down for a nap, and on and on. The sweet connection between the two of them is delightful to watch.
Most often, I (the grandmother?), join Emmy and Juliet for their country-morning walk. When we walk/trot/run with Juliet, she is attached to her bright red leash which is attached to Emmy’s right hand. The puppy bounds with glee after our “big dogs” Sarge and Dixie. She loves to chase the labs, as well as pester Mariel the outdoor cat; however, one of the puppy’s favorite stops is to say “hello” to the horses, April and Rooster. If it were up to Juliet, she would joyfully nip at the 800 pound animals’ heals to say an emphatic “good morning.” Now, I know persnickety April; therefore, I KNOW this would not end well for 4 1/2 pound Juliet. (I now understand why some not-so-sensitive people call small dogs “punt-dogs”).
I also gained another insight in this moment. I shared it with Emmy then, and I will share it with you now…
While with the horses, I said, “Emmy, your leash to Juliet is just like the Shepherd’s rod and staff to us. Juliet wants to go to the other side of the fence, and she doesn’t understand why she can’t join the horses. But you know what the outcome would be if she went over there; so, in love, you hold her back.”
I think at times, we can be like little Juliet; I know I can. So often we see the “greener pastures” and want to be in them instead of where we are standing. And when we feel the hand of God holding us back, we feel deprived; because after all, others are “in that pasture enjoying life.” We ask ourselves, “If they can have it (whatever “it” is to each of us), why can’t I?”. My prayer for myself, and for you is that we would always see God’s rod and staff as an instrument of love, not punishment. Yes, in love, He holds us back from things that might potentially harm us or from things that might hinder our relationship with Him. Remember, we are His cherished possessions, and He is jealous for each of us. Because of this truth, He will not say “yes” to something that would threaten this intimate relationship.
As we stood on the other side of the fence from the horses, Emmy picked up her little puppy and held her close. Then she kissed her and snuggled her and squeezed her with deep affection. Taking this sweet picture in as well, I commented, “Always remember Emmy, God loves you just the way you love Juliet.” She took a deep breath and kissed her little love one more time.
I pray you will understand and savor “the kiss of God” and His “puppy love” for you as you walk with Him each day.