I love my dogs. They are a huge part of our family. They are adopted and I call them my “children”. Delilah came to us through adoption from the local SPCA and Daphne was rescued from a small facility that has since been closed by the county. I’ve often wondered if they remember their past and how bad it was for them. Both came from homes of dog hoarders. I can only imagine them needing to fight for their daily meal while being starved for love.
Daphne and Delilah are Boston Terrier breeds. They are loving, sweet, entertaining, and full of personality. They love to snuggle and give doggie kisses. They have taught me so much about the way we are loved by God. Now, before you stop right there, give me a few minutes to explain my position.
1. Love is patient (Ephesians 4:2)
Daphne and Delilah love to eat. I feed them regularly but for dinner time, I know they have an internal clock that that signals to their bellies. The closer it gets to 4pm, they will wake up from nap number 5 and circle around the kitchen. Since this is when I prepare our family meal, I’m already in the kitchen when they pay me a visit. They look up at me with expectant eyes and wait patiently for their dinner to be served. If I’m not on time, they do not get angry with me. If I’m a little behind schedule they are just fine. They love me regardless of my timeliness. They know they will get their dinner eventually, because I’ve always made sure they were fed.
2. There is no fear in true love (1 John 4:18)
Both of my fur babies will flinch and cower every single time they hear loud noises, someone grabs the swatter to kill a fly in the house, or during thunderstorms. They test my body language to see if I am also fearful or they will run and hide depending on the situation. This leads me to believe they lived in fear before. During a thunderstorm, both of them cannot get close enough to me or my husband. They are seeking protection. Reassurance is what they need in those moments. So, I snuggle them, stroke their slick fur, and let them know I will let nothing hurt them beyond what they can bear.
3. Love can’t stay angry (Ephesians 4:26)
I’m sure if my Boston’s could talk, they would tell you they don’t always get along. A game of tug-of-war will start out fun, but quickly turn into an all-out brawl in the living room. No matter how many times this happens, they always resolve the conflict just as quick as it started. They find their spot on the couch and snuggle. The fight they had just a few minutes before is forgotten.
4. Love others as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39)
I have witnessed occasionally, Daphne grooming Delilah. For some oddball reason, she thinks Delilah is in need of her ears cleaned out. While we think this is gross and cringe at the idea of someone other than us cleaning our ears out (yuck!), Daphne thinks it is an acceptable practice. I'm sure of it. She loves Delilah as much as she loves herself. She is likely in need of her a good ear cleaning of her own, so she does it for another. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am not suggesting you need to be groomed by someone you love. I believe selfless acts show great love. I’m merely using this one as an example (I mean, I am writing about dogs here.)
I could go on and on about my dogs. Like I said, they are my “children” now that mine are adults and we are empty-nesters. I won’t bore you anymore with dog stories (although, they are cute, aren’t they?). Here’s what I’ve learned through having them in our family:
Patience is not something that comes naturally. If my plans are changed at the last minute or someone is late, my patience runs thin. God wants me to be more like Daphne and Delilah. Time and time again, the God of the Bible speaks of patience and love going hand in hand. I want to be more like that in my relationships.
Love and fear cannot exist together in a healthy relationship. Just like with Daphne and Delilah, if they sense danger, they become fearful, but they look to me for reassurance. I am their master, so it comes naturally for them to seek protection from me. God is my master and if I am fearful, I want to look to Him for protection and guidance. While I also believe there is healthy fear for God, He loves me with an eternal love, so I don’t fear wanting to be close to Him.
There will be disagreements in any relationship. This is more frequent with families. God desires for me to exhibit the same amends Daphne and Delilah show each other after their playtime escalates. Be quick to make amends. Settle the argument before I sleep at night.
Daphne and Delilah have taught me to be selfless. To treat others as I want to be treated. Jesus tells the Pharisees this is the second greatest commandment. The first being to love your God with all you heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). If I put God first, the rest of my lessons will come naturally.
I praise You all of Your creation. I thank You for teaching me lessons each day and I ask you to continue to do Your work in me so I may become more like Jesus.
In Jesus' name,
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