This is a longer post, but I’ve tried to keep my posts at under a thousand words (many times) and well, I’ve decided I can’t do it! I only post once every week or two so it makes it seem justified I suppose. Blessings and hope you enjoy…
My favorite little fur-friend is covered in silver and tan color, weighs a whopping four pounds, mimics a bulldog stance with his front legs, possesses separation anxiety, and usually has a seizure once or twice a week. (We joke as a family that he inherited seizures from my mom and youngest brother who also have them.)
His name is Eli, but sometimes we call him Liza Jane, E Bug, E.B…
He’s our family dog—A three year old, purebred Yorkie who will never be used for breeding stock because of his many flaws; but in our eyes he’s perfect!
On a busy Monday morning, with joint effort, my kids and I packed their small luggage bags into the back of my “mom van.” They were going to be staying the week at grandma’s so they could participate in Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the church she attends. After what seemed like we had just loaded everything they own (except for bedroom furniture) we set out on our twenty-minute drive to my small hometown.
On the drive I ran through my mind my perfectly planned Monday morning…
- Drop the kids off at church for VBS
- drive to mom’s
- unload handfuls of bags
- unload more and more bags
- Spend a few minutes sorting paperwork
- Visit with my younger brother all the while
- Take Eli for a walk on the nearby walking trail
Afterwards it would be time to pick up kids from church, head to afternoon dentist appointments, and thereafter the kids would land at my mom’s so they could enjoy a combination of Grandma, zero chores, and Vacation Bible School, all for a full week!
It was perfectly scheduled in my control-freak mind.
We soon made it to the church and I dropped the kids off. Then I headed to the little house I grew up in where I was greeted by my brother who helped me carry gobs of bags inside.
Everything was going just as I had planned.
But after a few minutes something seemed off…
Eli? Where was Eli?…If I was going to stick to my “perfectly planned” itinerary I would need my dog for my walk that was scheduled to happen shortly.
I hollered in the house for him, whistled and called out front, checked the alley, but there was no sign of him.
In my rush to get out of the house and get my kids to the church in a timely manner had I forgotten him at home?…No, I was pretty certain I’d seen a flash of silver and tan amongst all the “bag carrying” into my mother’s house.
My little brother, bless his heart, has short-term memory loss so it wouldn’t be much help to ask if he remembered seeing the dog, and at this point I was questioning my own memory.
Maybe Eli was the one prize possession of my kids that we accidentally neglected to load into the van that morning…
Still I continued to search, retracing all the places I had already checked.
Back-and-forth I went—down streets, alleys, and through yards desperate to find my E.B.
To someone watching, I probably looked like I had lost it and to some degree I had. Surely I appeared as either really pathetic or really hilarious to bystanders, some of which I exchanged conversation with, but no one had any leads to my dog’s whereabouts.
At one point I grabbed a large plastic pitcher from my mom’s, filled the bottom with Eli’s dog food, and proceeded my search—shaking the container of tiny brown pebbles all the while. I trampled through tall grass, scratchy weeds, and peered inside thick bushes, bellowing “Eli, Eli” and tossing whistles in the mix every now and then.
I was like a damsel in distress, awaiting and hopeful of her “Prince Hairy” lol to come scrambling up beside her at any moment to take away all the worry and fear.
But two hours in, my wish still hadn’t come true.
I prayed…a lot; mainly that I’d find my little E.B. in a healthy condition, but if not that I wouldn’t be upset with God if I didn’t. I checked back at my mom’s frequently just in case he had shown up, but still no sign of him.
Eventually I made my way over to the small town’s post office where a good friend of mine works and also where everyone dishes out the latest local news. Maybe my friend had caught word of a wandering pocket-sized dog running the streets—or flattened to one!!
I felt relieved she hadn’t heard the latter of the two.
Seeing the despair on my face she offered to post something on Facebook; something I wouldn’t have considered doing (with my absence of that form of social media).
I soon left, persistent in my pursuit to find my dog! I thought about how cute and cuddly he is; how if someone found him they might just want to take him home for their own, but if they did his separation anxiety would kick in, cause him to have a seizure, and this new owner would certainly not know how to love and care for my poor guy as well as my husband, kids, and me. The thought sent me raging on the hunt even more so!!
By then nearly three hours had passed. My kids were finished with VBS for the day and now they knew of Eli’s disappearance, so the tears were streaming. In their minds he was a goner—nevertheless they set out to look along with my mom. They may have even considered that perhaps they’d get out of afternoon dentist appointments; to be honest I was within minutes of canceling the appointments—I wasn’t ready to abort my mission!
About that time my sweet friend from the post office called telling me a small dog had been spotted at a house about a quarter-mile out of town….How’d she know? Facebook!!!
Let me tell you, those nights of playing tag with my kids have paid off! I sprinted the three blocks to my mom’s house, jumped in my “mom van”, and drove west on the windy dirt road leading out of town.
Minutes later I pulled up to the first little house and just as anticipated there stood my E. Bug!! He didn’t look stressed or harmed, rather he trotted down the drive once he spotted me and if he could speak I’m just sure I would’ve heard him say, “Hey mom! Fancy meeting you here! Think I could catch a ride back into town with you?”
I scooped him up into my arms and hugged him tightly. I was so incredibly happy to have him back and unhurt, and my family was as well.
sidenote: We found him just in time that we could still make the dentist appointments. I don’t think my kids were excited about that, but having Eli back safely made it all right after all.
I share this story with you because I’m reminded of the deep commitment God desires with us even when we take off on our own venture just like Little Eli.
At the end of Isaiah chapter 42 (verses 18-25 NLT version) we read of God’s grief over the people of Israel. Verse 20 says, “You see and recognize what is right, but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.”
God was expressing sorrow over the Israelites. He felt disappointed by their choices. Yet, even in the midst of their defiance, the very next chapter (Isaiah 43) records that God would show them mercy and deliverance regardless.
I love Isaiah 43:1b which reads, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.”
Further reading reveals the phrases, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you (vs. 2). And at the end of verse 4: “You are honored, and I love you.”
Who wouldn’t want to experience that kind of grace? God would be there for the Israelites despite their faults, just as He’s there for us too.
God is with us even when we wander wayward.
People, don’t miss what He has to offer!
God doesn’t want to put us on a short chain. Rather He wants to extend mercy and love to us always, no matter how near or far we feel from Him. And even if we try to run from Him, we simply can’t, He’s everywhere. God wants to scoop us up, just like I did Eli, and He wants to love us, absolutely unconditionally.
Check out this video ‘Run’ by Kutless, which sums it all up!
For further studying read the story of the Prodigal son found in Luke 15:11-32.
If you made it all the way through this post, congrats and thanks for reading!