For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, June 5, 2006

If Only

It is during the hard times in life we either hold on to God's character or flounder with doubts. There seems to be no grey area. God is God or God is not. Well, I can tell you that I believe God is God, even when God doesn't make sense, and right now, there are a lot of things that don't make sense to me.

We had to put two of our puppies to sleep today. They had contracted distemper and were in the final stages. We chose the humane option and our vet gave them a sedative so we could love on them until they fell asleep, and then we gave the puppies to the assistant. We will pick up their bodies tomorrow, and we will bury them on the family farm where we buried our 14 year-old poodle last March.

I will tell you honestly, I am heart broken. I am filled with questions, and so are my children.

"Mommy, why would God give us the puppies and then let them die?" I don't know. That is a question I have as well.

"Mommy, surely God won't let Fred (our third puppy) die, too." I didn't think He would let Tristan die, so I don't know.

I'm not questioning God's goodness or His faithfulness. As I told the children, for 10 days Tristan and Ginger had a home where they were loved and cared for. They weren't abused or locked in a metal cage. They ran around, got snuggled, and had a comfortable bed. For ten days, they were not abandoned dogs at a pound. They were part of a family who loved them. Surely that had to mean something.

I have had friends in my life that were there for a season and then left. I've known people for a few hours who have left indelible marks on my life. For a long time I have said that some of the most important people in my life were not "friends" but well placed people who came and went so very quickly and yet impacted me greatly. Too often we dismiss the importance of a chance meeting or a brief "friendship". We erase the power of those blessings with the word "only". "We only dated for a short time." "It was only a stranger on the street that helped me when I was lost." How many heroes are only there for minutes or hours never to be seen again and yet beyond forgetting?

Granted, the puppies weren't heroes, but they were sweet. Some day years down the road, they may only be a faint memory, and for our young son, they may not be that, but today, today they are missing members of our family, and the effect is profound.

And I am one of those who needs to know that somehow all of this has a purpose. The Bible says that the Lord knows His plans for me and His plans are for my good, to give me hope and a future. I believe it was a God thing that we got those puppies in the first place, so I believe they were part of His good purpose for us. How does a good purpose last for only ten days? I don't know.

Maybe we needed to be reminded that this life isn't all about us. We got the puppies for our enjoyment. Maybe God meant for the puppies to be with us for their enjoyment. We were the only ones who wanted them. Think that is a big stretch? Maybe. All I know is there is not a sparrow that falls that my Father doesn't know. I know He watches over the beast of the field and man. I also know He cares enough for a mindless flower that He arrays it in robes that even Solomon could not compete with. Maybe God's good purpose was for us to be reminded that He does put those "Only" people in our lives, but sometimes, we are the "Only" people in other people's lives.

I don't know. I know that as I have spoken to those sick little puppies over the last two days, I have told them that I know they are part of God's good purpose for us, and I believe we are part of His good purpose for them, too. They got a home with a family who loved them for ten days. We got puppies who were grateful to have a home and a family who loved them for as long as they were here and then some.

That sounds good, doesn't it?

You know the paradox of "only"? "The." The only one to stop. The only one to help. The only one who wanted to adopt. It is an honor to be the "only", even when only you feel the responsibility, the satisfaction, the joy, the pain.... And if our whole part in this magnificent roller coaster of love and heart ache was to be the "Only" people who were willing to be a family for those who needed it, then I'm glad God picked us, and even if it breaks our hearts, I hope He picks us again because there is something wondrously blessed about being the "Only".

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