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.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I Asked God to Show Me Where I was Blind, and He Gave Me a Pit/Lab so I Could See

Semper is definitely MY dog. I think she would be attached to me 24/7 if she could, and when she can't be attached, she wants to stand or lie within inches of me. Honestly, that isn't what I expected know, a Pit.

The truth is she really isn't anything like I would have expected something that looks like a Pit to be. As I told you before, I have only had bad experiences with Pits, and they scare me. There is nothing scary about this dog, except the way she throws her head back and busts my lip or hits my nose, but Fred, my amazing Lab, did that, too, so maybe that is the Lab in her. I expected Pits to be aloof and brooding, kind of Batman in a dog. I expected a "no touchy" thing.

Right now, I am on the couch, and she is lying beside me stretched out...with her back feet planted firmly against my hip. I thought Semper's affection and connection issues were just because we bonded or she is a puppy, but today I spent a few hours with my friend Janice, and she met me at the door with these two very big dogs that welcomed me with wagging tails and exuberant joy. Despite their size, they provoked no sense of danger or fear. They were very much like Fred always was. Just totally happy to see a visitor. Being educated in dog get-to-know-you, I stood there and let them sniff me, get the aroma of me, and decide I was okay. When I actually got a look at Xena, I asked what breed they are. I already knew, but I wanted to be sure.

They are Pits. Big. Brawny. Muscled. Lovable. Can't be petted enough. Pits.

Not one time did I feel anxious around them. I never felt threatened. I did feel a bit squished when Zeus, who had been lying with his head on my leg, adjusted and dropped half his body weight in my lap and put his big head on my arm so I could rub his chest. When Zeus went to get food, Xena sat in front of me until I held out my arms, and she walked right into them and buried her face in my shoulder. I realized in my few hours there that Zeus and Xena would be in constant contact as well. In fact, they were either connected to me or Janice the whole time unless commanded to lie down in their own beds.

I was wrong.

These are not scary animals or vicious animals. These are beautiful animals with capacity to nurture and love deeply. They are huge babies...with a protective edge that isn't a bad thing. And like anything else, human or animal, it is impossible to make a blanket statement about them, especially one that is based in ignorance, fear, or media frenzy.

I admit, I have never thought of Pits as beautiful animals. Honestly, I have always thought they were ugly, but today I looked at Zeus a long time with his huge black head and penetrating brown eyes, and yes, he could be intimidating, if you are taught to fear that look, and I have been. Today though, I just looked at him. I looked at his whole body language that was so relaxed and comfortable. I looked at his face that was so relaxed, and I looked at how his eyes drooped when Janice rubbed a particular spot behind his ear. :-) What I saw today in the dog that sat beside his owner and wallowed in my lap is truly a beautiful dog. And Xena, with her brindle coat, stocky body, golden brown eyes, classic Pit head, and hug snuggles is just as beautiful.

What does all that have to do with Semper? I realize there will be people who see a dog with a Pit head and don't care that her mom was a Lab or that she is the sweetest thing ever. They will only see a Pit. I understand that. A month ago, I was one of those people, but God decided I needed to be educated. I needed to have my eyes opened because I was blind to part of His beauty.

Why is it that I have no problem seeing God as the warrior God but have trouble seeing Him in the "warrior" animals He created? Why do I fear something in His creation that I find so beautiful in Him?

For me, the answer is simple: I have seen that beautiful nurturing, protective side twisted into something vicious. But honestly, I have seen some people turn a loving, protective God into something vicious, too--a cruel God who enjoys watching people punished for their sins, a God who is never satisfied, a God who will turn on you in a heartbeat and destroy you and your hopes and dreams. It's easy to believe the scary stuff when you have never experienced the loving stuff.

If I could leave any legacy I wanted, I would leave lives changed by the truth of a warrior God who is driven by selfless love, whose heart for restoration is boundless, and whose commitment to love makes Him unable to compromise His stance on holiness. I would leave lives changed by the love found in the fierceness of Him.

When I prayed for a name for Semper, I actually thought of Fidelis, "Faithful", but it kind of became Semper Fidelis abbreviated from Dios semper fidelis--God is always faithful.

God is always faithful. Sometimes I can't see that, but it is true, and sometimes He has to open my eyes by putting me up close and personal with exactly what I fear so I can see Him in it.

Dios semper fidelis.


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