Anytime there is a storm my dog Spunky he gets spooked! She is a Chow, Australian Shepherd mix and is a pure delight to have in our home. For 14 years we have cuddled with her, chased her, gone fishing with her and loved her more than anyone could imagine. The one area that we wish we could change is her anxiety level when it comes to thunderstorms. In the middle of the night it is not uncommon to have this dog jump on the bed, begin to cuddle up next to you, stare you in the face and begin pawing you as she shakes in fear. It’s as if she is crying out, “mom help me, don’t you hear that?” It has even gotten so bad at times that my husband and I will take turns taking care of her so the other can get sleep! I know, I know it’s like having a child.!
Yesterday we had a storm in the middle of the day and I was about 15 minutes from home. In the distance I saw the lightning, heard the thunder and watched the torrential downpour happen. All the while I was wondering, how was spunky going to handle this? I soon would discover how she did!
Upon arriving home the garage door would not open. I thought that maybe the electricity had gone out since the lightning strike seemed pretty close. I went in the side door and called out, ” Spunk, Spunk, come here!” No response, no pitter patter of dog paws running to join me, no excited face or wagging tail, and no spunky! I have to say my first response was, “did I leave her outside?” I ran downstairs to look. The dog was not outside and she did not come to join me. Thinking that Maybe she’s hiding in one of the bedrooms because of the thunder, I began looking in all the rooms and calling her name, she was nowhere! I was so confused and panicked, where is my dog? As I rechecked my bedroom, I went into the walk-in closet, I called her name, “Spunky, where are you?”
Slowly her little head came through the clothes in the back of the closet and she peaked out and looked at me. As soon as she saw it was me she came running out into my arms. Both of us were so relieved to be together again.
This reminded me of how God looks for us and calls out for us and in our fear, or shame, or rebellion we hide. Scripture tells us that he calls you and I by name. This began long ago, even in the garden God called out, “where are you?”
This is so comforting to me! God wants us to be close to him, he understands when we are frightened, lonely , disappointed, feeling frustrated, sad.
He calls out to us
I am here
I am with you
come to me.
All we need to do, if stick our head out from behind where ever we are hiding and look to him and know we are safe.
It has been an interesting week! It’s my first week after school ended and I have the burst of energy that teachers get when they have been given the great pleasure known as summer break! My days have been spent cleaning and organizing because of the big move that is coming soon. I will talk more about that later!
It also means that I have spent more time with my mom. This both a blessing and a stretching!! I love her so much and no one pushes my buttons like her 😳.
When she was first diagnosed with dementia a friend recommended that I read, Moments of Joy by Jolene Brackley. It helped me to focus on the good stuff.
One morning after breakfast mom came to me with her fingers in her mouth showing me her bottom gums. As she pointed to her mouth I was dying laughing inside and calm and composed on the outside. “Are they hurting?”, I asked. What she said next was quite unexpected! With her hands thrown up in the air she declared, “I can’t find them!!” Oh my, was this a fun filled time. Imagine yourself looking for missing teeth! We looked in drawers, under the bed, in the bathroom, yet they had somehow escaped!
My friend Catherine was at the house and assisted us in the search and rescue effort. She opened the closet door and there hanging out on the wire shelf were the runaway teeth! Never a boring moment in the life lived with dementia!!! I am grateful for the comic relief for it brings joy into my life!
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” Philippians 1:4 NIV
Yesterday we went to see Finding Dori. Mom loves movies, even if she doesn’t fully comprehend the plot. We enjoyed the movie and we were ready to venture home. As we left the theater a large poster of Finding Dori was displayed. Mom looked at the poster and then turned to me excited with this request, “that looks like a good movie we should go see it!”
Moments of Joy! If ever I associated with a movie it is in Finding Dori. Her memory loss makes me sing for joy because I know that there is joy and hope even if there no cure!
“Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”Isaiah 12:6
There was a moment in the movie where Dori remembered something and she was so happy! My mom must feel that way too! God has used this movie to remind me to have joy because He is present in our lives and is able to replace our tears with laughter!
“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” Psalm 30:11
There are perks to being married to a Missions Pastor. One of them is the unique gifts that he brings home to me. On a recent trip to Guatemala, he brought me a gorgeous bracelet. I love the combination of colors that it has in it.
Every time I wear it I think of the beautiful people of Guatemala and pray for them to know Jesus in a deeper way.
Recently I wore the bracelet to school, I was happy each time I looked down at my wrist. It’s funny how these little reminders can trigger joy filled memories, prompt us to pray and begin conversations. As I was meeting with some students I asked one of the first grade students who is from Guatemala if he knew where the bracelet was from. He smiled and proudly questioned me, “Do you know that I am from there?”
Many of my students are from other countries, so I try to connect with them on a personal way, whether that be through a book, a video or even by talking about a bracelet. We had a great conversation about buying the bracelet from street vendors and the many items that are for sale in the markets.
What he asked me next surprised me and made me giggle! With expectant wide brown eyes he looked at me and asked, “Mrs. Cobb did you see my brother in the market? He has skin like me!”
I leaned over and hugged him and reassured him that I didn’t meet his brother, but that I had met many people just like him. I love my Job!
This encounter with my first grade friend reminded me that we all want to be known. We want to have things in common and feel part of a community. I am grateful for the body of Christ that meets these needs both locally and worldwide.
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
I Corinthians 12:25-27
Have you ever cleaned something in a dim light, only to discover that you missed a whole, lot of dirt when the lights were turned on? Even when I think that I have cleaned something thoroughly, I can miss things. The other day after spending an hour on the kitchen the sun began to stream through the windows and I noticed that there were areas that had been missed. Some were tiny particles that had escaped my cleaning frenzy and others were hidden behind an object that I did not remove. This can be so frustrating!
I am in a season of cleaning, organizing and getting rid of things that I no longer use. I actually love simplifying, my husband however, is less than enthusiastic about the purge! We have had to figure out a system that makes me feel satisfied with getting rid of things and organizing and also giving him time to decide if he wants to part with things. This can, as you can imagine, create a little bit of tension in our marriage.
This dance of purging and keeping is a delicate one for sure! We have had many tense conversations regarding my need to get rid of…. and his need to keep. Oh, the ebb and flow of a relationship! This has taught me to have patience, extend grace and figure out ways to secretly dispose of things! Let’s just say I am thankful for neighbors who volunteer their trash cans!
This has gotten me thinking about how God wants us to purge and to keep.
Consider these verses about removing things
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:26
If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent Job 22:23
Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; Proverbs 25:4
he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.Isaiah 25:8
And these about keeping
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:19
He said, “If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keepall his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.” Psalm 12:7
I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
Hope in the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. Psalm 37:4
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.Psalm 119:34
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, Luke 12:35
It appears that the Lord is about removing and keeping. Apparently, we both can learn from each other!
Father reveal to me those hidden things that must be purged from my life. Thank you for always loving, always keeping me close to your heart.
Today is difficult for me. I have been wanting to have a conversation with my mother, yet every time I begin to talk to her I remember.
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about my day or to discuss what she thought I should do. She has always been in my corner, my biggest cheerleader and support. When things needed to get done, I would call my mom, she always knew how to fix whatever was broken. I remember those days so well! Now when I share things with her, I think about how much she can handle, what will upset her or what information can she assimilate. It takes so much work to remember that she is not who she was, she is different. Remembering is hard work!
Even though remembering is difficult, I must do it to love her with the unconditional love that the Father has lavished on us.
Today is difficult but I choose to remember! Even though she can’t, I can.
I love this song from Tommy Walker
We will remember we will remember
We will remember the works of Your hands
We will stop and give You praise
For great is Thy faithfulness
But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.. Psalm 77:11-12
Remembering who God is helps me to love better!
I am going to spend some time praying through the names of God. I found a super resource for this on the Navigator’s website. I encourage you to join me on this journey.