The mirror of love

She can’t help it. It’s in her nature. It’s the way God created her to be. She senses when I’m feeling off, and she is right there. She follows me from room to room, wanting to bring comfort. There is just something in her nature as a Bichon Shitzu, that makes me think of the love of my God for me.

Now, in no way am I about to compare my dog, something God CREATED, to her CREATOR. Not at all. But something about the creation that I enjoy, makes me reflect on the heart of my Creator.

Even when I scold Pippa, she comes right back. Even when I want nothing to do with her, she is right there, waiting to give me affection. I don’t deserve it. I haven’t earned it. But she cannot help but be by my side, making sure I am loved and ok. I love that about how she’s wired.

And something about her, makes me think about the love of God.

Sometimes I share life on this here blog, and sometimes I share other family’s photos or journeys, but this blog, I just want to preach a bit from my heart.  😉

heart tree1 John 4:8 says GOD IS LOVE. He doesn’t just love, as in make a decision to love you, He IS love. Jesus doesn’t just love us as His creation, He embodies love. Everything He does, is because of His nature.

And yet, as mortal human beings, we can still choose to walk away or resist His tough love that is meant to refine us and bring us closer to Him. Maybe we don’t understand it at the time, but the purpose is to reveal His heart, His character.

Colossians 3:10 says (paraphrase) that we are to put on the new nature that we have in Christ that is constantly being renewed as we learn more and more about Him. The same gospel that saved me, is the same gospel that will change me, more into His likeness, if I let it. And then I am to be a mirror of His love to our very lost and very broken world. Oh how many times I have failed at that!

I am not a parent yet, but I know someday I will understand the things you do for your children’s betterment, and protection, that at the time, kids just don’t understand, until they’re more mature.

I remember kicking and screaming on the floor as my Mom, bless her heart, tried to teach my siblings and I how to play the piano. I. Did. NOT. Want. To. End of story, and that is why in Grade 12, I had only completed Grade 2 Conservatory. My Mom loves music, and even still plays at church. And she wanted us to also discover the love of playing. She knew it would bring joy to our lives, with some discipline of practice laid out. But, we all fought the ivory keys. Tough love, right?

I just had a feeling that someone else who may read this needs the reminder, that God’s love is right there. Whether it feels like tough love, whether you are walking on Cloud 9 and feeling His presence, or whether you’ve never even spoken to Jesus, He can’t help, but want to love you and reveal Himself to you. Just the way you are, imperfections and all.

And don’t for a minute think that He wouldn’t fight and do everything He could, even though He already has, to make sure you know His love and the truth of His saving gospel. To Him, you are worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.

My husband (I love saying that! It’s like name dropping, you squeeze it in whenever you can!) recently discovered a new artist, Andrew Ehrenzeller and his song called, “Set My Love”. The lyrics are amazing, have a listen, I leave you with that… 🙂

Your love makes no demands, never accuses.
You know, true romance is when I get to choose.
So I set my love upon you. No expectations, only revelations. I set my love upon you. My salvation is to see Your face.

….You are the risk of love that I get to trust.

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Happy One Year Old Pippa

_MG_9272One year ago I had a baby. Well, a baby puppy that is. My sister and her husband were having puppies and giving them all away, and I was moving back into my own place – so it seemed destined.  I also just wanted something, well, to love. I wanted something other than myself to take care of! Growing up on the farm I always tried to train our dogs, and my Dad recently even said how badly I had wanted an indoor dog.

When they were one day old I picked her up out of the six and held her in the palm of my hand. I drove home that night very excited about the new little bundle, and dreaming up inspiring dog names. I grew up on a farm, come on, this can’t be THAT hard to name a pet? Then I began to think about English inspirations, and Pippa popped into my head. I smiled, and the decision was made.

Nine weeks later when I brought her home, she was crying in her crate in the back seat.  Yet as soon as I turned on worship music, she calmed down. And since then, I have noticed if I turn on quiet music at bedtime she will go to sleep sooner. Diva 😉

Through all the months of potty training, meal time disruptions, road trips and snuggles – I know it was a great decision. People have told me, “It’s good training for kids!”

I always mocked people who dressed their pets, and this winter I became one of them. I always thought I’d be washing my hands all the time if I had an indoor pet, yet some things I’ve just learned to let go of because she’s mine.  She is social, sensitive, affectionate and my little fluffball of snuggles when I’ve had a rough day.  Her underbite makes me laugh and the way she rests her butt on my shoulder when she sits on the back of the sofa is annoying and endearing all at the same time. She follows me from room to room and I am surprised I haven’t yet stepped on her and hurt her!

Ever so grateful for this little bundle … Happy first birthday my little Pippa!

The girl and her dog

I grew up on a farm so I am used to pets – we had pretty much every animal at one point or another. Cattle, chicken, horses, pigs, dogs, skunks (ok, not on purpose)… However, the only time they came in the house was when there was calves that needed warming or puppies that needed milk from a straw.

Four months ago I changed all of that and brought home my very first pet as an adult – Pippa – a Bichon Shitzu. People have told me “It’s good training for kids!” Well, if my kids plan to poop in the guest room and run around with my thong in their mouth, then I guess we’re on the right track 😉

I’ve only been home once without her, for three hours, and I missed her. It’s funny how those things that require so much transition and frustration can also bring the most enjoyment. I can’t imagine my little home without her now!

She’s the one that bolts out of her kennel in the morning as though doing a deep-sea dive; the one who licks my legs as soon as I put lotion on them after I shower; and the one who gets snuggly after about 10pm at night when we both need some downtime. My world has been blessed by this four-legged creature and she’s actually taught me a lot. So, in true Lani fashion, this is what I have learned from my little Pippa…

*just ‘being’ is enough to be loved. She follows me from room to room, staring longingly at me as though I was her hero. I don’t have to do anything to earn her love, but just ‘be Mamma’.
*sometimes you need to escape the confounds of the box you’ve been given (ahem – insert backyard here), and find freedom outside of the everyday.
*life is full of interruptions, so you better learn how to embrace them.
*trying to exercise in the house with a dog between my legs inspires a great ab workout 😉
*you should reward yourself when you reach a goal. Treats of chocolate, shoes, and trips are all welcome.
*life is too short not to play after work.
*life can be messy. get used to it.
*find delight in small details
*hugs and drool and almost pee yourself when you meet someone new because it makes them feel wonderful
*simply, love life

Thank you to my sister and brother-in-law who decided to breed their dog, and blessed me with Pippa!

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*A change, will do you good*

The evening rain trickles softly outside my bedroom window. The 10pm train has passed and all that is left is a damp stillness and the cool of a summer eve. Randomly a truck engine will roar or a neighbor off in the distance shouts out. But overall, this community is quiet and I love it. The past few months my blog has obviously been quiet – as my world has taken on a new form and a lot of change.

In the past two months my younger brother married the love of his life – and we love her! I couldn’t be happier that he found such love and they have a beautiful home together just an hour away.

My Grandma had her 85th birthday and I was able to enjoy some good family time celebrating!

I moved back into a townhouse I bought in 2007 and have been starting on reno’s with painting, lighting, and flooring and the bathroom yet to come. I am a certified nester to the core. I can’t count the number of Homesense trips I’ve had in the past two months!

Also….I got a puppy and perhaps she has brought the most change to my daily life. Her name is Pippa. We almost ended today as being the first day in six weeks where I didn’t have to clean up poop inside the house – but she fixed that by nightfall. Sigh, there’s always tomorrow 😉 She has been so good for me and I love her to bits. She makes me have someone else to care for other than myself (so good for anyone living on their own!)

It does mean that my normal quiet easing-into-the-day has been interrupted with potty breaks and watching whether she is squatting or circling. It’s just a different season of life that requires a time of adapting!

The other day I was listening to a podcast at work and Priscilla Shirer said how as a mom, the first few moments before her feet hit the ground are sacred. She surrenders to Jesus right there because she knows her day is full of demands as soon as she moves. She said there were seasons of life where her “quiet time with the Lord” was meditating on ONE scripture for a week that she posted on her mirror or fridge. For me, it was timely as I adjust to new schedule with a dog and settling in my home and renovating.

My verse this week is about faith and diligence. It’s Hebrews 11:6 and I chose the Amplified to write on my notecard:

“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must believe that God exists and that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him.”

As I have mulled that one over the past 36 hours, it made me realize that faith isn’t enough to just believe in God Himself, I must also believe in His character. Who He is. I must believe that He is good, wants relationship with me in every season of life more than I can imagine, that He loves me, and, just like I reward my dog when she does something right as I train her… God, in His way, rewards our diligent faith. When we don’t give up. What that looks like, I will leave up to Him.

All it’s made me think about is how in times of transition and adjustment, God never changes. He is still there wanting me. And my relationship with Him will change and grow right along with it all. Here’s to change in life and embracing every minute of it all …!

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