This is Gatsby, our chocolate lab. He is the sweetest dog, ever. We love dogs, have always been a dog family, and I can’t remember a time we didn’t have one. There was Chloe, Duke, Sampson, Chase, Bridgett, Duke II, & now sweet Gatsby. I have been wanting to do a post on him for awhile now, because he really is such an important member of our family, and he has a testimony. But today, after we had a close call with him, it became apparent that it was the day to put aside all things “Fall and fashion” and just pay tribute to him.
All of our dogs have been strays. Adopted out of tough situations. Underdogs. Neglected pups. Mistreated loves. We have never paid for a dog, or gotten one from a breeder. We have rescued them all – but they always end up rescuing us, and giving far more than we imagined. Kind of like Jesus does. We do have a favorite breed – The lab. It’s funny because we have never sought them out, or requested one, but they always find us! They know.. We are so grateful, and thankful that God lets us love them. We spoil them with affection and attention, because we have been spoiled with love too. It overflows to them. The love never runs out. We also do this with people as well. We can’t help ourselves!
Today sucked. Really, really bad. This morning, Gatsby was found unresponsive to the usual things: His name. His leash. The promise of a walk. Food. He was lethargic. He couldn’t walk. Wouldn’t lift his little head, only his eyes. Ray scooped him up in his arms, and took him to the hospital. There, the vet said that his white blood cell count was very, very low. He was vomiting. His stomach was cramping. He was in pain. We immediately prayed. We asked everyone we knew to pray. Side note: I was at a prayer meeting until the wee morning hours, this morning and it was powerful. We talked about a lot, but one moment stuck out, in particular. Pray God’s best. Lord, that’s a hard, hard thing to do. My flesh is like, “Noooo – save him!!!” And let me be transparent here for a sec – Nearly every person I have ever prayed to live, has died. Left me. Gone. Major abandonment issues here. Y’all, I have dealt with so much loss, it’s unimaginable to most people. So, I prayed the painful “God’s best” prayer. And asked others to pray. They did. And Gatsby’s hanging on. (We still need the prayers though, because he’s back-and-forth.) I gave in, and just maybe, God honored my surrender. I believe He did.
Gatsby has a story. A testimony, if you will. (We all do, baby.) A trucker found him in North Carolina, abandoned, hungry, and tormented by some young kids who were hitting him with sticks. Today we discovered, that he also has a pellet in his back from someone shooting him with a BB gun. He had fleas. He was tired of running. He needed rest. Some of you are tired too. You’ve been bullied. Beaten down by circumstances you couldn’t control. Running from your past. Needing to be fed on more than just bread & water. Love starved.
We took him in, bathed him, cleaned him up, fed him, cared for his medical needs, and loved him unconditionally. He was redeemed! His past, no more. He was ours, and we are his people, his family. Despite all his needs, Gatsby needed LOVE immediately. Without question. We are the same. God has wired us for relationships. It’s scary. It’s risky. Who can you trust? Who has your back? Who won’t disappoint you? There is only one answer: Jesus. I can’t look to another to make me whole, or complete. No one will “complete me,” heal me, make me happy, give me what I need. Don’t put that responsibility on people. It’s not fair. And it’s not permanent. People fail. All the time. Big time. Big, big time. God’s waiting with his arms open wide to you. You may have known Him your whole life. But do you really?? He’s calling your name, from a safe, warm house. With all the food you need. The blankets. The warmth of real friendship and meaningful relationship. The tender loving kindness that satisfies your soul. The stick-to-your-ribs love that you want. Its all yours for the asking, my precious people. Don’t wait until you are already dehydrated and dried out! Don’t wait until you are self-harming, sabotaging, hiding from people, hurting. Don’t do life alone.
As I sum up today, there’s a reason Gatsby is up there, in that picture with our precious, tender Gianna. You see, Gianna is Gatsby’s favorite person. Ever. Hands down. Gianna is Gatsby’s person. She gives him the most love, and attention. And it’s a special love between Gatsby & Gianna. I can’t explain it, other than to say that when I watch them together, I feel that I am looking in on something… magical. Something so pure, and so precious. A girl and her dog. It’s no secret dogs sense things: Spirit things, soul things, weather things. Dogs have a gift. And Gatsby is attracted and attached to Gianna. She is gifted in love. Her spiritual gift is love. She has more love in her little pinky than most people possess in their entire hearts. True! Gianna wants to be a vet. I say, Gianna IS a vet, she just hasn’t gone to school for it yet 😉 Gianna will change people that walk into her veterinary office because she has compassion and tenderness from her own special testimony. She is the light, and joy in our home. It flows from her so naturally, and it’s contagious.
You have a testimony too. Right now. If you don’t have someone to help you loosen it, I can! I would be honored. Get in touch. We can find your gift together. So so much love to y’all!! Thank you for praying.