Nothing There

Okay, so in my first blog “Stray Dog” I pointed out we get strays in abundance. Well, a seed from that abundance has landed again. Which has gleamed insight on walking life out in faith.

Our house is situated a distance off from the road. There is a long, red dirt path lined with trees that leads up to an older, white frame, two story house. Mostly, when people let their dogs go on our street, it’s at the end of our driveway. Filled with anxiety the dogs stay in one location, not even trying to get past the gate that blocks trespassers.

They stay in that area for three days. Believing their former owner will turn back for them. Then reality sinks in, along with the stomach cramps of starvation, and they act on finding food and a place to reside.

img_1545-1Although, this time the story is slightly different.

After three days, the stray dog still had not moved to find her way to the house. It is summer in Texas, with temperatures passing 100 degrees. I grew concerned that the dog would become dehydrated. The images of her never moving from there appeared in my mind. She will starve herself to death waiting on her previous masters. I could not figure out why she would not join us at our home.


When we get out to retrieve the mail or newspaper we talked kind to her. Petted her. Told her to follow us. She would get excited to visit us. Wag her tail. She seemed as if she knew we were for her.

I could not take it anymore I gathered up food and water. Walking to where she was. As my daughter presented her the food, she ate it in record time. Afterwards, she lapped up the water as if she had nothing for days. I felt this would alter her judgment about walking to our house.img_1554-1

Nevertheless, after a couple days she still had not come.

In my heart, I knew if she would move up the driveway to take notice of the house, pond, and the other dogs she would give up that area.

I ended up taking food down there to show her the way to the house with a food trail. I reached my hand out to her, let her sniff the dog food, patted her, and reassured her how good of a dog she was. Laid a handful of food down for her to eat. After she ate, I gently stroked her fur, reminding her I was proud of her. I stepped distances in front of her in the direction towards the house, placing more food down. We continued this for a limited time. Going away from the gate. She would turn her head around, gaze at the gate. Reason about traveling back. Glance at me. Think twice about the food, and continue with what we were carrying out. We advanced half way down our driveway with food still in my hand. I perceived we would reach the house and she would understand how great it was to stay. Instead, half way down, at the curb, she turned around and walked toward the gate.img_1559-2

I guessed it was too soon. Saying, “Tomorrow I will attempt it again.” The following day I tried again. The results were the same. I questioned why she chooses to return to a place that was empty. No food, water, or people to give her love.

On one occasion, I observed underneath her that it was obvious she had puppies. I simply concluded she was a mom wanting her babies. Therefore, she could not give up the chance of returning to them. She had to get back for when the former owners returned.

One time, as I was working on getting her to the house, I watched her keep turning her head looking back. Finally, she gave into her thoughts and walked away from the house and back to the gate. In this picture before me was a display of God extending His love to us, and we decline it to go back to a point that is empty.img_1556-2

God will present a way He desires us to follow. Through the path, what is to come is unclear. All that is in our view is a dirt road and trees. God sees we need encouragement along with some cheerleaders to follow this route. He surrounds us with individuals just loving on us. Cheering us on. Telling us we can do it. Being there when we are at our weakest and fear has taken the greatest of us. People feeding us when we cannot provide for our self. On the trail, we stop. We turn our head and look behind. Then we glance forward. In that split second, we convince our self to return to the past because people and things are waiting on us. If we don’t go back, we will miss them when they show up. Therefore, we walk back to what is familiar, presuming the existence of something is still there. Only to realize, emptiness is all that is waiting for us.

In Ezekiel 20:6 ESV God informs us He will lead us out of the land of Egypt (our former ways not of God), into a land that is beyond what we have experienced.

“On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, a land flowing with milk and honey, the most glorious of all lands.”

He does not just show us this is Ezekiel He assures us in:

Exodus 3:8

Jeremiah 32:22

Deuteronomy 28:1-68

Exodus 3:17

God informs us that this land, that we cannot see, is abundant in love. A lifestyle of richness, not necessary rich as one might imagine with wealth. Instead waking up excited to face the day. When somebody claims something offensive to you, your joy responses in compassion. The most glorious of all the lands. If I dwell in a place where people and the environment bring me down, it indicates it will be greater. If I remain in a place that I come up empty, with the people I hang with or the places I go, the new location will enhance my fullness. A place I remain satisfied and content. Where I hang around people or go places that have me overflowing with goodness.

Reflecting on how this dog prefers returning to a place of emptiness it leads me to pray for God to search me. When I am walking forward in faith but I turn to look back believing there is something there waiting on me. Finding any state of emptiness in me. Asking God to provide the courage to cling to what He has declared. Coming into what God has that is “the most glorious of all lands”, an area beyond my imagination.

Prayer: Dear Lord, when I cannot make out what is ahead and the suffering of where I am speaks louder than your promises. I ask that you quiet the voices of pain and bring in remembrance Your Word, giving me strength like I never have had. So, I can overcome the battle, walking fiercely towards all you have sworn. In Jesus Name, Amen

In the comment section below please share your thoughts. If you are unsure where to start here are questions to help you get going:

  1. Do you have a suggestion for the dog’s name in the picture?
  2. Do you believe God keeps His promises? Is there an area in your life God has promised you one thing but you return to something contrary to what He has said?
  3. Is there an area in your life that you are trying to walk forward but you keep looking back, thinking if you do not stay you will miss out? Explain.



The Stray Dog

Location can produce many adventures. When you live on a road where the rolling acres are filled up with woods, and ownership is under five, one of the prominent stories you will come across is stray dogs.

Stray dogs are not an unusual word where we live. All breeds types show up in abundance. A considerable number of them are Pit Bulls we scare off because they turn up from sectors that train them to fight. The other ones are various kinds that the owners decided it was time to give up on them.  Occasionally, one steals our heart and we take them in as our very own.

Over, the last twelve months our dog count of five went down to two. My kids itched for a new dog because having too many dogs is all they remember. Secretly, I wanted a new dog as well. We chatted about it. Researched various dogs. But we were not willing to start that commitment.

One day, daydreaming, the thought that we would have a little canine, a toy like dog, came to mind. My response, “NOOOOO!” Not a dog that small.

Then one Sunday after church, as I was pulling into park, I noticed down the driveway a little black and brown thing walking along with its head down.  I got out of my car curious about what was this moving object. As I got near that dream of a dog was within several feet of me becoming actuality. The dog rushed towards me like I was her master. I picked her up, came inside, took a snapshot, and started reaching out seeing who would give a home to this adorable dog. The kids were gone so surely this would proceed smoothly, I was confident of it. But as I sat down with the dog my heart melted and I texted my children an image. One of the biggest mistakes I made. The feedback was automatic on keeping her. As you probably gathered the dog never found a new family after us.


In the beginning, thoughts of offering the dog a home was not optional. She took too much of my time. I had to walk her so the gigantic birds flapping around outside did not make her a feast. Although fondness grows with time. The kids fell in love right away. They never had a dog this small. My mom was a little uncertain. My step dad’s masculinity did not desire to acknowledge that he liked the small dog.

However, this summer personal illness has affected our family. It has taken a toll on every one of our emotions. No longer is she a stray that turned up, and we all fell in love with.

The style of our home is an 100-year-old wood farm house built into a duplex. My mom and step dad live on one part and the kids and I live on the other. With illness being cared for apart from home my mom and step dad are not here. My mom comes home once a day for a couple of hours after spending long hours away. When she arrives home this little dog, we named Chika, becomes so excited, she squeaks, and runs over to greet her. When she sees her, she jumps up and down just begging to be picked up for some love. In that instant, my mom gets this huge smile on her face that makes you feel how the dog has lifted her spirit. Chika will remain with my mom while she is home. In those couple of hours, they eat together, lay down to watch TV while dozing, and play. One day my mom told us “this is my dog” as she held her on her shoulder, as we regularly do, even though said she would never do it.

image1 (2)

As I was remembering the joy Chika has contributed to each one of us this summer, I thought about how God is aware of what we need before we do. When Chika came into our world in October, we did not know what was going to take place this summer. We assumed she was just another dog. Instead she has been something that God purpose to comfort us during this painful summer.

God can use the smallest things, like Chika, to help us in our most demanding circumstances. However, frequently the things God uses come package in a way that our first reaction is to reject it because it does not meet our conditions. I am still in astonishment at how great He loves me when God uses a story, such as the one of Chika, to demonstrate His love. Then I realize how often I give up seeing His love because it is not how I believe it would be.

In Zephaniah 3:17 it reads:

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

He is constantly with us. In our most challenging time when we feel like He is not there, He is there. Not only is He there He is rejoicing over us, He will quiet us, and even sing over us. It is in our trying days when this verse seems like a lie and we doubt God’s love for us. But He is there sending comfort in little ways we don’t even consider.


In the comment section below please share your thoughts. If you are unsure where to start here are questions to help you get going:

1.) What has been your experience with a stray animal that has come up to your home?

2.) Has God ever tried to use something in your life you rejected at first but later you saw how God used it for what was to come?

3.) When you are in church you rejoice, love on God, and sing loudly to Him. Have you ever considered that what you are doing in church the Creator of the Universe does over  you? Does that change how you see God? Explain.