I see her every afternoon as I wait to pick up Emma at school. She comes out before all the other kids, holding on to the arm of a teacher. With some degree of difficulty, she makes her way over to the bench and sits down.
I can't begin to imagine exactly what her disability is, but if I had to guess I would figure it to be muscular dystrophy or something akin. No matter what ails her physically, she never fails to keep on smiling. Even when there's no one paying any attention to her, she sits on her bench and lights up the world with her bright grin. She's a cute little thing.
Then I saw HER yesterday.
She made her way across the parking lot as quickly as three legs would allow. I'd seen her out there before, but she never ventured all the way across the long lot to where the kids were. I wondered if the administrators would shoo her away.
She obviously belonged to someone, seeing how she was looked very well-fed and was wearing a collar. She looked like some mix of Labrador Retriever and who knows what else. It appeared that her body had never quite snapped back from having puppies some time back. (I FEEL YOU, MAMA DOG. I DO.)
As she quickly ambled her way over, she stopped and scratched as best as three legs would allow her to do. She made a beeline for the little girl.
I held my breath, wondering what would happen next.
The little girl smiled brightly. If I'm lying, I'm dying--that dog smiled right back at her.
They greeted each other like old friends. The dog curled around the little girl's feet (and even though I couldn't hear it, I know she did it), breathed a contented sigh.
The little girl reached down and stroked Mama Dog's head. Mama Dog looked up into the little girl's eyes. In that moment, I saw pure joy...bliss...no judgment.
As I blinked back tears, I realized it was a good day.
Anna Beth has recently started sleeping through the night, every night (Cue choirs of angels singing the “Hallelujah” chorus here,). She has developed a little habit that I find endearing and thought-provoking. She wants me to hold her hand when she goes to sleep. If I’m holding her, she locks her tiny hands around one of my fingers. If she’s napping in my bed, I have to lie next to her, holding her hand, until she drifts off to restful sleep.
Anna Beth derives total comfort and peace by knowing that I am there with her. She feels protected and loved by having someone’s hand to hold on to. Don’t you feel the same way about your relationship with God? I know I do. I know that if I chose to grasp tightly on to God’s hand that I would be less likely to worry and fret over situations that He can handle.
Thinking back to the time I was a little girl, I can remember being scared of the dark. I found comfort in holding my Daddy’s hand. I knew there was nothing too big or too scary that he couldn’t handle. I find that same comfort in my Heavenly Father now. If I didn’t have the “Everlasting Arms” to “lean on,” I don’t know where I’d be.
When you feel your faith is being stretched and tested, reach out for God’s hand. Find your rest in Him. His hands are strong and sure. In Isaiah 41:10, it is written: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” God’s hand is unfailingly with us in times of trouble and in times of peace. I praise Him for that.