My love for my own dogs, though, is pretty difficult to put into words.
Sometimes I get the impression people think I'm a little over the top. I don't know what it is that gives me that feeling... perhaps it's the strange looks I get when I dress the dogs up for each holiday, the expression of panic most visitors get when they come over to my house and immediately get licked in the face with puppy kisses, or maybe it's the fact that Maddie sleeps on pillows like a human.
But the fact of the matter is, my dogs are like furry children to me.
Humor me for a second and let me tell you a little about their stories. Maddie was born at the Humane Society. God bless those people. Her mother and father were found wandering around on the side of the road, and her mother was pregnant at the time. Some gracious person picked them up and took them to the Humane Society. In other circumstances, the dogs could've easily been hit by a car or taken to the kill shelter. But they weren't.
All the puppies were adopted within weeks from the Humane Society, but Maddie was returned about five months later for tripping her elderly owner. That just so happened to be about the time my husband and I were looking for a puppy. And the rest is history.
A few months ago, though, we decided Maddie needed a friend. I'm a huge believer in animal rescue, as there is currently a terrible problem with pet overpopulation in America, so naturally I started researching dogs at various local rescues.
I didn't want a shelter dog (from a kill shelter) because shelter dogs have a stigma. They're not always vaccinated. They sometimes come with emotional baggage. And let's face it, kill shelters are terribly sad.
But then I found Schroeder, my handsome purebred Cocker Spaniel, and he changed all that. We took a chance on him, and oh, what a glorious "chance" it turned out to be.
So you can see how my dogs teach me daily about redemption. They came from awful situations, and now they're sleeping on Brookstone blankets. At least, when we're not looking.
That's where this blog fits in.
Maddie has this obsession with their food bowls. She wants their food to be in both bowls. If one bowl has food but the other doesn't, she will paw at the empty bowl until someone comes to fill it up. So the other day, there I am, sitting on the couch and watching TV, and Maddie walks over to her food bowls and proceeds to shamelessly paw at the empty one in an effort to get my attention. I told her, "Maddie, you have plenty of food in the other bowl. Eat out of that one." Reluctantly, she walked over to it and ate from it.
And in that moment, I thought to myself, how many times does God say to me, "Ashley, you have plenty of food in the other bowl. Eat out of that one."? Sometimes we get so distracted with what we think is the perfect means of sustenance that we miss out on the bigger bowl. We're so filled with discontent that it blinds us from seeing provision.
In what ways do you find yourself focusing on the empty bowl, and how has God called you to a bigger one He's already provided?