It was one of those moments. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind where your day, your life, your world turns upside down in the blink of an eye.
They start out like any other day and then boom it happens. We all experience them multiple times in our lives.
An Unwanted Discovery
My most recent experience with an “earthquake” day happened when I sat down on the couch after a long day. As always, my beloved Sadie sat beside me. Only this time it was different.
As I looked at her, I noticed something on her left hock. Upon closer examination, my heart stopped. It was a small tumor.
The first thing the next morning I called my veterinarian and made an appointment. During the exam, she confirmed what I feared. It could be a Mast Cell Tumor which is cancerous. Or it could also be a Histiocytoma, which is benign.
The plan was to observe it for two weeks and decide what to do based on the observations. However, after a week it began to grow and change. Back to the vet, we went. She wanted to remove it ASAP, so she scheduled surgery for the next morning.
The surgery went well, and the tumor was sent off for biopsy. For the next 14 days, I had one job to do. Take care of Sadie and make sure she didn’t mess with her stitches.
She was doing great. She barely paid attention to them. In fact, she was doing so well that on day four after her surgery I felt safe leaving the house for an hour.
I was not prepared for what I found when I returned home.
The first thing I saw when I stepped through the door was a large, bright red spot of blood on the back of my new couch. I knew something was terribly wrong.
Sure enough, she had removed all the stitches, and all that remained was a huge bloody crater. I began applying gauze to stop the bleeding while simultaneously calling my vets emergency service.
Since it was Saturday afternoon, the office was closed, but the emergency service put me straight through to the Doctor. After talking, we decided that I would bandage the wound, put an e-collar on her and bring her in first thing Monday to be re-sutured.
Now, having been anesthetized twice in less than two weeks, the wound was re-sutured, and we were on the way home.
You Had One Job
Once we entered the house, we took up our usual position. Me, sitting on the couch with Saide sitting beside me. Only this time her leg had eight stitches in it, and she had an e-collar around her neck.
The tears began to flow. I had failed miserably at the one job I had to do, and as a result, my furbaby suffered.
I heard myself saying, “Sadie, I’m, so sorry. I’m so sorry. I let you down, but I will make this up to you. I promise.”
At that moment two things happened. Forgiveness and grace wrapped in fur began licking the tears off my cheeks, and I heard the gentle whisper of God.
I sensed Him saying, “Yes, you did fail, but failure is part of life. Learn from it and move on. You don’t have to make it up to her. That is caring for her out of duty and obligation, not love.”
He had my attention.
He continued, “It’s the same with your relationship with me. I never want you serving me out of guilt and obligation. I want you to serve because of love.”
Know Your Why
Once again, He used Sadie to remind me of an important truth. Whatever the relationship, a furbaby, a family member or friend, or most especially God, always be aware of your motive for serving.
If you serve out of obligation, or guilt, it will have an adverse impact on your soul. And eventually, you will come to resent the one you serve.
On the other hand, even though the journey may not be easy when your “why” is love your steps will be light. Empowered by love, you will not tire of serving. In fact, you will constantly be looking for more ways to serve and do it with excellence.
Sadie and I are celebrating for two reasons. First, the biopsy showed that the tumor was benign. And Second, and even more important, because I serve a God who loves me so much that He sent His Son to die so that I can have an intimate relationship with Him.
I love the way He teaches me life lessons in unique ways, like my adventures with Sadie. I can’t wait for the next lesson as we travel life’s road together.
Are you serving God and others out of fear, guilt, and obligation or out of love? Ask Him to show you any motives you need to adjust and step out in love.
What unusual ways has God used to get your attention to teach you a valuable lesson?