We are one year in with this pup, who has about tripled in size. This “three times” is reminiscent of the Grinch’s heart growing after his battle with bitterness and unforgiveness.
Eternal love multiplies each second of our lives. God does not ever stop loving us. No pressing pause, no sign hanging on heaven’s gate saying He is gone for a month.
Each time we hug, smile, pray, cook, bathe, feed, help, work, say hello how are you and listen for the response … His love is present, working, changing, blessing, drawing.
The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
With Rocko, I had to remember in the most frustrating of I-am-a-new-puppy-mom-and-I-don’t-know-what-I-am-doing moments, that God was with me. Anxiety reared its ugly head. I felt overwhelmed and inadequate for the first few months.
God sent me a woman in an SUV, who pulled up alongside the curb, almost immediately after I yelled at Rocko (Often when he was little he would just stop on a walk and refuse to move).
She smiled and said, “You are doing a good job with him. I see you when I come …” Her voice trailed off, never giving me details about why she was in our section of the world.
I believe she was an His angel doing His bidding (Hebrews 1:14) because I had never seen her before in our neighborhood, and I was clearly NOT doing well with Rocko. No human being would have said that.
But God says, Grace be yours, I see you, I know you are struggling. Remember my grace is sufficent. You do not need to do all the work.
We must stop in our wild, muddy, wayward tracks and shout, BUT GOD!
HE IS THE ONLY WAY.HIS LOVE NEVER FAILS, NEVER CONDEMNS. I NEED HIM MORE TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE.
Ongoingly, His Love multiplies in supernatural ways when our hearts soften, when Rocko’s ears go down, when I quiet my voice and still my soul before His throne.
Rocko was not an easy-to-love puppy. He was, but he wasn’t. Liked to play right away but wrestled with “cuddle time”.
Still today, he is not a cuddler, though he has grown in how he shows affection (i.e. licking our cheeks and our lips if he is fast enough). Rocko didn’t like the bath or the car or walks.
I was thoroughly confused and relapsed into some of my old, controlling ways with the yelling which entangled me again in self-loathing.
I thought God killed that branch, not useful for His Kingdom or for my family. We need to be ever-armored and alert. The devil will resurrect old sin and dare to think he is winning us over.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:57).
The other change that happened when we got Rocko was I lost my time with Jesus in the morning. Instead of sipping hot coffee and singing praise and reading the Word and praying, I was taking a sip here and there watching an active puppy to make sure he didn’t pee or chew our things.
This literally broke me. I went into church one Sunday alone, bawling my eyes out. I knew I just had to cry it out to Him, lay it on the altar of fire, where He would receive my sacrificed spirit and, in turn, light afire my faith again, fan the flame of His Spirit residing in me so that the warmth, the blessed assurance, the remembrance of eternal belonging enveloped me.
God gave us Rocko.
We gotcha’d the little pup who laid low as he stepped outside the foster care home. He kept low to meet the four of us on the porch, all equally crouched low.
God was there in the crouching:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).
God was there in the backseat with our newest member of our now-family-of-5, even though we didn’t know what to do with him, and he surely was confused about what to do with us. God says He has prepared us in advance to do His good works like rescuing puppies who had been abandoned in Alabama.
Jason, Braedon, Jackson, Rocko and I are here today because Our God who brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt AND Babylon is the same God who brought us through this new puppy adjustment.
All four of us can look back at the Rocko challenges and blessings. As we remember, His love is multiplied.
Braedon posts on Instagram. You can follow him @braedon1030. Braedon told me the other day He likes his alone time with Rocko, even taking him for walks by himself. This from the young man who wondered if he really wanted to pick up dog poop (before a puppy became a reality). I would say God grew Braedon’s heart at least 3 sizes …
Jackson had knee surgery almost a month after we got Rocko. He still talks about little Rocko jumping on the couch to sneak the milk left in his cereal bowl. Jackson is the one who plays rough with Rocko, athlete to athlete. Jackson is the only one of us who will clear away Rocko’s eye gook, the sleepy stuff.
Both guys love it when Rocko picks them up from school in the car or rolls through DQ drivethru for a puppy cup.
Rocko joined us on our first scheduled vacation of the summer. He hiked and ate sticks (too many the one day) and loved the water (though still not the bath).
We hired someone to stay with Rocko for our beach vacation. Someone, I wont mention whom, missed Rocko so much tears flowed.
Jason has special time with Rocko in his man-space, the garage. Jason and Rocko have bonded in ways only God understands:
Me? I look forward to my time in the morning now. Rocko gives Mommy gentle kisses, sometimes will crawl under my legs and rub his head and chin on my shins, like he is going through a tunnel. Rocko makes me laugh, helps my silly come out. Oh yes, I make up Rocko songs and sing them to a not good tune, but he doesn’t care. Neither does my God who looks for joyful noises among His people.
Yes, love multiplies when puppies are around. Yet, each Dibble needs to keep God first, a struggle more for some than others. We need to remember God gave us dominion over the animals (Genesis 1:26). We must resist elevating them to human status. We all have a place to belong in His Kingdom. But as we are not to be above our Master, neither are puppies to be above theirs (Luke 6:40). In God’s supernatural ways, we all (Rocko included) may become more like Him.
Thank you so much for being witness to our Rocko story as it unfolds. I have repented for my early misgivings toward Rocko and for my early distance from the Lord my God. I still struggle with the discipline of setting and keeping my quiet time. But God is so good and sees my heart in it. Sometimes Rocko has to wait for his walk or his playtime while Mommy now works at Newberrytown Church, unto the Lord my God.
I am curious about you who have pets. How do you balance caring for your humans, your animals, your God?
Feel free to leave a comment here or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In His unfathomable love,