When I was in my twenties, I longed to hear someone say, “I see the hand of God on your life.” Somehow for an outsider to look into my life and tell me God was at work felt like it validated my whole reason for existence.
And really, experiencing the hand of God is central to our earthly lives. Is there anything more important than knowing God, being known by Him, and being an instrument in His hands for the fulfillment of His purposes?
But there were two problems with my yearning to hear those words:
Cute as a button.
Fresh as a flower.
Strong as an ox.
When I string these similies together at high speed, my children smile wryly and moan “Da-a-a-ad!” The boys aren’t sure that they want to be “cute as a button,” or “fresh as a flower”—glad as they are to be “strong as an ox.”
This week, I’d have to add that the kids were also “as sick as a dog.” Even the Energizer bunnies among us, the ones who can scarcely stop moving or wiggling or talking, have been temporarily incapacitated. The table felt empty at mealtimes, the couches were draped with ailing children, and the house was exceptionally somber and quiet.
Yes, they have been as sick as a dog.
An acquaintance came by to collect a small order at my shop and I asked him how his family was doing. He answered, “OK, except poor.”
Tell me about it.
Sometimes troubles travel in packs. They surround our lives like a bunch of wolves moving in for the kill, chilling the bones with howling threats. For our family, those troubles have taken the form of a leaking roof (showering the girl’s closet whenever it rains), corroding water pipes (that urgently need to be replaced before we hit a second crisis), a malfunctioning sump pump (creating a pond beneath our house), and a refrigerator with shelves cracking to pieces five years after buying it brand new—all during a time when work (and the money associated with it) is as scarce as diamonds in a gravel pit.
It was two-something when the sound of barking woke me from sleep. That kind of bark—that persistent, “I’ll never give up” tone—meant one thing: Some critter was just out of reach of our family dog.
For all her good points, Tessa is not one to give up when she finds a game she enjoys, no matter what time of day or night. Once she figured out that she enjoys chasing cars down the driveway, she requires physical force to keep her from biting at the tires. I’ve gotten in the routine of apologetically telling clients, “Tessa just thinks your car is an oversized cow”—the cow dog instincts won’t let this one escape the premises.