Encouragement When Life Has Gone to the Dogs

Encouragement When Life Has Gone to the Dogs by Jean Wilund via InspireAFire.com

Life Gone to the Dogs?

When life has gone to the dogs, encouragement seems to run off with it. I sure needed encouragement the weekend before my first big speaking event.

It was Saturday morning and my husband Larry was on a trip, my son and his wife were camping with the youth group, and I was at home with my son’s hound dog Little John and our golden retriever, Justice.

I stumbled out of bed to let the dogs out. I know that’s a song, but you really do have to let the dogs out.

As soon as I opened the back door, two tails and eight legs scurried past me.

Justice ran to the nearest bush. Good.

Little John streaked for the woods. Not good.

Without my morning coffee, I was in no mood to chase after a dog on the run.

I hollered for Little John, but I managed only a feeble squeak.

I cleared my throat and tried again.

This time I sounded off a pathetic croak that couldn’t project off the porch much less across the yard.

My voice was gone. Gone to the dogs.

Oh, Lord, in less than a week I’m leading a women’s weekend retreat. I need my voice. What are You up to?

I wondered if this could be a test since I’d titled the retreat, The Red Thread: Life Unravels, But You Don’t Have To. Christ Holds Us Together.

Lord, I don’t need more material to share with the ladies about life unraveling.

I had a choice to make. My voice had unraveled, but I knew I mustn’t. How could I encourage the ladies to trust God when life unravels if I melted down over simply losing my voice?

I need to get this right, Lord. 

But first, I needed to get the dogs.

I ran into the house, grabbed a dog bone, and ran through the yard waving it in the air.

I clapped my hands and danced around to get Little John’s attention.

Finally, the bone drew his attention away from the wonders of the woods. He raced after me into the house after the bone. Mission accomplished.

I’d managed to communicate with Little John without a voice. But running around and waving my arms in the air wouldn’t work for leading a women’s retreat.

Time to pray. Silently, of course.

Lord, thank You for Your power over the sun, the moon, and vocal chords. And thank You that Your steadfast love never fails. I’m leading a women’s retreat this coming Friday. I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You. Amen.

I sent out prayer requests, took some vitamin C, and rested. And I waited to get better.

I got worse.

Sunday morning I woke up with added aches, pains, and a cough.

I wasn’t exactly encouraged, but, still, I had to laugh. This is Your retreat, Lord. Not mine. If You send them a speaker without a voice, You’re the one who’s going to look bad. Not me.

Of course, I was kidding. God’s never worried about how He looks. I, on the other hand, wanted Him to make me look good.

Worry crept in and pushed out encouragement.

For years I’d unravel over every speedbump-sized trial. Losing my car keys or my Clemson Tigers losing a football game sent me into a tailspin.

Slowly, surely, God taught me the secret to resting rather than unraveling. To experiencing encouragement rather than despair.

When I focused on God’s character rather than my crisis and turned my problems into praise, worry melted away and encouragement returned.

Praising God ran off my fretful worries and ushered in encouragement.

Every day I prayed more, praised more, and rested. Lord, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are still on You. Your steadfast love endures forever. Amen.

By Thursday, my lost voice found its way back home, and I’d enjoyed a relaxing week of praise rather than worry.

And rather than the exhausting, event-packed week I’d had planned, I enjoyed complete rest before the retreat. Turns out, losing my voice was a gift from God, not a reason to fret.

Encouragement Comes to Those Who Wait on God

Even if my voice hadn’t returned, my encouragement still could return because God never changes. His character of faithfulness remains the same. But His ways are often different.

In this instance, God returned my voice. Another time, who knows what He’d do. We won’t always know His plans, but we can always know who He is — and rest in Him.

Encouragement When Life Has Gone to the Dogs by Jean Wilund via InspireAFire.comI rested in God at home with the dogs.

And even though I didn’t have to run from speaking event to speaking event, I still had to run after my son’s speedster hound.

The next time I tried to lure Little John back into the house with a bone, that stealthy pup snuck up behind me, snatched the bone out of my hand, and ran off.

Encouragement came in when my cares were gone to God. But that bone? It was forever gone to that sneaky little hound.

 

 

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Jean Wilund

Jean Wilund is a Bible teacher, speaker, and award-winning writer, passionate about coffee, comedy, and Christ. (Not necessarily in that order.) She blogs at www.JeanWilund.com to encourage people to fall more in love with God and His Word and laugh while doing it. She’s written for Focus on the Family magazines, Reach Out Columbia, and other publications whenever they let her. She lives in Lexington, SC with her dashing husband. Their perfect children live scattered across the country.

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