Ten years ago Eddie and I got married and then took a trip to Tennessee just a few months later. It was a great trip. We had a reception for friends and family who weren’t able to make it to our wedding in Michigan. My MIL and BIL joined us for this trip! A huge highlight of that trip was when we brought home our first two children ;).
OK maybe not children but Chewee and Josee quickly became a part of our family. Two adorable little jackabea puppies (Jack Russel and Beagle mix). We spent the next 5 years training and loving those dogs! Nick and Rosie came to live with us and quickly fell in love with them too. We have great family videos of Nick bossing Chewee around. I cherish those!
Almost five years ago our family made a major move from Detroit to Philadelphia and wisdom said we should not take the dogs with us. It was heartbreaking but my parents stepped in and took both dogs back to TN. It was such a treat to go home for visits and get to see our dogs! Nick and Rosie still tell people that we have 2 dogs – distance didn’t change the love in our hearts.
This week my mom called with news that I’ve dreaded since the day we took them home with us 10 years ago. Chewee was gone. That wonderfully stubborn dog chased one too many cars. My heart was broken. Sure, she hadn’t lived with us for a while, but she still had a Christmas stocking every year! She was our Chewee. I wasn’t going to tell the kids for a while but the opportunity presented itself last night. The scene that followed broke my heart and taught me something.
I shared the news in it’s most compact version. At first there were a few questions but within minutes my Rosie girl began to sob. I’ve never seen her cry like that. Her heart was broken and mine was too. And then her next words blew my mind. Through heavy breathing and broken words this was our conversation:
Rosie – “God said no.”
Mom – “What do you mean honey?”
Rosie – “I asked God to let us see Chewee this summer when we go to TN. He said no.”
The rest of the evening commenced with many tears and conversations about death. I’ll cherish last night as long as I live. I held both of my babies as they grieved and processed the death of their long distance dog. But I couldn’t get that conversation with Ro out of my head.
In a world where the word NO is frowned upon, I think my 7 year old gets something that many of us struggle with. We want what we want when we want it! And the truth is that’s just not reality. Sometimes the word NO is absolutely necessary. Other times it’s not what we want to hear but it’s whats best for now.
I’ve asked God for many things. Most often his answer is “wait” but sometimes his answer is clearly “no.”
Proverbs 19:21 tells us that we all have many plans but it’s the purpose of the Lord that will stand. I don’t always get it, but I’m learning to trust more and more that HIS ways are better than mine. I want to be ok when HE says “NO.” It doesn’t mean I won’t mourn or grieve or that I have to pretend everything is ok. Scenes like last night are ok……no good ….. no, they are necessary in life. We have to learn to trust the great I AM with all things. And when He says NO, there is most definitely a lesson to be learned.
Last night we wrapped up our evening with a slumber party in our room, skyping Nana and Papa and ultimately thanking Jesus for the wonderful years we had with Chewee.
Listen, I get it. She’s a dog. But last night the hurt was real and the grace of Jesus was too! There are life lessons happening as we walk through this experience as a family. Rosie quickly recognized God’s answer to her prayer. Now she will learn how to process that answer. Not easy, but necessary.
I ache watching my kids hurt. But I am so thankful that Eddie and I get to be the ones to walk through this with them. I don’t like the answer “NO” sometimes, but for last night I will eternally be thankful!