Saying yes to a whole lot of mess

One of the lessons I keep having to relearn is ‘never say never’. Every time I think I`ve got it, another, bigger Never comes along. I`m starting to wonder if the more I say I`ll never do something, the more likely I am to end up doing it.

The latest Never to become a reality?

Murphy – who came bounding into our family in June, turning my nice calm, orderly life upside down in a flurry of muddy paws, chewed murphy 4furniture (chewed everything!) and SO MANY puddles on the carpet.

What on earth was I thinking?

4 months on, things have settled down a lot. I`m writing this now with my beautiful, fluffy dog snoozing beside me. I thank God, frequently, that Murphy is one of the friendliest, loveliest, most chilled-out puppies I know.

But still, when friends who have heard me pronounce for years that I would NEVER get a dog, ask me if I`m pleased I did, I`m not sure what to say.

My dog just is. I can`t remember life when I could leave food on the coffee table and go out all day without having to sort a dog-sitter. There`s no point thinking about it, because I believe God wanted my family to have Murphy, and throughout all the tears and the stress and the mess on my carpet, I trusted that. Held on to it, believing that the inconvenience would be worth it.

And then, yesterday, I walked with my dog in the gorgeous Peak District to celebrate my 20thwedding anniversary. Without Murphy, my husband and I would have walked twice as far. We would have had less to carry, would have been able to go inside the café instead of sitting outside, me buttering my husband`s bread roll while he held onto Murphy`s lead – not quite so chilled out when surrounded by the hustle and bustle of Chatsworth House courtyard.

But as we walked through the woods, I watched Murphy sniffing in delight at acorns, ferns, tree-stumps, everything.He stood in wonder and gazed at the ducks on the lake. Waited for us at every fork in the road, bouncing off with glee when I told him which way we were going. He ran, played, explored. Had the time of his life. And I felt his joy. And with it, my joy grew. Sharing in his adventure, his journey, as he so unreservedly relished doing what God made dogs to do, was worth all the hassle and the inconvenience.

And as I watched my inconvenient dog, I felt God give me a nudge.

murphy 3You see, we are a great inconvenience to our maker, our Master. We cause him trouble and make a whole lot of mess. We destroy things, on purpose because at the time it feels good, or without even realising. We need looking after and providing for and training in how to behave, in the way we should go. God has to plan and prepare for us. We require endless patience, abundant grace.

And yet. What joy it brings our Master, our maker, our Father, to walk with us, in our adventure. He knows the way, but how he loves to join us in our voyage of discovery. How his heart thrills to see us doing what we were made to do. He gets that we have a lot to learn, our view so small, our world so narrow, compared to his. So small, so narrow we think convenience is where the greatest pleasure – the richest treasure – lies.

This is what my dog has taught me. That easy, tidy, orderly, convenient, is not what God is calling me into. I have a feeling things are going to get a whole lot messier before too long. I`ll be shedding a lot more tears and giving out a lot more love as I seek to represent him to those who need it. And it will be totally worth it, because my Master will be walking with me.

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