June 25, 2013

God Can Work in Small Ways, Too




     Gosh, it really has been a while since I've blogged! (and by a while, I mean well over a year.) I guess I can't really blame it on writer's block, now can I?  I'm not sure what exactly gave me the random itch again, but perhaps it's simply because I finally have something I feel is worth talking about. This is just a story I wanted to share, and though it may seem little and insignificant to some, it meant a great deal to me! It's a tad lengthy, but bare with me :) 

     Meet little Shmoo. She's our barely 2 1/2 year old Shorkie. (That's half Shih Tzu, half yorkie). She was our New Years Eve present 2 years ago, and that in itself is a pretty cool God story, because I know that He had His hand in it, no doubt, when we found her. However, that will have to wait for another time. And yes, her name is actually Shmoo. We hate it. My parents said it was from some "ghost" (I certainly don't remember this character...) from Scooby Doo. After a few days of using it, we changed our minds, and tried to come up with something that rhymed. Boo, Goo, Moo, Stew... it just didn't work, and by that point she was already getting used to it, so we kept it. I dread the response when I have to tell people for the first time. "Shmoo? like.. Shmooooo? that's her real name?heh..." Yes. That's her real name. Moving on. 
     Shmoo is a sweet, loving, let-you-cuddle-with-her-for-hours-even-though-you-know-she's-annoyed type of dog, that can be lazy, and yet VERY energetic when company is over. So energetic, in fact, that if we just hold her by the collar, she will run in place for a ridiculously long time. I don't even have to take her for walks. ;) Anyways, Shmoo, like most dogs, loves to be wherever we are. She never runs off, nor does she ever neglect to run after a toy when you throw it. She's a good balance between cuddle-time and playtime. 
So, needless to say, when she started acting like she wasn't feeling good a few weeks ago, and kept hiding in the back room, refusing to come out even for company, toys or a treat (!! She LOVES treats), we knew something was really wrong. It spanned over a few days where she would barely eat, and just plopped down, usually in some hidden corner. That's not our Shmoo. We figured maybe she was just getting some type of stomach flu or something. Then she proceeded to vomit. A LOT. By this point, it was Sunday, and our small town veterinary clinic wasn't open. We called the emergency line, and the Dr., (a man of VERY few words) came to meet us immediately. Long story short, she was very dehydrated, obviously sick, and neither of us had a clue what was wrong. She had no fever. He decided to keep her for the night. We figured once they gave her some fluids and antibiotics, she'd be back to good in a day or so. The next day we called, and the receptionist said Shmoo was doing much better. We were so relieved. We brought her home. Apparently the receptionist doesn't have a clue, or was misinformed. I came home from work to find Shmoo lying completely still. She wouldn't even look up at me when I walked in the room. My little dog, the one who usually greets me RIGHT at the door, was just almost lifeless as she lay there taking shallow breaths. I was panicking. We tried feeding her peanut butter, her favorite. She wouldn't even try it, nor would she take any water. My mom, who is a hospice nurse, was trying not to look worried, but I knew that she knew our little Shmoo was dying. We had no doubt. She had that look in her eyes. You just knew. My heart sank, and I was trying not to cry. Why is it that we can get so torn up by our little pets? They just become a part of the family, you can't help but be heartbroken. We immediately called my dad in and began to lay hands on her and pray over her little helpless body. That might be weird to some of you, but let me tell you something... I know God works in mysterious ways, and I KNOW that He answers prayers. I've seen Him do impossible things in my life, countless times, that I am 100% positive could not have happened on their own. However, with that, comes the reality that the majority of the time, we have no idea how, if or when He is going to answer. 
     Let me rewind for a minute. My first memory of God was when I was very little, maybe 4 or 5 years old. Our cat at the time, Punkin, had gotten severely sick. She was acting completely out of character, couldn't even make it to her litter box, (even though normally she was a very tidy kitty), and she could barely drag herself around. My mom especially recognized that look in Shmoo's eyes, because she had first seen it in Punkin's. She knew that Punkin knew she was dying. The vet confirmed. They said there was nothing they could do, and they felt we should put her down. My mom said she wanted to give God a chance first. She came home and called my older sister and I into the room. I remember it like it was yesterday. We all sat around Punkin and held hands and prayed that God might heal our little cat. My mom has always taught me since I was young, that God delights in the prayers of His children. I remember thinking, "Wow! God cares what I think? He listens to me?" And with that, I prayed with all of my heart that Punkin might be spared. After that, it wasn't over night; it wasn't like lightening struck and angels came singing, but every single day, Punkin got just a little bit better. After about a week or two, my mom brought her back to the vet. They couldn't believe it. They kept telling my mom they must have the wrong file, and kept trying to relocate it. They said there was no way that our cat could have gotten better like that. My mom replied that it was the same cat, and that we prayed for her, and God healed her. And He most certainly did. Punkin was back to normal from then on! 
     So fast forward to Shmoo. All of those past memories were flashing back, and I was trying to pray and hold on to them, even though I was scared for her, and crying, and getting angry with the vet because no one was telling us anything! Couldn't they give her some medicine?! Blood work? Something? So we called back the emergency line, had the Dr. meet us once again, and he took her for the next few days. We prayed and prayed. Again, it may seem dramatic to some, but to me it mattered. I knew God could heal her. It would be nothing for Him to. But would He? I had no clue. Maybe this was just one of those things we had to go through. It's not like I haven't lost pets in the past. Plenty of them, in fact. But Shmoo was different. She was so little and so young, and besides, we really felt like we had her because of an answer to prayer. So why would He take her away? For the next two days, I was so down. I would cry here and there. Even my dad cried. We were all struggling with it. (He was her favorite). The vet informed us that she was responding the same. Not better, not worse. Finally that night, I don't know what got into me, but I wanted us all to pray together as a family, and I was fired up! I think God enjoys when we put His promises to the test, and stand on them, trusting and believing Him to do as He said He would. So among other verses, I quoted and declared by faith Jeremiah 17:14, "Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise... Where is the word of the LORD? Let it now be fulfilled!"  I'm not even sure why I specifically chose that one. I had come across it while reading earlier that day, and it just stood out to me. So I prayed that for Shmoo, replacing "me" with her name, and also for all of the friends I currently have that are struggling with different ailments, including knee surgeries, cancer, etc. 
     The next day, my mom and I decided we would go to visit Shmoo on our lunch break, since we hadn't seen her in a few days, and we wanted to make sure she knew that we loved her and hadn't gone anywhere.  I was so nervous on my drive over. I just kept praying over and over, "Lord... PLEASE let me just see some glimpse of hope. Let me see something that will encourage me. But no matter what happens, I trust You, and I know You know what You're doing.." We went into one of the little rooms, and they brought Shmoo in. She got just a tiny bit excited, and sort of wagged her tail. This was BIG for us! At this point, after the results from blood work had come back, they knew that the issue was with her liver and kidneys. It  still wasn't good, but they had her on a lot of meds, steroids, and everything else, and hopefully that would clear some things up. Plus, she had started to take a little drink on her own that day. Not much, but it was still something. Already I was praising God. That's all I needed! SOME sign of hope. But then the Dr. informed us that every dog is different. Some dogs don't bounce back, and Shmoo still wasn't eating on her own. That was what they were waiting for. If she didn't start to eat on her own, then we would have to talk options of possibly putting her down. (Btw.. that wasn't an option for us. I couldn't, and I wouldn't. My mom said if that was the case, then we would care for her as best as we could at home until her time with us was up). Then the Dr. went to take Shmoo back, and I couldn't help myself,  I blurted out "WAIT! Can I just have her for a few more minutes?!" So he kindly obliged, and stepped out of the room. They had left us a few treats for Shmoo, and up until that point both we and the staff had tried giving her a few and she wouldn't have it. Now that my mom and I had her alone for a few minutes, the idea popped into my head, (God?) to break the treat up, because sometimes she can be prissy like that. I did it and tried to feed it to her. I kept praying in my head over and over, "Lord.. please... please let her take a bite... please let her take a bite..and I can tell others what You've done for her.." and RIGHT then, I'm not even kidding, she ate not one, but THREE whole treats out of my hand! She hadn't eaten in days! My mom and I were ecstatic!!! We yelled and praised her, and I ran out into the hall and bombarded the Dr.-"SHE ATE IT!! SHE ATE IT!!" (He didn't seem as amused as  I was, but I could've cared less at that point). From that moment on, Shmoo has been on the road, albeit slowly, to recovery. It's like every day she shows just a little more improvement. My drive back to work was just a repetitive, " Thank you God!! Thank you, Thank you Thank you!!"  
     With situations like that, I can say in full confidence that I know God healed my dog. I don't know why He did. But I'm SO grateful. Every morning I see her, and I'm not exaggerating, I just hug her probably too much, and thank God over and over that we still have her with us. It's a hard thing to share, because I know so many that have prayed similar prayers and the result was an extremely painful one. They might have had all the faith in the world, and yet it still didn't end like they had hoped it would. God is a mysterious God. I, too, have prayed for many things, and many people, that left me in tears and constantly wondering why? What had I done wrong? But that's not how God works. As scripture says, His ways are above our ways. His thoughts higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8).  This world and everything in it is His, so why shouldn't it be His choice to give and take away as he chooses? All I know, is that He loves each and every one of us. SO much. Would he have sent Jesus for us otherwise? He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11). So if there is something that you're going through, and waiting on some answer... first of all, I would love to be standing beside you in prayer. I love to pray for my friends and even strangers. :) Secondly, keep believing. Trust in His promises. He says that those who hope in the Lord will never be put to shame. With that, He looks at our hearts, not just the things we say. So believe it!  And even if it doesn't turn out like we think it should, know that He is good. He is FOR us, not against us.  (Romans 8:28). I just hope this was a little bit of encouragement for you if nothing else. 

Much Love, 
Jessica