At my command, Freya trotted into the basement shower. Usually, we bathe the dogs around the first of the month and let them dry on the deck. But since New Years, it’s been either too cold or wet outside, until this past Saturday.
If given a choice, Freya would rather not be bathed. Yet as always she obeyed, turning side-to-side when I asked. She even lifted her back legs one after the other so I could wash her belly.
“Good girl,” I said, scrubbing her thick fur. She regarded me with her big brown eyes.
For Heathcliff, bathing is a dreadful experience. The moment he sensed it was shower time, his hips began to tremble. He cowered. Throughout the washing, his backside quaked. This from a 110-pound Lab mix with webbed feet.
“It’s okay, boy, we’ll be done soon,” I said.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Last week, several women in the local Bible study group I attend participated in a 24-hour day of fasting and prayer. The son of one of our members had a terrible accident before Christmas and remains in a coma. Needs are being met, we were told, plenty of food, but he and his family — wife, two young sons, parents and siblings — could use our prayers.
Due to health and other reasons, not everyone fasted. But throughout the day, scripture and prayers popped into our inboxes. Our group’s leader emailed the above verses from Philippians, and several other members sent encouraging words.
I don’t like to fast. Hunger makes me feel anxious and weak, and I wasn’t sure I could manage it that day. I had appointments to keep and errands to run. As a compromise, I kept snacks at hand – almonds, raisins, saltines – and checked my phone’s email at each opportunity, reading the scripture passages and offering prayers. I ate very little yet didn’t feel weak or anxious. Instead, I felt peaceful and strong in prayer and petition for this young man and his family.
Heathcliff doesn’t like to swim or roll in snow; he doesn’t like getting wet. Yet, doing what he didn’t like, what he feared, was the only way he received the joy afterwards.
“Go to Keith,” I said after rinsing him. He raced outside and across the deck, galloping full tilt and grinning his goofy smile. Once he settled down, he trotted to Keith for toweling off, turning front to back to maximize the strength of his rub-down.
He was no longer anxious about anything.
What makes you feel peaceful and strong?
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