It was about four months ago. Four months ago when the weather was warmer (what a wonderful memory), the sun shone longer, and I could still wear sandals without the threat of frostbite. It was four months ago when I thought I was a gonner. Well me, and our dog, Nola.
This is how it all went down. Brian and I had family visiting from out of town. Nola, our 4 year-old husky, was asking us to take her out in her loud dog way. So I excused myself to take her out back. I could still hear their voices in our kitchen as I shut the screen door and walked her out into our yard on that warm evening. And that’s when I saw it. A black and white varmint poked his head out of the corner of our yard, and suddenly everything moved in slow motion.
I looked at Nola to see if she’d spotted him yet, and to my utter dismay she had. Ears perked, tongue out, she was immediately poised for attack. I was in the grass, only feet from our deck steps, which led to our door, but once she started lunging, I realized there was a problem.
Now they are cute and very comfortable, but if I happen to get my feet wet while wearing them, it’s a lost cause. I might as well be on an ice rink. And because it was late into the evening, due had covered our yard. I turned to run, pulling Nola back with all my might as I saw pepe le pu begin charging towards us. I started yelling help but no one was coming to my aid. I slipped out of one of my sandals and grabbed it (what if he sprayed it?!) before lunging up the steps, across the deck and at the door.
Only later did I find out that Brian did see that skunk chasing us, and he had hesitated opening the door to spare our guests from inhaling that putrid smell if Nola and I had been sprayed (interesting story, Brian). By the time Nola and I were safely inside the door, we saw our little “friend” waddle (that’s exactly what his walk looked like) away. We all laughed and laughed. Tears were falling as we recounted what we saw and how dramatic it all had been.
The night ended with goodbyes and smiles. It ended with me feeling very grateful that I didn’t smell like a skunk. And one would think that’s where it all would have ended.
But if I’m honest, it didn’t end there. Memories of that experience have turned into fears that creep up on me when I’m taking Nola out back. And that makes sense to a degree. No ones wants to smell like a skunk, but am I allowing this “what if” fear to have control over me?
Obviously this fear pales in comparison to other fears out there; fear of death, fear of loss, fear of abandonment, fear of loneliness, fear of being exposed, or fear of being unloved just to name a few.
But at their core, all fears distract us from our all loving, all powerful and all knowing God. These feelings can cast huge shadows that overwhelm and paralyze us. Can you relate?
I’m reminded of the incredible truth found in Romans 8:35-39
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
Did you catch that? NOTHING can separate us from God’s love.
No matter what fears are gripping you right now, you can rest in the truth that God’s love for you is unfathomable. The creator of you, of your family, of our world, of our universe, loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son to earth to live the sinless life we can’t live and die the death we all deserve. That love, that incredible, sacrificial love covers us all and can’t be broken.
So when those paralyzing fears consume, remember that they are just feelings. Remember that as a child of God, we have His Holy Spirit living inside of us, empowering us to walk in faith, despite how we might feel.
So take your dog out to the backyard at night, and remember that no matter what may happen (or how much you might stink), you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you and you can walk in faith knowing that you are held and loved by the creator of the universe.