I tell a lot of dog stories. Not because I’m an expert on dogs or have owned a lot of them but because I have learned so much by observing them. Because dogs don’t talk, they communicate largely through their behavior. And Gracie did.
Gracie came to our home on a whim of mine. With my husband and I both gone for good parts of the day, I had the wild idea that our Cocker spaniel Biscuit needed someone to keep him company. When we arrived home after our workdays, Biscuit glommed onto us like a fuzzball on a Goodwill sweater. He became the child one needed to escape from in the bathroom. Though he received ample attention, if allowed, he would quietly sit at our feet for hours, giving us his poor-little-orphan moon eyes. We were the center of his world and he needed a diversion.
She was a mutt. Don’t ask me why my eyes focused on her, but she was the only dog who caught my attention when we visited the Humane Society one Saturday morning. She was not a beautiful dog, not even cute. Just amixed-breed mutt in dire need of some TLC. With her underside still drooping, it was evident she had recently given birth to a litter. She paced the perimeter of her kennel, looking for an escape. I could only imagine the fear and desperation she was experiencing, separated from her babies and now confined in very foreign surroundings.
And I had to have her.
We didn’t know what her name was since there was no indication of identification, so we decided to call her Gracie. Home she went with us, to more unfamiliar territory. She quickly claimed Biscuit’s blanket and made it her new bed. He investigated who this new creature was that had taken a liking to his turf and, after a swift lunge by Gracie and a loud “Yipe!,” quickly retreated to safety. Seeing the bleeding gash she left across his snout, I wondered if we had made a huge mistake bringing her into our home.
But her once-secure, seemingly insignificant little world had been turned upside down, and the humans she had trusted were now gone. She desperately needed someone who would love her.
Within a short time, it was evident she was sick. As we paid a visit to the vet, we quickly brought him up to speed with what little information we knew about Gracie and soon learned she was infected and infested with common canine maladies. Cautiously, and after several seconds of surveying her, he scowled. “Why do you want to keep her?” I inwardly scowled back. You’re the vet, I thought. You can’t see that she needs a good home? I quickly dismissed from my mind the intent of his words. This little creature needed someone to provide for her what she could not obtain for herself.
You know, that’s the way God sees us as well: unable to obtain that which only He can provide. He came searching for us and found us in our filthy, squalid conditions, infected and infested with sin. Out of all of His beautiful creation, He chose to place His focus on each of us — the sick, the lonely, the bitter, the scared — and determined to love us even when we weren’t lovable. He washed us in the cleansing blood of Jesus and gave us a new name. He had no concern that there were issues that needed to be resolved and behaviors that needed to be corrected. They would come with time and His TLC. That, dear reader, is grace.
Over time, Gracie became healthy again, and a sweet gentleness emanated from her. A happy wag greeted us each time we arrived home, and her eyes lit up each time we called her name. Always ready to hear and respond to our call, she proved over and over that she wanted to please us.
That’s what happens when we allow the gracious hand of God to make us spiritually clean and whole again. He gives us a new name and new identity. We become softened, responding with a desire to obey and please the One who rescued us.
God’s grace is amazing. It is transforming, just like our love gave us the new Amazin’ Gracie.
… he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7
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Pam Freitag Weyant traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. Her best friends are her steno machine (she works as a freelance court reporter), her aged but adorable Cocker spaniel Jake, and books. She is grateful for time spent traveling, writing creative nonfiction, and working out. Her goal is to share her story with others so they may also find freedom in a redemptive Savior. Read more of Pam’s Breath on Paper bio here.