My dog, Izzie, died recently after a long and happy life as my loyal sidekick. She was my first adult responsibility, so I often reminded my family that before I had a husband or children, I had Izzie. When she passed away at the ripe old age of 16, I felt like a piece of me died, too. I know how melodramatic that might sound, but it’s true. I was not prepared to grieve this hard for the loss of a pet. In the days that followed her death, I tried to hide that sadness in fear that others would judge me for my lack of coping skills. After all, she was “just a dog.” I went to church, attended work meetings, and tended to my children, as usual. In my more private moments, though, I grieved alone.
Those closest to me knew better than to believe me when I said it was getting easier. My closest friends, my mom, and my sister regularly insisted on real emotional updates. My husband tolerated at least a hundred old pictures and stories I dug up from the dog’s life: Izzie chasing her tail. Izzie wishing us a Happy New Year. Izzie locked up behind bars because she went for yet another unsupervised stroll around the neighborhood. Then, just a few days ago, I almost stepped on a package waiting on the front doorstep. Inside was a plush toy dog with a striking resemblance to my Izzie and a card which read,
“I’m here for you.
I took my stuffed Izzie inside and wept, overwhelmed with gratitude to God for sending me Suzy and so many wonderful people to walk beside me and love me so well in this life. I prayed, “God, thank you for my abundant tribe of support. Thank you for wrapping me up in Your love through the words and actions of those around me. I’m so grateful.”
You know, Jesus had a tribe of encouragers and supporters, too, and He was fully committed to each of them! One of our greatest needs in life is the need for community and connectedness. It is the antidote for loneliness. So, who is in your tribe? Don’t forget to show and tell these people how much you value their love and support. More importantly, don’t miss an opportunity to be the arms of God wrapping them up in a well-timed and desperately needed embrace. Sometimes all we need to hear in times of trouble is, “I’m here for you.”[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text admin_label=”Quote” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” custom_padding=”|30px||30px”]
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.”
– Romans 15:5, NIV[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_width_percent=”65%”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”title, author, date module” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” custom_margin=”||100px|” text_font_size=”18″ text_line_height=”1.8em”]
Southern Divisional Field Director