Hi My Gorgeous Friends!!
Our family has some exciting news to share…. we serve a God who is in the redemption business.
He has promised that He has good plans for us. But in the midst of great sorrow, we can forget that the Lord promised that even though mourning comes at night, joy comes in the morning!
He restores and redeems all that has been lost. He takes what the enemy means to harm us and somehow makes beauty from the ashes.
The Lord had a special blessing already planned for my family even before we lost our beloved Maxwell. I recently heard a preacher say that God is so so good at making beauty from our pain that sometimes it looks as though God causes the heartache. He is so good at turning bad things to good that we can mistake the bad as part of God’s plan for us.
I don’t believe anything harmful to us comes from God. However, I do believe He continually counters the hurts in this fallen world with beautiful blessings. And since God is all knowing, He can provide even ahead of time just what we will need in our hour of need.
You see I had no idea, but 3 days before Maxwell’s passing, his momma had a litter of puppies.
I didn’t know, but God did! And in my deeep, deep grief, I felt compelled to reach out to Maxwell’s breeder just to tell her what happened to my sweet boy. I had kept in touch with her on a monthly basis ever since Max was a puppy. Each month I sent updates and pictures. It was extremely difficult to send her the message about his death. I thought I may crumble.
But I sent it and I cried. Her beautiful response was how sorry she was and then she encouraged me by telling me that my sweet Maxwell had more fun and love in his short life than many dogs have in a long life. It was comforting that she was so kind and loving.
And that was that, she just gave me sweet, kind, comforting words.
Then, one day as I was praying, I had peace about one day getting another puppy. I didn’t know when or how just peace that I would.
The very same afternoon, this picture hit my FB feed.
It was a picture shared by Maxwell’s breeder. She is a small breeder who has two poodle mommies and two golden daddies that are her family pets. So because she just has two mommas that are also her pets, she doesn’t have puppies often. I felt led to message her, and she was again sooooo kind! Yes, she had several still available and she would love for us to have one!! She said she was actually thinking about reaching out to me for a puppy, but was afraid that it may be too soon. I felt comfort knowing that while it was really soon, we would still have time to grieve Maxwell before the puppy was old enough to come home. And of course, even after the puppy comes home, we will still miss Maxwell. He was a one of a kind dog, and he will forever hold a special place in my heart.
So Chuck and I sat together that night and chose a puppy. We felt peace and giddy excitement. And hope started to break through the dark like rays of moonlight in the dead of night.
There’s no replacing Maxwell, but loving him stretched my heart bigger and there is a space still there for loving a dog.
Next, we wanted to tell the kids in a creative way so that it was memorable and special for them. I ordered a puzzle with our new puppy’s picture and gathered all the kids to put it together. I told them that we had some thing to tell them, and the message was in the puzzle.
After they put it all together, they still didn’t quite get it, they asked if it was Maxwell. When I said no, then it clicked and one by one they got the message.
Then, I told them that we had a special way to tell them the gender. I asked them each if they thought our pup was a boy or a girl. The answers were about half and half. Then I brought out our puppy gender reveal cake!
And when the kids sliced into it, it had blue icing inside! We were getting another boy!
Here are pics of our sweet boy from 1 week to now.
His name is Junior in honor of Maxwell. Addyson named him, and no one objected. So here we are, ready to pick up puppy in about a week! And isn’t it just like our amazing God to plan out each detail! Our puppy lives in Georgia and he will be ready to come home just as we head home from our roadtrip. So on July 7th, we will be in Statesboro, GA picking up our sweet Junior.
I struggled alot when Maxwell died. I didn’t share this detail in earlier posts. I only shared in conversations with people, but when Maxwell died, our family was out serving people. And afterwards, I could feel a spirit of fear trying to attack me. I was afraid of stepping out again. I felt like maybe I got too close to ministry and the enemy wasn’t happy. I felt attacked and very afraid to keep going forward. I felt like it may be easier and just plain safer to keep my family home and away from the spiritual battlefield.
But God! He doesn’t let us stay in fear if we are seeking Him. I keep lifting my fears and my reservations back to Him. I did take a pause on ministering to homeless, but God has been refueling me and strengthening me. And I found this shirt, and I thought yes! I will wear this shirt on puppy pick up day to prophesy to myself and the universe that, “My best is still to come!”
I won’t shrink back. I won’t retreat. I won’t stop praising my Lord. The Sunday after it happened, I went to the altar at my church and praised God during the worship songs. I was determined to dance and sing and proclaim that God was STILL gooood even in the midst of heartache. When we praise, all darkness flees and the enemy loses any hold he has on us. He has to flee from us when we praise God!
And our praise is a mighty weapon to push back the dark! So mighty warriors of God, regardless of what your personal dark space looks like, you can praise and light will break through.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for Your goodness and mercy. Thank You for Your restorative power, and Your mighty Hand that saves. Thank You that we can trust You in all seasons. That Your plans for us are goooooood! May we continually partner with Your Holy Words and directions.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.