What I’m learning
The last 3 weeks, although filled with incredible ministry moments in Florida and my wife kicking off her 5th year at North Middle School, has been among the most challenging that Becca and I have ever experienced. 21 days ago we noticed that our mini-schnauzer Ellie was becoming dis-interested in food. Ellie being disinterested in food is about the same as me finishing a one week fast and turning down Papasitos Mexican food in Houston. We knew something wasn’t right. The news we would get over the next few days would be some of the hardest we had ever received. Ellie has immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). Essentially her red-blood cells are attacking the other red blood cells, thus causing a deficiency. She became very seriously weak and was immediately put on a rigorous treatment plan. Through immune and steroid medications they are trying to get Ellie stabilized so that she can begin rebuilding healthy red blood cells that will not work against her. The process has been agonizing for both Becca and I. We don’t have children yet…and the love and joy that we feel for Ellie, our first dog, is immense. To see her in pain, unable to play and do the things she loves to do, is very difficult. 2 days ago we found out that the high dosages of immune meds had caused fluid to build up in her belly and was making it extremely hard for her to breath. I was with her as she had fluid removed from her chest.
This situation has been emotionally draining. We desperately want Ellie to beat this disease and spend another 12 years with us (she is not yet 4 years old). She has so many people praying for her all over the country. People who have met her know her sweet spirit. The truth is, we can all learn a lot from dogs. Their unconditional love is incredible. I’ll never forget the golf club accident with Ellie that knocked her out and forced us to get her stitches for a cut on her head. When she came to as I was driving like a crazy person to the VET she licked my face and jumped up to look out the window. This I can promise you. If you hit me in the head with a golf club I will NOT BE licking your face a couple minutes later. So although Becca and I desperately want Ellie to stay with us…I’ve learned that it is not up to me. I’ve tried to be strong…but last week as we continued to receive bad news followed by bad news I called my father and broke down. I told him how hard it was to sit back and watch our dog dying right before our eyes. As my father always does, he stopped me and started praying (my dad LOVES our dogs…he gets an Ellie and Emma calendar each year!). He essentially committed Ellie into the hands of Lord, no matter what happened. That was something I had been unwilling to do. I had felt as though I could fix her by giving her all the meds and doing everything right. I needed to give it up to my creator…and so with the help of my best friend, my father, my mentor, and my partner in ministry, and let it go.
Ellie is stable this morning…she is fighting. No matter what happens I believe and know that God is in control of my marriage and my family, dogs included! I know that Becca and I are being tested right now. Experience alongside of the LIVING and BREATHING Word of GOd tells me to stand strong. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him!” James 1:12
Amen! I pray that you would have an amazing Wednesday wherever you are and whatever you doing. Don’t neglect time with the Lord this morning, even if it is just a couple of minutes of stillness and prayer. He is waiting for you. Thanks for your prayers for our sweet Ellie. They are all greatly appreciated. And make sure today that you take inventory of what you are learning…because if you’re not learning and growing through your experiences with Christ and others….what’s the point? Talk to you soon.