by Kendy Pearson
“I want her,” I said, pointing to the tiny red ball. I gently lifted a five week-old puppy from a tall, waste-strewn, newspaper lined box.
Bright, brown eyes melted my heart and I could almost hear, “Please, please take me home!” I cuddled the wiggling bundle close to my face as I breathed the familiar scent of puppy-breath.
Odors overloaded my senses— My eyes took in the little house, in need of both repair and a good cleaning! I consciously kept from covering my nose as I became aware of an offensive smell.
I missed my boxer, Gideon. For 14 years he’d been my companion. My children had grown up with this gentle, 70-pound protector. After a painful goodbye to our faithful, four-footed friend, my dear husband was hesitant to invest emotionally again. There was a hole in our family. After only a few weeks, I yearned for another puppy to raise. As weeks gave way to months, my longing only multiplied. The children grown, years had passed since I’d indulged my nurturing nature with any kind of little one.
Finally, for my birthday, my husband acquiesced.♥♥♥
Excited new parents again, we loaded our little one into the car. We promptly ventured to the pet store to purchase a small crate, toys, blanket, food…everything our new ‘baby’ would need. By the time we arrived home, my clothes reeked of the odorous puppy and I could hardly wait to give her a bath. I looked forward to bonding with this sweet bundle—when she was clean. I washed and rinsed her twice. Clean and dry, she still stunk. We named her Addie. Adelaide Schmadelaide, to be exact. We adored her, even in her stinky state. Despite frequent baths, the stench remained.
We delighted in our new charge as we cuddled and cared for her. We doted on her, tolerating the smell because our love for that little puppy was stronger than her offensive odor. We knew that, eventually, with our tender diligence, she would be odor free; a snuggly, affectionate, little companion who would love us unconditionally. Over the weeks and months that followed, a playful, fresh-smelling, puppy emerged from that humble beginning.
Ten years old now, this child of our empty nest keeps us in stitches with her antics and still plays with the exuberance of a puppy. We enjoy her company more than we ever thought possible.
Maybe we reek too?
I’m reminded of how our Heavenly Father views us. God knows what is concealed under our excuses, defenses, and grimy layers of living. He embraces the value of one created in His image, although encased in the stench of our poor choices and circumstances. Often, we have no say as to the box in which we’ve arrived or from whence we’ve come. God doesn’t care. He cuddles us anyway and invites us to come be with Him. He gently cleans us up and continues to love us until the stench is but a memory. His eyes are on His precious child, deep beneath the filth, and He longs for our companionship.**
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
This is Addie. Ever led by her nose, she ended up trapped in our compost bin one day last summer. It was just too funny to feel sorry for her. She LOVES tomatoes…and that’s what lured her in. She got her fill that day. Ten years old, her face gone mostly white, she is our “empty nest baby” and still keeps us in stitches!
**The above article appeared in THE VISION, 2015.
ACCEPTANCE SIN BAD CHOICES POOR CHOICES GOD’S GRACE FORGIVENESS REDEMPTION GOD’S LOVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE CLEAN