As 2018 ended, I heard from many people dealing with some issues in their lives such as:
- A former co-worker who found himself using drugs to treat his depression instead of seeking help. He ended up in rehab on Christmas Eve.
- A client who was dealing with an employee issue causing great harm to the company’s future.
- My brother’s back surgery went well until complications from the invasiveness showed up and the pain was unbearable.
- Another friend was still feeling the effects of a broken heart and wondering if life would ever be joyful again.
- And…another friend found out his cancer was back.
Please don’t get me wrong, there were many joyful highlights during the holidays too. Many people were back to work, the economy is booming, friends are thinking of new endeavors to pursue, and the man who stole my heart put a ring on my finger on the first day of this new year.
I’ve been on this rotating globe for more than 60 years now and I can vow one thing that is certain:
“We all take turns between joy and sorrow.
We will not escape those times. It’s just life.”
A dog toy taught me that recently.
Just before Christmas I was at a friend’s home where I saw this stuffed dog toy languishing on the floor. It looked exhausted. Worn out. Sad. I laughed at the shape it was in. Her dog loves this chew toy and she shows love by chewing on it, throwing it around and hoping someone will play tug with her. And lastly, she eats the stuffing out of it!! Dog toys are the world’s most abused toys!
As I picked up the toy to put it in the dog toy box, I thought about my friends listed above and how there are times when we get the stuffing chewed out of us. We might be abused by someone who vowed to love us. We experience the consequences of our poor choices. Our health takes a dive. And some may feel the tugs of life have stretched us to our limits. We feel whipped. Done. Nothing left inside of us to keep us going. You feel ready for the trash heap instead of the toy box of life.
As I tossed the beat up old dog toy into the box, I realized that even though she was beat up and all the stuffing was gone, she is still loved by her master, Dog! Dog finds her fun to play with. She still brings great joy to Dog and Dog would be upset if the beat up toy was thrown away. Just because it’s beat up, doesn’t mean it has lost its value.
And like a beat up, depressed, fearful individual you might be today — your Master, God, still loves you too! You might feel life is over. There is no more hope for you. The pain is too severe. You having nothing left to give.
Here’s the truth:
You’re not ready for the trash heap. You still have a purpose.
I know that because one time in my life I was just like that dog toy. I was languishing on the floor, depressed, lonely, worn out, and feeling “it was all over.” I had nothing more to offer. It was a really sad time in my life.
But God…my master…saw the potential still left inside of me. He picked me up, loved on me, and stuffed me full of His hope for my life. He didn’t throw me away. He fixed me. And I let him. I didn’t have it in me to do it myself but He had all I needed to keep going. And today – I’m a new creation because I turned myself over to the one who made me and He brought me a new life I never imagined I would have.
Years ago I would have said I would not marry again. I would not be happy again. I would not feel joy again.
And today — I have all those again. Because I was willing to endure the remake of my life.
And my friends, my hope for you in 2019 (or someone you may know) is this: Find your joy again and let God put the broken pieces back together that have spilled out of your life. He makes all things new, including you! A the new you will be va-va-voom!!
Thank you God and Thank you Dog for the Lesson Learned today: You still have value.
Peace, Love, Out,