As I write this, Michael and I are driving across Nevada from Jamestown, California, heading to Colorado Springs, where my dear friend, Christina, and her family are prepared to welcome and adopt my precious Sevey Girl—my yellow lab. The last eighteen days have been a tornado of change in our lives. By this time next week, Michael and I will be settled into our cozy “bungalow” at Campus by the Sea on Catalina Island.
Letting Sevey go is one of the hardest things I may ever have to do. When my new husband, Michael, was asked to join the staff at the ocean-side Intervarsity Christian Fellowship camp and God confirmed the call, I had absolutely no doubt that I would give Sevey up for the sake of joining him in answering that call. God settled that with me almost forty years ago.
At a college-group retreat when I was just 19 years old, I remember two things: a hymn we sang, “Take My Life and Let It be” and the quiet but insistent conversation the Lord and I had throughout the weekend. Again and again, I sensed in my spirit the question from His heart to mine: “Will you sing ‘Take my life and let it be always only all for Thee,” yet withhold your treasures from me should I ask?” It wasn’t money that I sensed Jesus asking for that weekend. That probably wouldn’t have been nearly as hard as what I knew He was asking for:
“If I request that you leave your dogsbehind in order to follow my plan for you, would you choose them over doing my will?”
I grappled with this question much of the weekend.
At one point, I met with the Lord near three crosses in an open grassy field. During a time of solitude and prayer, I finally came to a place of opening my arms to the Lord’s perfect will for me, even as, in my heart, I let go of my faithful canine companions. It was with tears and a lot of trepidation, but the surrender was rewarded with a great peace.
I was surprised when the years came and went and there was no call issued to the mission field or some other ministry location that would likely be incompatible for pets.
So now, almost four decades later, when management at Campus by the Sea chose Michael to fill their Lead Cook position, when we heard that pets are not allowed due to the lease IVCF has with the Catalina Conservancy, my mind jetted back to that weekend so long ago.
I can’t pretend I haven’t shed tears about letting precious Sevey go...or that there are not yet many tears ahead—there are. Even as I write this, my eyes are filling.
God knew that he wouldn’t ask me to follow through on so great a sacrifice until everything was in place. He knows that the last 10 years have been filled with so many losses. Giving up Sevey as just another part of that long list would be impossible had he not spoken so clearly to my heart about this very thing as a college freshman. But now, He put in place the desire of my dear friend and her family to have a Labrador right when I needed to be able to leave Sevey for the sake of following His call and to join Michael on Catalina.
Michael says “Consciously Created Living” is living each moment sold out to God and whatever He wants—no matter what life throws at us. Michael and I prayed diligently about him accepting the position at Campus by the Sea.
Someone once said: “Don’t doubt in the darkness, what God reveals to you in the light.”
The weekend retreat at a Christian camp so long ago stands out in my memory as light, clarity, and resolve that:
“I will never let my pets be the reason I give the Lord for refusing to say YES to Him.”
For your consideration, study, and prayer:
1. Look up Mark 10:27-47 – What was the question that the rich, young, ruler asked Jesus? What was the answer Jesus gave to Him?
2. Using the man’s question as a “template” of sorts for your own longing to draw closer to the Lord, what question would you ask Jesus? What answer would He give?
3. What actions might His answer require of you?
4. Read Philippians 3:7-10. God may never ask you to go to the mission field, but if he made it clear that it was His will for you to do that very thing, would you be willing? Be honest with Him.
5. Ask the Lord to show you what you hold more tightly to than following his will and if He will show you why and how to begin to dismantle the stronghold that may be present.
Deep Dive with us in September!
Michael and I will take a group of men and women deeper in to “Consciously Created Living” during the month of September. This is a workshop style Facebook group where, for four weeks, we roll up our sleeves and apply what we have talked about in blog posts and LIVEcasts during August. We hope you will join us! If you are interested in receiving more information about our Deep Dive Consciously Created Living September Workshop, click here to let us know you are interested and we will send you more information.