The Prodigal Son and the Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. Psalm 23:1

Shortly before my youngest son’s third birthday, he snuck out of the house one night.  I had left to run an errand.  Connor was playing quietly in his bedroom with his siblings and my husband was in the back of the house.  Several minutes pa76994_450758891510_579391510_5872822_2935834_nst before the older kids informed their dad that Connor was nowhere to be found.

Frantically they searched each and every room and nook and cranny in the house.  Connor had disappeared.  As they darted outside to see if he had indeed wondered from within the safety of our four walls, they were greeted by a kind police officer, Connor, and our faithful dog, Scarlet. Before leaving the house, Connor had let Scarlet out of her crate so that she could join him on his grand adventure.

The officer told my husband that he had found the pair about a block from home.  As he approached Connor to assist him, Scarlet began circling Connor not allowing the officer to come any closer.  The police officer asked Connor if he could take him home, and Connor walked back to our yard with Scarlet at his side and the officer close behind them.

Usually when Scarlet was allowed to roam free outside of a fenced enclosure, she was “gone with the wind”.  Her instincts carried her as she glided as though she were flying.  She was always soon to return, but first, she always ran to her heart’s delight.  Not this time though.  One of her pack was in danger.  She set her sights on safely guarding him and guiding him back home again.  She stayed in step with him preventing him from becoming lost or stolen.

Matthew 18 tells a similar story –  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

Are you the one that has wandered away and maybe even lost your way?  Jesus came to find you.  He is just a prayer away. When you ask Him, He will happily lead you 19984_10152593581416511_1696330286524250901_nback. Jesus came so that you wouldn’t be lost forever.  Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”   And 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord isnot slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  Won’t you come to Him?

Have a blessed week, y’all!


I Once Was Lost

Being a regular volunteer at our local animal rescue group, I constantly meet new animals.  I am always curious to the plight that led them to BARL.  Were they abandoned?  Were they lost?  Is anyone looking for them?

I have my own stories that I have witnessed first hand –

Like Clifford.  Clifford was a Golden Retriever that stood almost to my hips.  His former owners decided they no longer wanted him.  They left him tied to a tree and offered him no more food.  A neighbor noticed him – emaciated and miserable – and took action.  Through a series of events, he ultimately came to live his last days with our family.  He was our first therapy dog.  He was the one that started us out in the world of rescue.  His existence made a difference in our life.

Then there is Puff.  Puff was an American Eskimo Dog that was scheduled to be euthanized at a pound three hours from us.  She was high on the list, her days quickly dwindling down because she was labeled as aggressive.  Because of a deep rooted love for this breed, we decided to bring her to our home.  When we picked her up we were  informed that she barked non-stop – which is why she’d been left at the pound – and because of her noise making abilities came complete with her own bark collar.  Living in a pound with fifty other dogs and wearing a bark collar, every time a human came through the gates to visit the canines, she was sent into chaos and confusion by the high pitch the collar emitted.  Thus she associated humans with punishment and humans deemed her as aggressive.  Once home with her, I removed the collar.  She jumped in my lap and licked my face.  We fostered her until a new home could be found.

Other dogs I don’t have as clear of an idea of the situation they are coming from.  Like Taffy.

Image This past weekend I received the above picture in an email.  The message with her read,

“We found this sweet girl the other night. She’s pretty calm. She might make a good therapy dog. I know she’s not a pom just thought I’d share her with you. I’m going to be super picky with where she goes, she’s going to stay with us until the perfect home is found. She’s not afraid of our dogs and doesn’t mind our cats. She hasn’t had any accidents in the house and slept in bed with us all night curled up by my feet.”

The email was from one of my fellow friends in rescue who knew that we’d been looking for just the right dog to fill the void in our therapy dog outreach since Scarlet’s retirement.  I’d wanted something smaller than a Golden Retriever simply because of the ability to transport.  I’d been leaning toward a Pomeranian because of their cheery disposition, but something about that sweet face reached a depth in my heart.  Maybe she needed us.

The first day at home she followed each person each time someone left the room.  The second day wasn’t much different.  She accompanied me when I took my fifteen year old daughter to her dance class that night.  After Dacey exited the truck and walked into the building, Taffy stood in my lap watching and waiting until she came back.  It is that which causes me to feel that she was abandoned.  She’s seems to be afraid each time someone leaves her presence that they will be gone for ever.

But she is also calm and accepting of strangers – humans, dogs, and cats alike.  She is picky and will only accept certain foods.  She always hops at our dinner plates which leads me to believe in her former home she was fed from her owners hands.  That isn’t allowed in our family.  She is also well mannered and knows basic obedience.  She walks at my side with or without a leash, comes when called, and sits and stays.  It is that which causes me to believe she was at one time someone’s precious, spoiled baby.

So how did she come to be – alone, abandoned, filthy, and scared – on the side of the road?  Did her owner pass away and she was cast aside by remaining family?  Did the kids quit showing interest so the parents didn’t want the burden of her any longer?  Maybe she had an older teenage daughter – like mine to whom she has quickly bonded – that left for college leaving no one else to love her?  I guess I’ll never know for sure.

What I do know is that her plight isn’t a whole lot different than mine.  Like Taffy my former life had left me feeling alone, abandoned, filthy, and scared.  Jesus found me.  He promised, “I will not leave you or forsake you.”  He said, “Child, you are mine.  I have called you by name.”  Jesus loved me, cleaned me up, and gave me a new life.  Like Taffy I am now secure in what my future holds.  I have been given hope.  And like Taffy, Clifford, and Puff –  I once was lost, but now I’m found.


Taffy and Connor resting under my desk while I work.