Category Archives: Encouragement

opening my heart again

We adopted a puppy.  Just over two weeks ago we brought Oscar home.  He’s adorable and little and so incredibly loving, and I still cannot believe I am a puppy mommy.  I cannot believe it because it has not been very long since I lost my precious Bogey.  The pain is still present and, at times, still very raw.  I miss him terribly and marvel at how easy he was – especially compared to a rambunctious and unpredictable puppy.  And then there’s the fact that this is the first time I have owned a dog.  I grew up in a home where dogs and cats were not allowed, and save for some regular dog-sitting for two families I did in my 20s, and being around the dogs of relatives, I have very little hands-on experience with the canine four-legged friends.  Getting a dog was something my husband and I talked about before we were married.  We even went so far as to visit the Humane Society and zero in on one dog who seemed pretty perfect for us.  Unfortunately, at that time she had some health issues and was not yet available for adoption, and that waiting period was enough time for me to talk us out of it and safely remain in my comfort zone.

But here we are now – four years later – with a new addition to our family.  It has been fun, scary, challenging, exhausting, eye-opening, nerve-wracking, and exhausting.  Did I mention I am exhausted???  I am getting a glimpse into what it is like to have a baby… a puppy IS a baby, after all.  Oscar needs lots of attention and lots of supervision.  It is so incredibly time-consuming!  So much so, that I realized just the other day how little I had thought of Bogey since we brought Oscar home.  I immediately felt sad and yes, ashamed.  Ashamed because in a weak, exhaustion-fueled moment, I feared I had simply replaced Bogey with Oscar, and I felt rotten.   In that moment I opened up my phone and started looking at a few of the 1,000+ pictures I have of Bogey, and I shed some tears for the friend I loved (and still love) so much.  And then I reached out to a friend who I knew could relate to what I was going through.  I needed to know that what I was feeling was normal, and she assured me that it was.  She had been through a very similar situation, and she felt much the same as I did.  She also helped me realize that just because I brought Oscar into my home and heart did not mean I was forgetting about Bogey or taking anything away from his place in my heart.  If anything, Oscar is helping me heal, and you know what?  There are already several aspects of Oscar’s personality that are quite reminiscent of Bogey, and that brings me a great deal of comfort.

Nich told me that Bogey is probably up in heaven laughing at me because Bogey was so incredibly easy and Oscar is definitely NOT!  And I think Nich is right.  I also think Bogey is pleased that his mommy has a new companion and he knows I will pour my love into Oscar just like I did with him.  It took a lot for me to open my heart again.  It’s always a huge risk, whether it is with a pet or a person.  We risk being hurt or rejected.  We risk losing again and feeling intense pain – pain we never want to feel again!  The risk was almost enough to make me say “no.  Never again,” but as I glance at the puppy sleeping peacefully (thank you, Lord!) against me as I sit here and type, I am so grateful for the opportunity to love and be loved by this little creature God knew I needed, and placed in my care.


In Case You Need Some Encouragement…

I have not hidden the fact that I struggle in the comparison department.  One of the biggest shame traps for me is comparing myself to others and to myself (my own typically unrealistic expectations for myself).  Because I recognize this and truly want to just stop doing it, I have been working hard to overcome this unhealthy habit.

I also have not hidden my faith in God and how He has walked alongside me throughout this journey to fight shame and be kinder to myself.  Well, in true God fashion, He keeps showing up to speak to me, encourage me, and help me grow.  He is faithful like that.  Case in point:  this message in my email inbox this morning.  If you can relate to my struggle and could stand a little encouragement today, take a few minutes to read what Rénee Swope has to say about feeling like you don’t measure up.  Her message spoke to me, and I pray it will speak to you as well.