I was walking a gravel driveway in Texas talking to my hubby at home in Illinois when he suddenly discovered that our sweet Shorkie had passed away. It was a shock to our system because she hadn’t been sick at all. Our ten year old pup was gone–and I wasn’t there. While I know there are some things that would have been harder to face and memories harder to forget if I had seen her, it was still difficult to grieve at such a distance.
My heart was broken for her, but for my sweet husband too, who was having to deal with it all alone. Such a trooper he was, having to take care of her all by himself while at the same time trying to minister to me over the phone. Zizi was really more my dog than his. She would follow me around all day and would meet me at the door every time I came home. She was a comfort and a presence that provided constant companionship and joy.
I sent a text to my daughter to let her know what had happened and why I was gone from her house for so long. I kept walking until I felt I could go inside without too many tears, not wanting to upset my young granddaughters. I kept my distance while they were getting ready for bed, but as was the usual, they wanted Nana to come say goodnight. Those precious babies were all crying for me and for Zizi. Without seeing me, their tender hearts were worried about me and though I had tried to avoid upsetting them, they needed some reassurance that Nana was okay.
Sometimes in this life we might question why things happen when they do, but not me–not this time. The moments that followed are ones that I will never forget. Surrounded by four of the sweetest girls on the planet (the other two littles were already in bed), I was able to talk with them about pets and life and death. We talked about how much God loves us and cares about our tears. I shared with them about the verse that says not a sparrow falls to the ground that He doesn’t know. (Matthew 10:29) Zizi was a gift, and she was truly a blessing that God had given us to enjoy for ten whole years. Just as He knew she would be our beloved pet, He also knew when it was her time to die–which meant that we could trust Him even when we were sad.
As much as it pained me to not be there to say goodbye to our pup, I wouldn’t have wanted to trade places for anything in the world. God gave me a special gift that night. Trying to answer all their questions and soaking up their hugs and kisses was like a balm to my soul. It all culminated into a beautiful moment that came quite unexpected, penetrating deep into my heart.
After lots of hugs and kisses, there were still tears. I said to the girls, “Sometimes when I’m sad I like to sing. While it might seem a strange thing to do, singing praises to God can help us.” God not only hears us, but sees our tears! He cares for us and we can fully trust Him in the good times and the hard times.
At that moment, before I even had a chance to ask what song we should sing they starting singing, “Trust and Obey”. Singing through tears, the sound was something surreal–almost heavenly. A precious gift of God’s faithful love.
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
Hours before we had been talking about obeying God, and I remembered this old church hymn that I had learned early in life, so I taught it to the girls. How could I have known that the very song I had taught them earlier would be the one to soothe my grieving heart?
But God did.
“Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!” Luke 12:5-7