Seventeen months had passed since we buried our dear fifteen-year-old Cocker Spaniel. Buddy had been a beloved family pet since he was eight weeks old, and it took a while to be emotionally ready for a new pet.
Since we had a mission trip planned (to Washington, DC) in May and my knee surgery scheduled in June, I wanted to wait until late July to get a new dog. Given my allergies, I had to stick within certain “hypoallergenic” breeds who are low or non-shedding. I wanted a small “lap dog” with soft fur (not wire-ey feeling;), small enough to bathe him/her myself, in between groomings. I prayed many times, asking the Lord to send me just the right dog.
In April, I began my “formal” hunt, looking for reputable breeders of Malti-poos (hybrid of a Maltese and a Poodle) or similar breeds. After seeing the prices ($1,200 – $1,700 !!) and realizing how many existing pets need a home, I began searching “rescue dogs”, in Oklahoma and the four surrounding states. I didn’t mind driving to go get our new furry family member!
I searched through hundreds of photos and profiles of little dogs, from young ones to seniors. After two months of searching and getting “pet alerts” of some that fit my profile, I saw him. “Ralphie” was a little black Yorkie-Poo (half Yorkshire Terrier, half Poodle – at least they think he is!), and he stole my heart! Of all the photos I’d looked at, he was the first one that literally made my heart melt! I just knew he was the one God had planned for us!
I immediately filled out the online application, answering almost as many questions as we had to answer before we adopted our youngest two children! The Oklahoma Westie Rescue were the ones caring for little Ralphie, in a good foster home in Tulsa. They wanted to make sure Ralphie went to a good home, never to be abused or neglected again. He was blind in one eye (from being kicked, veterinarian guessed) and had a nest of fleas in one ear. He was healing well in a loving foster home, though!
Then… the waiting began.
After several emails and calls, I was able to connect with the foster mom who allowed me (thankfully!) to come visit Ralphie when I was in Tulsa for a medical appointment. He was as sweet-natured as I’d prayed for! The other dogs who greeted me at the door were snarling and barking, but little Ralphie barked to say hello, then stepped back so I could come in. Frankie the foster mom put the other dogs outside so that Ralphie and I could get to know each other. We fell in love over that hour! He even laid back in my arms and let me rub his belly for several minutes, making happy little grunting noises, haha! The foster mom was shocked (in a happy way) to see how calm and trusting Ralphie was with me, and said that he’d never acted that way with anyone else! She said, “He’s meant to be yours!”
Once back home, I began the officially “getting ready”! When a family is having or adopting a baby/ child, we call it the “nesting” phase. Actually, right before I received the phone call from Ralphie’s foster mom (to come meet him for the first time), I was at a small grocery store, who just happened to have lots of pet items for sale that day! I bought a collar, leash, food & water bowls, toys, baggies for cleaning up after doggie during walks, etc. My excitement was growing, as I awaited the call to meet him, then finally bring him home. We had to wait for the application processing, home inspection, and calling of my veterinarian and personal references to be completed. It couldn’t come soon enough, I felt!
Almost daily, I would sigh out loud, “Oh, Ralphie, I can’t wait to bring you home!” My daughter, Jaycie (whom we adopted when she was 2 years old, and her brother was 9 years old) would look at me sometimes – even when I’d said nothing– and say, “I know, Mom… you’re thinking about Ralphie, aren’t you?” She was almost as excited as I was!
The following week, Jaycie went with me back to Tulsa (another appointment), and we were blessed to get to visit Ralphie again! Jaycie fell in love (and so did Ralphie), and her excitement matched mine from that day on.
I actually loved Ralphie before I even saw him in person! It was, on a smaller scale, similar to how God instantly filled our hearts with love — and a deep longing for— our adopted children, before we brought them home! For those months as we waited, we called our new children every other night, without fail! Helping Jeffery do his homework – over the phone, and trying to get two words out of a shy two-year-old, Jaycie, haha! We assured them of our love, and that we would certainly come for them — as soon as we were allowed!
One day the big box arrived with Ralphie’s new crate, bed, dog food, and several other items I’d ordered for him. We were so excited! My son Jeffery helped me assemble the crate, then we put Ralphie’s little bed inside. As we joyfully gathered all the items we’d so lovingly prepared for him, I distinctly heard the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. He said, “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also.”
I instantly recognized those words as what Jesus had spoken to His followers in John Chapter 14:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:1-3, NKJV
My Father’s house has many rooms; I am going there to prepare a place for you... I will come back and take you to be with me...where I am. (Jn. 14) #inspiringhopeblog #HeavenAwaits Click To Tweet
Hearing the Holy Spirit speak these words to my heart literally took my breath away! Jesus was impressing me with this profound truth: “You are My bride [as part of the bride of Christ, including all those who belong to Jesus], and I long to be with you, even more than you long for a new puppy, a new child, grandchild, or any other earthly blessing. I love you even more than that! I am preparing a beautiful place for you, because of my extravagant love for you, My child! I am coming soon! I only await my Father’s command, then I will come for you! Be ready, for your new home is ready!“
I was floored by what I was sensing, with tearful eyes and deep gratitude for God’s promises. For followers of Jesus, our eternal home is being fitted with everything we could ever need or desire. There, finally, we will all be together– forever! No more death, no more good-byes, no more sickness or pain or sorrow. No more yearning for things or people or relationships we can’t have.
As days go by, I am constantly battling (as you probably are, too) the frustration of not having enough time to do all the things I want (and feel called) to do. I have more songs to write, and music to record. I have a deep desire (and people asking me) to create notated music — sheet music — of several of my songs, and new ones for worship and choirs. I have four (so far) books on my heart to write. I have songwriter friends who want to co-write with me. I want to record a Christmas album – and probably a couple others. I have song demos to record, and songs to pitch to several Gospel artists and groups.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day or “empty days” in my schedule to get it all done!
I want to jump off the merry-go-round of life and just spend two months on making scrapbooks for my children! (I’ve completed the scrapbooks for our oldest two children, but there are six other children — and a few for my hubby and me to keep — that I want to do.) I have sewing projects I want and need to work on. We have an old chest of drawers we want to refinish. I need to exercise every day. I’m struggling to read the bible as much as I want (going through my first read-the-bible-in-one-year plan). I want to learn to play the violin and guitar, and teach my own daughter to play the piano! (I teach other students piano… why not her?) The list goes on!
We will finally have time to do everything in Heaven, also called the “New Jerusalem”, which God will bring down from Heaven to sit upon this earth (after the old earth is passed away and made new again, according to the Bible). The Bible describes the unrivaled, stunning beauty of this eternal city with great detail in Revelation 21. Beyond the wonder and unspeakable joy of being with Jesus, the Holy Angels, and those we love forever, I believe we’ll finally have time to enjoy life like never before!
The blessings of life in eternity with Jesus are immeasurable and multi-faceted! Even more than we prepare to welcome a beloved child, grandchild, new pet, new spouse when we get married, or even our “dream job” or “dream house”, God is preparing a place for us! Also, the Bible describes many animals in Heaven — and they’re all tame, and will live forever like us! No more buried pets in the back yard. Nothing dies in Heaven! Hallelujah!! [Animals in Heaven? Read this...]
How about you? What are you preparing for today, this week, this year? Are you preparing for eternity? Everything on this earth will come to an end… but our “eternal preparations” will have everlasting benefits.
Ralphie is loving (as am I) sitting on my lap every night. He’s just what I wanted, and doesn’t seem to mind sitting beside my tablet when I’m working, or my Bible when I’m reading. God is good!!
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