Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When Good Intentions Meet Grace

If good intentions counted for anything, right now my lawn would be mowed and trimmed, my checkbook balanced, my checklist completed, and I would be in the middle of doing my Bible study.  As it is, I just failed the first installment of the answer to last night's prayer for God to change my heart.

Failed rather miserably, I might add.

My new puppy (yes, my prayer for a changed heart involved my puppy) has been having some digestive problems, resulting in unpredictable middle-of-the-night cleanups.  Yesterday I started switching her over to a new food to see if that will help things.  She seems to really like the new stuff and has eaten a TON of it.  No messes last night.  No messes today at noon when I came home to let her out.  I was feeling pretty good about things.  Finally a possible solution to keep me hopeful.

Then I came home from work tonight and found she had pooped in her kennel.  Not once.  Not twice.  THREE times.  Three piles of smelly slop, stepped in, flattened under blankets, and squished out the sides onto the carpet.  She's a 52-pound Mastiff puppy; these are not small piles.

I know she couldn't help it.  She really is crate trained.  She knew she shouldn't have done it, but with a weak tummy, there probably wasn't much she could do to stop it.

I got mad.  Frustrated.  I had plans for my free evening.  I needed to mow, especially since I currently own the record for tallest grass in my neighborhood.  I had a whole list of other things I hoped to get through.  I wanted to work on some training things with the dog.  I wanted to relax.  I wanted to work on my Bible study and catch up on my week-behind homework.

I did not want to maneuver and carry a poop-covered giant heavy puppy from her kennel to the yard.  I did not want to wash another load of puppy laundry that was just washed two days ago.  I did not want to wipe smelly poop from the cracks and crevices of the wire kennel and carpet.  I did not want to flavor my thoughts with four-letter naughty words.  I did not want to hose down the kennel tray and the puppy.  I did not want to make a scene for my neighbors to watch.  I did not want to leave my puppy chained outside for the entire evening.

But I did all of that.  And yes, my puppy is still chained outside because I can't quite handle dealing with her inside yet.  I still need to put her kennel back together.  And then...it's bedtime.

An evening lost.  A lesson failed.  A God who offers me grace and wants to forgive my anger-sins as soon as I will ask...but I haven't been able to ask.  I don't deserve it.  I want to turn to my Bible study or play a few worship songs on the piano, but I can't bring myself to come before Him, especially if He is going to forgive me so easily.  If He isn't going to tell me how naughty I was and chastise me for it, then I'd better sit in it for a while until I'm ready to move forward.

This is how I approach His grace sometimes.  I know it's wrong and that's not how He wants it to be.  To say it shows my faults and failures.  But sometimes I need to say it so I can work through it.  And really, exposing our hearts to one another, no matter how ugly or petty or painful the truths, is a huge key to true deep fellowship with one another.

Anyway, my mind is starting to settle after getting all this out of the way.  I have a kennel to reconstruct and a puppy to bring inside.  Then maybe I'll still have some time for my Bible study.

Maybe I can still redeem part of this lesson.


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