I picked her name even before I brought her home. That took awhile, deciding on a name. It had to be perfect. I knew I wanted a Hebrew word - I just love the sound of Hebrew. And I wanted something reflective of the lessons God was teaching me about my life. My sister Tiffany helped me go through the Hebrew section of the concordance, looking for words like "joy," "peace," "laughter," "gentle,"...and then we came to "friend, or companion."
"How do you say this word?" Tiffany asked.
"Let me see....'Reya.' Like 'ray-a.' What does it mean, again?"
"Friend or companion."
I thought for a minute. "That's it. We've found it. That's perfect. I love it!"
So Reya it was.
It took only two days for me to be overwhelmed by the thought of all that I was responsible for. I had committed to take care of this adorable creature for 12-14 YEARS! And she wasn't perfect. She was scared to go through doors and up or down steps, and had to go to the bathroom 4 times a night, and she thought 5:15am was the perfect time to start the day. And she wouldn't walk on a leash. And she had worms. And vets don't work for free.
But you know what? I loved Reya. Every time I looked at her, my heart swelled with the knowledge that she was mine. Mine alone. She depended on me for everything. Not only did I have to feed her, but teach her how to behave - even when to use the bathroom or sleep. Every time she chose to come lay down beside me and sleep on my feet, my pleasure knew no bounds. I knew she wasn't perfect. I knew she smelled like a dog. I knew she would misbehave before the day was over. But she was mine, and she knew it.
I don't smell the doggie breath. I don't mind that she misbehaves occasionally - though every time I must correct her, it breaks my heart. She can be terribly hyper, and that drives me crazy. I know her flaws, but I also see what I will make her. When I say her name, I know it is my name - the name I chose for her, and put upon her. Her behavior is shaped by my desires - I choose what is acceptable, and what is wrong for her. Her disobedience grieves me deeply, but it does not shock me - I expect it. She is a dog. I knew she would be that way. But I am changing her, ever so slowly. She is not just a dog; she is my dog.
Every little way she shows affection for me brings me more joy than I can describe. She has a little habit of coming close to me and laying her chin on my knee when she is unsure of something. I know her timid personality would naturally tell her to run far away, rather than go to a human for reassurance, but she comes to me, and stays still beside me, rather than running. That means the world to me. When I have a big sewing project, I'll often block off the kitchen doorway, and keep her in there with me while I sew at the kitchen table. I put her dog bed in one corner, and she usually takes a nap there, but never a sewing session goes by when she doesn't leave her bed eventually and come sleep at my feet instead. I want to sit there and cry all over my fabric.
He has. I can't begin to describe it.
I've often struggled with believing the kind of love God has for me. My personality is driven by a desire to people-please, and be perfect. That used to mean doing a lot of camouflaging, so my filth couldn't be seen. I even applied it to my relationship with my Savior. I knew I wasn't saved through works...but I thought I could be loved because of works. To be loved by Someone who has a full knowledge of my flaws and sin.....that wasn't logical to me.
Now it is. Now I understand. O, how great a Saviour I have! O, how He loves me!
Because I'm His. Because He knows my flaws, and chooses not to see them. He sees what He will make me - and what I am in Him, already. He sees His name upon me.
God showed this to me exactly two years ago, this month. He delivered me from 9 miserable, striving, never-good-enough-to-please-myself, depressing years, in July of 2010.
I thought then I understood.
Then I met Reya. And I didn't just understand.
All of the sudden....