So God Made a Dog

The devotional, So God Made a Dog, released yesterday. It includes 10 of my stories.  I’m honored to have my name listed with these talented writers. 

I wrote an extra devotional, in case the editor wasn’t pleased with my efforts. See below, the story I didn’t submit. I hope you like it. I’ll draw a name from my subscribers, and someone will win a free copy on Saturday, August, 12.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Bertie (Prince Albert)

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8 NIV.

Bertie showed up in our yard one winter evening. Half-starved, with mud-colored, matted hair, he gazed at me with mournful eyes. While bathing him, I discovered his fur to be the color of snow. After I fed him,  he curled up on a rug and sighed as if to say, “I’m home.”

We distributed “Lost Dog” flyers, and I chewed my nails every time the phone rang, but no one claimed the little guy. I’ve loved many pets, but Bertie is special because he chose me and makes it clear, I’m his favorite person. It may appear he’s asleep, but if I stand, he’s on my heels. When my husband calls to take him on a walk, Bertie looks to me for approval. His joyous barking and prancing greet me every time I return home. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been away an hour or all day.

Last summer, while my husband worked in the garden, our three dogs played in the yard, and Bertie disappeared. We searched the ditches, visited our neighbors, distributed notices, but no one responded. When the local shelter released a photo of a small white dog on Facebook, my phone buzzed as text messages arrived, and my heart soared. But when I entered the pound, I met a little girl holding a dog that could have been Bertie’s brother, and my heart ached.

A week later, sleep eluded me and my arms yearned to hold Bertie as I lay on the sofa, where he used to spend the night. My thoughts rambled. Maybe there’s someone who needs him more than I. And so I prayed for Bertie to be loved and protected, wherever he might be. I let go of my worry, trusted God to protect my little friend, and spoke aloud the prayer that is the most difficult for me, May Thy will be done.

Four weeks later, while working at my church, my phone dinged, and when I lifted it from my pocket, I read, “Your prodigal pup returned.” A picture of Bertie with every tooth showing was attached to the text message. I wiped tears from my eyes. Thank you, Jesus.

When I parked my car in our driveway, Bertie greeted me with his tail whirling. Unlike the prodigal son, my pup was clean, fat, and smelled of perfume. His reappearance is as mysterious as his disappearance, but God knows where he was and why, and he answered my prayers for protection.

Just like Bertie, I’m prone to wander, especially when things are going well. But eventually, suffering comes, and I return to the loving arms of my Father, and He always welcomes me home. Thank you, Jesus.

Prayer: Father, help me to keep my eyes on you, especially when it seems hopeless. Help me to remember to relinquish control and to trust you with everything. May Thy will be done.

 

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About shelia@sheliastovall.com

Shelia Stovall is a Southern, small-town librarian, and has an understanding of what women like to read. She is a member of ACFW and is currently the Treasurer of the Middle Tennessee ACFW Chapter. Shelia is a member of the Ky. Public Library Association and the American Library Association. Her short story, The Barber’s Sanctuary, won the fiction division of Kentucky Monthly’s sixth annual Writer’s Showcase in the November 2013 issue. Shelia is a weekly columnist for the Citizen-Times, based in Scottsville, Ky. Shelia’s Southern, small-town roots have given her an understanding of community and women's friendships. Her writing deals with difficult contemporary issues, but there’s always a thread of hope amid the calamity. Shelia is passionate about African missions and has traveled to Africa annually for the past four years. Community service is also important to Shelia, and she has volunteered as a crew chief for five years at Camp Habitat, (a Christian youth service camp that partners with Habitat for Humanity).

6 thoughts on “So God Made a Dog

  1. Belinda Cotter

    Loved this devotional, Sheila. So relevant to life every day. I’ve been unemployed and looking for a job since April and I pray each day that I relinquish control and trust God to show me the way. Love you.

    Reply

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