Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Learning to Serve

This morning I read a passage about asking how you can serve each and every day. It really resonated with me and as I journaled, I asked God to show me how I can serve in a powerful way today. Little did I realize God was about to teach me a lesson in learning to serve.

The morning continued like any other morning and I took our dog Toby for a walk. As we turned a corner I noticed a dog in the yard ahead who appeared to not be on a leash. I slowed down but the dog saw us and came running over. It was the sweetest little Shih Tzu, full of love and energy with his tail wagging a mile a minute. I talked briefly with a homeowner who shared that this dog had been hanging around their home for the past couple of days but it was not their dog or any of the surrounding neighbors. The dog followed us home and before I knew it, I was taking care of this little dog on our back patio. I felt the stress start to build as I watched the hours pass away caring for this dog, realizing yet another day's work was interrupted, the earthquake yesterday and now a stray dog. No sooner did I finish that thought when I heard a voice whisper, "You asked how you could serve in a powerful way, here it is".

I didn't recognize then how taking care of a stray dog would equate to serving in a powerful way but later in the afternoon when we were able to reunite the dog with its owner, I realized God was showing me exactly what that meant. That reunion was so heartwarming and as I watched I heard that same voice whisper, "The littlest acts of kindness can serve in the most powerful way."

God had taught me a very powerful lesson today! I felt the pull of work but made a conscious decision to focus on that dog and ignore my work, realizing where I was truly needed most at that moment. Oddly enough, I received very few emails today and no phone calls, unheard of! It was as if I agreed to answer God's call and He cleared my calendar so I could serve where I was needed most. Such a tremendous lesson! I now understand what is meant by serving in a powerful way. It's not our own measurement of what is significant that matters, it's being open to God's call to serve and then more importantly answering that call and following God's lead. If we commit to being open to serve, He will pave the way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Reminder from Toby

Our dog Toby reminded me this week to slow down and begin each day with a spirit of love and thanksgiving. Toby is our one-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is full of endless energy and always ready to play, with a toy in his mouth and tail wagging hard. He has these eyes that truly melt your heart as well - one look and you're done! His eyes convey nothing but pure love and devotion.

Toby has started this routine every morning now that requires me to stop and "show him some love" before we start our day. I'll open up his crate and call him for a walk but he will not come downstairs until we've said a "proper" good morning filled with lots of hugs, licks and "I love you's". I think he sensed I was moving too quick and not taking time for the things that really matter.

I've found the lessons of life often come to us disguised in our everyday activities and they remain hidden unless we're open to what truly is around us. Toby reminded me to take the time to greet each day with gratitude and love. It's so easy to just jump out of bed and begin full steam ahead into our daily routine. But that is not what God asks of us. I found this quote from Mother Teresa that sums it up so well, "There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread." We need to take a few moments each morning to express our gratitude and love for all the blessings in our life and let those whom we care about know how much we appreciate them. When we do, our days begin on much more positive and peaceful note.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." – Matthew 6:33