I have a zoo at my house. A zoo of miscreants I lovingly call them. Three dogs. And a cat.
My mom once said that we are one rescue animal away from being those weird animal hoarders you see on the news. But, let’s be clear, Russell and I have a heart for animals – and we’re quite proud of that. It’s one of the few things that we have in common, and it bonds our relationship a little deeper.
People often think we’re weird for placing our animals’ needs above our own wants. Aren’t they just animals, afterall?
But here’s why they are so important to us. They are innocent, loving creatures who look at us as their master. And it is my opportunity and responsibility to love them and care for them the same way my Master loves and cares for me.
They are daily reminders that God could see me as a dumb, disobedient annoyance who never learns from her mistakes. Instead, He sees me as a precious soul who is worthy of His love, attention, devotion, and time.
When Dezzie starts begging for food at 5 am every morning – I am reminded that when I am sick or tired or hungry, my God comes to my side. He provides, and He comforts. He answers my pleads and begs.
When Max and Eli have tried to run away, I was reminded that when I try to run away and turn my back on God, He moves mountains to seek after me. And when I return, He rejoices and reminds me that He never stopped loving me.
I am not just some animal who He may or may not look after. I am His. He protects me. He teaches me. He disciplines me. He forgives me. He never forsakes me. He takes joy in me. And every day, I have the opportunity to practice displaying that kind of love for this little zoo of miscreants I have.
They are destructive and disobedient; they try to run away; they try to harm themselves; they are needy and demanding; and sometimes they try my very last nerve. But in those moments, I thank God for loving me unconditionally when I act like that too.