Convinced by Love by Nancy J. Farrier

A few weeks ago, we adopted a new dog. She’s a black lab mix, according to the shelter, and a little over a year old, so still in puppy stage. She’s sweet and affectionate, enthusiastic and energetic. 

I named her Aeonium after my favorite succulent, Aeonium Arboeum Zwartkop. The shiny purple-black leaves on this plant remind me of the shiny black of my dog. Because Aeonium is a mouthful, we call her Oni. (Oh-knee)

Our biggest challenge with Oni comes when we go on our morning walks. My husband and I walk two miles every morning, going through our quiet neighborhood. The homes are spread out but almost everyone has a dog or a horse that distracts Oni. 

Oni arrived at our house with zero manners on leash. She would lunge to the end of the lead, trying to get to the barking dogs or whatever distracted her at the moment. We tried what little we knew to get her to obey, but were quickly discouraged. We finally hired a dog trainer we had used before. She’s come twice now to our house for lessons and is amazing. She’s shown us new techniques we wouldn’t have thought of and taught us about dog behavior and why Oni does what she does.

This was not a miracle cure, but we have had a breakthrough since the second lesson last week. Oni is doing better. Her owners are even learning too. (Ha!) We are slowly becoming more of a team as we learn how to encourage Oni to pay attention to us and not to the distress of barking dogs or snorting horses.

As we work with Oni, I am reminded of my walk as a Christian and of many others I’ve observed. So often, we want to lunge toward the challenges or intrigues of the world to check out things that are best left alone. Not all of those dogs are saying to Oni, “Come on, let’s play.” Some are clearly saying, “I want to control you and will hurt you to do so.”

Just like Oni is confused about what dogs to approach, it’s hard for us to tell what is okay to do and what is not okay, especially when we are new to the Christian life. We want to investigate every little thing that interests us and forget how damaging or dangerous some can be. We get so excited, we jump at a chance without praying first and checking to see if this is something that will be for our good or will glorify God.

We do get better as we age in the Christian life. Remembering to pray comes easier. Seeking God’s will for our every decision becomes a habit instead of an oddity. Staying within the bounds of what’s safe is clearer, even though we do at times forget or ignore those bounds.

I am reminded of Psalm 23: 4 – 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NKJV)

Walking in the world is what we do every day. There are pitfalls and temptations that are difficult to see. It’s like walking through the shadow of death in that living in the world is death to our souls while living in God is life eternal. We have to be in the world physically, but must keep our focus on God and His will.

The end of the verse says, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Very few of us are comforted by the idea of a rod. We think of beatings. We think of pain. Yet, the shepherd referred to in this passage, used the rod to scare away predators, while using the crook of the staff to hook around the neck of the sheep and pull the animal to safety. Having God there to protect us and pull us back from danger is a comfort. He’s looking out for us, making sure we are staying within the bounds of safety. 

As we work with Oni, we give her treats when she walks alongside us. When she is most distracted by barking dogs and lunging at the end of her leash, we stop and wait. She’s learned when that happens to come sit in front of me and I reward her for her good sitting and behavior. Then as we walk on, she is much calmer.

God always rewards us for our good behavior and for listening to Him. When we do that, we have peace. Our lives , or our inner selves, are much calmer no matter what is happening around us. We have many little blessings that show us we are pleasing God in our walk. 

While we all tend to lunge at the end of the leash when we interact with a particular trigger of ours, just as Oni does when she sees dogs. I do hope as we pray about this, we can learn to sit at God’s feet. To study what He has to say. To be convinced by His love that we are doing what’s right.

About Nancy J. Farrier

Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn't writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. Nancy is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Literary Agency. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:
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6 Responses to Convinced by Love by Nancy J. Farrier

  1. Wise Hearted says:

    Nancy, I had my comment all wrote out, then lost it with the click of one wrong button. Wow, so easy to do. I enjoyed your post and felt convicted over an issue I struggle with. I love, love, love the teaching your dog analogy. It was all so true. Thanks.


    • Nancy J. Farrier says:

      Thank you. I am often convicted by these lessons and that’s why I write about them. I’m usually the one who needs them most. Thank you for your comment and encouragement.


  2. Such a great post! Your new pup is a cutie. But what a learning experience for all. You make such great points about our Christian walk. I am so thankful that the Lord never gives up on us, but continues to teach us, every day! ✝️🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  3. leorizo says:

    As dog owner all I have to say is Amen! Loved your comment!

    Liked by 1 person

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