Our Gracie Girl

Gracie Haywood

We adopted this little eight year old sweetie one week ago.

We found her at a local rescue shelter laying quietly in a back corner. She was silent and shy as all the other dogs around us barked loudly for our attention.

My husband walked slowly to where she was and as she made eye contact with him she got up and sat obediently.

He reached her caged area and bent down towards her and she stretched up to meet him. As his hand tenderly came up from underneath her chin to touch her face, she hesitated. But then she looked him in the eye and her sweet face leaned into his hand.

Love happened then.

My husband’s voice was quieter than normal, “Oh, she’s so cute…” As he spoke, I could see his heart melting right in front of me. I knew in that moment that she was ours.

In the week since we brought her home, my heart has melted too.

I’ve watched her, interacted with her, loved her, and comforted her. And it may sound funny, but as I have loved her, God has been loving me.

I am reminded that this love He offers to us is no small thing.

Gracie was very timid at first. You could see in her eyes that she was not sure of us. She wanted to be by our sides constantly, and yet she also wanted to run. She had nowhere else to go, and yet she didn’t know how to be at peace where she was.

Sound like anyone else you might know? It sounds more like me than I want to admit.

What kind of love was this? Who is this that is telling me to come and to follow?

Every time Gracie looks up at us with uncertainty and fear, we just want to pour out our love on her more. We don’t want her to be afraid.

God whispered to my heart, “I don’t want you to be afraid either. As you so desperately want Gracie to know how much you love her and that she is safe now, I too, my child, want that for you. I am leaning towards you just as you lean towards her. I am with you.”

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

In very simple terms, the word redeemed means paying for something to gain possession of it. We paid to take Gracie from the rescue into our home. Jesus paid for us with his death so he could bring us home with him.

Just like we saw the conditions Gracie was living in and couldn’t leave her there because we already loved her, so too a loving God has offered us a different life because He loves us.

And even though many who are reading this would say, yes, I believe that truth that God loves me, we often don’t admit that we are still trying to figure out on a daily basis what that means.

Once we have received God’s love for us, there are so many promises that ours to cling to and yet, we like Gracie often run from the love that is there for us.

He will never leave us or forsake us. He has adopted us and nothing can take us out of his hands. We are called children of God and have been placed in a family that has no end. A family that has no end.

Think about that. Death will have no more say and nothing can separate us from his great love. We will be with him forever. Safe at home in a place he has prepared for us.

It is not easy to believe this. Such a great love is hard to comprehend in a broken and distorted world like the one we endure every day.

Yet, we have a patient God whose love for us is beyond what we can understand. And He won’t give up demonstrating this love to us.

As we continue to walk with Gracie, I am sure I will have more to say about how much I love her, but also more importantly about what God is showing me about His love.

Every time I look into those big brown eyes and feel my heart swell up I feel God giving me a little squeeze.

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

If you are reading this and you don’t know this kind of love that I’m talking about, I pray now that wherever you are you’d ask God to reveal himself to you. The love of God can seem unbelievable but it’s because it is no small love. He knows you by name dear one. There is nothing in your past that can change the way He is looking at you now. He deeply loves you and wants you to lean into his hand just as Gracie leaned into ours.

Lord Jesus, if there is a precious heart reading this now that wants to understand will you show them who you are? Open the eyes of their heart Lord. Love them O God. Make them your own so they won’t ever be alone or without a family again. Give words to their heart longings God and hear them. In Jesus name, Amen.