Monday, June 2, 2014


Most of you know I have a granddog.

A beloved beagle.

Named Marty.

Yup, I am way too attached to that dog.  But he's just so cute I can't stand it!  And he and I have bonded over these last 7 years.  Yes, he lives with my son, and I am only an occasional visitor to their domain.  But when I'm there, me and Marty are thick as thieves.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was down the hill taking care of my mom.  And my son and Marty came over for a visit.  Marty was quite excited.  He loves to play the *steal the stuffed animal and watch Gramma Sharon run after me* game.  (I'm usually the one huffing and puffing the most).

Sometimes Marty gets extra-excited, and he starts doing something we call "laps."  Basically he starts running really, really fast from one side of the room to the other, over and over again.  He's a master at the quick *turn-on-a-dime* maneuver.  

And then, he usually just plops himself right in the middle of the living room. A panting, pooped-but-pleased little pup.

It's great fun.

And this night, Marty did an especially impressive rendition of "laps" – fast and quick and tight in the turns!

I loved it.

Until the next morning.

That's when I saw the aftermath.  Marty had pulled up lame.

Oh, how my heart bled at this pathetic sight.  A limping, hopping beagle. Still wagging his tail, and gamely making his way to see me.

It was so very sad to see the happy-go-lucky beagle of the night before turn into a gimpy, struggling little creature.

Later that day, I took him out for his walk.  (Nature still called).  And dear sweet boy, he had to hop along on three legs.  

I was encouraged to see that he was in good spirits, and hungry, and didn't seem to be in much pain.

So, my son and I decided to wait and watch him for a few days.

But, when I went to bed that night, all by myself, I cried myself to sleep.  

It just broke my heart.

I thought about two things.

First of all, I thought about how quickly Marty adapted to the injury.  How he instinctively knew how to avoid injuring his leg further, and how to get along without using it.

His spirit found a way.  

Do I do this with the setbacks in my life?

Not hardly.

I am sidelined way too easily by circumstances.  I'm a *giver-upper* way too often.

I tend to curl up inside, lie down on the couch of self-pity, and moan and complain about the things that happen to me.

I do not hobble well.

Marty is a testimony to me about what it means to persevere, to endure, to rise above painful circumstances.  He teaches me what it means to have an indomitable spirit.

The second thing I thought about is this…

How unfair Marty's injury was in the whole scope of things.

Creation did nothing to cause its downfall.

That was all usall of our doing.  We were the ones who fell.  The ones who brought disease, and pain, and suffering, and death into God's perfect world.

And, because of us, creation groans.

It makes me sad.  I feel sad for the animals and for the plants and trees.  I feel bad that creation is under the curse of death and decay.  All things must die, and it just doesn't seem fair.  They didn't do anything to cause it.

As I watched Marty, I somehow felt responsible for his suffering.  

And so, I cried some more that night.  Over the sight of an innocent dog who had to feel pain because of the cosmic consequences of humans being human.

I hate sin.

But even in this, God brings hope.

We will be resurrected, and creation will be restored.

Sometimes I feel the groaning of us all – creatures and creation – deep in my soul as we all long for the release from sin's slavery.

Sometimes I can't wait for God to make it all right again...all RIGHT again.

I am happy to say that Marty seems to have healed.  He walks on four paws again, and I am greatly relieved.

But, I remember the lessons I have learned.

I have learned that I must strive to persevere and endure the hardships and suffering of an imperfect world with an unflagging spirit, and a joy that overcomes.  I have learned that being in this world means groaning and longing, but there is tremendous hope.  

For one day God will restore His perfection, and we will witness the glory of His holiness.

Oh, and I also learned that a 7-year-old dog (49+ years) probably shouldn't do "laps." God bless him, his spirit is willing, but his flesh is a little bit weaker!!

I can relate!

 All creatures great and small,
The Lord God made them all.

"You care for people and animals alike, O Lord."
(Psalm 36:6)

"...let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." (Hebrews 12:1, NLT)

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.." 
(1 Corinthians 9:24-26, NIV)

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me." (Philippians 3:12, NLT)

"I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart." (Psalm 119:32, NASB)

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7, ESV)

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!  For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].  For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children." 
(Romans 8:18-21, AMP)

What slows you down on your faith journey?  What gives you hope?

Linked today with:


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Praying for you, and dear Marty.

  2. Marty is adorable...I have always loved beagles (I had one myself once)...there is just something about that "hound dog" face. God gave us these precious gifts of animals to enjoy, to take care of...also, I think He knew we could learn many lessons from them along the way :) Thank you, as always, for sharing your gift of tremendous insight. God bless!

  3. Hi Sharon, It will come as no surprise to you to know that I relate to much of this post. However I could never put over as well as you do. God Bless

  4. Ahhh Marty ... and Yeah Marty! and thanks Sharon! :0) I've missed the old Marty tales and spiritual lessons as well as other lessons that we can gain from our furry friends! You are so gifted with what you come up with even from a mishap. I'm so sorry to hear about how a long awaited "fun day" became emotionally draining on you and physical impaired our 4 legged favorite, but how apt animals are at making do ... I'm sure you babied and loved him back from 3 to 4 so promptly!

    Love the ending because that's what I was thinking ... about our aging bodies and Marty's yet we keep on as if we're young'ens! And we pay the price physically, emotionally, mentally and even spiritually ... Warms my heart to see Marty again!
    I'm sure that you and these lessons learned don't need the "laps" as much as the lovin' ... (sigh) glad all recovered and was restored! Waiting for ours!

    Amazed as always by your insights and writing... and I'm a bit more hopeful than discouraged in my journey of faith and hope balanced in love ... "laps" would slow me down and any injury, physical or emotional (past and present) keep me from the Golden goodies ... yet my sight is placed on Holding On Pursuing Eternity looking upwards as a wise "visitor" shared with me and these verses chosen speak of ... awesome!

    Love, prayers, hugs and many blessings --- and a few wags from over here to Marty with a wow-bow-wow of a chorus of 4 (taken to the indoors from the heat that scorch their feet when having to make their "nature calls" walk) ... so I sympathize with them and Marty on 3 but happy he's back to 4,

  5. Oh Marty is so cute. I hope he is feeling better now.

  6. He is an adorable dog and I can understand your attachment to him. I am glad he recovered from his paw pain and limping. That would be sad to see. I know when Koda limps like that (10 years old this coming December), it makes me worried; I figure he has a touch of arthritis like anyone his age aging.

    You summed it up so well, Sharon. We do live in a broken world of our own making, but it is good that we have the hope of Jesus and eternity where there will be no more suffering, no more pain, no more stiff paws, etc. I too look forward to the day!


  7. I love animal stories. There are times our hound gets a sore leg from running too fast to the front to let other dogs they are not welcome here. We give him a baby aspirin wrapped in a piece of cheese and soon he is walking pretty good for an old dog. Thanks for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a True Story."

  8. "I do not hobble well." -- What an important insight. And one I really relate to. I don't enjoy hard work. And hobbling, well, that just sounds hard. Oh, how we moan instead of adapt. I love that lesson you learned from Marty.

  9. we can learn to much from our animals. I know I learn more about God from my animals than I do from many people.

    Creation does groan. My hearts longs for His healing touch, but His love holds us until that day.

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for this insightful and encouraging post, Sharon. God knows what we need, and when. Glad I stopped by.

    Marty is too adorable. I hope he is all better in no time.

  11. Marty is beautiful! I can see why you so love him. It amazes me the lessons we can learn from our pets. May I learn to persevere as Marty did. Love that you shared this post!

  12. I hate sin too. Grateful for the lessons that you have learned from Marty and appreciate you sharing them with us for Testimony Tuesday!

  13. I love this! Beagles are adorable to begin with, and your story blesses me. It amazes me how God can use anything to teach us! Thank your for sharing this story of encouragement and promise. Your blog is beautiful too!

  14. Beagles are the best dogs ever! I still miss my beloved Beagle Bailey. Great post.

  15. I love the real life connection you have made to teach us all that we do need to persevere in our lives. Marty's example proved that beautifully! Visiting you from Rachel's link up! Blessings, Mary!

  16. I'm so glad Marty feels better! Our new little pup does the same thing--we call it "fast-running". It puts me into giggles every time. I love the lessons you've gleaned from this entire experience. Good words, friend.

  17. I love how God speaks through critters. Though my animals don't talk, they teach me many things and that always reminds me of the story of the donkey who spoke to Balaam in the book of Chronicles.
    So glad Marty's leg is better. Baxter's is, too!

  18. You have such a soft heart, Sharon. That is no small thing. Love you.

  19. What a sweet dog and love your heart for him. And I love the message He revealed to you through his trials. I was studying James 1:2-3 last night with my Bible study group and those words hit me more than they ever have. How appropriate to come here this morning and you are sharing about perseverance through trials. Blessings to you, Sharon.

  20. I would never have found the lessons that you found in that, Sharon. I was thinking along a completely different line, and I loved what you gleaned from this.

    So excellent.

    I would love to sit here and blab on endless like I usually do, but I have nothing more to say to this one than a thank you for seeing the thing I did not see.

  21. Yeah for Marty...glad to hear that he recovered from his injury and such an insightful lesson you gleaned.

  22. Hi Sharon! What a lovely ending! I'm so glad that Marty is feeling better. What a tender heart you have my friend! But what a wonderful lesson in adapting and overcoming. All from your little friend. God is really speaking to you, and you are listening!
    God bless you always,

  23. Love beagles. Love Marty. Love his spirit, and love the parallel you drew about his adaptability to his injury. Like you, I'm a quick "giver-upper."

    Marty has a lot to teach me ...


  24. Oh man, good analogy… My heart breaks in much the same ways. It's amazing how our Father uses our pets to teach us… amazing. I appreciate your heart, Sharon.

  25. prayers for Marty and for you
    both of you divine creations of our Master Creator!

  26. hi sharon, i'm your neighbor at FF25. i enjoyed reading about marty. glad he is better now:)

  27. I've been a lot like Marty this week. I'm in a fitness support group and so competitive. It's harder for me to exercise because of the stiffness in my right knee and during the night I can see I've pushed myself hard, but in the morning I feel so good so I indulge in more exercise! I've got to learn to pace and realize I'm creating healthy habits here. That's what pleases God.

  28. Great thoughts here Sharon. Our son had a beagle too.....such a loving dog. I get caught up in my circumstances too and need to just keep putting on foot in front of the other while focusing on God! Glad to hear your grandog is doing well.

  29. Loved your post, and love your heart for animals. As the mama to four rescue dogs, I believe animals are loved and cared for by God. I also ache for the planet, under such a heavy weight. Glad Marty is on the mend!

  30. Hey sister I just saw your post on a few sites and when I saw Marty's face I had to visit. I could not believe how much of my heart you expressed. God broke my heart deeply for the creation and one night in intercessory prayer He allowed me to feel in my spirit, the pain of creation. It was a very intense life changing moment for me. He has since led me to pray for creation - as you are so right, we were the ones who made them slaves because of our sin. I am so glad God shared this with you., I believe it is because we have to pray and intercede. May Marty be so blessed!!

  31. Hi Sharon, I always enjoy your posts. Oh the pain and suffering we have brought into this world, but praise God, Jesus has overcome this world and we have a future and hope in Him.

  32. You post also reminds me of how we can sometimes continue on in certain behaviors, oblivious of the consequences...Poor Marty. He was having so much fun with what he was doing he didn't pay attention to the fact that he was straining his muscles until it was too late. It's the same with our sin, isn't it? It's "fun" at first and we continue in the behavior and then - wham! The cost hits us. But, thank you, Jesus, for dying for our sins and saving us! What a blessing it is to be forgiven!!

  33. I love how dogs don't get caught up in "it's not fair" or "I can't" - they just keep going with a smile and a tail wag. So many lessons in there for us! (your neighbor at Inspire Me Mondays)

  34. Marty is such a cute dog!! I love how you always bring it around to a devotional. Thanks Sharon for sharing today.

  35. We're a home that has 3 beagles and OH how we love them! Hope Marty is feeling better now. I'm sharing this on my FB page now! Blessings (found you on WholeHearted Wednesday).

  36. Ah, how sweet that Marty gets so excited to see you. I don't hobble well either. I've been sitting here thinking about the answer to "What slows you down on your faith journey?" One thing is trying to get it all right and my impatience when I see the lack of a fruit of the spirit in my life. But what causes me to hope is all of my blogging sisters and knowing we all struggle but we serve a God who loves us unconditionally and He's right with us, teaching us, cheering us on. God is my hope! ~Pamela


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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