Puppies and Promises


A girl and her dog

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. ­–Psalm 139:9–10 NKJV

My 37-year-old daughter Jaime loves dogs. Her heart especially goes out to shelter dogs—the ones who have had a rough start to life. That’s where she got Tess, her 14-year-old German Shepherd-Golden Lab mix, when Tess was two.

Due to her age, Tess has many health issues, and Jaime does her best to keep her as comfortable and healthy as possible under the circumstances. When the time comes for Tess to cross Rainbow Bridge, the void in the family’s hearts and home will send Jaime back to the shelter to adopt another puppy.

“Puppies,” Jaime said, “are my way of knowing that, no matter how bad things get, everything is going to be okay.”

A good quote to remember as we face a new year.

While we don’t know the specifics, we do know the New Year will bring both grief and joy, disappointment and hope, trials and triumphs.

Puppies, in Jaime’s eyes, are the promise of joy, hope, and triumph.

We, too, have promises we can count on to see us through the grief, disappointment, and trials the New Year holds—the promises in God’s Word. And since the Author is faithful, we know His Word can be trusted (2 Timothy 2:13).

We have the promise of His LOVE—unconditional, undeserved, unlimited. A love we can count on no matter how awful we’ve behaved or think we are, a love that reaches to the skies (Psalm 36:5). His arms are always open to receive us. All we have to do is come home to Him (Luke 15:11–32).

We have the promise of His GRACE—a grace that will see us through the tough times, unanswered prayers, and heavy burdens. We are never alone as we trudge through the deep, dark, endless valleys that are sure to come. “My grace is sufficient,” God tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So when we are weak, He is strong. The weaker we become, the stronger He becomes.

We have the promise of His MERCY—forgiveness for the asking, and even when we don’t ask. A new start every day. Renewed hope. “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21–23 RSV).

And those aren’t all. We have the promises of His protection (Psalm 3:3), His presence (Exodus 33:14, Hebrews 13:5), and His provision (Philippians 4:19).

That He hears and answers our prayers, whether or not we see the answers we want, no matter how long we have to wait (Psalm 50:15).

Puppies and promises. No matter how bad things may get, I know that things will be okay because my God holds me, my family, and my future—every day, every moment—in the palm of His hand. Indeed—we are engraved there! (Isaiah 49:15-16)

Thank You, Father, that whatever the New Year brings, I can face all things through the One who gives me strength—Your Son, Jesus. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 139

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

When Junk Brought Joy


God delights in the one whose heart is in his gift. –2 Corinthians 9:7 AMP

It was late fall, 1978. My husband worked at the local scrapyard—his hours dependent on the weather—I was a stay-at-home mom, and we were poor.

We wanted to put some nice presents under the tree for our two-year-old son, but, with Dean bringing home around $100 a week, how could we afford even one? Putting food on the table and paying the bills on time were higher priorities.

Then someone dumped a load of junk at the scrapyard—a load that included a couple of well-used, rusty, but still sturdy, Tonka toys. Dean brought them home to our second-story apartment and set up Santa’s workshop in our unheated attic.

When Christmas morning dawned, a refurbished dump truck and front-end loader sat under our tree.

Over the next few years, my husband repurposed other toys that had been discarded at the junkyard, including a motorhome and a three-wheeled pedal tractor.

When our second child, a daughter, came along, we were still poor. I put my sewing machine to use and made her a Raggedy Ann doll. Another year I crocheted her a stuffed panda from Dazzleaire yarn. That panda grew up with her, and I presented it to her—minus the stuffing because she’d plucked it all out—on her wedding day.

After nearly 40 years, those Christmases are the ones that warm my heart the most.

Back then Christmas wasn’t about the money because we had none. But somehow we found a way to give. And it was more than a Tonka toy or homemade stuffed doll under the tree. It was something intangible—the gift of time, talent, and love—a piece of our hearts.

We may have been poor in money, poor in worldly possessions, but we were rich in love.

Our hearts overflowed with it. It infused our handmade gifts, gave energy to every swipe of sandpaper, every stroke of the paintbrush, every stitch of thread and yarn—and multiplied back to us on Christmas morning when our children exclaimed in delight as they opened their gifts.

One of the afghans I made for a Christmas gift

This year I organized my crochet supplies, bought a cartful of yarn, and got to work. Since mid-October, I’ve made eight granny-square Christmas stockings, two afghans, two messy bun hats with matching headbands and infinity scarves, and one pair of boot cuffs. When I couldn’t find a pattern to match what I envisioned for a reticule (a small purse), I crafted one of my own.

And a long-lost, deep-rooted, almost forgotten joy fills my heart and overflows onto everything around me.

You see, the joy of giving explodes when the heart is in the gift. Joy, like love, doesn’t divide. It multiplies.

Thank You, Lord God, for helping me to rediscover true joy. Amen.

Read and meditate on Luke 2:1–20 and Matthew 2:1–12 

© 2017, Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

TO MY READERS: May God’s peace, joy, and love fill your hearts and homes this Christmas and throughout the New Year.