Sadie’s Story

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

When the 11-year-old Chihuahua was dropped off at the crowded animal shelter, she had obvious health problems. Two weeks went by and no one showed interest in adopting her. After all, who’d want an old dog with health issues? So Sadie was scheduled for euthanasia.

Enter one young lady with a heart for the hurting—and with a passion for God’s creatures. When Sarah McKenrick and her fiancé, Jonathan Cherry, visited the shelter, “to give some animals some love,” a volunteer told her the sad story of the Chihuahua.

“She had been with a family for 11 years,” Sarah told me, “and they just dumped her at the shelter. My heart broke, and I couldn’t let her be put down like that. We adopted her.”

It was while the veterinarian was spaying Sadie that he discovered still another health problem and called Sarah.

“Are you sure you still want to adopt her?” he asked.

“Absolutely!” Sarah said.

With a heart murmur, congestive heart failure, fluid in her lungs, a bad stomach due to hookworms, and “a long list of other issues,” Sadie was given three months to live—“a hospice situation,” Sarah said. “She was 3.25 pounds and terrified.”

That was three years ago. 

“Today she is on ZERO medication, the heart murmur is gone, and she’s a chunky 6 pounds!” reports Sarah, who is now Mrs. Jonathan Cherry. 

That’s what love can do. 

In Sarah’s and Jonathan’s love for Sadie, who now responds to the name “Bitty,” I see God’s love for all humanity. God’s love for me. God’s love for you. Each one of you. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your nationality is, what your beliefs are, what you do for a living, or how old you are. It doesn’t matter that you have “SIN” written all over you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve messed up. Or if you are messed up.

It doesn’t matter if you’re what the world calls “damaged goods.” It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, who’ve you’ve been with, where you are. 

Read the Gospels. Over and over you’ll see God’s Son reaching out to the outcasts of society: a woman at a well in Samaria (John 4:1–26). She had three strikes against her: She was a woman—women were not at the top of the social ladder in those days; she was a Samaritan—the Jews hated the Samaritans; and she’d had five husbands and was living with a man who was not her husband. 

But she wasn’t out—not by God’s standards. 

Neither are you. 

Then there was the leper who asked Jesus for healing and Jesus touched him (Matthew 8:1–4; Luke 5:12–14). He touched him! My goodness, you didn’t even breathe the same air as a leper in those times, let alone touch one.

But, in God’s eyes, he wasn’t untouchable.

Neither are you. 

And then there was Levi, the tax collector, whom Jesus called to be one of His 12 apostles (Mark 2:13–17; Luke 5:27–31). A tax collector—a despised traitor in the eyes of the Jews.

But he wasn’t despised by God. 

Neither are you.

You may know Levi better by his name as one of Jesus’ disciples—Matthew, which means “gift of the LORD.”

That’s what happens when Jesus comes into your life—it changes, you change—transformed from the inside out. It all starts with the unconditional love of God.

Sadie’s story, you see, is your story.

When I’m feeling down on myself, O Lord, remind me of how very much You love me.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Romans 8:31–39.

 © 2023 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Now Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Cherry with Sadie, who passed away in September 2016.

Remembering Mom

The Maddock family, circa late 1960s (missing my brother, Pete)

From left, front: me, my sister Judi; back: Mom (Mary), Dad (Pete)

Her children rise up and call her blessed. – Proverbs 31:28 (ESV) 

My mother wasn’t the cuddly, “warm fuzzy” type. She was a strict disciplinarian who found joy in family, faith, hard work, and music.

She didn’t need an alarm clock to awaken her at 5 a.m. Her biological clock did it for her. She woke up wound up, kept wound up with pots of coffee, and finally wound down after the dinner dishes were done.

 Back then, there were no dishwashers, automatic washers, and clothes dryers. Dishes, pots, and pans were washed and dried by hand, then put away as soon as the meal was done. Clothes were washed in a wringer washer and hung on a line to dry. When the weather was cooperative, they sashayed in the outside breeze (after a finger-wagging to heaven from my mom—“Now don’t You let it rain!”). When it wasn’t clothes-drying weather, they hung from wire lines strung through the basement.

Mom never left a job for the next day, unless it was a major project, like knocking old plaster off a wall with a crowbar to prepare it for new plaster. She could snore away on the sofa in peace every evening because her work for the day was done.

Paydays meant trips to the bank, the grocery store, the utility company, and wherever else money was owed or something needed — and she walked because she didn’t drive. Dad tried to teach her, but she ran the car into a telephone pole and refused to get behind the wheel again. We used no credit cards. If the store extended credit, the bill was paid on payday.

She did not have a job outside the home. Her house and family were her job. She was the family accountant and, because of her childhood poverty, knew how to stretch a dollar. So when Dad was laid off, she knew how to tightening our belts, with using toilet paper for facial tissues and serving meatless meals, such as bowties and cottage cheese or tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches — still two of my favorite meals today.

Technology was on the distant horizon. No one was tethered to an electronic device 24/7, so I had time to learn to play the piano, visit with Baba (our grandmother) across the street, go to the library, and read to my heart’s content.

Life was simpler. We were taught to obey and respect our parents and teachers. If we didn’t, there was a leather strap in a kitchen drawer that was to be avoided at all costs. 

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1) was one of the Maddock family mottos, as well as “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

I never realized how much my mother modeled the Proverbs 31 woman until I sat down to write this column. 

I only wish Mom were alive today so I could tell her, “Many women do noble things, Mom, but you surpassed them all. I love you. Thank you for teaching me, by example, how to be a wife, a mother, and a woman of character. ”

 Help me, Lord, to be a Proverbs 31 woman. Amen.

Read ands reflect on Proverbs 31: 10–31.

From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.