For my relationship with my dad to be reconciled. For me to experience authentic love, compassion, and forgiveness. For me to come to the end of myself in order to fully know Christ as my heavenly Father who loves me so much that He will go to great lengths to heal my heart.
Last summer, my daughters and I discovered several small lumps on our ten year old cat, Sabrina. We were not certain what it was. By early fall, we took Sabrina to the vets to be examined because the small lumps turned into one large solid lump. We were hoping that it wasn't serious.
The vet suspected it was either mastitis or breast cancer. He prescribed an antibiotic in case it was an infection. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Instead, it was breast cancer in which we were distressed to prepare for the inevitable.
During these last 3 1/2 months with Sabrina, we continued to love her, care for her, and spend as much quality time with her. We knew her days were not going to be long because this type of cancer grows fast. The vet confirmed that once her symptoms became more severe, it would be our time to put her down. Truly, the last kind act of love is to end the suffering and pain.
Yesterday morning, Sabrina was laying on my carpet when I noticed bright red blood oozing from her tumor. I knew intuitively that this was it. My heart was crushed. It was my sign to graciously prepare to say goodbye to her this week. My family and I hoped that we could take her to the vets on Tuesday.
What we didn't anticipate was that her pain level, bleeding, and suffering would escalate dramatically in the evening. So last night my family and I didn't ring in 2018 with laughter, dancing, fun, or a celebration. Instead, we huddled together near Sabrina in the emergency vet hospital as she took her last breath. This was absolutely heartbreaking to say our last goodbye to her.
I ended 2017 with a floodgate of tears. My heart is broken. I started 2018 with another floodgate of tears. It's like a levy broke loose. The tears will not stop flowing. Despite my grief, I know we made the right decision.
Today, I am reminded once again what a beautiful gift our furry friend has been to our family for ten years. I would rather have loved and lost than to never have experienced the power of unconditional love that our pets give us.
In the midst of my tears, loss, and grief, the Lord wraps me in His tender arms. His love is steadfast. His love is unchanging. His love is unshakable. His love is revealed through Jesus who gave up His own life so each of us can have renewed life. His love compels us to love one another. Most of all, His love comforts us when we deeply hurt.
As you begin 2018, whether you are joyfully celebrating or you're starting your year off apprehensive, sad, or challenged, I pray that you can sense God's infinite love for you. Trust that no matter what you're going through, you are not alone. For Christ is with you and He desires to give you hope for a brighter future.
"Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever." Psalm 136:26