Ok, so since it’s Sunday and I try my best to be spiritual today (semi-successfully), I decided I’m going to write down a spiritual experience. You might or might not be interested. This might be a boring feature, but that’s ok ’cause it’s really just something I want to remember and I kind of suck at journaling (my hand cramps up.)
Last Sunday we had Stake Conference and a member of the Quorum of the Seventy came to speak at church and he mentioned that we should try to keep a record of things like this and so that’s what kind of spurred me onto it too.
So after Andrew and I got married and before we had any babies, we got a dog. A Rhodesian Ridgeback named Arwen. We still have her and she is really an awesome dog, going on five years old. Now, we got her for the purpose of not only companionship, but also to show her and to do a thing called Lure Coursing (which is fun) so that we could get her championship and breed her. Well, one thing you should know about these events is that they occur on Saturdays and Sundays (usually) and only very rarely (twice a year) in Utah.
So, well, we rationalized that these couple of Sundays a year, we would participate in these events. We rationalized that it was ok because it was very rarely occurring and you know, it was a fun family event. (Which, yes, I know, is a stupid rationalization and I knew better.) Several years passed with some wins, but we were unable to get the last win that we needed to have Arwen be a champion.
One day, when I was sitting looking at the entry forms for a BIG Lure Coursing event, I felt like we really should stop attending the Sunday events to keep the Sabbath day holy. I brought it up to Andrew and we discussed it and agreed. In this case, the event was Sunday – Monday, so we entered only Monday’s event. I worried about it the several weeks up to the event, worrying that we would just be wasting our money and we would not be able to EVER finish Arwen’s championship at this rate.
Well, the big day came and I prepared Arwen and packed up the babies and my sister to drive up to this event, which was about a two hour drive. Andrew had to work, so that’s why I had my sister along. Well, we got there and the entry was HUGE. There were FIFTEEN other Rhodesian Ridgebacks to beat, which is a giant number. There were several really good dogs there that had quite the reputation (dogs that are taken out every weekend to practice and they win a lot, while most weekends Arwen sits at home sleeping on the couch and sometimes going to practice). And here I was dragging along my two babies and my insane little Ridgeback (she is five times more insane than any other dog on the field and DRAGS me around.) We have no hope, I’m thinking, but I’ve been praying for like five days that we’ll do well and I’m praying the whole time we’re there. Please please please. But I don’t have much hope because it’s been several events since we’ve won anything.
Also, the judge is supposedly a cranky old lady.
So the first run, we get a high score (three way tied with several other dogs). Second run we get an ok score and my heart sinks. No way we’ll make it, we’re in third place. Third run we get another high score. We’re tied for first place with one other dog, Sugar. At this point, waiting for the runoff with our tie, I’m crying, because even if we get second place, we have the points we need to have Arwen’s championship. I couldn’t believe it… against the highest amount of Rhodesians I have ever seen at a meet, I’m tied for first somehow. Totally improbable. Arwen was running her heart out for me.
I offered to forfeit to Sugar, because all I needed was 3 points for Arwen’s championship (or second place) and Sugar needed 5 (or first place) for hers. But the rules had just changed so you couldn’t do that anymore. So we go to runoff and I’m just happy to take whatever I get. I cheer for Sugar to go, but she stops at the first turn. Arwen runs her heart out for the fourth time that day (800 yards each time) and takes first in her bracket. We have to run off against the winners from the other brackets (the dogs who are already champions, basically). Arwen runs for the fifth time that day against two champions with a reputation who have run two times less than she that day. She wins, hands down against what you might consider infamous and “professional” lure coursing dogs. The judge comes and tells me personally and several other people how awesome my bitch is and congratulates me on the Best of Breed win. She tells my family to get in the picture with me.
I am praying my heart out while we take the winning picture, thanking God for blessing me, tears in my eyes because I still can’t believe it. The Spirit was so strong on that field that day and I knew that I had made the right choice to listen to that prompting many weeks before.
And that’s how my dog built my faith in keeping the Sabbath day holy. Maybe silly, but it was one of the strongest feelings that I’ve had that I knew God cared about me and was just waiting ’til I started doing things right to bless me. It was beautiful and wonderful and so insanely improbable that it really couldn’t have been anything else.
I’m so glad that God gives me these experiences. It helps center me in this wildly chaotic world that we live in and builds my faith in Him. I feel so anchored, knowing that there is a God and He knows what we need to do to be successful and that He’ll tell us if we only will listen. He loves each of His children so much and is waiting to provide miracles if we’ll only have faith. I’m so grateful for that ever-present love and of course for the Atonement of Christ so that I can repent for being stupid about not keeping the Sabbath day holy in the first place. 🙂
And also, if you’re still with me, I heart this song: The Whole Armor of God