Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: redemption (page 1 of 3)

What my Dog Taught me about Sin

My poor dog got into something that didn’t sit well with her and the results were less-than-desirable.

“Mom, Bella got sick again in the house,” my daughter told me over the phone when she got home from school. Our black Lab is an old lady and accidents are becoming a bit too frequent.

“Okay, well, if you could clean it up for me, please . . . ”

“No, mom. I don’t mean that she did her normal stuff. It’s like, all over the place.”

Being the kind mom that I am, I tried not to laugh (and failed miserably), but once I walked in the door later that evening, I was at a loss as to what caused me to think it had been funny. I’ll save you the visual and will just say my main floor resembled a litter box without the litter.

It took a few days, but somehow my pup’s illness and my formerly white carpet began teaching me a little something about sin and grace.

  1. Sin is Messy

I can’t bear to really go into this one in terms of the dog stuff. We’ll just say it was beyond disgusting and that our family bonding time for several nights in a row included all of us spraying carpet cleaner and scrubbing with all of our might.

All too often, I want to think that my sin isn’t so bad or that no one else can see it. Let’s just say I’ll be lucky if after multiple rounds of shampooing the carpets that people won’t be able to see the effects of Bella being sick.

2. Sin has Some Real Consequences–And Oftentimes Affects Others

Let me repeat: we spent many nights scrubbing. Trust me, that’s a consequence I would have gladly avoided. I had multiple proposals due around that same time and I’d already slotted the time after the kids went to bed for wrapping things up, yet that quickly fell to the side as I attempted to clean the carpets, which meant I had to stay up even later to work on one job before waking up early to head to another. The consequences had many layers, extending to several people.

Years ago, I was fired from a job for something my then-husband did. We were hired as a couple, so his violation of the company’s code of conducts resulted in us being fired as a couple. I’m pretty sure that the once-hubs thought his (once) secret sin only affected him, but let me tell you, the impact it had on my world was astronomical.

3. Sin Entangles and Causes more Sin

My poor pup continued to do her I-won’t-mention-thing. I couldn’t let her continue doing it across the carpet, but she loathes being outside without us and barks as if a burglar is about to come and carry off every valuable in the house. I wouldn’t subject my neighbors to her barking, so I moved her bowl into the bathroom, laid out a blanket, and locked her in the  place with very wipeable linoleum.

As I said, Bella was sick, and well, sick dogs do sick things. She did her stuff across the floor, the very place she had to sleep. Um, did I mention that sin is messy? So much for thinking that it isn’t!

In the morning, I put Bella out back while I scraped away one layer of “sin.” Once the fan brought the stench down to a 9, I let Bella back in and went back upstairs to finish getting ready for work.

“Mom, there’s a loud banging noise coming from the bathroom,” Micayla told me as she raced up the steps.

I went downstairs to find my dog thrashing around, attempting to get the air vent off of her collar. Apparently, as she laid on the floor, her tags fell into the grate, so once she moved, the entire register clung to her side.

I’ll once again save you the visual and simply say that the struggle to free a dog from a register while making sure you don’t touch the “sin” matted in her fur is challenging and gross. It felt like a sin snowball, growing by the second.

4. It Takes a lot of Work to Undo Sin

My carpets will never be the same. Fortunately, I live in a rental and the flooring attests to that fact. However, for as dirty as they once appeared, those dingy gray days are but a faint memory as a new, non-white color has graced the playroom and living room.

And that’s after all the scrubbing.

And shampooing.

And attempting a few things that I won’t even mention (some because they were an absolute flop).

My analogy falls painfully short, but work with me here. The kids and I had to do something gross. Something that went against our desires and natural bent. We put sweat into it (yes, truly). It. was. hard.

And then there’s the cross. Again, the analogy falls short, but you get the picture. It was disgusting.

A lot of sweat and blood went into it.

It went against common sense.

And came at a very high price.

5. It Might be Caused by Someone Else

Ugh, I tried avoiding this one, but here it is.

Want to know the cause of my dog’s sickness?

Me.

Yup, me.

I am wholly, fully the culprit, although in my defense, that was not my intent. I just thought my dog would like a nice, big bone. So perhaps it had been cooked, but it looked so strong and hearty. What a great treat for her, I reasoned.

And yes, she loved it. She even laid in the grass for over an hour while we were inside and chewed the thing to bits.

Yes, bits. As in the little piece that apparently got lodged internally that she um, well, worked at quite forcefully to get to come out.

I paid some for the mistake (okay, more than some. The vet bill almost made me leave similar piles on the floor as my ailing dog), but ultimately, Bella is the one who had to deal with it. One could say it wasn’t fair. Actually, it wasn’t, just like life.

Just like the times when something happens and somehow, in some way. we use it as an excuse to justify our sin.

As if my dog wanted to keep walking around with feces stuck in her fur.

Or we want to keep doing things that, if we’re honest, are equally as nauseating.

Someone else hurt us. Said something horrible or betrayed in a way that is unimaginable. It. Is. Awful.

Undoubtedly so.

But to stay there, to lie in it like my dog in the layered-0n bathroom floor, well, it’s messy. And stinky. And just downright disgusting.

Not to mention that it undermines the power of the One who can clean and redeem like none other.

In the midst of the scrubbing, I realized there was something else that needed to be cleansed: my heart and my view on sin. Perhaps you care to join me. If so, here’s part of a song that echoed throughout over and over:

“Restore unto me the joy of my salvation

And renew a right spirit within me.”

Oh, the joy of a grace that renews and restores even when we’re so undeserving.

Stacy Voss

I Saw the Calvary

Image derived from Flickr: Freefotouk

Image derived from Flickr: Freefotouk

Wanna know what the calvary looks like? In my book, it’s either a man fully dressed in camouflage or someone with a volunteer firefighter t-shirt on. Let me explain:

The kids and I went camping with my sis and her family a few weeks ago. I put the coolers in my mini-van (yes, I know, I’m oh-so-cool!) at night to keep the bears away. I knew my Bubba would go in and out grabbing some snacks from time to time, but what I didn’t know is that he turned on the overhead lights so he could rummage through the cooler.

When it was time to go, we loaded sleeping bags, duffle bags, a camp stove and umpteen other things into the van, only to discover it didn’t start. Then I had to remove half of the stuff to get to the jumper cables, which unfortunately were much too short since I had pulled a one-car spot and there was no way of getting another vehicle next to mine.

My sis unloaded her truck to get to her extra-long cables, but even those were still too short, so I walked up to the camp host to see if he had an extra-extra long set of cables. He wasn’t home. When I got back to my van, my sister and brother-in-law were in front of my van, but what really caught my eye was a muscular guy wearing a volunteer firefighter t-shirt.

“I’m saved,” I secretly thought.

Everyone began pushing my van out–uphill of course!–until it was close enough to another vehicle to jump it (just a little tidbit: if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you might want to take off the emergency brake first BUT if you forget, take it to your grave if you made grown men break out in a sweat!).

With my car running, I thanked the folks who helped me, and then said to the firefighter dude, “When I saw your shirt, I knew I’d be okay.”

Jump ahead a few weeks. A few other writers and myself were blessed with a weekend in a beautiful cabin in a very remote area, so remote that it wasn’t connected to the city electric grid. We were instructed how to turn the generator on in case it was too cloudy for the solar panels to be of much use.  Saturday was overcast, so it was no surprise that the power went off early afternoon. We turned the generator on. It sputtered to life. And then, it stopped. Done. Kaputz. We tried over and over again, willing it to work more than 30 seconds at a time, but nope, it just wouldn’t.

Robbie and I drove to the neighbor’s house, where we used the landline to call the owners of the cabin (think a bunch of girls in the middle of no where with no cell service and no internet. Agh!!). We were given one suggestion on what to do to get the generator roaring again, so we drove back to the cabin, did the reset stuff, and tried again. And again. And, well, you get the picture, right?

So, we drove off to the neighbor’s again (yes, drove. Apparently that’s what you do when you have 35 acres of land!), but before we got there, we spotted a red pick-up driving down the road. Now when I say we were in the boonies, I mean we were in the BOONIES! Cars don’t just drive along there for no reason. We pulled over as the pick-up did the same, the driver rolling down his window letting us know that the owner of the cabin called and asked him to come check on us.

If he weren’t in another car, I just might have thrown my arms around him (sorry, honey!). Tony, our knight in shining armor that was dressed from head to toe in camo, was there to rescue us!

It’s funny that as I’ve thought about these two incidents, I started thinking that I know what calvary looks like. That made me think of Calvary, the place. I never drew the connection before that the calvary–the truest form of someone coming to save and rescue us from something we’re powerless against–did it’s greatest work at Calvary.

I’m grateful.

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Linking in with Five Minute Friday and http://christianmommyblogger.com – See more at: http://christianmommyblogger.com/fellowship-fridays-53/#sthash.zMdpacVX.dpuf
and

A Royal Daughter

The Truth about Love

The Truth About Love“I’m sorry. It won’t ever happen again.”

I’ve heard these words so frequently that they no longer mean anything to me. Well, at least not anything beneficial. They’ve become the band-aid for something much too large to repair with just a few words.

You see, there was one critical thing that never accompanied these words: action. The “it won’t ever happen again,” could no longer be trusted and myself and the other party knew it. I get that we hurt people. Unfortunately, I do it more than I like, but the reality is that if we hurt someone and never care to correct it or aren’t willing to examine what caused us to do so in the first place, chances are great that we’ll just repeat it. The words just can’t be believed if they don’t come with change.

We find the same in 1 John 3:18. It says,

“Dear children, let us not merely say we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” – 1 John 3:18

Mr. I Won’t Do It Again recently gave me a card. I’m such a word girl, yet this card meant very little to me since I could no longer trust the words of the one who penned them. But, this same person did something kind for me, something unexpected that was done without hopes of repayment.

I saw.

And then I believed:

  • I believed he still cared.
  • I believed he desired change.
  • And, for the first time in quite a while, I believed he still loves me.

The truth about love is that it must always be accompanied by action.

Now it’s your turn. By you taking the action to post your thoughts on 1 John 3:18, you’re going to help strengthen our love for the Lord! Feel free to link up your blog post OR leave as long of a comment as you’d like. Thanks for sharing the love! 🙂

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