Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: truth (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

Thoughts on Valentine’s Day from a Divorcee

Perhaps it’s because we’re officially in the month of heart-shaped boxes that I had that fleeting thought of, “ugh. Valentine’s Day.” Yes, it really was more of a cave-man grunting-type thought rather than a full coherent sentence, but it quickly got pushed to the wayside with something else: the words a friend had told me minutes earlier:

“I love you, my friend.”

My friend, Nina, was my first adult, non-family, female friend to tell me she loved me many years ago.

“I uh, um, well,” I probably stammered back, unsure how to respond. (Nina, if you’re reading this, please accept my very belated apologies, along with an equally overdue word of thanks).

It took me a while to understand what Nina was saying, words that later on were echoed by other non-family folk.

Love. A pure, caring, with-you kind of thing.

I couldn’t accept it because it didn’t fit for multiple reasons, one being that I’d only heard that phrase from family, both the blood kind and the marriage ones. I didn’t believe someone not in a blood-binding kind of way would love me.

Nor did I think that getting divorced would teach me about love.

thoughts on valentines dayUntitled

Yup, you read that right. Before I say any more on that, hear me out: I revere marriage. It is a holy institution, something not to be entered into lightly and definitely not something to be exited at whim.

But.

In those three letters lies a story of heartache, hope, and a bitter surrender to the reality that we have no control over others’ emotions, actions, perceptions or anything else. So when the gavel sounded as the judge reduced the holy to a thing of the past, I guess I figured love was gone.

I was wrong.

In the time since becoming a divorcee last year, I’ve been told “I love you” more times than I can count. Sure, maybe not as frequently as when the phrase was some sort of expected salutation in my marriage, words said before bed just like “hello” is said when answering a phone.

No, this “I love you” phrase means something entirely different now.

Many, many of my friends have told me this in the past year. Let me stop there for a second.

Many, many of my friends. Wow. How lucky am I? These with-you girls mean it when they say they love me. They have my back, cover me in prayer, and listen on those days when something has me worked up (and even better, go on to put me in place when necessary rather than sitting back and watching me slide off the tracks).

Yes, they tell me they love me. I still feel a bit like that first day when Nina said those words to me, a touch of that “are girls supposed to say this to each other?” mixed with “this is awkward” sprinkled with a huge dose of, “but maybe this is closer to what love really is than what I previously thought.”

Actions and words. That’s what James tells us about love. I think prior to getting divorced I primarily had people who said they loved me but their actions said otherwise. But now, when many might think I receive less love than ever before, I can’t help but say it’s the exact opposite. The love I receive from my friends surpasses anything words alone could convince a heart of. They say the words, perhaps to remind me of something I had to fight desperately to remember: I am valuable and am loved.

 

So as Valentine’s Day draws near, don’t worry about this divorcee in that regard because I’ll share the thing I know now that I didn’t believe a year ago: I am loved. And so are you.

Happy chocolate-fest, love-celebrating Valentine’s Day!

Stacy Voss

Hold on to Truth

There are all kinds of anti- things these days, things that fight against something else, like:

  • Antibiotics. I’m so very glad for these on my oh, so sick days.
  • Antiperspirant. Another one I’m extremely glad for!
  • Anti-wrinkle. I haven’t crossed that bridge yet, but it could be in my cards.
Image Courtesy Flickr: Paul Appleton

Image Courtesy Flickr: Paul Appleton

But how about a new one? Anyone heard of anti-perish? I know what you’re thinking: I’d be a millionaire if I could create it, a fountain of youth type thing. Well, the reality is, it exists, just not in the way we’d expect.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, emphasis mine

Sounds a bit extreme, right? I mean, are we really going to perish just by refusing to love truth? In a nutshell, yes.

If a boat is sinking and a passenger abandons the damaged vessel and clings to driftwood, you better believe they will do just that: cling. They will hold onto it for their life.

In a world of relativity, we must ask ourselves if we’re willing to cling onto Truth, to love it wholeheartedly. To let it shape, redeem, transform, save.

Oh Lord, may your truth penetrate and refine me.

signatureLinking in with 5 Minute Friday, writing prompt “Hold”

 

 

 

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