Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rescue my Heart

James 1:27
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

Whiskey and Fritz

I was recruited recently to help with a couple English Cocker rescue dogs. Now, I needed one more dog activity like I needed a hole in my head. Somehow, though, I made the time to help out. First, there was “Fritz”, the 9 year old dog who just needed a special someone to not be turned off by his age, but rather to see the gentle old soul with a lot of love to give. Then there was “Whiskey”, the red dog found lost, wandering the streets of Chicago. I wrote about Whiskey in my last article, “In Need of Rescue”. It took a lot of time and effort by a lot of people, but both Fritz the senior and Whiskey the lost have happy endings….we eventually found them forever loving homes.

I, like many of my peers in our national breed club, The English Cocker Spaniel Club of America, regularly donate money to support rescue efforts. And, money IS needed. However, this time…this time I went beyond donating my pocketbook. For two months I helped get Whiskey cleaned up, trimmed down, and back to health. I grew quite fond of this big love bug! During the same two months, I helped screen homes for Fritz, trying to remain hopeful that someone was going to come through for him. After arranging a quite complicated transfer of Fritz to what we thought was a good fitting home, it was only a week later that the new owner called to return him because he was “too big”. The day I got this news was the same day I delivered Whiskey to his new home. My heart sank, and I had an emotional “meltdown”. I really loved this Whiskey dog, but what if this new person didn’t? What if Whiskey is returned next week too? So much time and energy and emotion had been poured into these dogs and now my heart broke for them. My heart broke for THEM….such sweet boys who just needed someone to love them, for someone they could love in return. Rescue was so much easier when I could just write a check.

When I first volunteered to help with Fritz and Whiskey, I was reminded of James 1:27. I thought, “Yes, as a responsible English Cocker breeder, I should help take responsibility for the widows (senior dogs) and the orphans (lost dogs) of my breed.” So, I showed myself responsible, and I donated not just my money but my time to help with Fritz and Whiskey. But, it wasn’t until that one day, the one day I was getting Fritz back all while sending Whiskey off, that I experienced the true meaning of James 1:27. In my tears, the Lord spoke to my heart, “I want more than your time and your money and your responsibility…I want your heart”. I asked, “Why? It hurts to give my heart!”. He answered, “Because if I have your heart, I have you not just for Fritz and Whiskey, but I have you forever…for all I wish to save”. He made His point…He had my heart.

James understood this heart of God when he wrote Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” To visit…in their trouble. Sometimes it takes us that trip to the trenches experience in order for God’s heart to become our heart. Sometimes it takes us saving one life before our heart aches to save many. Sometimes it takes risking hurt and loss before we can save the hurt and lost. Sometimes it takes us going beyond responsibility, beyond time, beyond money to see that all our “religious charity” is not what God needs most. He needs our heart. A senior Fritz and an orphan Whiskey taught me that….two rescues…who rescued my heart.

In Christ and covered in dog hair,

Debbie Owczarzak


Lisa said...

They are such handsome pups! If only they didn't shed...
Giving your heart to a person, a cause, or a fuzzy friend, definitely leaves you open to heartache. Most importantly, it leaves you open. I've been "closed" for a long time, and just recently I've been hearing and seeing the Lord showing me it's time to get out there again. Honestly, it's scary.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm. So much to think about. I have actually been mulling over in my head how much I am sick of giving my heart because it seems to always get trampled (by people, I mean.) But closing up shop and shutting down doesn't seem to be an option either :-)
I always enjoy your spin on things, Deb. Thanks for sharing.