Guest Blogger: Jill Marshall

I’m an early riser. I set my alarm for 4:45am but am often awake even before that. I like to get up early so I can spend time with the Lord, workout and walk Zoe all before going to work. I love my morning routine even when I hate it. It has become my thing.

One of the challenges, however, is that Zoe insists on protecting the world from squirrels and raccoons, even at 4:45am. That’s her thing.

One morning I was praying and journaling about some things that weighed heavily on my heart. The Lord was encouraging me to see the best in everyone including myself, and to see the best in every situation rather than worrying about things outside of my control. Basically, to see people and circumstances through His eyes.

So I was feeling all encouraged and spiritual…until Zoe started barking, running back and forth, jumping up my back wall, and trampling all my flowers trying to catch a raccoon. I was ticked! And I was sure my neighbors were about to be as well. Zoe was in big trouble!

Then I paused. What did the Lord just speak to me? See the best in everyone? Did that mean my dog as well? Because she was just doing what dogs do. What she thought was right. Protecting her mamma. And that raccoon was 25ft in the air, in a tree behind the 6ft wall of my yard. Yet she barked and jumped as if she could actually reach him. It never even occurred to her that she couldn’t. I wish I had that same determination, perseverance and hope.

Did the Lord just school me using my dog?

I don’t want to over-spiritualize this. I still grabbed Zoe and pulled her into the house. Barking at 5am is a big no-no. But I love how God used her to reinforce his lesson to see the best, assume the best and to step out in faith trusting that he’s in control. He also reminded me of how quickly the enemy tries to snatch away truth through annoyances, distractions and challenges, and for that we must remain alert and guard our hearts.

May we all learn to snatch God’s truth right back with the same determination, perseverance and hope of Zoe girl.

Ps. In this picture Zoe went after a skunk rather than a raccoon. In the battle of Dog v. Skunk there are only losers. But you can’t blame a girl for trying.

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