Want to know the greatest thing about having a relationship with an animal?
You don’t have to “be” anything for them! Animals accept us for who we are, where we are. Ladybug, our “black and white,” showed me this so clearly yesterday when I arrived at The Ranch. Earlier, God had brought a startlingly clear realization to my heart about my path in life, a realization that hit me in full force when I stepped out into the open with the horses and gazed up into the immensity of God’s Creation in that never-ending Colorado blue sky. Tears poured from my eyes as the heart-awakening joy of knowing God’s will for this moment in time mingled with the sharp pain of self-surrender. I turned, looking for a horse’s shoulder to cry and immediately reached out to Ladybug who I have been trying to befriend for months. This process has been similar to trying to befriend one’s self when Oscar the Grouch stares back at one in the mirror. Needless to say, we’ve made little progress even though we often stare at each other out of the corner of our eyes, wondering if our kindred sisterhood is more helpful or painful.
Ladybug eyed me and my tears as I walked towards her with my arms outstretched. Then, she walked straight towards me…and then passed me right by! Heart crushed, I turned away with my head lowered and stood staring at the ground, letting the tears fall. A few moments later, I turned back to find her right behind me, staring straight into my back. She approached and I reached out to stroke her beautiful sides, feeling the shared pain between us and the absolute acceptance of it. She wasn’t waiting for me to feel better, to get my act together, to be what she wanted me to be or who I thought I should be for her. She accepted me how I was and where I was. From there, the love just flowed!
Hmmm, now who does that remind us of? Oh right, GOD! God doesn’t wait for us to become something for Him. He made us exactly as we are! God doesn’t love us only when we are loveable. He made us to depend on Him and seek Him for forgiveness when we mess up. God doesn’t judge us on our bad days. He invites us to find Him amid the messes in life, in all situations, especially the tough ones when we feel so un-holy, so defeated, so useless. Animals give us a window into who God is and how he loves us. Just ask Ladybug, she knows. She is a natural.