"The LORD began to speak through me. He said to me, 'Go. Get married to a woman who will commit adultery...the people of the land are guilty of the worst kind of adultery. They have not been faithful to me.'...The LORD said to me, 'Go. Show love to your wife again...I want you to love her just as I love the people of Israel.' So I bought Gomer for six ounces of silver and about ten bushels of barley." Hosea 1:2, 3:1a, 2. (NIRV...because the kid's Bible was the closest one to grab)
Hosea was commanded by God to marry a woman he knew would not be faithful to him. When she ran off with another man, God commanded Hosea to go after her and redeem her. And to also claim any children born out of wedlock as his own. The purpose behind this was to paint a picture of Israel's (and our own) unfaithfulness to God. It must have been painful for Hosea to have to live out this picture, but our God is so great and loving and forgiving.
I felt a little like Hosea today. Lady ran away again. I chased that dog all over, while I knew my kids were alone inside. I was feeling a little hopeless, and a LOT angry. I was also supposed to be sewing. This made me just furious. But I knew that I was supposed to go get her. Several times I turned back to come inside, but felt the Spirit leading me on. The guy at the farm felt it his duty (at 9:30 pm) to give me a lecture about the dog running all over the neighborhood. As if I thought it was fun to let her out for a good run! I was so upset that I finally interrupted him and politely told him I would be happy to shoot her if I had a gun. He could sense my stress and did a 180 in his attitude towards me. I definitely see his point--the dog is our responsibility, and if she is destructive (he has a nursery and spring is upon us), we will be held responsible. He also mentioned that it is not ok for my kids, he observed that I am homeschooling, to run all over the place chasing her. I walked back home muttering how much I hate the dog, and even called Mitch to cry. When I came in the house I once again banned the kids to ever leave our yard without an adult. Seriously, does this mean that once again they must spend a summer without their bikes unless we are outside? How old do kids have to be to be able to take a walk? Oh yeah, I'm talking about the dog...back on topic. During all this time Lady was running all over the neighborhood, never going really too far. She almost got caught when she was on the neighbor's step whining at the door because she wanted to come in and see their dog. I finally went across the street to another neighbor's house and asked if her (older, calmer, lab retriever) dog could come outside and stand with me. She was more than happy to help. It didn't take 2 min. Allie heard Lady's collar and let out a bark. Lady snapped to attention, and ran right up to us. She had no problems with me grabbing her. She dug in her heels, however, when we hit our driveway. Arrggghhh. Got her inside, though, so that's good. Mitch has plans to buy a shock collar to use in training. We talked with a friend this weekend who trains hunting dogs, and this is what he recommended. So hopefully it will do the trick. I'm glad Mitch wasn't so hot as me. It would be terrible for the kids to lose their dog because their mom can't keep it together. When I got back inside, I took a good breather to clean up a few of the major dirty areas in the house. Then I finished a very cute diaper order I was working on. So that calmed me down a good deal.
I still feel a little like Hosea. I wonder if in some way my attitude towards the dog doesn't make the kids wonder if I'd treat them the same way if they run away? If (as a teen or young adult) the kids physically or even just emotionally "ran away" from me, would I go after them? Would my chase be half-hearted? Would I give up? Would I pursue them more than once? I do want them to know that I love them. Of course I know that they are sooooo much more important than a dog. But do *they* know they are more important than the dog? I don't know if they really do--if they love her, she may be as important to them as any other family member. I know this does happen in some families. That's what kept my foot to the path (and snow--I took a couple of dives into the snow when I stepped on uneven ground--loved that) tonight as I pursued the d.u.m.b. dog.