“Her Name Was Lolita…”

My son recently adopted a dog who had been rescued from a puppy mill. It is likely that she had been left in her cage for great lengths of time, sitting in her own excrement, filthy and used solely for the gain of another. She had been treated like an object who had now outlived her usefulness; discarded and abandoned; unwanted and unloved. We braced ourselves for severe behavioral problems and extra training. Her foster home wasn’t even sure she was fully potty trained, and said she showed signs of the food anxiety so often exhibited in animals who have been treated inhumanely and have had to fight to be fed.

Even her name seemed to be a sentence to failure. It was Lolita, which means “sexually precocious young girl.” We decided that our first act of love was to change Lolita’s name, therefore cutting off all connections with her past. Her name is now Lola, meaning, “sorrows” or Lolo, meaning “goofball.” My son and I gently trained her to recognize our voices and respond to her new name. We were thrilled when she began to run to find us when we called her.

Our little “goofball”

Within 24 hours of adoption, Lolo surprised us all. From the first full day, her desire to please her new masters drove her to be careful not leave unwanted “packages” in the home. She cuddled and snuggled into our arms whenever we were sitting, and she ran around the house like a kook when one of us came home.

The whole experience has reminded me of when Jesus said that those who have been forgiven much are more grateful than those who believe they are not in need of much forgiveness. And though Lolo’s past wasn’t her fault, she seems to understand the depths of what she has been rescued from, and in response, has become completely and deliriously devoted to her deliverers.

How many of us, upon our rescue by Jesus, had been:

  • Found captured in a cage of our own or other’s making?
  • Left to feel dirty and unlovable?
  • Called names that led us to identify with things we were never meant to believe about ourselves? 
  • Discarded after our abusers deemed us no longer a part of their plan? 

Like Lolo, our desire to live in a way pleasing to God should be rooted in response to His great love and enriched by deep gratitude for the extremes that our Master went to in order to rescue us from sin and separation from Him. When He calls, we should be leaping and jumping in excitement for the adventure that awaits us. When we rest, we should be as closely snuggled in His arms as we can get. We should believe in who He says we are, rather than the who we were when He found us.

We all have a choice. We can either allow our past to cause us to be broken and bitter, or broken and better. We can, like Lolo, choose to respond to the love of our Master and become all that He has called us to become. We can allow God to “rename” us from forgotten to begotten; precocious to precious; trashed to treasured. We can allow God to train us as we follow His lead and learn to recognize His voice. Most significantly, we can, for the love that God has shown us, leave our pasts behind and joyfully experience our adoption in Him.

1John.3. [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

10 Things I Would Rescue From My House – Friday Favorites

For this week’s Friday Favorites I walked around my house and asked myself, “What would I rescue from my house if I knew ahead of time that there was an oncoming flood or fire and I could only bring 10 things?” Of course, I would bring my husband, children and most of my pets (just kidding, the cat can come too).

So here goes:

1. I love this piece of furniture, the way the sun glints off of the antique patina.  The way that it came to me is pretty great as well. I was praying and feeling quite low, when a friend called and said that she had been praying and that God wanted me to have this lovely wardrobe. Isn’t He marvelous? And isn’t my friend grand for being obedient?  I like to pretend that it’s Lucy’s Wardrobe from C.S. Lewis’ Chronicle of Narnia.

2. This mirror has been in my family as long as I can remember. My mother got it from a garage sale when I was about four. Some of the plaster is falling off, but I don’t care, it hangs proudly in my living room just the same. By the way, it weighs a ton!

3. I don’t know what this is. A 90 year old woman gave it to me in the mid 1980’s. I love the oak wood, the numbers stamped on the side and I have all sorts of imaginations as to what the holes were for.

4. I call this my Benjamin Franklin desk. I bought it at a garage sale for $50. Can you tell I like golden oak? I like to pretend that the ink stain is from the inkwell spilled while writing the Declaration of Independence. Far fetched since the owner told me that it is a library desk from Indiana…but oh well.

5. I haven’t been baking much lately, as we have been on a sugar fast, so I had to find somewhere to display my cannisters other than on the counter. I love glassware. It took forever to find all three of these pieces, I wouldn’t have to start over just because of a dumb fire or flood…

6. Although this is a new addition to my house, it is one of my favorite things. It fits perfectly in my tiny eat-in kitchen, and I love the fact that it is a drop leaf table so that we can entertain.

7. Out of all the gifts that I’ve received over the years, I don’t think I’ve gotten more use out of anything as much as my kitchenaide. For anyone who hasn’t bought one yet, do it! It’s worth the investment.

8. This is one of the most extravagant gifts I have ever received! I love getting this out every Christmas, and I love that it tells the lovely Christmas story with the figurines.

9. Just after Christmas this year, I received a pack from the descendents of the protagonist of my YA historical fiction book. I treasure these papers! They confirmed everything I knew in my heart about my heroine. I wept when I read them.

10. My life’s work is encased in that white plastic with a half-eaten apple on it. I hope to finish my novel soon, so you can see why it is so special to me…

Now that you’ve seen a tiny corner of my world, tell me what you would rescue from your house if you have a 24 hour advance notice of calamity and you could only take 10 items.

Linking with Starla at Friday Facts.