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Do-overs and Second Chances

For months, we’d been looking for a dog. Not a lost dog. A family dog. A mixed breed puppy that was affectionate, hypoallergenic, and affordable. I scoured the websites for adoptable pups, and I prayed God would send us the perfect dog for our family.

Finally, on a work appointment, my husband talked to a couple who passed on the name of the place they’d found their puppy. My husband called and learned about a couple of mixed breed pups (from an accidental litter) that sounded like what we’d been looking for.

My husband and I drove about an hour to see the two puppies available, with one in mind. They called her Molly.

Well, we came home that day with Molly (now Tillie), a bag of puppy kibble, and an eagerness to share this sweet animal with our children.

We marveled at how perfect Tillie was. She checked off all the boxes we’d been looking for and then some. She was gentle, patient, and adorable. And we were so grateful to get her.

We’d gotten discouraged after months of not finding the right dog. Or thinking we had and learning it was no longer available for adoption. But there were those couple of puppies . . . Mocha and Molly, wasn’t it?

And then we remembered.

We’d seen Molly before. She and her litter mate were the adorable tiny puppies we’d seen listed online earlier in the summer. We’d wanted to inquire, but they’d been adopted. Or so we thought.

My husband pulled up Tillie’s photo from at least six-eight weeks earlier. Yep. That was the pup. The one we ooh-ed and ahh-ed over, thinking we’d found our family dog at last. The one who’d slipped through our fingers.

I’d prayed that we’d find the dog. The one that suited our family. The one God had in mind for us. My husband had prayed about this dog at Adoration the night before we picked her up.

God didn’t give us just one chance at Tillie. He gave us two!

I’ve readily accepted that God gives us many, many chances when it comes to forgiveness and redemption, but I haven’t always recognized the chances he gives us in fulfilling the desires of our hearts.

When it comes to morality, our course of action is usually obvious. If we’ve developed our consciences and are attuned to the Holy Spirit’s promptings, we recognize the right course of action. But so many decisions, either insignificant or life-altering, aren’t matters of strict right or wrong but about discerning God’s will.

It’s those decisions that can leave us feeling like one misstep can throw our lives off course. How many of us, looking back, have wondered if we’ve chosen the right course of study, the right friends, the right relationship, the right school, the right opportunity, or the right risk?

Especially in times of discouragement, it’s tempting to wonder if God doesn’t care about those things at all. And if we’ve made the “wrong” decision, can we ever reverse course? Are we left to stumble blindly due to one misstep? Do we forfeit happiness because we chose wrongly?

Tillie is a furry-faced reminder that God cares deeply not only about the little things in our lives, but that He will answer our prayers by whatever means He pleases – even if we’ve veered off course. Even if we miss an opportunity or make the wrong call.

Tillie’s just a dog. But when I see Tillie, I see God’s hand. I see a Father who delights in my family’s joy.

Sometimes we all need a reminder about God’s goodness in giving us second chances.

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