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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Valentine (05/16/05)

TITLE: Real To Me
By Tisha Martin


Valentine. It’s a very romantic-sounding word, isn’t it? But in my case, it’s a God-centered word. When one thinks of ‘valentine’ the first definition comes to mind is ‘love.’ And love can be translated in all kinds of ways.

In 1998, I was given a small, black and white rat terrier puppy. Her black head and ears were set off by a thin, white stripe down the front of her face. Her coat was white with pepper spots all over. Given a short, white tip on the end of the tail, I named her Tippy. We did everything together: hiked, walked, rode horses to town, played around the yard. We were an inseparable pair. Tippy was my protector when we rode the three miles to our small town of Atlanta. I loved her dearly and she in turn loved me.

August 30, 2004 I said goodbye to her before going to work. Upon arriving home in the afternoon, Mom met me with some bad news.

My beloved dog was dead.

I was disbelieving at first. Tippy? Dead? I had just seen her only hours before! How could she be dead? I was told she had laid by the house, next to the dryer vent, and just passed away. When the reality set in, I fell into Mom’s arms and sobbed. Spending moments in the safe haven of my mother’s arms, I then walked blindly through the yard. Tippy’s 10 month old son, Beau Jo, came running up to me, oblivious of what was going on. I scooped him into my arms, and continued through the late summer lawn, tears coursing down my cheeks, and sobs racking my body. I hugged Beau Jo close to me, wishing my dog back. But I knew she’d never be. My friend was gone.

I returned to work the next day in a total daze, heartache reining deeply in the pit of my heart. I was on the verge of tears each time I looked at Tippy’s picture on my desk. I just couldn’t understand how she could be dead. She was perfectly fine when I left her the day before. How could God have let this happen? It was a hard loss to accept. But slowly I remembered that Tippy wasn’t my dog. I had given her back to the Lord several years ago, and realized God had lent her to me. She was His dog, not mine.

Two days after my dog’s death, I felt this overwhelming, peaceful sensation swell my heart and whole being. It was God telling me that it was going to be all right; He had things under control. The calming peace couldn’t be anything else but God. It was then I experienced His awesome love. His love for me. Sure, He knew my heart, how it was broken, seemingly beyond repair. God was proving to me that He was real—even in the sense of losing a dog. Yes, the grief of losing a family member is greater than losing a pet, but in my eyes, God’s love is the same. His grace is all sufficient for everything we experience.

God views the death of a loved one and the death of a dog the same way. He cares about our heartaches, no matter how great or small the situation. The death of my Tippy, I can say now, has been the best thing for me because it allowed me to see God. His love, powerful and shining over me, was greater than the grief I had for losing my beloved dog. It was as if I didn’t miss my dog at all. That’s how strong God’s love was toward me. I stand in awe of how real He was to me in my time of sorrow.

God truly was my Valentine, my love. He still is.

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Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight05/27/05
From one animal lover to another-Glad God was there for you. This is a well orchestrated piece. Enjoyed meeting Tippy :)
Val Clark05/28/05
Good effort, great isn't it how God is interested in all our griefs and comforts us? Thanks for the reminder.
Pat Guy 05/29/05
You have portrayed well how God cares about us. He created animals for a reason and they are a great comfort. When we lose them He becomes our Comfort. Good job.