First Things First

by Deborah McCormick Maxey

But before you do anything, ask God for guidance. 2 Kings 22:5 MSG

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NIV

It was the 4th of July. The lake we live on was packed with visitors and families happily celebrating together. We welcomed our son’s family and three grand dogs, one of which was a new rescue. As I pulled out boxes of lights, flags, banners, buntings, windsocks, and pinwheels, our three granddaughters were determined to use everything we had collected over the years on our pontoon boat. We were having a “Tacky Boat” party!

That is, until the twelve-year-old realized that Bubbie, the new rescue dog, was missing. Instantly everything changed. Their dad, shouting over his children’s hysterics, dividing us with separate routes with the reminder that Bubbie wore a harness with a tag. If someone found him, they would call his cell.

I was given the road route. As I ran to my car, our panic stricken twelve-year-old followed me. Windows down, we searched and called, even though Bubbie didn’t yet know his name.

When we reached the limits of where I felt a small terrier might have gone, we returned home. The indoor search crew was now outside, and we could hear their frantic voices. My granddaughter stopped me at the door, devastated. “Grammy, Bubbie’s gone. We’ll never get him back.”

“We don’t know that. He has a tag.”

“But Grammy…” She sobbed, “I shampooed him before we left so he would smell good for you. I didn’t put his harness back on because I didn’t want it to get wet.” With huge tears, and shaking hands, she turned and showed me his harness in her backpack.

“Sweetheart, God knows exactly where Bubbie is. And He knows how much we need His help.”

Before I could say another word, she dropped to her knees, clasped hands under her chin and sobbed as I prayed aloud, thanking God for hearing us and praising Him for being the Master of every situation.

He reminded me; this was a teachable moment. “Now we’ll just be still for a moment and let God speak to us about where to look. Instead of fear, we’ll say to ourselves, ‘God’s got this’.” After a few moments I said, “Let’s start where we are. Inside.”

We searched upstairs. Then down. “Grammy, I found him!”  Bubbie was curled in a tiny corner under the stairs. She called him and he still didn’t budge. Because Bubbie didn’t know his name. She scooped him up, and with a huge smile said, “Next time, Grammy, I’m praying first.”

Bingo. “Me too.”

I had prayed inwardly as I ran up the driveway. But why didn’t I think to teach her that the moment the dog went missing?

Recently our elderly, hard of hearing, dog did something he’s never done. Doc pushed open the gate. Yorkies are known for not being able to find their way home. Doc wouldn’t hear us calling. While hubby headed to the lakeshore, I went to my car. But this time instead of on the run prayers, I stopped and prayed. Eight minutes later hubby texted that Doc had treed a tempting squirrel.

That July 4th with Bubbie, I was taught, and got to teach, a freedom that is not celebrated with flags, decorations, or barbeques. I celebrate that God has given us freedom from control and panic. Freedom from anxiety.

Both times the dogs could not recognize my calls. And my heart is so grateful that God always does.

This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.  

Deborah’s debut novel, The Endling, is available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Christian Book.  Native American Emerson Coffee is the last surviving member of her tribe. When US Marshals inform her, she’s being hunted by a mob hit man, Emerson declines their offer of witness protection. But when three innocent children become caught in the crosshairs, Emerson must decide if she will risk it all—her mountains, her heritage . . . even her life—to secure their safety. 

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt peace in the midst of a crisis?

2 thoughts on “First Things First

  1. I loved your story because I, too, am a dog lover and we have two grand dogs. They are truly part of the family. Your emphasis on prayer FIRST is a good reminder. Thanks, Fran


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